Top Judge says Compensation Lawyers

need Policing

In California a Highway Patrol Officer has been assigned to each of the State’s twenty-two Workers Compensation Appeals Board Offices after a number of violent attacks took place against Lawyers. Among these was an incident in 2010 when an injured worker stabbed a Defence Attorney in the back.

However, the Judge in charge of the Division of Workers’ Compensation has said that unruly behaviour is not confined to Litigants but in fact is a problem with a number of Lawyers practicing in the area. Paige Levy, the Chief Judge, said at a Conference that there has been “a degradation of civility” among the Attorneys practicing before the Board. She has been forced to have notices erected reminding the Attorneys to be civil to each other.

The Judge went on to say that bad behaviour among lawyers has been on the increase and this included bad behaviour towards Judges, Court personnel and their opposite numbers. The Judge went on to say that she has had on many occasions to call a Police Officer into the Courtroom to deal with fighting between attorneys. The Judge bemoaned the fact that she had to intervene to tell lawyers to behave themselves as a teacher would have to in a kindergarten. She went on to say that the increasing lack of civility was not restricted to the Tribunals she presides over but has been a growing problem throughout the entire legal community.

A couple of years ago the California State Bar added a sentence to the Oath taken by Attorneys when they entered the profession: -

“As an Officer of the Court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy and integrity.”

Various opinions have been advanced as to why this problem is increasing including the theory that as compensation claims are by nature adversarial, the only reasons the parties engage is because there is a disagreement with regard to the entitlement to compensation and its quantum.

If you require any further detail or advice, please contact John Reid in O’Rourke Reid
Dial: +353 1 240 1200

This document is for information purposes only and does not purport to represent legal advice.  
© O’Rourke Reid 2019