Oops! High Court Suspended the Wrong Lawyer Again

By George Khoury, Esq. on November 30, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

What's a lawyer by any other name? Well, if the U.S. Supreme Court has anything to say, if the names are close enough, they're suspended. At least temporarily or until someone tells them that they got the wrong lawyer.

For the second time this year, the High Court has acted, well, rather high and hasty. In issuing a suspension against one James Robbins of New York, the hasty High Court accidentally suspended Jim Robbins of San Francisco. Making matters even more surprising, James Robbins of New York isn't even a member of the SCOTUS bar such that he could be suspended. Unfortunately Jim is a member of the bar and was rather taken aback when he learned of his accidental suspension.

Pass the Funyuns Judge

Yes. Apparently this actually happened ... twice! In May of this year, there was a similar confusion relating to two attorneys by the name of Christopher P. Sullivan. In that situation, Christopher Paul Sullivan was convicted of a DUI crash resulting in a death and was actually in prison in Vermont. The New York courts sent a notice to SCOTUS about that Sullivan, but only included a middle initial. As a result of not getting the complete name, SCOTUS seemed to just take a shot in the dark as to which P. Sullivan to suspend.

And, in case you're curious about what prompted the Robbins matter, the James Robbins that the Supreme Court was notified about allegedly attempted to cover up his loss of a client's will.

Quick Resolutions to Clear Errors

According to an AP report on the Sullivan mix up, a court spokeswoman explained that this was not the first time that a High Court suspension was issued to the wrong lawyer. And clearly, it wasn't the last time either given the Robbins' mix-up.

Fortunately for the innocent suspendees, the High Court quickly came down from their ivory tower and remedied their mistakes. Interestingly, the court spokeswoman, Kathy Arberg, when commenting about Jim Robbins's mistaken suspension acknowledged that he was not only a former Court employee, he hired her.

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard