In the famous “Red Dot” episode of Seinfeld, George Costanza has sex in his office with a character known only as “the cleaning woman.” His boss finds out. Here’s their ensuing exchange :
(Scene) In the boss’ office.
- Boss: I’m going to get right to the point. It has come to my attention that you and the cleaning woman have engaged in sexual intercourse on the desk in your office. Is that correct?
- George: Who said that?
- Boss: She did.
- George: Was that wrong? Should I have not done that? I tell you I gotta plead ingnorance on this thing because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing was frouned upon, you know, cause I’ve worked in a lot of offices and I tell you peope do that all the time.
- Boss: You’re fired.
- George: Well you didn’t have to say it like that.
Among some of my closer friends, “was that wrong?” is often the response one of us gives when another asks “did you seriously __________?” the blank filled in by something idiotic.
Costanza’s response serves as my inspiration for a new column on Ethical Grounds: Was That Wrong? The column will feature stories of the absurd & outrageous from the world of legal ethics and attorney discipline, highlighting misconduct that I hope you’ll instinctively avoid without needing a CLE that urges you to do so.
Today’s initial “Was That Wrong” involves a case in which the Florida Supreme Court stated:
- “The misconduct giving rise to the disciplinary actions against these three attorneys is among the most shocking, unethical, and unprofessional as has ever been brought before this Court.”
Folks, that’s saying something.
I’ll let you read the decision. For the purposes of this column, I’ll leave you with this:
Florida Supreme Court: “We’ll get right to the point. It has come to our attention that in the midst of a contentious trial, you, your law partners, your paralegal, and local law enforcement schemed to set up opposing counsel for a DUI?”
Respondent Attorney: “Was that wrong?”
Florida Supreme Court: “You’re permanently disbarred.”
Respondent Attorney: “Well you didn’t have to say it like that.”
The full opinion is HERE.