A Cincinnati couple has gone through 17 years of contentious litigation. “Their divorce case file had more than 1,400 entries in it. Many had to do with a back-and-forth custody dispute over their children, now ages 17 and 20.” Both husband and wife are law professors. [Cincinnati Enquirer via Daily Mail]
Disbarred in Kentucky, disgraced in the eyes of many onetime admirers, the veteran mass tort lawyer does not seem to have been disgraced in the eyes of the Cincinnati city council: it just unanimously appointed him to the city’s Human Relations Commission. [WCPO, earlier, background and on Kentucky fen-phen scandal).
Four-part series on rise and fall of front-rank mass tort lawyer Stan Chesley [WCPO]
Part one: How Chesley, born in modest circumstances in Cincinnati, helped pave the way for modern mass tort law by suing dozens upon dozens of defendants — in particular, makers of furnishings and furniture — over the Beverly Hills Supper Club nightclub fire (scroll for more). Advice from Robert Gettys, the only lawyer to hold out and beat Chesley in that case: “Don’t listen to his B.S.”
Part two: “in a 2004 interview, Chesley estimated his firm had recovered nearly $7 billion for clients since he began doing mass tort litigation in the 1970s.”
Part three: he dishes out generously to both Democratic and Republican parties in Ohio, as well as to philanthropies that subsequently undergo embarrassment when the Kentucky Supreme Court finds Chesley “engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation following the initial distribution of client funds and concealed unethical handling of client funds by others.”
Part four: “Chesley’s friends call his professional demise a ‘personal tragedy.’ But his detractors call him a bully who manipulates the media to help his causes. Plenty of local lawyers dislike him. Most, however, declined to be quoted. That’s partly because, although he’s no longer practicing law, Chesley still is married to a federal judge.” Also: why Jacquelyn McMurtry, a fen-phen claimant who attended the civil trial over fee finagling in the Kentucky case, doesn’t share the opinion of settlement guru Kenneth Feinberg that Chesley was somehow the victim of others’ fraud.
Why they overlap [Noah Kristula-Green, U.S. News]
P.S. There was a flurry of national coverage last week when Cincinnati-area judge Robert Ruehlman struck down a traffic camera ordinance in the village of Elmwood Park, declaring the cameras a “scam” and “high-tech game of three-card monte.” [Cincinnati.com] Readers with long memories may recall that Judge Ruehlman appeared to favorable advantage in these columns back in 1999 when he threw out the city of Cincinnati’s abusive lawsuit against gun manufacturers, trade associations and a distributor, the first of the municipal gun suits to reach trial on the merits.
Among the departing lawyers are those representing the state of Ohio in a public employee retirement fund-led class action; the state may not appreciate the fallout from Chesley’s efforts to fight disbarment in Kentucky over the fen-phen scandal. [Cincinnati Enquirer] Many of the one-time “Master of Disaster’s” bipartisan political ties, however, remain cozy:
Chesley noted that Hamilton County [= Cincinnati] Prosecutor Joe Deters, who has worked for Chesley as a private attorney for four years, continues to work at the firm.
Deters also works as a private attorney for the new firm created by Chesley’s former lawyers. Deters, a leader in Hamilton County’s Republican Party, praises Chesley, who has helped raise millions for Democrats…
- Uh-huh: new report from federal Legal Services program calls for gigantic new allocation of tax money to, well, legal services programs [ABA Journal]
- “Judge: Man’s a ‘vexatious litigator'” [Cincinnati.com]
- Wisconsin governor signs bill requiring prescription to buy mercury thermometer [Popehat]
- “Injured by art?” Woman sues Museum of Fine Arts Houston after fall in artist-designed light tunnel [Mary Flood, Houston Chronicle “Legal Trade”]
- On Carol Browner and the cry of “environmental racism” (a/k/a “green redlining”) [Coyote]
- New York: “Lawyers implicated in $9 million mortgage fraud” [Business Insider]
- In Canada, as in the U.S., medical privacy rules hamper police investigations [Calgary Herald]
- Stalin’s grandson loses lawsuit in Russia against newspaper that supposedly defamed the dictator [WSJ Law Blog, Lowering the Bar, Volokh]
“The fans will split $50,700 with no one receiving more than $2,600 and most getting just $100. Their attorneys will get $175,000.” [Huntington, W.Va. Herald-Dispatch] More: Cincinnati Enquirer. To be fair, the main benefit of the litigation to the fans was evidently not the cash that changed hands, but the stipulation that they were not obliged to buy further tickets they said they had never agreed to buy.
Ohio: “The 88-year-old Blue Ash woman arrested after refusing to give a 13-year-old neighborhood boy his football back after it landed in her yard has sued the youth’s parents, alleging emotional distress. The lawsuit by attorney H. Louis Sirkin on behalf of Edna Jester contends that Paul and Kelly Tanis “and their minor children ‘regularly and without permission’ enter Jester’s yard to retrieve footballs and other play items that have been ‘carelessly tossed’ onto her property, the suit adds. …The Blue Ash city solicitor and city prosecutor later dropped the misdemeanor theft charge filed against Jester after she refused a police officer’s order to return the Tanis boy’s football.” (Barry M. Horstman, “Football keeper files lawsuit”, Cincinnati Enquirer, Jan. 3).
Judge Joseph Bamberger rubber-stamped a Kentucky fen-phen settlement agreement where plaintiffs’ attorneys cheated class members out of tens of millions of dollars. In the process, his former law partner was paid millions by the settlement, which he used to buy a Florida house with Bamberger, and Bamberger himself received a $5000/month sinecure. At trial of the three lead attorneys yesterday, jurors were shown a videotape where one of the plaintiffs questioned the judge on how low her settlement was and the validity of her release; the videotape shows Bamberger browbeating the plaintiff, but then awarding her an additional $100,000 and a $1200/month life annuity on the condition that she cease talking about the settlement and her objections to it. (Jim Hannah, “Judge dressed down victim”, Cincinnati Enquirer, May 24) (h/t R.U.). For some reason yet undisclosed by prosecutors, Bamberger is on the witness stand rather than in the dock with Gallion, Mills, and Cunningham.