So Drops the Other Shoe

Appellate Court Affirms $50,000 in Sanctions Against Attorney for Disclosure of Confidential Child Custody Evaluation
February 5th, 2019,
IRMO ANKA (Citation Pending) 2d Civil No. B281760

 

Our office, at one point, had the displeasure of being involved in this very dispute.

“Lisa Helfend Meyer objected to and appealed the trial court’s issuance of $50,000 in sanctions against the attorney personally, also extending the liability to her client.  The sanction was due to the fact that Ms. Meyer allegedly disclosed confidential information from a child custody evaluation in her direct examination of a party in a separate court case.  Family Code Sections 3025.5 and 3111 describe the confidentiality of such information and the ability of the Court to sanction Parties for willful disclosure.  However, these statutes have never been applied at the Courts of Appeal, making this case a case of first impression.  The Court of Appeal affirmed the sanctions against Lisa Helfend Meyer but reversed as to her client, stating, “Most clients assume their attorney’s questions are proper and will not expose them to sanctions. There is no suggestion that Anna thought otherwise.” The opinion is well written and starts by stating, “California Rules of Court, rule 9.7, pertaining to the oath required when an attorney is admitted to practice law,” and concludes with, “As an officer of the Court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy, and integrity. These cautions are designed to remind counsel that when in the heat of a contentious trial, counsel’s zeal to protect and advance the interest of the client must be tempered by the professional and ethical constraints the legal profession demands. Unfortunately, that did not happen here.” Read the full article here.  Some attorneys take the “scorched earth” approach to family law, completely ignoring many ethical and professional constraints.  Perhaps this decision will swing the pendulum back to some law offices in Los Angeles where ethical counsel for the Yeager child can be found.

 

M.O.L.M.’s legal library: Mother Goose’s Strategy for Divorce

An aspect and view from the world of DIVORCE are how fast a client, colleague, or a friend can go from being “a great person” to a “bad” person or an “undesirable.” There are lawyers out there who will do their diligence and try to settle and be reasonable, putting a client’s life in front of the financial gain that controversy brings to them or the firm. And of course, as this article/decision discusses, the length that some will go to implement the “Scorched Earth” strategy. $50,000.00 sanction for just being mean-spirited and unpleasant, I don’t know, but I think the DIVORCE courts don’t like that. For sure, Ventura County Courts don’t like it.

I always enjoy a good show, or as I call it, “Lawyer games,” in the courtroom, no question. Grace Jamra was someone I always thought had a hell of delivery in court and the voice to do it.  Judy Bogen, another one that if she has a burr under her saddle, will remove it and let you know what she thinks and where you can go. Joe Mannis, Joe Koenig, Susan Wiesner, Michael Trope…through the years all favorites of mine, excellent lawyering tempered with a bit of class and willing to be reasonable. Lisa H. Meyer, too was someone I could be entertained by as well, her presence always well dressed and putting forth the look of success, even when falling off a curb.

I get no respect. The way my luck is running, if I was a politician I would be honest.

 

Even when Lisa Helfend Meyer is being trampled by “thoroughbreds” and seldom if ever, getting to book the “Big Name” in the majority of DIVORCE cases in Southern California. However, with that being said, being an “Old Mule” can be and is admirable. And what is more tenacious and stubborn than an “Old Mule?”  We have a donkey and a mule on our ranch in Missoula, and we have named the Donkey (Jenny) “Lisa.” Lisa has two odd-colored hooves and a gray streak in her mane, unique. And did I mention she has a real nasty streak? Just mean. I think she wished she could have been a “Thoroughbred.” (Similarities with her namesake) One of the Mules, “SAKs,” is named after Kolodny. Seems appropriate, right? These animals, “Lisa and SAKs,” work hard and still get little respect from the others. The kids’ horses like having them around, and they eat the same feed.

Well, I am preparing to leave for Florida; serving papers for those who desire to hide from the inevitable is still paying well. I still like to work a little if the assignment is something I like to do or is interesting. But, unlike the old days, I work now because I want to and still enjoy being entertained.

 

 

 

 

By John Nazarian
©Straight Talk with John J. Nazarian, Private Investigator
November 19, 2021
All Rights Reserved, do not reproduce in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author.

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