When Obnoxious Lawyers Converge, Clients Are Not Well-Served

DSC00280One of the worst possible scenarios for those unlucky enough to be involved in a lawsuit is when their respective lawyers are at each other’s throats. You may think you are being well-served by an aggressive, boorish lawyer whose focus is on denigrating and insulting opposing counsel, but you are not.

On the other hand, as a client you should be happy if you know or see that your lawyer has a good working relationship with opposing counsel, as you can be sure that the resolution of your case will not be hampered by ill-will between lawyers.

Oddly enough, some clients are disturbed when they see cooperation between their lawyers, misreading it as a sign of weakness on their lawyer’s part. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, there are lawyers who are so well-known for their cranky, obnoxious behavior that other lawyers refuse to take on cases where Mr. or Ms. Miserable is on the opposite side.

A recent example of bickering lawyers arose in a courtroom in Chicago, where last week the final act of an ongoing legal saga came to an end, with Judge Raymond Mitchell ordering both lawyers to resign from the case and their clients to retain new lawyers.

Lawyers Joel Brodsky and Michael Meschino treated their clients and the court to months of disturbing behavior while representing their clients in a business dispute, taking potshots at one another in open court, with no concern for their lack of professionalism and decorum.

At one point Mr. Brodsky called Mr. Meschino a “moron” and a “liar”. Meschino responded with words like “fat, short, and bald” complaining that “Brodsky was constantly shaking his bald head, so that a light was shining on me”. Over time, when the lawyers were in court, up to four sheriffs were present in the courtroom and on two occasions Mr. Meschino was escorted out of the courtroom by sheriffs.

Outside of court, threatening and insulting emails were the norm, and discovery of each party took place in the courthouse rather than in the privacy of a court reporter’s office, as is the usual practice.

Judge Mitchell advised Brodsky and Meschino that a copy of his order would be sent to the Illinois Attorney Discipline Commission so that appropriate action could be taken by the Illinois Bar.

Joel Brodsky is certainly no stranger to ethics complaints. He was the lawyer that acted for former police office Drew Peterson, who was accused of murdering his third wife Kathleen Savio.

Before the case was finished Mr. Brodsky was replaced by new counsel, an event that did not sit well with him. His public comments after his departure as counsel “shocked” the trial judge and resulted in an ethics investigation.

After Drew Peterson was convicted, the animosity between Brodsky and successor counsel, Steven Greenberg was so intense that Brodsky sued Greenberg for defamation, suggesting that Greenberg was a “pathological narcissist”.

Not surprisingly, Brodsky also suggested that Mr. Meschino was mentally ill.

While emotions can run high in hard-fought litigation, the behavior cited by Judge Mitchell has no place in our justice system and the harshest punishment should be levied against lawyers who embarrass themselves and the administration of justice. Sadly, it is their clients who suffer most.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

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19 thoughts on “When Obnoxious Lawyers Converge, Clients Are Not Well-Served

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  8. You should at least try to be accurate if you are going to comment on something you know nothing about. First: I was never escorted out of Judge Mitchell’s Courtroom nor any other Courtroom by the Cook County Sheriffs in over 32 years as a lawyer.. The Cook County Sherriff has to file a report whenever an individual is Escorted from the Courtroom. There are no such reports to back up Judge Mitchell’s Statement in his order gleaned from the Brodsky Motions to have me disqualified.
    Second; I requested that the depositions take place in the Judge Mitchell’s Courtroom because Mr. Brodsky objected to all of the Answers to Interrogatories I propounded on his clients including where they currently resided. The Judge agreed so he knew I was relying on him to resolve objections during the deposition. We found out during the Deposition of Mr. Brodsky’s client that the Judge was not around. I pleaded with the Sheriff in court to find us any Law Division Judge.
    The deposition of Mr. Brodsky’s clients sealed the fate of this case. His one client walked away with nothing. His other clients received 10 cents on the dollar for their claim.
    Please try to be accurate and quit relying on othert people’s work product when a five minute conversation with me would have cleared up the mistakes in your story.

      • The ABA copied the Tribune story which was full of misinformation. The ABA never asked for comment from myself nor anyone else. The Daily Law Bulletin at least did their own research and did not rely on other peoples faulty research.
        The gist of the Tribune story was how the Judge excoriated Mr. Brodsky for his ex-parte letter communication on two occasions with the Chief Judge trying to get Judge Mitchell off the case(Because he had consistently ruled in my client’s favor) and to remove yours truly because I was doing my job and had put his clients in a precarious position because that is what civil litigators do.

  9. Meschino was seen being bundled out of chambers in late 2011 after he had screamed threats (heard in a Third-District courtroom by the bailiff) and then had “jumped” another attorney (according to the deputies, etc, who had had to drag Meschino away from the desk of the wheelchair-bound judge). Meschino claimed later to have been angered by the judge having caught him in, and having called him on, a lie about opposing counsel; Meschino blamed opposing counsel’s client for the judge’s action. Opposing counsel requested, and was immediately granted, an order directing Meschino to begin comporting himself in accordance with professional standards. A copy of said order can be produced upon request.

    • Ms. LawDiva; Elizabeth S is Elizabeth Stapel. I finally have a reason to Sue her. I am so grateful to you. Thank you. She is the wife of former client of mine. She caused needless litigation and alienated her son from his father. I finally have a legal avenue to go after her. Again you need to check the sheriff ‘s office as to whether there was a write up of an incident. Judge Sullivan, the judge in the wheel chair, was never attacked.

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

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