NY Lawyer Fined $10,000 for Abusive Behavior at Deposition

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on April 27, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A New York attorney must pay $10,000 in sanctions for his brutish behavior at a deposition -- including verbal insults that were so abusive, the court reporter walked out and refused to return.

"This is absolutely shocking," the sanctioned lawyer, Joseph R. Sahid, told Reuters. "I've been a lawyer for 40 years. I have never been sanctioned for anything."

But the court sided with Sahid's opposing counsel, who complained about Sahid's antics at a depo in 2010. A lower court judge -- who's since retired -- declined to sanction Sahid, but an appellate judge felt differently.

At a 2010 deposition, Joseph R. Sahid called the opposing party a "liar," hurled insults, and disrupted the proceeding, the appellate court found.

Sahid "repeatedly interrupted the questioning and made improper objections and lengthy speeches that had no merit," the court's ruling said.

"He also improperly interrupted the witness' answers and conferred with the witness (his client) mid-answer," the court continued. "He insulted plaintiff's counsel, [the lower court judge] and her clerk, and even the court reporter, who was eventually compelled to leave the deposition due to the abuse of defendants' counsel."

Sahid's "frivolous, outrageous, and unprofessional behavior" warranted the $10,000 fine, the court said.

Sahid worked for free on the case, which involved a bankrupt diamond business, after a referral from the local bar association, Reuters reports. He's no longer on the case.

Joseph R. Sahid insists his sanction was part of a "harassment" campaign by the opposing party. This appears to be Sahid's first public censure since his admittance to the bar in 1973, Reuters reports.

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