EVERETT – Personal injury lawyer who practiced in Everett was struck off the bar for violating a restraining order by sending repeated emails to his ex-wife, lying to the state bar association and others ethical violations.
Eric Hoort, 51, worked as a lawyer in Washington state for over 20 years. He was officially struck off the bar on Tuesday.
In 2018 and 2019, Island County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to several calls regarding brawls between Hoort and his then-wife at their home on Camano Island.
The woman said Hoort had used drugs, “anything he could get his hands on,” according to incident reports by police. Hoort allegedly stole the woman’s prescription drugs.
In May 2019, the woman gave a written statement to the police. She described a fight that had occurred three months earlier. Hoort allegedly attacked the woman when she found drugs in their home that had not been prescribed for her.
“I did not call the police,” she wrote, “because he threatened to take my animals and injured them in the past.”
The woman said she was recovering from back surgery when Hoort attacked her and the injuries she suffered delayed her recovery and may have further injured her back.
On May 29, 2019, Hoort received a temporary protection order prohibiting him from having “any contact” with the woman or from approaching within 500 feet of her.
Hoort disregarded the order and emailed the woman the next day, according to her deregistration notice released by the state bar association on Thursday.
“I just got your papers from the sheriff,” Hoort wrote in the email. “I’m speechless honey. I’ve finished it all now. I do not deserve this. You win (name redacted). I love you and want to get married but it clearly isn’t. I am beyond words. I’m going to sit here, pray and hope … ”
The Island County Sheriff’s Office contacted Hoort and told him the order prohibited emails and other written communications. Hoort told police he was “unaware” that the order prohibited email communication and that he would not attempt to contact her again.
Still, he didn’t go 24 hours before emailing the woman again. Hoort sent three more messages the next day, according to the deregistration notice.
An Island County prosecutor has charged Hoort with three counts of violating a domestic violence protection order.
Court records suggest that the criminal case is still pending.
After the state bar informed Hoort that they were conducting a disciplinary investigation, he attempted to resign from practicing law. According to state court rules, a lawyer under investigation by the state agency cannot voluntarily resign.
Hoort did not disclose to the state bar that he was under investigation in the domestic violence case – a “knowingly false certification” that was “intended to escape a public disciplinary record,” and therefore was conduct intended to obtain a benefit for himself ”, according to the deregistration notice.
A Daily Herald reporter called two listed phone numbers for Hoort, but could not reach him for comment last week.
The state bar’s disciplinary board noted aggravating factors in the decision to strike Hoort, including a past reprimand the lawyer received more than ten years ago and that he had “dishonest or selfish motive “.
Hoort was sanctioned in 2005 for failing to initiate legal action before the expiration of the limitation period in the case of the wrongful dismissal of a client. The client had been arrested for investigation for attempted murder, fired for being absent without leave in prison – and then acquitted. Hoort took the client’s money but did not pursue the case.
The board found that Hoort violated three of the state’s rules of professional conduct, by failing to make “reasonable efforts to expedite litigation” in the best interests of the client, failing to provide diligent representation and failing to provide not competent representation.