CHICAGO (CN) – The 7th Circuit has again chastised a Chicago lawyer who tried to sue the Cook County prison system for racial discrimination, directing him, for the second time, to inform his clients that the court thinks his performance could be grounds for a malpractice suit.
Michael J. Greco represented 12 black workers who said the Cook County prison passed them over for promotions. U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo dismissed the complaint in September 2008, finding the claims too dissimilar for joint litigation. He granted the plaintiffs 40 days to refile their cases individually.
Three of Greco’s clients did not file new complaints until May 2009, however, and different judges dismissed each case as untimely. Greco appealed to the 7th Circuit.
In a strongly worded March opinion, the 7th Circuit called Greco’s performance “calamitous” and issued a $5,000 fine. The judges also instructed Greco to provide his clients with copies of the opinion so that they could contemplate malpractice suits against him.
They said Greco could argue only about the trial court’s decision to treat his motion for reconsideration as a motion under Rule 60 (b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
“Counsel disregarded that directive and filed a brief that devotes most of its attention to the question whether the district court erred in dismissing the suit as untimely,” according to the unsigned order. “That question is outside our jurisdiction.”
“Greco’s failure to file a timely complaint, followed by his failure to file a timely appeal, and his disregard of this court’s express instructions about which issues are properly open on appeal, reinforces our conclusion that ‘Greco is a menace to his clients and a scofflaw with respect to appellate procedure.'”
Greco must now submit proof that he has sent copies of the March opinion and the new order to his clients.