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Disbarred California Attorney Wade Robertson Upset about Newspaper Article
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San Francisco Chronicle

Summary: A California attorney who has since been disbarred had his defamation lawsuit against a newspaper thrown out.

A California attorney disbarred for misconduct was angry that a newspaper covered his case under the “crime” section back in 2013. Wade Robertson was ultimately disbarred for his misconduct the newspaper reported on. He then tried to sue the San Francisco Chronicle for defamation but the courts have dismissed his suit.


A California appeals court rejected his lawsuit. The article in December 2013 was under the “crime” header caption regarding his ethics case. Robertson was accused in the article of cheating an elderly client out of $3.5 million. He was subsequently suspended from practicing law at that time.

The article further explained that there was a disbarment recommendation against Robertson from the case involving a 77-year-old Maryland resident. The resident gave Robertson $3.5 million in order to finance a class action lawsuit. In return, the resident would get a cut of the proceeds from the class action, according to the ABA Journal. Instead, Robertson used the $3.5 million for personal investments. He never told the “investor” that the class action was dismissed, according to the state bar court.

In a June 26 unpublished opinion by the California Court of Appeal, First Division, the court said the article was an accurate report on the state bar court’s official proceeding. The appeals court further stated that while the article was published under the crime header, Robertson is not accused of any crime in the article.

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Ultimately, the appeals court noted that the state bar court concluded that Robertson did commit acts of moral turpitude, dishonesty or corruption in “a deviously orchestrated plan to defraud” the Maryland resident. The summary of the findings by the San Francisco Chronicle was accurate. The fact that they reported that Robertson was suspended pending an appeal was an accurate description of the status of the case. Perhaps the only inaccurate part was calling it a “suspension” when it should have been referred to as an “involuntary inactive status.”

The lawsuit based on California’s anti-SLAPP law was dismissed. The anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) law authorizes a motion to dismiss a suit involving the right to free speech connected with a public issue. They wrote, “From time to time, this court has encountered difficult cases concerning the scope and application of the anti-SLAPP statute. This case is not one of them.” They further explained that they felt the article could not have been fairer to Robertson given his disagreement with the bar court findings.

According to the state bar website, Robertson is a graduate of Stanford University Law School.

Do you think there should be punishments for frivolous lawsuits? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about other defamation lawsuits, read these articles:




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