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Attorney Discipline Law Appellate Court Opinion

by Agati, Taryn


AC46194 - Lafferty v. Jones ("The plaintiff in error, Norman A. Pattis, a Connecticut attorney and counsel of record for the defendants, Alex Emric Jones and Free Speech Systems, LLC, in the underlying consolidated tort actions arising out of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, filed this writ of error challenging the order of the trial court suspending him from the practice of law for a period of six months after determining that he had violated the Rules of Professional Conduct. Pattis claims that the court (1) violated his procedural due process rights in initiating, sua sponte, disciplinary proceedings against him, pursuant to its inherent authority to discipline attorneys, on the basis of conduct that occurred outside of its presence, (2) improperly denied his motion to disqualify the Honorable Barbara N. Bellis from presiding over the disciplinary proceedings, (3) improperly determined that he had violated the Rules of Professional Conduct, and (4) imposed an arbitrary and disproportionate disciplinary order. We reject Pattis' first two claims, but we conclude that the court incorrectly found that he violated certain provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Accordingly, we grant in part the writ of error and remand the matter to the court to vacate the improper findings, as well as the attendant disciplinary order, and to conduct a new hearing on sanctions before a different judge.")