A trial attorney in California received a sharp rebuke from a federal district judge on Monday and was even urged to resign after a slew of profanity-laced emails he’d sent to insult and threaten opposing counsel were submitted into the record, the Daily Mail reported.
The case involved an attorney named Christopher Hook, who was representing homeowners engaged in an insurance claim dispute with Allstate. The case, in which Allstate was represented by a high-profile legal team, ended up in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Otis Wright II.
Wright, for his part, took great exception to the nearly 100 emails Hook had sent to Allstate’s lawyers that insulted and even physically threatened them with a wide assortment of vulgarities.
The messages came during negotiations over a multi-million-dollar reimbursement claim.
“Shocking and even terrifying”
The Los Angeles Times reported that Hook’s clients had suffered damage to their home from a burst water pipe. The homeowners estimated damages worth about $350,000 on their $3.6 million home, but an Allstate appraiser pegged the damages at $170,000, a difference of $200,000 that sparked the lawsuit.
The Allstate attorneys submitted a tranche of Hook’s emails as an exhibit in court along with a memo that, according to the Daily Mail, expressed regret for “being forced to put this language in the record.”
“But there is no other way to convey the gravity of Mr. Hook’s misconduct,” Allstate’s attorneys wrote. “Mr. Hook’s conduct has gone well beyond the unethical and improper,” the attorneys argued. “It is shocking and even terrifying.”
“This profession does not need you”
“Tell you what, slick, this profession does not need you,” Wright told the attorney. “I am going to do what I can to remove you from this profession.”
He asked Hook to resign, but when the foul-mouthed lawyer began to refuse, the judge interrupted. “Shut up. I want you to resign from this profession,” the judge said.
Hook attempted to object and claim that his emails to the Allstate attorneys were private and constitutionally protected, but Judge Wright replied: “You honestly believe the First Amendment extends to anything? You did go to law school, right?”
In the end, Hook apologized for his behavior and agreed to pay legal fees for the Allstate attorneys. However, the judge strongly implied that Hook will soon face further trouble for his disgraceful actions.