To the judge, it seemed like a pleasant exchange between between attorneys on opposite sides of a lawsuit. Then an in-chambers meeting revealed the meaning of the male attorney’s claimed “inside joke.”
“During this meeting it was revealed, that unbeknownst to the Court, the term ‘See you next Tuesday,’ is a serious covert insult directed towards women,” according to a court order.
Now San Diego lawyer Timothy A. Scott is facing a referral to the California State Bar for possible discipline after acknowledging he knew the vulgar implications of “See you next Tuesday” when he said it in a June 30 hearing, “And I want to say have a good weekend to both MTS counsel. I’ll see you next Tuesday. See you next Tuesday.”
The phrase is often written as C U Next Tuesday, which when spells a vulgar word for female genitalia in an acrostic.
Scott was referring to attorneys Traci Lagasse and Kimberly Oberrecht, who represent the San Diego-based Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) in a personal injury lawsuit brought by Scott.
According to a court order, San Diego County Superior Court Judge Eddie C. Sturgeon had granted their motion for nonsuit, essentially ending Scott’s case against them, when Scott said, “I hope this doesn’t sound unctuous, but just to end the weekend on a good note” and thanked court staff and told attorneys to “have a good weekend” before making the Tuesday comment to the women.
“Completely unaware of the intended meaning of ‘See you next Tuesday,’ the Court responded, ‘How kind,’” according to Sturgeon’s order, filed July 13.
The next week, the judge met with the women and Scott in his chambers after Lagasse approached the court about the comment.
“Mr. Scott tried to explain that his deliberate use of the phrase was an ‘inside joke’ between him and one of this firm employees which he expected no one in the courtroom would detect,” Sturgeon wrote. “However, it is not a joke to this Court that Mr. Scott made this egregious and offensive insult intentionally to two female attorneys via a coded message.”
In an email to Law&Crime, Scott said, “I am deeply embarrassed and repeat the apology I made to opposing counsel. This was not consistent with my values. I offer no excuses.”
Lagasse, of Lagasse Branch Bell + Kinkead LLP, and Oberrecht, of Horton, Oberrecht & Kirkpatrick, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday from Law&Crime.
The judge’s order said the true meaning of Scott’s comment “would have been undetected” had Lagasse not told him of it. Scott “not only attempted to deceive all counsel, but also this Court, into believing he genuinely was wishing everyone a nice weekend when in fact he was purposefully directing a derogatory epithet toward the female defense attorneys who had just prevailed in a nonsuit in this case.”
Sturgeon called Scott’s comment “reprehensible” and said he had a duty to alert the state bar. The judge said he planned to file a discipline referral.
George Cardona, chief trial counsel for the California State Bar, said in an email to Law&Crime that he can’t comment on whether the bar has received a judicial referral in a particular case, “but we are aware of the public order already issued by the court in this matter, which has garnered significant publicity.”
But Cardona said that “as a general matter” all licensed attorneys in California are prohibited “from unlawfully harassing another person on the basis of any protected characteristic, including gender” and are prohibited “from engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.”
A partner at the firm McKenzie Scott PC in San Diego, Scott has been a licensed attorney in California since 2001.
[Image via the YouTube page of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.]
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