Judge John Doyle is facing accusations that he is a latte-hating, cigar-smoker baiting jurist or worse. Doyle recused himself after losing his patience with a bank lawyer, Farzad Milani, and telling him that he could not allow the lawyer to sit in his office “smoking his Cohiba cigars and drinking his lattes” while the court does all the work. He should be less worried about playing around with judicial ethics as ticking off those jackbooted, over-caffeinated thugs at Starbucks.
Doyle has been allowing bank lawyers to appear by telephone in the 3,000 pending foreclosure cases before him, but has found that many lawyers simply do not pick up the phone. He was legitimately concerned about homeowners who take off work only to find that the bank lawyers are too busy to participate in the hearing. Doyle complained that Milani was one of those lawyers and was “the fellow that broke the camel’s back.” Milani demanded Doyle’s recusal and said that Doyle threatened to get him disbarred.
Milani insisted that Doyle’s comments contained “inferences of a racial or ethnic bias.” I am not sure what those inferences are.
I am sympathetic to Doyle who is upset over the treatment of these families and the shoddy work of what he called “foreclosure mills,” which he says train young attorneys “that it’s not a big deal to miss a hearing.”
After the controversy with Milani, the judge stopped the telephonic hearings, which will hardly make Milani popular with other lawyers who greatly benefited from the accommodation. Milani could still be held in contempt for missing the hearings. That is a rare punishment. The most obvious response to bank lawyers missing hearings could be a default or financial sanction.
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