So I am just doing a little research and I stumbled upon an American bar association magazine article regarding lawyers and their problems with redacting confidential client information. Click here if you care to read it… https://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/redacting-confidential-client-information
After reading it I realized that what it was saying to me was that Peter Lindborg made serious mistakes by failing to properly redact a document that he filed on behalf of his client.
The article talks about challenges lawyers face… Stating that it is more difficult than it sounds to redact all necessary information; it requires significant attention to detail and ideally layers of review. One of the things that it discusses is wrong ways to redact information which includes changing the font to white blacking out with comment tools or covering text with a black marker… I repeat covering text with a black marker. In numerous filings on a court case involving David Mazor, redacted documents were blacked out using a black marker… And when printed out the blacked out text underneath was often visible, including the email address of a client of WICR. WICR attempted to use this email to show the court, falsely, that they had lost a $50,000 contract. When I realized that I could read the email address of the redacted person I emailed them and was told that they walked away because they had realized that WICR was a problem. Failing to probably redact can lead to the waiver of attorney client privilege, a malpractice lawsuit or even professional discipline.
According to the American Bar Association model rules of professional conduct, if a lawyer fails to make reasonable efforts to redact privileged or other protected confidential client information at a minimum the lawyer violates rule 1.16 on confidentiality of information explains ethics expert Leslie C Levin, a professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law. “It’s also a violation of the duty of confidence under rule 1.1. Under rule 1.1, competent handling of a matter includes giving the required attention to a matter.”
According to the article the general confidentiality provision is rule 1.6 A which provides that a lawyer should not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation or the disclosure is permitted by a separate provision.
Rule 1.1 states that a lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge skill thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation. A specific comment to rule 1.1 comment 8 or the technology clause also comes into play. It provides: to maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.
Indeed as Jan Jacobwitz, director of the professional responsibility and ethics program noted in the article the seemingly mundane task of redacting a document becomes monumental if a lawyer produces a document on which confidential or privileged information appears to be redacted but is actually highlighted. That was the case here when I printed it out I could clearly see the email address. Total incompetence by Peter Lindborg.
I know that Dave isn’t going to file a complaint against his own lawyer but I have to wonder what prevents me from filing a complaint against his lawyer for failing to competently represent his client? I mean isn’t this a serious violation of Peter’s obligations to his client to protect confidential information? Seriously Peter, you used a sharpie to blackout information? First year law school didn’t stick to well in your brain huh? I’m concerned for Dave, if you don’t have a good competent lawyer you’re going to get in trouble someday…
UPDATE 3 21 22 In my research I could find nothing that prevents me from filing a complaint so I did. If I were David I would be boiling mad that this information was incorrectly redacted and that his confidential information was revealed. Again it’s all about competency or the lack thereof that Peter exhibits in these first-year law student failings of his.
Oh and by the way I found another case where Peter failed to retract personal identifying information in a court filing… And I filed a complaint with the State Bar about Peter’s incompetence in that matter too. And this time I think it’s going to stick…Two complaints to the Bar!