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. Not justifing the lawyer but following the individual from the school board mtg out into the parking lot and becoming argumentative and combative didnt help the situation either.

  2. Actually if you start reading the links justateacher posted above available at this link, reposted here for convenience sake. (Great link justateacher- veeeeeery interesting articles!)

    Actually, Mr. Esq. Kirby’s rant and behaviour doesn’t look too bad in context. As the paid representative of the school board it seems to be perfectly representative of the board’s attitude toward the parents and children attending their public schools. /s

    Yea, somebody’s gaming the system alright but it ain’t the kids and parents that attend the public schools.

    Yea, fire and disbar the a**hat.

    Aside: JAT, Harry Caul was Gene Hackman and a superb performance it was, thanks for reminding me.

  3. Bron,
    Believe it or not, it is unusual. Especially when they are representing a client in an open meeting.

  4. justateacher, Thanks. Harry was a humorless, lonely man. I was drawing a blank on Stan’s name and couldn’t think of his real name. Just looked it up, John Cazale. A great character actor who died too young. He had great performances in The Deer Hunter and Dog Day Afternoon. But, to me he’ll always be Fredo. I knew he and Streep were married for a short time before he died. I love Streep. I’ve never heard her speak about Cazale. Maybe too painful and private.

  5. Nick, Although you shared the same profession, you’ve got what Harry Caul lacked – a fine sense of humor. A small point – you mean “Stan” not “Fredo”, although both were played by the same highly regarded actor. John ??? (can’t remember his last name) was married to Streep.

  6. rafflaw:

    a lawyer being a crude, unprofessional d*ck, now that is an unusual event.

  7. Bron,
    once again, the story was about this attorney who goes crazy at a meeting where he was attending on behalf of his client, the school board. His antics and unprofessional behavior is the story that the article discusses and everything a bar association needs to see is the video.

  8. Bron,

    And you determined that how, exactly? Maybe that guy has a bad philosophical mindset and that was the driver of his actions. For all we know his entire set of operational principles is based on hating fat *&%^’s.

    The point the reductio ad absurdum was that sometimes context doesn’t impact the rightness or wrongness of an event, not that context doesn’t exist. Set theory tells us everything is a subset of the universe. That doesn’t mean causality or relevance fails without context, only that context can be both relevant and irrelevant in considering the nature of a given action.

    Does the larger context indicate a larger problem? Without question based on the information justateacher provided. Does that negate or excuse the individual wrong committed by this guy? No. It doesn’t even explain it very well when looking at his individual culpability in the matter. If it doesn’t negate, excuse or explain? Then the context is irrelevant to looking at the action itself.

  9. Gene H:

    The Holocaust really has nothing to do with a lawyer calling a woman a fat *&%^. One is the result of a philosophical mindset and one is the result of bad manners.

  10. Bron, I can only speak for myself. But after reading the good stuff justateacher found, I have nothing but derision for the school board, including but not limited to, hiring a firm like this to represent them..w/ taxpayer money!

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