Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Lawyer violates in limine rulings, gets in hot water. 9th Cir. affirms

In a products liability case against Ford Motor Company, in limine rulings excluded evidence that the plaintiff had been drinking and did not have his seatbelt on at the time of the accident.

Ford's attorney alluded to both excluded facts in his opening statement. The district court granted a mistrial.

The court imposed monetary sanctions on the attorney and held him in contempt. It also revoked his pro hac vice status, both in that case and prospectively for his lifetime. (Another factor was the attorney's failure to disclose in his pro hac vice application that he had been disciplined by another court for failing to comply with the court's rules or orders.)

The 9th Circuit affirmed everything but the lifetime denial of pro hac vice status. Lasar v. Ford Motor Co., --- F.3d ----, 2005 WL 486995 (9th Cir. March 3, 2005).

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