It should come as no surprise that California intellectual property lawyer Patrick Missud was disbarred for moral turpitude. After all, Missud clogged the federal and state courts for years with frivolous lawsuits and bizarre, often outrageous, litigation conduct. On October 1, 2014, a Review Board of the State Bar Court of California adopted a hearing panel’s recommendation that Missud be disbarred. See In re Patrick Alexandre Missud, State Bar Court of California, No. 12-O-10026 (Oct. 1, 2014). Given his outlandish behavior over such a long time period, the only real question is this–what took them so long?
Missud was admitted to the California bar in 2002. His legal troubles began shortly after 2004, when Missud and his wife purchased a home in Nevada from DR Horton. The couple had the option to finance the purchase through Horton’s preferred lender only if the home would be a primary residence. Because Horton understood Missud intended to use the home as a rental, Horton required him to use another lender.
This seemingly trivial matter set Missud off. To be sure, between 2005 and 2006, Missud as pro se plaintiff filed three separate actions against Horton and its affiliates in the San Francisco Superior Court alleging emotional distress, fraud, and breach of contract. Missud v. Horton, et al., No. 05-444247 (filed Aug. 22, 2005), Missud v. Horton, et al., No. 05-447499 (filed Dec. 9, 2005), Missud et al. v. Horton, et al., No. 06-457207 (filed Oct. 23, 2006). All three actions were dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Rather than get the message, the dismissals of Missud’s cases only seemed to stoke his flames. Missud began filing complaints in federal court against the same defendants alleging similar claims. The first filing, in 2007 was dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction, forum non conveniens, and statute of limitations. See Patrice Missud v. D.R. Horton, et al., Civ. 07-2625 at Dkt. No. 38 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 30, 2007) (Armstrong, J.).
Two weeks after the California district court action was dismissed, Missud filed another lawsuit against the same defendants, this time in Nevada state court. Two years into that litigation, Missud was found in contempt for sending threatening communications to witnesses and counsel and violating the court’s protective order. The court awarded defendants nearly $50,000 in fees and dismissed the case.
“Never give in–never, never, never, never. . . .” – Winston Churchill
Missud refused to give up and instead ratcheted up his litigation machine. This time, he turned his sights on the judiciary itself, filing over the next several years a dozen district court actions. The defendants in those cases included everyone from United States Supreme Court Justices, to federal district court judges, state court judges, the State Bars of California, Nevada and Texas, the San Francisco Superior Court, the State of Nevada, the Nevada Supreme Court, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. All of his lawsuits were dismissed as frivolous.
In 2010, for example, Missud filed a complaint alleging that District Court Judge Armstrong wrongfully silenced Missud by dismissing his case in 2007, and that Magistrate Judge Curtis Coltrane, District Judge Roger Benitez, District Judge Berry Edenfield, and District Judge Martin Reidinger, were somehow conspiring with Horton to silence people of low income. That complaint was dismissed by Judge Susan Illston on grounds of judicial immunity. Patrick Missud v. D.R. Horton Inc., et al., Civ. 10-0235 (N.D. Cal. April 2, 2010) (Illston, J.).
In April 2011, Missud sued the San Francisco Superior Court and Superior Court Judge Charlotte Woolard for allegedly engaging in an illegal conspiracy to force litigants into mediation or arbitration against their will. That complaint was dismissed for failure to state a plausible claim and judicial immunity. Patrick Missud v. San Francisco Sup. Ct., Civ. 11-1856 at Dkt. No. 54 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 13, 2012) (Hamilton, J.).
In July 2011, Missud filed a complaint alleging several state and federal judges (many of the same judges dismissed in prior actions) and courts were corrupt and biased against people with low income. That complaint was dismissed for failure to state a plausible claim and judicial immunity. Patrick Missud v. State of Nevada, et al., Civ. 11-3567 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 22, 2012) (Chen, J.). Judge Chen found Missud’s claims lacked “any credible factual basis” and that his abusive tactics “appear[ed] to be motivated more by obtaining press for himself and imposing expense on Horton than by any legitimate claim for relief.” Judge Chen declared Missud a vexatious litigant and ordered him to provide a copy of any complaint against Horton for a pre-filing determination of whether the complaint should be accepted for filing.
