Now THIS Is An Unprofessional Lawyer!

And juuuuust a bit uncivil, I’d say. I  may be wrong…

In a motion to dismiss an insurance law suit, Allstate’s lawyers revealed this remarkable conduct on the part of plaintiff’s attorney Christopher Hook in his communications during the case. According to the declaration of those attorneys in their motion, Hook said or wrote…

  • “Fuck you crooks. Eat a bowl of dicks.” (Declaration of Peter H. Klee, Ex. 1, p. 5)
  • “I’m going to let the long dick of the law fuck Allstate for all of us.” (Id., p. 7)
  • “Hey Klee you Cumstain the demand is now 302 million. Pay up fuckface.” (Id., p. 8)
  • “Peter when you are done felating your copy boy tell Allstate the demand is now 305 million.” (Id., p. 9)
  • “[Other Sheppard Mullin attorneys] may not be too smart but at least they have some fucking dignity and honor unlike you two limp dick mother fuckers.” (Id., p. 10)
  • “What is Wright going to do when he finds out Allstate is using people who are borderline retarded to adjust complex claims. That’s what I’m going to do. Demand increases tomorrow.” (Klee Decl., Ex. 1, p. 11)
  • “Anytime now faggot.” (Id., p. 13)
  • “I want my clients’ money gay boys.”

This a mystery: I don’t see how a lawyer could graduate from law school and practice for more than 20 minutes without knowing that he can’t treat people like that—not witnesses, not clients, not opposing parties, not other lawyers, and definitely not judges. I don’t understand how anyone who couldn’t figure this out would be smart enough to dress himself, much less pass the bar exam.

Who raised this creep? Obviously he never read his Rules of Professional Conduct, because there are several rules that make it clear that such behavior is affirmative misconduct. Incivility itself is never mentioned, but fairness to opposing counsel and respect for all involved in the litigation process are. Moreover, Rule 8.4, Misconduct, in almost all jurisdictions condemns conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

I’m reasonably sure that telling opposing counsel to “Eat a bowl of dicks” qualifies.

On a more basic level, such conduct on behalf of clients is incompetent.

Usually it takes a long time and many ignored warnings before a lawyer loses his license for such atrocious and unprofessional practices, and this will likely be the case with Mr, Hook. Still, in the eloquent words of Ray Romano’s TV father, played by  Peter Boyle, “Holy crap!”

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Pointer: The Professional Responsibility Blog

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14 thoughts on “Now THIS Is An Unprofessional Lawyer!

  1. Next AG. He’d fit right in, would he not? Or maybe a Federal Judgeship. Less qualified appointments have been made recently.

  2. The horrible behavior notwithstanding – or perhaps standing proud – this is actually kind of hilarious. The Above the Law update indicates that the judge is sympathetic to Allstate and has scheduled a hearing for later this month. Do keep us advised!

      • Oh, eminently reasonable. And let’s be grateful this idiot’s conduct is in fact rare. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t be nearly as funny.

        • To which I’d add that while insurance companies want to minimize their risk exposure and payouts – which can seem unfair to their customers – they also tend to hire extremely smart and skilled attorneys to represent their interests (while not an attorney myself, my work often brings me into alliance with defense attorneys).

          So this clown isn’t just unprofessional – he’s likely incompetent.

          As a side note, I know from both past and recent experience that dealing with insurance companies after a loss like this one can be a frustrating experience (hint for EA readers: if you ever have a major home loss like this one, hire an independent adjuster. They typically eat roughly 10% of what they kill, but they’re worth it in terms of getting larger settlements and taking care of the paperwork).

          • A better way would be to hire that independent adjuster after you find out if the insurance company is willing to meet your price. That way, the public adjuster won’t invoice you on the amount that you were able to collect yourself.

            • They don’t work that way. At least, around here, they don’t. You want them in as early after the loss as you can get them – preferably, before demolition begins. They know exactly what to document and how to do it.

              • Then you are quite lucky in your area. I have dealt with literally hundreds of public adjusters over the last 20+ years and they are quite consistent in their lack of understanding as to the coverage provided by the insurance policy and do a very poor job in documenting anything. I have yet to meet a PA who had ever even read an insurance policy, let alone understand it. Now, they do tend to understand the claims process, and some of them also understand how to negotiate a settlement.

                • That’s interesting, Philk. The adjuster we hired was so thorough that the insurance company adjuster used most of the independent’s measurements and photography.

                  The one place we got screwed wasn’t the IA’s fault. He came in about three days after the loss (we had a pipe freezup/burst on the second floor of the house). By the time he got there, demolition upstairs was already complete – and the wall-to-wall carpeting had already been ripped up and removed. The demo company SHOULD have saved about a square foot of the carpet for us, and didn’t. Because we couldn’t prove what we had previously the settlement for the carpeting was likely less than half of what it should have been. With everything else, we did just fine – and having the IA deal with the paperwork and negotiation made life one hell of a lot easier.

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