September 30, 2019

On September 6, 2019, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a reprimand to a New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer, stating: “in his professional capacity, respondent made demeaning, discriminatory statements regarding [the medical malpractice defendant]. In aggravation, in 2012, he received an admonition for engaging in a conflict of interest. Worse, respondent has shown no remorse for his conduct. Indeed, he continues to defend it. We, therefore, determine to impose a reprimand for his violation of RPC 8.4(8).”

In April 2013, the New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer (“respondent”) was retained to pursue a medical malpractice claim against an optometrist of Chinese heritage (“defendant”), who had performed surgeries on the client’s eye. On July 24, 2013, in connection with the New Jersey medical malpractice claim and in response to certain prior communications between them, the respondent sent an email to the defendant, stating, “I have read your letter. The only thing I can suggest is that you are either: delusional, a pathological liar, in denial, a psychopath, or all of the above.”

On October 13, 2013, the respondent sent a letter to the defendant’s attorney, stating, in part: “As you are aware, your client has been accused of doing some serious, serious deeds of deception and improprieties. There is no doubt in my mind that he is a pathological liar. He is a doctor who is held to a higher standard than the normal person on the street. He has been accused of altering records in a post hoc effort to lie to try to get away with his mistakes. As time goes on, it only gets worse for him. The documents produced in discovery bear this out. He may think that he is smart and skilled, but his efforts are clearly transparent … So I did a little research and found that “In fact, lying to achieve some business or social aim, and getting away with it, is considered to be a sign of intelligence and social skill among many Chinese” … Having read those articles as well as other related articles, it is starting to make sense to me. Your client’s only problem is that even though he is a doctor, and he thinks that he can lie his way through this matter, he is not going to get away with it.”

RPC 8.4(g) states: “It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to: engage, in a professional capacity, in conduct involving discrimination . . because of race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, language, marital status, socioeconomic status, or handicap where the conduct is intended or likely to cause harm.”

The New Jersey Supreme Court stated that the respondent’s statements in his October 13, 2013 letter “are discriminatory and demeaning on their face, ascribing misrepresentations purportedly made by [the defendant] directly to his Chinese heritage.”

The New Jersey Supreme Court found that the respondent violated RPC 8.4(g) and stated “Our research yielded no precedent for the imposition of only an admonition on an attorney for his or her violation of RPC 8.4(g). Indeed, all reported cases addressing such violations have resulted in a reprimand or greater discipline.”


If you or a loved one may have suffered serious harm as a result of medical negligence in New Jersey or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a medical malpractice attorney in New Jersey or in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

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