US judge brands DLA Piper partner ‘despicable and disgraceful’

A Kansas judge has denounced the behaviour of a DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary partner as “despicable and disgraceful”.

US district judge Julie Robinson slammed the entire defence team, including two partners from DLA Piper’s new post-merger Washington DC office, when she ordered a retrial in the federal fraud trial of the former chief executive of Westar Energy, David Wittig, and his deputy Douglas Lake.

Judge Robinson said the defence lawyers had been “disrespectful” and that she would not hesitate to declare them in contempt of court and remove them from the courtroom if their behaviour was repeated at the retrial, which is due to take place in May.

The two lawyers are Adam Hoffinger, DLA Piper’s head of litigation in DC, and white collar crime partner Paula Junghans, who Judge Robinson also claimed had dressed inappropriately for court.

DLA Piper’s lawyers have already billed $2.9m (£1.6m) from the case, while the defence team as a whole has billed $7.9m (£4.2m).
Hoffinger and Junghans did not return calls for comment.