Scorpion, “Ticker” (Season 2, Ep. 19) (3/14/16): Deceptive solicitation (MR 7.3, MR 4.1)

Contributed by Eric Ziegel

Walter O'Brien (Elyes Gabel) is in a hospital waiting room. He is approached by a white-coated man who inquires about his condition.  With careful prompting O'Brien says, "You're a lawyer," which Heywood Morris (Horatio Sanz) believes then permits him to solicit the client (handing him a card, etc.). 

This violates MR 7.3, notwithstanding Morris's claims to the contrary. He initiated contact deceptively, violating MR 4.3 (contact with an unrepresented person) and MR 4.1(b) (failing to disclose a material fact - namely, that he is a lawyer). None of the solicitation exceptions apply.

The show is set in California which has a similar anti-solicitation rule (California Rule of Professional Conduct 1-400). Comment 4 states tthat communications regarding availability for professional employment are presumed to violate this rule.

Comments

  1. Love this show, and I've seen this episode before! Although this is meant to poke fun at certain kinds of lawyers for being "ambulance chasers," Mr. Morris soliciting Mr. O'Brien in the ER after just arriving and waiting to be treated for his injury is an ethical violation. The profession itself is meant to advocate and help others out; however, here Morris is posing as a doctor deceptively just to try and get any business while also soliciting hurt individuals who are merely there to seek medical attention.

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  2. I agree this is a clear violation of Rule 7.3. This violates Rule 7.3 because lawyers are not allowed to communicate with a person and ask the individual to hire the firm. It is unethical conduct because Morris is jeopardizing his standing as a lawyer. Also, he is not allowing the victim to exercise his full rights. To elaborate, victims seeking legal services should be given a broad range of law firms to research to take their case. Morris’ conduct is unethical because by pushing the victim to hire his firm, the victim does not get to exercise the right to search for a law firm that would better represent his interests.

    -KUNAL NAIK

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