The Trace reported late Tuesday that in his application to represent the National Rifle Association in a lawsuit related to the group’s controversial Carry Guard insurance product, a veteran litigator didn’t mention a six-figure misconduct sanction he may have been required to disclose.
The story centers around William A. Brewer III, who represents the NRA as outside counsel in litigation with Lockton Affinity, an insurer that dropped Carry Guard in February.
It didn’t take long for the court to respond. This morning, the judge presiding in the case ordered Brewer — and a second NRA lawyer, who sponsored Brewer’s application — to appear before the court on September 14 to discuss the application. “[T]he Court finds it necessary to hold a hearing on this matter to make further inquiry into the accuracy of counsels’ certifications to this Court,” the judge wrote.
This morning’s order came just hours after The Trace’s story, which reported that:
“In the June filing he submitted to appear as an attorney for the NRA in Virginia, Brewer affirmed, ‘I have not been reprimanded in any court nor has there been any action in any court pertaining to my conduct or fitness as a member of the bar.’ The judge in the case accepted the application two days after it was submitted.
Yet Brewer had, in fact, been reprimanded by a court for his conduct as an attorney.”
In 2016, a Texas court sanctioned Brewer $177,000 for what The Trace calls “attempting to improperly influence potential jurors and witnesses,” and the sanction — which involved findings that Mr. Brewer’s conduct “was intentional and in bad faith and abusive of the legal system and the judicial process” — was later upheld on appeal, according to the story.
An attorney advising Brewer told The Trace she believes Brewer’s application to the Virginia court “contains no misrepresentations,” but ethics experts had a different take, according to the story:
“Experts on legal ethics dispute the conclusions of Brewer’s team, characterizing his actions in the Texas case as a significant trespass that he should have acknowledged while applying to represent the NRA.”
The NRA did not respond to The Trace’s requests for an interview, the story notes. Read the story here.