Lawyer fined $28,000 for bullying
23 March 2018
The Lawyers Standards Committee in New Zealand has fined and censured a lawyer for inappropriate conduct towards a female lawyer.
Auckland lawyer John Revans Eichelbaum was working on case involving undisclosed defects in a property. When the opposing lawyer (known in the proceedings as “Mrs B”) attended the property with a building consultant, Eichelbaum refused to allow them entry. When Mrs B returned with the expert, Eichelbaum said that he would only allow them to come in if Mrs B bent through a window at skirting board level and signed a piece of wood.
Mrs B told the committee that it was clear that she was not in suitable attire to bend down that far. However she reluctantly agreed to do so only because she did not want to waste time or money. Mrs B claimed that she hurt her head when she made the manoeuvre. She also said that Eichelbaum laughed at her.
||"Yes, what a tool"
The committee found that Eichelbaum’s conduct at the property “was not an isolated incident”
and that his bullying actions against Mrs B had occurred "persistently over a lengthy period of time
". Mrs B said Eichelbaum had sworn at her in the past, and in another matter he also repeatedly suggested that Mrs B had assisted in a fraud, despite her constant denial.
The committee censured Eichelbaum and fined him NZD10,000 for failing to treat another lawyer with courtesty and respect, and ordered that he pay NZD5,000 in costs.
In a separate matter, the committee found that Eichelbaum had threatened, bullied and insulted another woman regarding a property dispute and fined him an additional NZD10,000 with a costs order of NZD3,000.