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Lawyer disciplined again for sarcasm

Peter Vieth//October 23, 2015

Lawyer disciplined again for sarcasm

Peter Vieth//October 23, 2015//

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Virginia Beach lawyer John G. “Jack” Crandley has been disciplined again by the Virginia State Bar for directing sarcasm at other attorneys.

This time, the penalty could trigger a 90-day suspension under terms of a previous disciplinary order.

Crandley’s Oct. 7 public reprimand is the fourth bar penalty for Crandley in 15 years, all based on his conduct with judges and other lawyers. His  lawyer said Crandley has never had a bar complaint from a client.

Crandley, who often represents defendants in personal injury actions, was taking the deposition of an alleged accident victim in May of last year when he allegedly directed sharp comments to the plaintiff’s lawyer.

Before the start of the deposition, Crandley said the plaintiff’s case was “crap,” the bar alleged.

After a dispute over whether the opposing attorney should remove his file from the plaintiff’s view, Crandley sarcastically stated, “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.” Crandley asked if some water would make his opponent feel better.

While impeaching the plaintiff on the accuracy of his statements to a medical provider, Crandley reportedly announced that he was “enjoying this.”

When the opposing lawyer objected, Crandley withdrew his comment. When pressed, Crandley again said he withdrew the comment and then “condescendingly stated … that he always has to tell him everything twice,” the bar alleged.

The plaintiff’s lawyer, John E. Basilone of Norfolk, reported Crandley’s conduct to the bar.

A VSB discipline subcommittee approved a finding that Crandley’s conduct violated rules involving harassment of opponents and intentional embarrassment of others. Crandley agreed to the reprimand, according to the VSB.

Crandley’s previous run-in with the bar left him on probation.

A circuit judge found Crandley in contempt of court after a 2013 trial. Judge H. Thomas Padrick Jr. said Crandley had been continually rude and sarcastic to witnesses, despite the judge’s admonishment. Padrick said Crandley also improperly argued with the judge, displaying anger at one point, and personally attacked opposing counsel throughout the trial.

In a VSB proceeding based on that trial, Crandley agreed to a public reprimand with the condition that he not engage in “professional misconduct” for five years, with a 90-day suspension if he failed to meet that standard.

VSB Counsel Edward L. Davis said that, under bar rules, the new action could trigger a show-cause proceeding against Crandley. In such a case, a VSB district committee would initiate the process, he said.

Crandley was represented by Mike Joynes of Virginia Beach.

“I don’t know that we need to use the bar to fight these kinds of battles,” Joynes said. He said Crandley can be a “pit bull,” but is always collegial after the fight.

“He uses different techniques at different times,” Joynes said. “He is very, very good at what he does. He is a trial lawyer,” Joynes added.

Updated Oct. 26 to add comment from Joynes.

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