Court Excoriates Both Judge and Defense Counsel

Having just finished reading today's 21-page opinion from California's Fourth District Court of Appeal, all I can say is "WOW"! It's quite a page turner. Miguel Hernandez was injured at work. Later, a physician, Richard M. Paicius, who was treating him for pain resulting from two surgeries on the initial injury, allegedly injured him again. He sued for malpractice. Mr. Hernandez was an illegal alien, but that was irrelevant to his case and defendant's potential liability, as he did not claim any lost earnings. But the judge, in an extraordinary colloquy, refused to grant a motion excluding evidence of plaintiff's immigration status, and betrayed his own extreme bias in the process. The appellate court rakes the trial judge, James M. Brooks, over the coals.

But it gets worse. Plaintiff's expert witness, Dr. Aengst, was also defense counsel's client in several malpractice actions against him! Despite that (and despite her duty of loyalty to him), defense counsel, Constance A. Endelicato (a partner at her law firm), absolutely devastated Dr. Aengst on the witness stand, largely through her own improper testimony (based on inadmissible evidence) about the malpractice cases against him, including at least some in which she represented him! I have never seen stronger disapproval in an appellate court opinion. Not only did the Court order its clerk to report her to the state bar, but it ordered her to report herself! Hernandez v. Paicius is worth the time it will take to read it. And I'll bet you won't stop reading until the end!