It's been a long couple of years for Virginia attorney Matthew Murray. It was a fall from grace of Grecian proportions. Formerly the President of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, he has now paid a sanction award of almost $600,000 for what a judge called an "extensive pattern of deception and obstructional conduct."
After his misconduct became public in 2011, he resigned from Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen and left the practice of law, while remaining an Associate member of the Virginia State Bar. He now faces disciplinary charges by the VSB.
Read the Virginia Lawyers Weekly article for the full story (subscription req.), but essentially he instructed his client in an e-mail to destroy some incriminating photos on Facebook. When a judge demanded e-mails between him and his client related to the Facebook concealment efforts, he told his secretary to leave out what he later called the "stink bomb" e-mail to his client. He tried to blame the omission on his secretary, later acknowledging in post-trial deposition what he had done.
Nothing makes a court angrier than "hide the ball" maneuvers, except possibly blaming it on someone else. It is a good case for my ethics CLEs because it demonstrates so clearly the potential consequences of ethical lapses involving electronic evidence.