U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger has issued a reprimand to Nashville attorney Bob Whitaker over an incident that followed a trial in her court last month.
In addition to admonishing Whitaker for approaching jurors in the hallway after they declined to award his client punitive damages in a personal-injury case, Trauger said she will report him to Tennessee's Board of Professional Responsibility "for its consideration of possible violations by him of the rules of professional conduct," according to an order entered Friday.
Whitaker is also required to write letters of apology to the jurors involved.
The judge last week ordered Whitaker to appear before her and show cause why he should not face reprimand, suspension or disbarment for trying to talk with the jurors. Federal court rules strictly limit a lawyer's ability to question jury members.
Whitaker, responding to the show-cause order in a filing last week, threw himself at the mercy of the court and apologized profusely for his "totally inappropriate" behavior.
In a separate development last week, as reported in today's "Nashville at Law" column, Whitaker's former employer Bart Durham withdrew a lawsuit he had filed over Whitaker's supposed claims to legal fees.