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Objection! Interrupting lawyer gets rare sanction

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A federal judge in Iowa meted out an unusual punishment to a lawyer for repeatedly raising objections and interrupting depositions: She must produce a training video showing why such tactics are inappropriate.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, her law firm objected to the ruling.

U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett issued the “outside-the-box sanction” last week to Chicago-based attorney June Ghezzi, a partner at the international law firm Jones Day.

Bennett criticized Ghezzi’s pretrial conduct in a case in which she successfully defended Abbott Laboratories against a lawsuit alleging that its infant formula contained dangerous bacteria that caused a baby to suffer brain damage. He wrote that during depositions, Ghezzi “proliferated hundreds of unnecessary objections and interruptions” that appeared to coach witnesses on how to answer questions and delayed the proceedings.

Bennett said that rather than issuing a monetary fine against Ghezzi, he wanted to take a stand against “obstructive deposition practices” that are common and that some litigators are even taught to use.