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Lawyer and Firm Removed from Case by Judge
A lawyer from Florida and his law firm have been removed from a case by a federal judge. The firm was removed from a fair labor class action because of ‘flagrant disrespect’ from an earlier case that involved the same corporate defendant and the same opponent counsel. The lawyer removed is that of Richard Celler, from Morgan & Morgan, who sued a limousine company and corporate officers in both cases mentioned. U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga said that Celler issued ‘choice statements’ when he sent an email to opposing counsel in the earlier case and also disparaged opposing lawyers to his clients.
Celler has also been accused of ‘deplorable behavior’ in the earlier case. His actions included hosting depositions at Dunkin’ Donuts, showing up to those depositions in shorts and t-shirts, and even drawing pictures of penises and playing Angry Birds while at deposition testimonies.
In the order from Altonaga, the behavior from the first case by Celler still affects the second case because it embarrassed the defendants and caused strain in their relationship with their lawyer, Jason Coupal. Altonaga said that Celler showed ‘flagrant disrespect’ by using unprofessional conduct consistently.
Altonaga mentioned an email sent by Celler to Coupal in the first case regarding a possible settlement between the two parties involved outside of court. Altonaga said that the email contained an ‘utter lack of professionalism.’ Part of the email is below:
“It is apparent that your MO is trying to purposefully delay things as much as possible. This is because it appears (from what I observed at trial), you are not a trial lawyer. If you want to play in the sand box with trial lawyers, you are going to do it the right way or we are going to call you out to the judge—every time. …. We are not interested, nor are our clients, in settlement discussions with you as long as you are the lawyer on the other side. You are causing your client a great disservice. If you were not on the other side of the table, we would have a better chance of any resolution and would sit with the principals of the company. I have told Scott Tinkler this. Time to put your boots on and get to work. No more whining, no more complaining about how you have no support staff, no more complaining about how much work you have to do. Nobody on this side of the Internet cares.”Lawyer and Firm Removed from Case by Judge by Jim Vassallo