Tuesday, March 12, 2013

(Allegedly) Hit them and then sue them

Back in January, we posted about an incident in West Virginia where a lawyer named Stephen Sean Murphy allegedly attacked another lawyer named Scott Radman.  As one might expect in fisticuffs involving lawyers, the lawsuits have started. 

WBOY TV in Mogantown, West Virginia has the story.  Perhaps consistent with the fact that he allegedly did the majority of damage in the fight, Mr. Murphy has one the race to the courthouse and has filed suit against Mr. Radman.  It may have helped that Mr. Radman was, you know, hospitalized after the fracus.

Mr. Murphy filed suit against Mr. Radman in Monongalia Circuit Court and Mr. Radman has responded with a counterclaim.  Mr. Murphy alleges that Mr. Radman started the fight.  Mr. Murphy also says that in the course of defending himself he suffered "contusions and abrasions to his head and neck."  Mr. Murphy's suit, tie, and shirt were apparently destroyed. 

Perhaps they were destroyed by Mr. Radman's blood as Mr. Radman says he suffered two broken eye sockets and a skull fracture.  Mr. Radman also alleges that Mr. Murphy stared the fight.

The article confirms earlier reports that Mr. Radman and Mr. Murphy were not litigating a case against each other when the fight (beating? dust-up?) took place.  Instead both lawyers were appearing before the same judge on different matters. 

Mr. Murphy claims that Mr. Radman made disparaging remarks about Mr. Murphy.  Mr. Murphy claims that he asked Mr. Radman to leave him alone but that Mr. Radman threw a cup of coffee in Mr. Murphy's face instead.  Mr. Murphy describes the alleged beating he put on Mr. Radman in terms of repulsing an attack until he was "certain that [Mr. Radman] no longer posed a threat." 

Mr. Radman does not agree with that account and claims that Mr. Murphy was the aggressor.  Mr. Radman alleges that Mr. Murphy ran at Mr. Radman, grabbed him by the throat, pinned him against a wall, and began hitting him in the face until after he was unconscious

According to the pleadings, both sides agree that Mr. Murphy and Mr. Radman have known each other for years.  Mr. Murphy alleges that he represented Mr. Radman's father and his father's business until Mr. Radman intervened.  The attorneys also apparently worked on a case together but disagree over the specifics of who did what.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, the attorneys also disagree on how much money each attorney should have received on the case.

Mr. Murphy's causes of action are battery, negligence and tortious interference with business relationships. Mr. Murphy seeks damages for physical pain and suffering of body and mind, hospital, doctor and medical expenses, business losses, annoyance, inconvenience, emotional distress, insult, humiliation and embarrassment.  Mr. Radman's counterclaim alleges civil assault, battery, negligence, tort of outrage, intentional negligent infliction of emotional distress and defamation. Mr. Radman also seeks a permanent injunction against Mr. Murphy.

It will be interesting to see if the various claims and counterclaims are actually tried.  I remain committed to the position that hitting another lawyer at the courthouse is a bad idea.

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