Alex Jones’ attorneys committed a serious error during his trial. I talked about that error here. Andino Reynal’s law firm sent the wrong link to the opposing attorney. Reynal’s law firm was trying to produce requested documents. Instead of sending access to the requested documents, the law firm sent a link to Alex Jones’ entire cell phone. Ooops. Those things happen. Under Texas ethical rules, Reynal’s law firm could have then requested that the erroneous documents be returned. But, according to the Plaintiffs’ lawyers, Mr. Reynal simply responded with the equivalent of “oops.” Reynal says he told Mark Bankston, the lawyer for the plaintiff, to “please disregard.” Mr. Bankston then used some of the erroneous material to impeach Mr. Jones on the stand. Catching a key witness in a lie is significant in any trial.
But, malpractice lawyers suggest this sequence of events does not present a solid case of malpractice. To amount to malpractice, a plaintiff would have to show the error made a difference in the trial. One Texas malpractice lawyer quoted in the ABA Bar Journal said if Jones pursued a malpractice claim against his lawyer, the claim would essentially be, “But for my lawyers, I would have been a successful liar.” That would be a difficult case for any plaintiff alleging malpractice.
But, the two plaintiffs could have an action against Jones and Reynal for not turning over the text messages before trial. It is very difficult to receive thousands of pages of documents mid-trial and try to use those thousands of pages. Bankston’s law firm performed a small miracle in processing so many documents in such a short time and finding a very helpful document.
Mr. Reynal and another Jones lawyer named Norm Pattis already face possible discipline in a Connecticut court for releasing medical documents belonging to the plaintiffs. The trial judge in that matter has referred the two lawyers to the Connecticut bar association for investigation. See ABA Bar Journal report here.
One expert said he thinks the Reynal firm turned over the cell phone data in its native format, not as a pdf. We as trial lawyers make mistakes. But, we have to say that Alex Jones’ approach to this lawsuit antagonized the opposing parties and lawyers unnecessarily. Friction among the lawyers will always reduce the level of professionalism.