- Wendy Murphy brings her believe-the-accuser shtick to the University of Virginia [KC Johnson, Minding the Campus]
- UK: foster parents in Rotherham might want to take care not to belong to the wrong political party [Telegraph]
- “The Disappearance of Civil Trial in the United States” [John Langbein, Yale Law Journal & SSRN]
- “Liability Is ‘Wrong’ Solution for Rating Agencies” [Mark Calabria, Cato at Liberty] Mere days later: “Sixth Circuit Rejects Ohio Pension Fund Suit Against Rating Agencies” [Adler]
- “Yes, it is now illegal to be fully nude in San Francisco *unless you are in a parade*” [Lowering the Bar]
- Once lionized in press: “Former Ohio AG Loses Law License for 6 Months Over Ethics Violations While In Office” [ABA Journal, Adler]
- Facebook says it may go after some lawyers who’ve repped adversary Ceglia [Roger Parloff, Fortune]
The disgraced Ohio Attorney General, a fixture in these columns through much of 2008, has pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count and declined to contest another. He’ll pay a fine and do community service. [Columbus Dispatch via Adler/Volokh] At one point Dann was lionized by the New York Times as a potential “next Eliot Spitzer,” at that time considered an enviable thing to be.
Overlawyered readers may well recall the travails of disgraced former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann. Dann dropped off the radar earlier this year after he was driven from office amid allegations of sexual harassment and workplace affairs within his office. Before stepping down, Dann touched off a brief constitutional crisis in Ohio, similar to what Illinois is now experiencing thanks to Rod Blagojevich.
Now Dann is back in the news, with a less sexy scandal involving campaign finance expenditures:
Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann used his campaign account to bankroll home repairs and family vacations, according to a newspaper review of state investigative reports.
Interestingly, beyond the expected “lies all lies!” defense, Dann responds that while he didn’t do it, if he did do it, he did it on the advice of counsel:
“The allegations that have been made in these complaints are either false or they lack a basis in law,” Dann said. “We operated the campaign committee lawfully, and all the expenditures were made with the advice of counsel and were appropriate.”
It would be nice to know which counsel advised the former attorney general that home repairs and family vacations were appropriate campaign expenditures. Assuming that the counsel wasn’t Marc Dann.
Via Instapundit, who observes that the AP’s treatment of this story leaves the reader puzzled as to Dann’s party identity. Perhaps Marc Dann was an independent.
- Canada free speech: Islamic group files complaint against Halifax newspaper over cartoon of burka-wearing terror fan; two more libel suits aimed at online conservative voices; growing furor over complaint against Steyn/Macleans [National Post]
- More than 5,000 students committed crimes last year in Philadelphia schools, but none were expelled — consent decrees tying system’s hands are one reason [Inquirer]
- U.K.: Man threatened with legal action for flying pirate flag as part of daughter’s birthday party [Guardian]
- Bankruptcy judge doesn’t plan to accept at face value Countrywide’s claim that it generated false escrow documents by mistake in foreclosure [WSJ, WSJ law blog]
- Amid bipartisan calls to step down, Ohio AG Marc Dann [Apr. 19, May 6] hires an opposition researcher [Adler @ Volokh] on top of Washington lobbyist [Legal NewsLine], after being rebuked by judge for political suit [Dispatch]. And where’s that ethics form on the Chesley flight? [Dayton Daily News]
- Missouri med-mal claims fall sharply after legislated damages curb [Springfield News-Leader]
- More on Dartmouth prof Priya Venkatesan, the one who wants to sue her students — as suspected, she’s a devotee of deconstructionist Science Studies [Allen/MtC; earlier]
- Covert plan to sabotage Chinese economy? [Wilson Center event]
- What, never? Well, hardly ever: Docs continue to assail notion that various complications such as patient delirium, clostridium difficile infection, iatrogenic pneumothorax, etc. — not to mention falls — are “never events” [KevinMD various posts; earlier]
- Mich. high court agrees anti-gay-marriage amendment bars municipal health benefits for domestic partners, just what key proponents had claimed it wouldn’t do [Rauch @ IGF, Carpenter @ Volokh, earlier]
- Private service rates the safety of charter air providers — but can it afford the cost of being sued after giving a bad rating? [Three years ago on Overlawyered]
- Raelyn Campbell briefly captured national spotlight (“Today” show, MSNBC) with $54 million suit against Best Buy for losing laptop, but it’s now been dismissed [Shop Floor; earlier]
- Charmed life of Florida litigators Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt continues as Miami judge awards them $218 million for class action lawsuit they lost [Daily Business Report, Krauss @ PoL; earlier here, here, and here]
- Lerach said kickbacks were “industry practice” and “everybody was paying plaintiffs”. True? Top House GOPer Boehner wants hearings to find out [NAM “Shop Floor”, WSJ law blog]
- It’s Dannimal House! An “office rife with booze, profanity, inappropriate sexual activity, misuse of state vehicles and on-the-job threats involving the Mafia” — must be Ohio AG Marc Dann, of NYT “next Eliot Spitzer” fame [AP/NOLA, Adler @ Volokh, Above the Law, Wood @ PoL; earlier]
- Sorry, Caplin & Drysdale, but you can’t charge full hourly rates for time spent traveling but not working on that asbestos bankruptcy [NLJ] More: Elefant.
