New York Firm Terminated After Lawyer Has Meltdown In Parking Lot After School District Meeting

tirade-5-0703Lawyer Christopher Kirby certainly had quite a night when he appeared to represent the East Ramapo School District at a simple school board meeting. By the end of the evening, Kirby was leaving just before the arrival of police, a community was in full uproar, and his firm was terminated from further representation of the District. How can things get that bad, you ask? It started with a smirk.

When parent and special education advocate Peggy Hatton stood up to discuss the treatment of her son at Spring Valley High School, she was respectful and even complimentary to teachers at his school. Hatton raised the fact that her son had failed the science portion of his exam by one point, producing an audible laugh from the board lawyer, Kirby. Hatton responded reasonably by saying “Is it funny? I’m sorry. Shame on you.” Kirby then walked out. He should have stayed out but, as with much of the evening, seemed drawn to the controversy like a moth to a flame.

Kirby returned with a clear smirk on his face. Hatton objects that “You’re still smirking at me, please!” Kirby responded with an incredibly unprofessional “Oh would you please shut up, for Christ’s sake.” Another woman rightfully objects from the audience.

Here is that scene:

What is astonishing is the complete lack of response from the board who sit there without an apparent care in the world as their lawyer acts like a schoolyard bully. Hatton correctly objects “You should all be ashamed of yourselves, to let him sit there and treat me like that when I am not attacking anybody.” The board still just sits there as Kirby taunts “Still smirking.”

Undone, Kirby continues his antics in the parking lot where he calls a man with a videocamera an “asshole.” He then tries to start a fight and says “I’m standing in your way; you gonna do something about it?” He then accuses the man named Luciano of standing behind “your women. What a man, what a tough guy.”

In the meantime, police were called by Hattan as Kirby meltdown in profanity laced acts.

Here is that scene (warning graphic and disturbing language):

Notably, a board member has finally shown some life and intervened, if only to get Kirby to go home. Board member Yonah Rothman is shown trying to coax the district’s lawyer back to some level of sanity.

The board proceeded to terminate the contract of Minerva & D’Agostino, a Long Island-based law firm which has represented the district since 2009.

The next question is whether Kirby will face bar charges for his disrespectful and unprofessional conduct.

DR 1-102 states that it is a disciplinary offense for a lawyer to:

3. Engage in illegal conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer. . . .
5. Engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice. . . .
7. Engage in any other conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness as a lawyer.

Normally, an altercation in a parking lot is not a matter for the bar but this confrontation began in a representational setting where Kirby acted like a juvenile.

84 thoughts on “New York Firm Terminated After Lawyer Has Meltdown In Parking Lot After School District Meeting”

  1. Gene/Nick/Rafflaw:

    I dont think I said the attorney shouldnt be sanctioned in some manner.

    If the firm is a decent firm, the lawyer will be released.

    There is a broader context to this story whether you want to admit it or not.

    The lawyer calling the woman a nasty name is the least of the worries.

    The real story is a bunch of people screwing the tax payers. This is just a side show to direct attention away from the problem.

    You guys are just playing into the hands of the school board. Ooh bad lawyer we fire you and your firm, now everything is OK. Yeah sure.

  2. justateacher, You dug up some good info, and you didn’t have to grease any palms to get it!!

  3. ap, Taken For Granted by Leslyn Amthor Spinelli. Available @ Amazon, softcover or kindle.

  4. Blouise, Thanks to you and Tex. I’m not saying men won’t and don’t like it. I’ve had several men already tell me they enjoyed it. Tex makes about a dozen so far. But, w/ the two main characters being female, and it being written from a woman’s perspective, it has a wider appeal to women. The crime, jail, detective stuff appeals to most everyone.

  5. Juliet, I think you’re easily sharp enough to realize there are many people, who if they were in your situation, would spend much time feeling sorry for themselves. You’re a glass half full person, I picked up on that quickly, and I’m sure you know you are.

  6. I had posted earlier, but it got tossed because I used ta word that starts with “a” to describe the attorney.. Sorry. It never dawned on me that was a word that would get my comment tossed. It was certainly much, much tamer than what the attorney said in the video.

    Let me try again with a tamer word. As far as discipline goes, I think we’re going down a dangerous road when general disciplinary rules are used against an attorney for being a jerk. (Hopefully that word is okay.) If that’s the case then 90% of the attorneys should be disciplined.

    He has already been punished in the court of public opinion and by his firm’s loss of the school district contract. Those contracts are extremely lucrative because school districts will generally pay any legal bill they received and some firms have been known to pump up the hours accordingly.

    There is one thing though that he should be disciplined for in my opinion. His challenging another person to a fight in the parking lot. That goes beyond being a jerk.

  7. Bron, After your comment describing your personal experience I understand completely this is a topic that touches a nerve. And I respect you having to deal w/ these issues as a father and your wife as a mother an teacher.

    As you know, I presented videotape surveillance to juries on personal injury cases. That was my specialty. However, I also worked employer/employee sexual harassment, age discrimination, wrongful termination etc., working for both employers and employees, plaintiff and defendant. I can’t ever remember providing videotape in one of those type cases. It was usually interviews, background checks, etc. However, lets say this attorney was fired from the firm that employs him, and he filed a wrongful termination suit. If I dug up this video clip working for the defense, I would tell the attorney representing the firm that hired me, “You don’t need for me to keep digging, this video is all you need.” And, I’m quite certain my client would agree, as would a jury.

  8. The law firm is VERY politically connected and is a big part of the problem. Kirby is just a proxy for his boss and is more likely to get a bonus (if the publicity doesn’t “Deen” them).

    The board hired this firm some time ago (at much higher rates although the district was under severe financial distress) after dismissing the board’s long-time attorney for unpublicized reasons.

  9. Bron,

    A larger context revealing a deeper problem does not negate that even without context, the actions on the tapes in the story proper are prime facie wrong without any further enhancement. The context remains moot for those actions, but provides evidence of a larger problem, but it isn’t critical for looking at the present actions plainly and seeing they are a problem in and of itself.

    Let’s apply the lens of reductio ad absurdum by analogy. The Holocaust was wrong, but it happened in the greater context of a war of aggression by Germany. Had it happened without that greater context of said war to frame it, it would still be inherently wrong.

    So enjoy apologizing to yourself (even though, as mespo noted, your circumspection was admirable).

  10. No Bron,
    The video in the subject story was clear evidence of an attorney who was wholly unprofessional and someone who needs to be disciplined by the Bar. The only context I need to see is how he represented his client and himself while on the job.

  11. justateacher,
    Remind me to stay out this town. It seems that the school board is bleeding the district in order to save tax money, but at the students expense. It is similar to what Rahm Emanuel is doing in Chicago with charter schools.

  12. based on justateacher and guest, I would say context matters.

    This is far more than just some young lawyer calling a woman a really bad name. That was just the symptom of what appears to be a very bad problem.

    Apologies accepted. 🙂

  13. Here’s a host of stories from the local paper. This story is worthy of an HBO series.

    It’s got all the issues you care about taxes, fundamentalism, education, vouchers, political power, church and state, accusations of anti Semetism

    Sorry – no sex and I don’t see any connection with propaganda. But I promise you – ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING!

  14. @Darren-

    I would too. In this case, however, his boss is part of the problem. Albert D’Agostino also has a history of combative and inappropriate conduct, including, but not limited to, screaming and cursing at a teenage honor student. I’m not kidding:

  15. OS:

    and you are correct, sometimes the system fails people and a parent or grandparent has to fight tooth and nail. Unfortunately I understand that all to well.

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