U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, during an address to the American Law Institute in 1971, said, “… good manners, disciplined behavior and civility—by whatever name—are the lubricants that prevent lawsuits from turning into combat.” Fifty-plus years later, has that lubrication run dry?
Recently, a case out of the California Superior Court in Orange County, California, caught national attention due to the poor mannered, undisciplined, and uncivil behavior of an attorney whose firm filmed him in a post-trial celebratory spectacle that involved, among other things, his trial team ringing an office “victory” bell; him making braggadocios remarks implying that his victory was obtained in spite of the truth; and his team “socking “ their opponents in their faces. In the video, which his own firm posted to social media, medical malpractice defense attorney Robert L. McKenna III, was filmed after returning to his office to celebrate a jury trial verdict in the case of Garcia v. South Coast Medical Center, Case No. 30-2019-01060953. The case involved the alleged medical malpractice of Dr. Essam Quraishi, who was accused of negligently inserting a feeding tube into his patient, allegedly piercing the patient’s colon. Plaintiffs alleged (and apparently the coroner confirmed) that said injury led to an infection that eventually took his life.