Lawyers Reveal The Most Unethical Thing People Have Done To Win A Lawsuit
Anything to win: That's what most of us told lawyers will do when they have cases in front of them, so some of these stories might not help deconstruct those stereotypes.
That was the basis for today's burning question from Redditor SyrupLimauIce, who asked the online community: "Lawyers of reddit, what is the most unethical thing you have seen someone do for a lawsuit and won?"
"I started out..."
I started out working for a commercial law firm advising companies on environmental compliance. We had a client who was a large oil and gas distributor which owned a contaminated site in a populated area.
My boss advised the client to transfer ownership of the site to a newly incorporated limited liability company with no assets. That way, when the government ordered the site to be remediated, the client wouldn't be liable for the clean-up.
I left not too long after that.
"For a year..."
For a year I worked for the most unethical attorney I have ever met. Here are my top two stories:
He took on a client that was injured at work. He sent him to a doctor that he would refer to as a "whore". Since the attorney normally does defense work, the doctor came back saying the injury was clearly not work related. The attorney called the doctor to inform him that he represented the employee and not the employer in this case. The doctor then wrote a report that the injury was clearly work related.
One afternoon the attorney's assistant ran into my room and said I need to go the courthouse right now to defend the attorney in a traffic case. Attorney told me he had no run-ins with law enforcement before, had never been ticketed before, and would just like to get supervision. I go in front of the judge and present this information and I get him supervision. I go back to the office and curiosity got the best of me. I searched his criminal record. Yeah, turns out he had another outstanding speeding ticket and you could see his mugshot for domestic violence.
Oh, and he tried to fine me $5,000 for going to a doctor's appointment on my lunch break. Yup at that point I literally walked out.
"7 years later..."
Obligatory "not a lawyer", but my parents got caught up in a slimy lawyer's talons.
Basically, they had carpet installed in their house in 2005, paid in cash, got a receipt, and went on with their lives.
7 years later, they get a letter from some law firm saying the company they'd had install their carpet never received payment and would press charges if they didn't pay up. My dad, being the paranoid f--- he is, had kept the receipt and said he'd see them in court. He did some research, found out what the attorney can and can't do in this situation, and also found out that the attorney had been working with the flooring company for years, accusing paying customers of not paying and collecting excess money from them under threat of lawsuit.
Fast-forward to the court date. Dad shows up knowing his rights, with the receipt stating exactly how much he paid and when. Attorney has nothing except a copy of the invoice for my dad's payment that he leaves in his folder the whole time. Not only does the attorney break almost every rule of court possible, he completely slanders my dad. Calling him "sketchy looking" and "dishonest" even though the receipt is literally right there in front of him, insists that the receipt is fake despite having a copy of the invoice, real sh!tty stuff.
My dad lost that case. Before anyone had even left the courtroom, the attorney walked up to chat with the judge, who asked if they were still on for brunch tomorrow. Because it was a super small circuit, this dude had been able to buddy up to a judge to the extent he was allowed to do basically whatever he wanted and still win his cases.
A year later my parents sued the attorney for misconduct and requested an out-of-circuit judge, who essentially told that slimy schmuck to sit the down and shut up when he tried to pull something against the rules. They won that case.
Look around East Texas and Louisiana.
We had an attorney who won quite a few of his cases high on Cocaine. He died a few years ago from an overdose.
"When I was working..."
When I was working as a public defender in the Detroit state court I ROUTINELY saw cops lie about the existence of video recordings of an event. The law says they have to have the cams running when they make a stop, but in all the cases I saw not a single cop was ever able to produce a video. Either the video had "malfunctioned," been "accidentally deleted" after the event, or the camera was "broken."
It was a weird place to work. The cops very much viewed the defense lawyers and the legal process as their enemy. I'm sure there were a lot of unjust outcomes as a result.
In n Out burger sued my company for using their name. We have a similar name and are in a state that doesn't have In n Out burger. And we are in the automotive industry.
In n Out burger purchased a body shop so they could tell the court that they too were in the automotive industry. Mind you they bought it after they sued us and were looking like they were going to lose.
We "won" the lawsuit.
"Long story short..."Giphy
Not a lawyer, but my dad sued his previous workplace for reasons.
Long story short, the company's lawyer kept bringing up/suggesting he was guilty of domestic violence (he wasn't. At all. She just wanted to make him look bad.) Now if you google his name domestic violence comes up.
I thought that would qualify as slander or something, but I guess not. I don't know how to make the little shrugging guy and I'm not going to go find it.
"Knew a lawyer..."
Knew a lawyer that did some shady sh*t to win a case, got his client (the wife/mother) to get full custody of the kids with the husband/father crying to the Judge to rethink his decision. Judge was pissed for being questioned like that too.
Lawyer and Judge later found out that the woman beat one of her kids into a coma, having a crushed left eye and and his left side was basically deformed after the incident.
Lawyer did a 180 but he still regrets his role in that. The Judge died in dementia.
"A friend of a friend..."
A friend of a friend woke up in a hospital. He has no idea what happened but he was brought out of an induced coma from a bike wreck. The car he ended up under was owned by a lawyer. The lawyer and a cop forced the doctors to get the guy out of a coma long enough to sign a statement when no family was present. The lawyer never mentioned to the doctor that it was he who was driving and not a person he represented. The lawyer then went on the sue for damages on his car by the guy and his bicycle.
Mom had her 7 year old daughter lie on the stand. Mother claimed bodily injuries from a motor vehicle accident. She forced her 7 year old daughter to testify at trial. The mother coached the daughter to say that the mother was in the car at the time of the accident. It became very apparent that the mother was not in the car at the time of the accident because the mother couldn't recall where the accident occurred or which parts of the vehicles were damaged.
"Bumped the back..."
Bumped the back of a Chevy Malibu at a red light back in 1993. Lady claimed she had to be on disability as a result.
My car was a Honda crx. The compression thingies in the front bumper weren't collapsed which indicated it was less than 10km/hr impact.
In court I was shown a photo of their car and it looked like they backed into a tree (central dent and huge).
She won the case against my insurance company. No idea how to this day.
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"It wasn't me!"
There's not much you can do when the righteous fist of the law comes down on you. Call it a mix-up, or call it a mistake, if someone's pegged you at the scene of a crime there's not much you can do but trust the justice system to prove you innocent. However, that's a gamble, and just because you've been given a "not guilty" doesn't mean the effects won't follow you for the rest of your life.
Reddit user, u/danbrownskin, wanted to hear about the times when it wasn't you, seriously, it was someone else, when they asked: