The long strange saga of attorneys Lewis and Tein, the Miccosukee Indian trbe and Judge Ronald Dresnick played out this week during contempt hearings before Judge Dresnick.
The hearings concluded with Dresnick finding that neither Lewis (former US Attorney Guy Lewis) nor his partner Michael Tein comitted perjury. The ruling was a clear victory for Lewis and Tein and their lawyer Paul Calli who came in and did a brilliant job turning the litigation in this case around after the media (including this blog we are ashamed to say) had already convicted Lewis and Tein in the court of public opinion.
EYES SPINNING IN HIS SOCKETS:
The Herald covered the hearing here and had this quote from Judge Dresnick:
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ronald Dresnick said the $3 million in fees charged by attorneys Guy Lewis and Michael Tein to represent the two Miccosukee Tribe members in the 2009 civil trial “made my eyes spin in their sockets.”
“I’m just shocked by the amount of these fees,” said Dresnick, a veteran judge who presided over a three-day sanctions hearing and ordered the pair to pay the fine to an opposing plaintiff’s attorney. “I’m just flabbergasted.” The contretemps started after a three million dollar jury verdict in a case involving a car accident in which Miccosukee tribe members were the defendants. The plaintiffs sought to collect on the judgment and the defendant's said they had no money to pay. Inquiry was made as to how much the defendants paid their lawyers. Lewis and Tein denied their fees were paid from the Tribe and the controversy began. From the Herald article: On Wednesday, Dresnick found that Lewis and Tein did not commit perjury and did not intentionally mislead the judge at the previous sanctions hearing. But the judge implied that both lawyers should have shown more candor to the court before he decided to raise a prior $3,500 sanctions fee. The ruling is a victory for Paul Calli and his clients Lewis and Tein. No lawyer wants to be cited for perjury. But ouch! The fine hurts. We would be back to domestic wines for a year. Appeal anyone? How do you, as a criminal practitioner, avoid this tsuris (legaleese for "oy- this sucks") ? Rumpole Rule #2STAY OUT OF CIVIL COURT! See You In Court.