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We're on a roll this week writing about wacko judges and lawyers . Now, here comes a ruling from the state Supreme Court suspending attorney

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Thomas McGrath Gets Suspended from Law Practice for Disparaging Canucks

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We're on a roll this week writing about wacko judges and lawyers. Now, here comes a ruling from the state Supreme Court suspending attorney Thomas McGrath for, among other things, trying to influence a judge with anti-immigrant sentiments. Anti-Canadian sentiments, we might add, which if nothing else is unusual.

McGrath represented his wife's Newcastle chiropractic business, the Chiropractic Wellness Center, in a battle with a former employee who left to open her own business, according to yesterday's ruling. Ticked off at the departure, the CWC filed suit against Katherine Ellison, charging unfair competition and "breach of the duty of loyalty." Those claims were dismissed in 2007.

But Ellison filed a counterclaim that went to trial and eventually won her a $500,000 award. A Canadian citizen, she charged that CWC was recruiting Canadians, switching their terms of employment and warning that their work visa and impending licensure would be jeopardized if they did not accept.

DW has heard of such practices at businesses who bring immigrant workers over from Asia, but never before from Canada. And apparently, despite CWC's purported practice of recruiting Canadians, McGrath (who is also the center's corporate secretary) has some strong feelings about the Canucks.

As the litigation turned nasty, with repeated battles over Ellison's discovery requests, McGrath wrote a hand scrawled note to the judge, quoted by the ruling with grammatical errors in tact.

Your decision is going to effect [sic] American's [sic] -- How [sic] are you going to trust & believe -- a [sic] alien or a U.S. citizen.

Apparently, not feeling that he had fleshed out his argument, he wrote another letter to the judge.

How many jobs do we give to aliens like Dr. Ellison: She was schooled here in the U.S. and refuses to become a U.S. citizen. She needs to go back to Canada.

In that regard, I am asking the Court to freeze all of her assets pending the outcome of this case.

Needless to say, the judge did nothing of the kind. Instead, he filed a grievance with the Washington State Bar Association.

A bar hearing officer found the letters to be inappropriate--a finding McGrath contested with the court, saying that "he was just blowing off steam." The court was not sympathetic, reiterating this country's immigrant roots and recounting the look of shock on Ellison's face when she saw the letters.

The court also took a dim view of McGrath's repeated failure during trial to comply with even the most basic discovery. It therefore ordered McGrath suspended for 18 months.

This is not the first disciplinary proceeding for McGrath, who when angry has done worse things than scrawl letters to judges. In 1982, he was disbarred following a conviction for second degree assault with a deadly weapon, according to yesterday's court ruling. He was reinstated in 1993.

 
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