The respondent represented one of the spouses in a custody dispute. A pediatric psychologist was subpoenaed to testify on behalf of the other spouse. The respondent attorney approached the psychologist on several different occasions, (the hearing was continued twice), and said things like “You’re not needed here”, “You’re not going to get on the stand”, “I’m going to make you sit here all day”, “I’m coming for you”, and “I am going to get you.”
The Hearing Committee found that the respondent violated Rule of Professional Conduct 4.4(a) (a lawyer shall not use means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person), but not Rule 3.5(d) (engaging in conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal). The Hearing Committee also found that the respondent had also violated Rule 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice).
The Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed these findings, and, in light of the relevant case law and respondent’s long career with no other disciplinary issues, adopted the Hearing Committee’s recommendation for public reprimand.
In re Rudy Gorrell, No.2020-993 (La. 11/10/2020), 303 So.3d 1023.