GMAC v. HTFC: Update on the World’s Worst Deposition

I’ve blogged before about GMAC v. HTFC, criticizing Judge Robreno’s contempt ruling against attorney Joseph Ziccardi:

The big picture question here is the degree to which attorneys should be punished for failing to affirmatively prevent their clients’ incivility. Some punishment of this client is certainly warranted. But punishing the “mild-mannered” solo practitioner attorney as if he were equally culpable goes too far. I hope that the Court walks it back a bit.

Guess Judge Robreno isn’t a reader of the blog. On August 13, he issued a memorandum and opinion denying the motion to reconsider his judgment. (Read Part I and Part II). The gist, putting aside the high bar for reconsideration & the procedural objections, is that the Court found it appropriate to fine Ziccardi $30K for failing to stop his client from being obstructive at the deposition, even while accepting that he had vigorously counseled his client “offline” to behave. Ziccardi’s silence during the deposition was, per se, sanctionable.

Appellate standards for review of discovery orders being what they are, I guess that Ziccardi won’t prosecute an appeal, but this decision strikes me as overreaching.

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1 Response

  1. A.W. says:

    I read the (hilarious) memorandum on this, and it wasn’t just the silence. He also should have withheld his participation. That is, he should have walked out.