Lawyer fined $133,000 for attempting to push poll jurors

by Samantha Woodhill03 Feb 2016
A high profile Dallas lawyer has earned a hefty sanction after he constructed a push poll of potential jurors supporting his defence strategy.
 
Judge Ruben Reyes found the lawyer had committed misconduct by attempting to improperly influence potential jurors in a West Texas wrongful death and products liability case.
 
The judge described his behavior as “unprofessional” and “unethical”.  He has been ordered to pay more than $133,000 and take 10 hours of legal ethics courses after he appeared ‘nonchalant and uncaring’ during his sanctions hearing, Above The Law reported.
 
The case was over allegations that Titeflex Corp. had poorly made tubing that caused a gas explosion, killing a boy.  But Titeflex denied any wrongdoing and the defence lawyer then brought on a polling company, Public Opinion Strategies to survey the population.  Reyes determined that the poll went beyond just polling and crossed a line when it began calling witnesses and other parties to the case.
 
“The court finds Mr. Brewer’s actions were not merely a negligent act, a mistake or the result of poor judgment, and Mr. Brewer’s explanation that he bears clean hands because the poll was a blind study conducted by a third party vendor is insulting to the court,” Reyes wrote in his ruling.
 
Reyes even said that his unprofessional conduct was ‘threatening to the judicial system’.
 
The lawyer denied any wrongdoing, claiming that polling was on the rise and that contact with people involved in the case was purely coincidental.
 
The judge said if the lawyer appeals, the sanctions would increase to $173,000.
 

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