The subject of bullying is everywhere these days, often in the context of real or presumed homosexuality. Nevertheless, I was surprised to see bullying invade the legal profession here in my home town:
The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility wants the state Supreme Court to suspend a Minneapolis attorney for violating professional conduct rules, including allegedly harassing and bullying another attorney.
The complaint alleges that Peter Nickitas insulted an opposing attorney during an arbitration hearing and later made multiple threatening and insulting comments. While leaving the courtroom, attorney Michelle Hurley said, Nickitas yelled at her, saying he hoped she “sleep[s] with the fishes.”
Hurley said she was shocked. As she headed to the courthouse exit, she said Nickitas got in front of her and went nose-to-nose, screaming at her. The complaint said Nickitas had to be pulled away by an associate as a bailiff approached.
Professional courtesy isn’t what it used to be. But the story’s conclusion has a sort of O. Henry twist:
Nickitas, who was reinstated to practice on Jan. 1, 2006, is currently representing a group that has filed a suit seeking to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota.