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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit gives attorney 21 days to show "why he should not be censured, suspended, or disbarred on account of his apparent inability to practice competently and diligently in the federal courts"

A 7-page decision Nov. 8th, authored by Chief Judge Easterbrook in the case of in Cathleen R. Sambrano v. Ray Mabus, Sec. of Navy (ND Ill.), concludes:

A violation of Circuit Rule 30 is sanctionable. [cites omitted] Sanctions such as orders to pay the other side’s attorneys’ fees may redress injuries done to putupon adversaries, but they do not redress injuries a lawyer may have done to his own client. We have no idea whether Sambrano had a good claim against the Navy—but we do know that, if she had, Joaquin massacred it.

His conduct in this case implies that Joaquin is not competent to protect the interests of litigants in the federal courts. In other recent cases we have ordered lawyers whose ineptitude injured (or may have injured) their own clients to show cause why they should not be suspended from practice or disbarred. [cites omitted] That step is appropriate here too. Judges are better able than clients to separate competent from bungling attorneys, and we have a duty to ensure the maintenance of professional standards by members of our bar. We therefore give Joaquin 21 days to show cause why he should not be subject to monetary sanctions for filing a frivolous appeal and violating Circuit Rule 30, and why he should not be censured, suspended, or disbarred on account of his apparent inability to practice competently and diligently in the federal courts. See Fed. R. App. P. 38, 46.

The judgment is affirmed. An order to show cause is issued.

For an extended discussion of the opinion, see this entry by Pat Murphy in Lawyer's USA's blog, Benchmarks.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 10, 2011 10:57 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions