The Minnesota Supreme Court suspended a Minneapolis attorney for shouting at and harassing opposing counsel.
Peter James Nickitas’ claims he is not guilty, but if the allegations are true, he is guilty of being a big fan of the movie The Godfather.
According to the petition for discipline filed by the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, Nickitas’ problems with Michelle Hurley started at a hearing over a traffic accident in 2009. At the hearing he told the arbitrator and others present that Hurley “could not read and needed glasses” when she concluded her presentation.
When the hearing concluded he told her a good place to get glasses.
A few months later at a second hearing the petition says Nickitas repeatedly threatened and insulted Hurley. When the hearing concluded Hurley left to exit the courtroom, it was then Nickitas allegedly channeled his inner Virgil Sollozzo and yelled at her that he hoped she “sleeps with the fishes.”
Shaken and scared Hurley says she continued to walk toward the courthouse exit to leave. It was then she said Nickitas caught up to her, went “nose-to-nose” with her and started screaming at her. The complaint alleges he had to be pulled away by an associate and as court security approached.
(No word on whether he then attempted to make her an offer she could not refuse, or accused her of not being a war-time Consigliari.)
Hurley refused to be alone with Nickitas after that at future hearings.
Nickitas has been disciplined four times since he was admitted to practice law in Minnesota in 1990. That includes an incident in 2003 when Nickitas was issued an admonition for “directing a sexist epithet” to a person in a case.
He denies the allegations and says he has witnesses to counter Hurley’s story. He was suspended for 30 days and also must complete two years of supervised probation.
The order says that he admitted the “allegations in the petition, except for portions of one paragraph.” He also did so within one week of the filing of the petition. If he denied the allegations, he did not do so for very long.
This guy is a real piece of work.