The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
Texas lawyer Andrew Schirrmeister responded to a motion for sanctions by former appellate judge Gordon Maag, admitting that his application to practice in an Illinois benzene suit without an Illinois license omitted information about prior sanctions – due to the fault of the paralegal that prepared it.
Gordon Maag represents the plaintiff, The Estate of Kent Herzog, in a civil action against DuPont for alleged negligent exposure to benzene. Mr. Shirrmeister represents Du Pont.
Gordon Maag advised Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth that while googling Mr. Shirrmeister in April 2007, he discovered that he had been sanctioned in Texas in 1995. Mr. Shirrmeister testified before Judge Ruth that “a paralegal prepared his application and he didn’t examine it.”
“What happened in this case was, I failed to carefully read the application,” Schirrmeister said.
He apologized to the court and Maag.
Judge Ruth apparently takes a dim view of attorneys that fail to carefully review documents for their own signatures, saying, “The court has a problem with attorneys just coming in and saying I didn’t read the law and I didn’t pay attention to the facts.”
“We are lawyers and we are supposed to read the law before you go filing documents, not after you get in trouble or caught, whatever you want to call it,” Ruth said.
Judge Ruth has asked for more information pending a ruling.
This article is a great read for some fine courtroom quotes, including “Have you ever used Google?” and “I just made a mistake. Gee whiz I’m sorry.”