The United States Law Week

No Disbarred Attorneys on Washington Supreme Court

Jan. 22, 2019, 3:20 PM

The Washington Supreme Court doesn’t have to worry about a disbarred attorney joining its ranks any time soon.

Civil rights claims by disbarred attorney John Scannell challenging a rule limiting the top court to practicing attorneys are “intentionally verbose, confusing, and drafted in such a way as to only increase the costs of litigation,” the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington said.

Scannell was disbarred in 2010 for negligently violating conflict of interest rules and then, during disciplinary proceedings, knowingly violating rules requiring cooperation.

After unsuccessfully challenging his disbarment, Scannell filed to run for the Washington top court. A state court ordered his name removed from the ballot.

Scannell’s claim challenging the Washington Supreme Court’s original order disbarring him is dismissed under the doctrine of res judicata, the opinion by Judge Benjamin H. Settle said.

His claim appealing the state court order removing him from the ballot also can’t proceed because federal courts can’t hear appeals from state court decisions, it said.

Claims against the state judges involved in the suit were also tossed.

Claims against the Washington State Bar Association were dismissed, too, but Scannell may refile them.

Scannell represented himself. The WSBA represented itself. The Washington Attorney General’s Office represented the state.

The case is Scannell v. Wash. State Bar Ass’n, 2019 BL 18149, W.D. Wash., No. C18-5654 BHS, 1/18/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bernie Pazanowski in Washington at bpazanowski@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com

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