« Is that a federal holiday, or just a state thing? | Main | The Daily Memo - 9/14/07 »

Killing More Time in Iowa

iowaFlag.jpgNow I don’t know anything about Iowa, but my impression is that there isn’t a whole lot to do out there (although I know some folks like to kill time by hucking Cheetos at their dad). So if I were a gainfully employed lawyer in that state, and I had some work to do for a case, I’d probably be pretty thankful for the opportunity just to keep myself busy. But I guess Peter Cannon, Esquire, has more important things to do with his time. So when he was representing a client in a bankruptcy proceeding, he opted against writing his briefs entirely on his own, and filed two briefs which largely copied an unattributed bankruptcy article word-for-word.

Cannon’s main brief was nineteen pages long, and seventeen of those pages were verbatim excerpts from the bankruptcy article, with Cannon only adding an introduction, a conclusion and a one-page “argument.” While the nine pages of the second brief had a bit more original work, they still included copied text from the article, and used the article’s researched citations (because why should Cannon waste his time doing his own research?).

The plagiarism in and of itself is bad enough, but it gets worse - Cannon charged his client almost six grand for the preparation of these briefs! His bills claimed that he spent twenty-five-and-a-half hours preparing the briefs, but a judge found that “he could not have expended that number of hours in locating the Article, copying it into his word processing program, and adding what little material he did.” Cannon admitted to the plagiarism, and also admitted that the bill was a “my bad” on his part, saying “I have waived fees and costs of $11,500 to my client to accommodate him for my mistake and address the inconvenience to him.”

But the Court said this wasn’t enough, and sanctioned Cannon, not only requiring him to refund all of the client’s fees, but also mandating that Cannon take a law school-level class on professional responsibility. So I guess he won’t have any problems killing time for the next couple of months, at least.

(Hat tip to Overlawyered.)