There are plenty of cases in which attorneys fail to keep track of their clients’ actions — and are subsequently rebuked, sanctioned, or even slammed with contempt of court charges for not doing their job. But sometimes the tensions can run so high in important cases that a lawyer will start behaving like a rambunctious teenager. That’s what happened during an insurance litigation case against Allstate.
Attorney Christopher G. Hook wrote Allstate executives: “Pay up f—face.”
That was a somewhat inept attempt at persuasion for a lawyer trying to achieve a whopping nine-figure settlement on behalf of his clients, who may not have known that about his behavior at the time. Hook then wrote: “You are going to get [expletive] tattooed across the face.” Finally, “Tell Allstate I am going to water board each one of their trolls that show up for [depositions] without any mercy whatsoever.”
He then made personal threats to some of the Allstate attorneys, alleging that he knew where they lived.
Hook might have sounded like a shark had he managed to maintain some semblance of a professional attitude during the case. Allstate’s attorneys, not so surprisingly, decided to cut off correspondence when the cursing started.
When a judge decided Hook should stop practicing law, the reply was simple: it was all a part of smart negotiation!
United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II, who was appointed by George W. Bush, said, “Tell you what, slick, this profession does not need you. I am going to do what I can to remove you from this profession.”
Sometimes attorneys forget the far-reaching power of judges to make their lives — and the lives of their clients by association — an absolute nightmare. Hook refused to resign, prompting Wright to take up legal arms against him.
But resigning doesn’t matter if you have no more clients to represent. The homeowners quickly fired Hook when they found out about his backstage business with Allstate.
Hook seems to have pretended it didn’t happen, who wrote The Post: “I will continue to represent the interests of my clients and California consumers against the powerful interests of insurance companies.”
Hook defended his language by suggesting it was on par with what he experienced from insurance executives while defending them earlier in his career.
He said, “It’s a business that profits from risk and fear and human misery.” Having worked for such people a long time ago, he admitted, “I was kind of talking to myself.”