A federal judge has suggested possible disciplinary action against a lawyer who improperly designated a witness as an expert so he could pay him for his factual testimony.

The lawyer, Brian McAlindin of Bathgate Wegener & Wolf in Lakewood, N.J., paid Jorge Gutierrez more than $4,000, ostensibly for his testimony as a software expert, but Chief U.S. District Judge Garrett Brown Jr. held Monday that Gutierrez was actually a fact witness, whose payment by McAlindin “runs afoul of the longstanding prohibition against payment of fact witnesses.”