A United States District Judge based in Miami has disqualified two attorneys from the Morgan & Morgan law firm from a case after the opposing counsel complained, among other things, that one of the lawyers drew pictures of male genitalia and openly played Angry Birds during depositions.
The two lawyers, Richard Celler and Stacey Schulman, were representing a class action complaint against Aventura Limousine & Transportation Services, Inc. The Limo company allegedly violated the Fair Labors Standard act, and an ex-employee had enlisted the services of the Morgan & Morgan law firm. That's the mega-firm whose "For the People" advertising blankets the state and now employs former Governor Charlie Crist.
The opposing counsel however complained to the judge, Cecilia M. Altonaga, that Mr. Celler in particular "ha[d] systematically engaged in inappropriate and offensive behavior."
Among his most egregious crimes were drawing dick pictures, playing Angry Birds and choosing Duncan Donuts for the site of depositions. South Florida Lawyers pointed out this passage from a court document:
In addition to the above, Defendants describe deplorable behavior on Celler's part that
occurred in connection with the Schatt Action. Tinkler testified that during depositions he
witnessed "Mr. Celler . . . drawing photos of -- pictures of male genitalia and showing them to
Ms. Schulman, describing Mr. Coupal. I told Mr. Coupal after that was occurring and he made
mention about it." (Apr. 2, 2012 Hearing Tr. 17:2-5). Sorci testified that he observed Schulman
"laugh[ing] quite a few times" at Celler's drawings, and that on break Schulman made a
comment that "this is typical Richard [Celler], this is what he does at these sort of things." (Id.
85:5-10). Tinkler further stated that "during Mr. Schatt's deposition Mr. Celler was playing the
game Angry Birds. He admitted it aloud and was bragging that he had just beaten somebody in
Minnesota at the game during the deposition." (Id. 17:6-9). Moreover, Celler would wear a tshirt and shorts to proceedings to gain "a psychological advantage." (Id. 17:11-15). Celler
chose Dunkin' Donuts as the site of depositions against Coupal's wishes.
Celler made no attempt to deny the allegations.
Though, that juvenile behavior was the only reason the lawyers were disqualified. The judge found that Celler was also making unethical communication with lawyers on the case and, in fact, with the defendants themselves. One of the defendants claimed he was so intimidated by Celler during one such instance that he ended up throwing up in the bathroom. The complaint is a bunch of law jargon, which you can read here, but are you surprised a guy who draws dick pics during depositions would also break more serious rules?
Celler also wrote numerous unprofessional emails to the opposing attorney that included gems like, "Nobody on this side of the Internet cares," and "You are an impediment to all of these proceedings. It's a shame."
Judge Altonaga decided to not only disqualify Celler and Schulman from the case, but the entire Morgan & Morgan law firm.
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