Hot mic in Santa Clara County court catches insurance agent cursing at judge
An insurance agent was caught on hot mic swearing at a Bay Area judge, court documents and transcripts say.
"Oh my god," Vince San Filippo said during the Santa Clara County Superior Court hearing April 21. "This f—ing judge is an idiot."
San Filippo, an insurance claims agent with Liberty Mutual, was monitoring the case for the company on behalf of Doris Luci, a woman who rear-ended a car with two passengers in San Jose in 2016 and has since died. Silvia Rosaliano and Kevin Lazo, the plaintiffs, were awarded $714,000.
But he forgot to mute his audio in the remote Microsoft Teams call, and Judge Roberta Hayashi heard the whole thing.
"Well, I'm sorry you think I'm an idiot, but I really think you ought to mute your microphone before you say that," Hayashi said, per a transcript of the incident obtained by Bay Area News Group. "And I would appreciate if you could not use any obscenities in the courtroom, whether you're remote or not remote. That kind of language is not acceptable."
Once the comments were made, Hayashi instructed the jury to "disregard the comment" before calling an afternoon recess.
Hayashi requested an apology from San Filippo, who repeatedly tried to justify his comment about the judge as being frustrated over the court proceedings. He also told the judge that he forgot to mute his mic.
"I'm frustrated by all the moves," he said, explaining that the jury seating was the cause of his outburst. "I'm trying to calculate who every juror is and I can't keep track."
"Mr. San Filippo, your personal frustration is not an excuse for inexcusably rude and disrespectful comments in open court in the presence of this jury," Hayashi told the agent.
The back-and-forth was tense, with San Filippo seemingly interrupting the judge multiple times during this conversation. Hayashi, toward the end of the exchange, ordered San Filippo to "not interrupt me" while she was talking.
"You may think I'm an idiot, but I happen to be a judge of the Santa Clara County Superior Court and I am entitled to respectful treatment whether you are on the Zoom call or you are in my courtroom," she said.
The trial later went on without a hitch.
Luci's attorney, Kenneth Vierra of Liberty Mutual, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from SFGATE. Spokespeople with Liberty Mutual also did not respond to SFGATE.