This did not deter Missud, who sued the San Francisco Superior Court. Missud v. San Francisco Superior Court, No. 3:12-cv-03117-WHA, Dkt. No. 123 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 24, 2012). Judge Alsup expanded the scope of Judge Chen’s order, finding that Missud is a vexatious litigant and requiring pre-filing review by the court in all matters regardless of defendant. As an indication of some of his judicial misconduct, the following is a sample of one of nearly one-hundred docket entries Missud filed after the action was officially closed:
Request for Judicial Notice THAT I WILL RAILROAD THE BAR RATHER THAN IT RAILROAD ME filed by Patrick A. Missud. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit The Trial that the ssBarss will rig to Disbar Missud, # 2 Exhibit The Bar’s Trumped-Up Charges to Railroad the Trial, # 3 Exhibit Federal Judge Chen’s Complaint to the Bar and Instructions to Railroad the Hearing, # 4 Exhibit All sorts of Courts, Judges, and Corporation Wanting Missud to be Disbarred, # 5 Exhibit Bar Court Judge Armendariz is Trying Really Hard to Railroad the Trial)(Missud, Patrick) (Filed on 4/1/2013) (Entered: 04/01/2013)
In September 2013, Missud sued the National Rifle Association, the State of California, and the Supreme Court of the United States, alleging a plethora of “constitutional violations.” That complaint alleged that public officials and Supreme Court justices were “bought” by corporate interests. That action, like all the others, was dismissed. Missud v. NRA, No. 3:13-cv-80213-WHA (N.D. Cal. Oct. 15, 2013).
In December 2013, Missud filed a near identical complaint in state court, replacing the Supreme Court of the United States defendants with a corporate defendant, and alleging violations of the California Constitution, but otherwise repeating his allegations. The case was removed to federal court, where it was assigned to Judge Alsup. In his Order granting defendants’ motion to dismiss, Judge Alsup quoted various “threatening statements” made by Missud in his papers such as:
You ultra-$tupid phuk Alsup- Know that I already caused your death from a prison cell. You are a phuking traitor who $old-out America you phuking prick. You intentionally tried to destroy America from within which is exactly what Al Qaeda tried to do when they flattened the World Trade Towers which I routinely visited with family when living in NYC. I’ll be at your sentencing and will testify hoping that you get the death penalty by firing squad. . . .. I here and now personally announce and guarantee your death in a concrete cell
In July 2013, after a five-day hearing. Missud was placed on involuntary inactive status with the State Bar of California following its recommendation that Missud committed professional misconduct, including maintaining unjust actions and failing to obey court orders. The State Bar decision stated that Missud “has total disdain for the legal profession and the judicial process.” In the Matter of Patrick Alexandre Missud, No. 12-O-10026-LMA (Cal. St. B. July 1, 2013).
On October 1, 2014, the California State Bar Court Review Department concluded that Missud was culpable of the alleged misconduct and recommended that he be “disbarred from the practice of law – the only solution for public protection.” The Review Department also noted Missud conducted himself without respect toward the disciplinary proceedings.
In addition to the frivolous nature of his appeal, for example, Missud proclaimed in his opening statement at trial:
“There is no doubt that criminality runs rampant throughout the judiciary and that this Bar Court trial is being railroaded to lift my license.”
Then, over the course of his five-day hearing, he failed utterly to refute the charges against him and, instead, spent hours railing against Horton, accusing judges and public officials, by name, of corruption, and referring to one judge as an “asshole.” Missud accused witnesses of lying, insisted that the hearing judge initiate State Bar investigations against them and other attorneys, and threatened to have one witness criminally investigated. Finally, he threatened the State Bar prosecutor and State Bar Court judges with criminal prosecution.
The Review Department found as an aggravating factor Missud’s “wildly inappropriate invective that permeates all his submissions to the State Bar Court.” The Review Department determined Missud’s habitual abuse of the judicial system constitutes moral turpitude and
“Missud’s actions demonstrate that he is unfit to practice law. Disbarment is the only appropriate discipline given the magnitude of his misconduct; his disregard of professional standards; his disdain for the judiciary; the harm caused to Horton, the courts, and the public; his indifference to such harm; his demonstrated and unrepentant intent to continue his misconduct; and his deplorable behavior before the State Bar Court.”
The State Bar Court thus affirmed the hearing judge’s recommended order of disbarment.
Missud may (and says he will) continue to fight his disbarment by appealing to the Supreme Court of California. In the meantime, he remains ineligible to practice law. Not that any of this will stop Missud from continuing to sue whoever or whatever gets in his way. On the contrary, in a recent interview with IP360, Missud was quoted as saying he intends to sue the California State Bar for defamation.
Some people just never learn.