A federal judge recently got so infuriated by the conduct of two highly regarded trial attorneys that he overturned a jury's $51 million verdict, then ordered the lawyers to pay the fees and costs of the opposing lawyers, a sum that could total several million dollars.
U.S. District Senior Judge Richard P. Matsch sanctioned attorneys Terrance McMahon and Vera Elson of the firm McDermott, Will and Emery, of Chicago and San Francisco, for "cavalier and abusive" misconduct and for having a "what can I get away with?" attitude during a 13-day patent infringement trial in Denver.
He ruled that the entire trial was "frivolous" and the case filed solely to stifle competition rather than to protect a patent.
Neither McMahon nor Elson returned phone calls. But their firm defended them by stating it "believes in vigorous and ethical advocacy on behalf of our clients. While we respect Judge Matsch, we disagree with the conclusions of the opinion and believe that it will be reversed on appeal."
The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals saw it differently and affirmed Matsch's decision to overturn the verdict.
News of Matsch's ruling swept through the legal community.
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