Fraud on the Court?

Karma for Hubris?

Another obnoxious defense lawyer learns about karma. Robert McKenna III appeared in an online video bragging of getting his client off for malpractice. He was celebrating and apparently admitting fraud.

A video of McKenna’s boasts were then posted to his firm’s social media page. The firm removed it amid backlash in online legal forums. He admitted the case involved:

“A guy that was probably negligently killed, but we kind of made it look like other people did it.”

The L.A. Times reported Judge James Crandall vacated the defense verdict. It appears that the defense attorney committed fraud on the Court and got caught. Citing McKenna’s remarks, the judge who presided over the trial ordered the case back to court.

“I think I have to protect the system and say plaintiffs deserve a new trial. When he says on video a ‘guy was probably negligently killed,’ probably is more likely than not. Then he goes on to say, ‘But we kind of made it look like other people did it,’” the judge said. “That seems like an admission of negligence. Seems like an admission the plaintiff should have prevailed.”

–Orange County Superior Court Judge James Crandall said at an Aug. 4 hearing.

The case involves Enrique Garcia Sanchez. Sanchez was a forklift operator. He had severe abdominal pain from pancreatitis. Dr. Quraishi inserted a tube that pierced Sanchez’s colon and led to a fatal infection. The death certificate blamed the death on sepsis and peritonitis due to a tube-perforated colon.

In the gastroenterologist’s defense, McKenna pointed to unproven errors by other hospital staff and then argued that Sanchez died from other causes. He also told jurors to disregard the death certificate. He mocked the judicial system and derided the “personal-injury industrial complex.” He claimed lawsuits were a form of “extortion.”

How and why did the judge allow such arguments at trial?

Rule 60(d)(3) motion to vacate a judgment for fraud on the Court.