This is a case where Judge Zagel of the Northern District of Illinois revoked the pro hac vice admission of a lawyer to practice before him.
The lawyer and his client were accused of attempting to influence a witness in a civil case by canceling a debt the witness purportedly owed to the client. The lawyer and the client vigorously disputed the allegations, but, after a fact hearing, Judge Zagel ruled against them.
He explained the decision to sanction the Defendant as follows:
“HEP’s conduct is wrongful in that it exchanged a thing of value for a crucial witness’s declaration contradicting the prior statements (truthful or not) alleged by HomeDirect in support of its claims against HEP. I note in particular that the conduct of Hewitt, CEO of HEP, demonstrated that his solicitation of this declaration was made out of desperation or near desperation in the face of Home’s complaint. The transaction was motivated out of fear of a witness’s testimony and not for purposes of resolving an overdue account receivable. Paying a crucial witness for the purpose to ensure they are useless to the opposing party is egregious.”
Additionally, Judge Zagel found that the lawyer for the defendant acted with incivility to the other lawyers in the case.
Edward X. Clinton, Jr.