Rule 4.04 Respect for Rights of Third Persons

(a) in representing a client, a lawyer shall not use means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person , or use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of such a person.

(b) A lawyer shall not present, participate in presenting, or threaten to present:

(1) criminal or disciplinary charges solely to gain an advantage in a civil matter; or

(2) civil, criminal or disciplinary charges against a complainant, a witness, or a potential witness in a bar disciplinary proceeding solely to prevent participation by the complainant, witness or potential witness therein.


Comment - Rule 4.04

1. Although in most cases a lawyer's responsibility to the interest of his client is paramount to the interest of other persons, a lawyer should avoid the infliction of needless harm.

2. Using or threatening to use the criminal process solely to coerce a party in a private matter improperly suggests that the criminal process can be manipulated by private interests for personal gain. However, giving any notice required by law or applicable rules of practice or procedure as a prerequisite to instituting criminal charges does not violate this Rule, unless the underlying criminal charges were made without probable cause.

3. Using or threatening to use the civil, criminal, or disciplinary processes to coerce a complainant, a witness, or a potential witness in a bar disciplinary proceeding is an implication that lawyers can manipulate the legal system to their personal advantage. Creating such false impressions is an abuse of the legal system that diminishes public confidence in the legal profession and in the fairness of the legal system as a whole.