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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Do Not Plagiarize A Lawyer's Work

A recent development from New Jersey Superior Court, Hudson County.   Two lawyers, a husband-wife team of former county prosecutors (of which the wife was also briefly a former federal assistant prosecutor and is currently on a lawyer ethics committee!!), were sued by another lawyer for nonpayment of subcontracted legal services.   The husband-wife team were alleged to have accepted the work, referring to it as "great," and then refusing to pay for the work and threatening the other lawyer when he confronted them about the nonpayment.

After seven court dates, four last-minute adjournments at the defendants' request (all of which violated the county Superior Court's own rules) and additional threats and allegations made by defendants against the plaintiff to induce him to discontinue the case, the case was finally docketed for trial this past week.   The case was first on the docket beginning at around 8:30 am, but was heard at 2:30 pm.

Verdict:  For the plaintiff.

Lesson:  Lawyers -- even former county prosecutors -- are not above the law.  Lawyers who use or steal another lawyer's work without paying for it, and then engage in various threats and other actions in order to avoid responsibility, can still be made to face the music with enough effort and tenacity.   Even in New Jersey.

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