Attorney Misconduct, Bad Ideas, Federal Judges, Legal Ethics, Lunacy, Solo Practitioners

Taj Oladiran’s ‘Motion of the Year’ Earns Him Sanctions

tajudeen-oladiran.jpgArizona attorney Tajudeen “Taj” Oladiran came onto our radar back in 2009, when he filed one of the craziest motions we’ve ever seen. Solo practitioner Oladiran, a former associate at Greenberg Traurig, filed a racketeering lawsuit against “Suntrust Bank and its pimps” for allegedly suckering him into predatory housing loans.

The motion that caught our eye — “Motion for a [sic] Honest and Honorable Court System” —  was filed to vent Oladiran’s frustration with the “dishonorable” Susan Bolton, whom Taj called “a brainless coward.” That would be the same Susan Bolton who, in a not-so-cowardly move, blocked part of Arizona’s controversial immigration law.

Taj ended the motion:

Finally, to Susan Bolton, we shall meet again you know where. :-)

Not only did Taj get our Motion of the Day nod with that, he earned Motion of the Year honors.

The Arizona court system was less impressed with the motion, though. There, it earned Taj a threat of disbarment…

After Taj’s “Honest and Honorable” motion, Oladiran v. Suntrust Mortgage, Inc. was transferred out of Judge Bolton’s courtroom and into that of Judge G. Murray Snow. Judge Snow didn’t take kindly to the attack on Bolton and issued an order requiring Taj to show cause why he shouldn’t be disbarred. In his defense, Taj claimed mental illness (which may explain his subsequent decision to seek the Republican nomination for Arizona attorney general).

U.S. District Judge David Campbell issued an order last month saying that Taj’s behavior was classic professional misconduct, and not to be blamed on being a little cuckoo. As evidence, he quotes Taj’s motion. “The motion closed with this apparent threat,” writes Judge Campbell, including this excerpt from the motion:

This motion is filed by [Oladiran], pursuant to the law of, what goes around comes around. Judge Bolton, I just read your Order and am very disappointed in the fact that a brainless coward like you is a federal judge.

I accused Suntrust Bank of racketeering etc., and many good lawyers in town told me the bank’s executives would never be deposed, and that the case would go nowhere. I stupidly stuck to the notion that everyone is equal under the law etc. Boy was I wrong. The bank cancelled depositions set by the court, cancelled a hearing set by the court, and walked away without as much as a scratch.

My thanks go out to [opposing counsel] who both warned me that I would lose (I should have listened to them).

I apologize to all my clients. I know, I’m sorry does not repair the mess I made but, that’s all I’ve got.

To my family, words can’t express my apologies; please remember me kindly.

Finally, to Susan Bolton, we shall meet again you know where. :)

Judge Campbell found that Taj violated a host of ethical rules, though not that of impugning the “qualifications or integrity of a judge.” He cites Above the Law as evidence on that count (see footnote 1 [PDF]):

The special prosecutor notes that Mr. Oladiran’s motion was published on the Internet legal blog Above The Doc. 24 at 5 & n.3. That publication, however, did not impugn the integrity of Judge Bolton, but of Mr. Oladiran. The motion was described as “one of the craziest motions” ever published and on Above The Law’s “motion of the day” feature. The motion was described as a “lesson on how not to address the court,” and Mr. Oladiran was mocked for his “frustration” with Judge Bolton and his use of the “most menacing smiley emoticon ever.” See we-shall-meet-again-you- know-where/ (Oct. 23, 2009, 2:40 PM) (last visited Aug. 30, 2010).

Glad we could provide evidence in Taj’s defense. (Gavel bang: Eric Goldman, who pointed out to us how rare judicial citations to legal blogs are.)

Rather than disbarring Taj, Judge Campbell suspended him from the practice of law for six months. He won’t be spending those six month politicking: Republican voters rejected him in the AG race.

Taj, we’re sure we’ll see you again, though we don’t know where.

Order in re: Tajudeen Oladiran [U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona]

Earlier: Taj Still Lives! And He’s Running for Arizona AG
Taj Lives! (And He’s Pissed)
Motion of the Day: “We shall meet again you know where.”

(hidden for your protection)

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