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Young v. City of Providence ex rel. Napolitano

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
404 F.3d 33 (1st Cir. 2005)


Mrs. Young (plaintiff) brought a § 1983 suit against the City of Providence (defendant) for the accidental shooting death of her son by two Providence police officers. She was represented by three attorneys: Barry Scheck and Nicholas Brustin, New York attorneys who were admitted to practice in Rhode Island pro hac vice; and Robert Mann, who was a Providence attorney and acted as local counsel. Before trial, the parties had a disagreement regarding the accuracy of a diagram that Young’s attorneys planned to use in their opening statement. The trial judge instructed the parties that if they could not come to a stipulation regarding the diagram, then it could not be used at trial. Before opening statements began, Young’s attorneys agreed to the City’s stipulation that part of the diagram was inaccurate. As the trial wore on, Young’s attorneys became convinced that the diagram was incorrect, and a young associate at Scheck’s firm was asked to draft a memorandum requesting the judge to release Young from the stipulation. The memorandum was filed with the judge. After reading the memorandum, the judge indicated that she was disturbed by the allegations made in the document, particularly the allegation that the court had required Young to agree to the City’s stipulation, which she regarded as a misrepresentation. Although Young’s attorneys attempted to apologize and to explain to the trial judge that they had not intended to imply that she had required them to accept the stipulation, she did not accept this explanation. She stripped Scheck and Brustin of their pro hac vice admissions and censured them for Rule 11 violations. She found that Mann had also violated Rule 11, but she did not censure him. The three attorneys appealed.

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