Virginia lawyer has paid a $544,000 fine for advising his client to clean up his Facebook in a wrongful death lawsuit, the Daily Progress reports.
Charlottesville attorney Matthew Murray asked a paralegal at his firm to advise his client to delete certain information from his personal Facebook, including a photo drinking a beer and wearing a T-shirt that says, “I love hot mums,” according to court documents quoted by the Progress.
According to an earlier Daily Progress story, the client, Isaiah Lester, also wore a garter belt on his head.
Lester originally won $10 million in a wrongful death suit against a truck driver whose rig flipped, killing Lester’s wife Jessica on the road. Allied, the truck company, specifically requested printed copies of Lester’s Facebook page.
In 2011, the court fined Lester and his lawyer Murray $722,000 for “deceptive and obstructionist conduct” related to the Facebook clean-up, Above the Law reported.
Above the Law also says it’s common for defence to search social media, potentially able to claim Lester wasn’t that broken up over his wife’s death if he was partying in a crazy T-shirt. By asking his client to delete this information, however, Murray did violate federal rules of civil procedure, according to Above the Law.
Even tough Lester has paid his share of $544,000, he still faces a disciplinary hearing, the Daily Progress reported.
Murray has since left his firms of Allen, Allen, Allen, and Allen, the largest personal injury firm in Virginia.
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