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Law

Simple court case over insurance claim descends into circus sideshow of homophobia

Josh Milton December 6, 2019

A court case in California, US, became a circus sideshow of homophobia last week, seeing a small-firm lawyer explode in homophobic expletives in a “vulgar tirade”.

While he later claimed it was “for effect” the bizarre dispute between plaintiff attorney Christoper Hook and legal team partner Peter Klee saw a simple insurance claim escalate into heated exchanges.

From telling the counsel to “eat a bowl of d***s” to calling the, “f***ing c**k suckers”, the simple insurance dispute over $20,000 revealed that Hook threatened the counsel and hurled homophobic insults at them over email.

‘Hook has embarked on a campaign of abusive and intolerable conduct that began with profanity-laced emails’.

The case was between legal team Sheppard Mullin representing insurance Allstate and a couple vying for payment over water damage to their home.

During settlement negotiations, Allstate filed an ex parte order over Hook’s conduct.

“Hook has embarked on a campaign of abusive and intolerable conduct that began with profanity-laced emails, escalated to discriminatory slurs, and culminated in repeated threats of physical violence against Allstate’s witnesses, Allstate’s attorneys, and their families,” court documents stated.

While the damages were marked off at around $20,000, Hook fired “dozens of abusive and threatening emails to Allstate’s counsel” which included “vulgar tirades”.

But a “small sample” included in the memorandum has gone viral on Twitter.

“Peter,” Hook wrote in an email, “when you are done fellating [sic] your copy boy, tell Allstate the demand is now 305 million.”

“Anytime now, f****t,” he also said, alongside: “I want my clients’ money, gay boys.”

Hook continued: “306 million, gay boys.”

Lawyer defends homophobic slurs by branding it a ‘confidential negotiating tactic’.

In a swarm of slurs, he threatened to “water board” the counsel, beat them up and go “bat sh** crazy on you mother f***ing cock suckers.”

Responding to Sheppard Mullin’s ex parte application, Hook filed a response claiming that this was a “confidential negotiating tactic.

“With that said, the language used was ‘for effect’, similar to bluster or ‘puffery’ and was not intended to actually be considered personal insults,” the document read.

“At no time did the undersigned threaten or intend to threaten or intend to threaten defence counsel, their co-workers or families with harm.

“The undersigned apologised to defence counsel and the Court and represents and warrants that such language will not be used by the undersigned again in this matter.”

Later, justices moved to suspend all scheduled depositions until the counsel’s concerns are resolved.

The district court scheduled a hearing for the matter on December 16.

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