- Fire employee after rudely asking if she’s had a face-lift? Not unless you’ve got $1.7 million to spare [Chicago Tribune]
- Daniel Schwartz has more analysis of that Stamford, Ct. disabled-firefighter case (May 1); if you want a fire captain to be able to read quickly at emergency scene, better spell that out explicitly in the job description [Ct Emp Law Blog]
- As expected, star Milberg expert John Torkelsen pleads guilty to perjury arising from lies he told to conceal his contingent compensation arrangements [NLJ; earlier]
- Case of deconstructionist prof who plans to sue her Dartmouth students makes the WSJ [Joseph Rago, op-ed page, Mindles H. Dreck @ TigerHawk; earlier]
- How’d I do, mom? No violation of fair trial for judge’s mother to be one of the jurors [ABA Journal]
- First sell the company’s stock short, then sue it and watch its share price drop. You mean there’s some ethical problem with that? [three years ago on Overlawyered]
Do as we say, not as we do?
Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann is leading a group of 18 state Attorneys General seeking a ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court that employees can not be retaliated against by their bosses for filing a sexual harassment complaint.
The case comes at an ironic moment for Dann, as his office is investigating claims by two 26-year-old women who work at the Attorney General’s office that they were sexually harassed on and off the job by their boss, Anthony Gutierrez, a close friend of Dann’s who shared a Columbus condominium with him.
(“Dann Defends Woman Amid Own Office’s Sexual Harassment Flap”, Fox8 Cleveland, Apr. 16; Mark Rollenhagen and Reginald Fields, “Employee in Ohio attorney general’s office files police report”, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Apr. 19). Amid talk of a cover-up, Dann has also denied a request from the Columbus Dispatch under the state’s public records law “to review three months’ worth of e-mail messages between him and his then-scheduler, Jessica Utovich,” both of whose names turn up as possible witnesses in colorful text messages offered as evidence in the claims. “Dann in the past has said e-mails are public records and also has sought troves of messages from public offices when he was a state senator and the Democratic candidate for Ohio’s top legal office.” (James Nash, “Dann won’t release e-mails”, DispatchPolitics (Columbus Dispatch), Apr. 13; Julie Carr Smyth, “Sexual complaint probe at top cop’s office intensifies”, AP/Akron Beacon Journal, Apr. 18; Mark Naymik, “Dann has habit of hiring his friends; some have proved to be embarrassments”, Openers (Cleveland Plain Dealer blog), Apr. 12; Reginald Fields, “Dann employee files complaint with police”, Openers, Apr. 18).
After initial resistance, Dann did release some information that raised reportorial eyebrows:
In a surprising reversal, Attorney General Marc Dann’s office released 12 pages of notes that detail allegations of repeated sexual harassment and possibly an attempt to destroy text messages that may document the incidents. …
Dann’s Equal Employment Opportunity officer, Angela Smedlund, interviewed Cindy Stankoski and Vanessa Stout on March 31 about problems they had had with their boss, Anthony Gutierrez, who is Dann’s friend and former roommate.
Smedlund’s notes reveal the following:
Stankoski agreed to go out for drinks with Gutierrez last Sept. 10, but said she soon “felt tipsy and trapped.” She agreed to go to an apartment Gutierrez shared with Dann and Communications Director Leo Jennings III. She called and text-messaged friends that night.
In the margin, Smedlund wrote: “Leo & Tony destroyed texts Tony admitted to Charlie.” The notes do not identify Charlie’s last name.
Jennings and Gutierrez are now both on paid administrative leave.
(Laura A. Bischoff, “Dann’s office unveils documents detailing harassment report”, Lebanon, Oh. Western-Star, Apr. 16; Rollenhagen/Fields, “Reports show Dann was aware of Gutierrez’s history of troubles”, Cleveland Plain Dealer/Youngstown Vindicator, Apr. 18; Bertram de Souza, “Will Dann survive the crisis?”, StirFry (Youngstown Vindicator), Apr. 17). Perhaps unfortunately in retrospect, the noisily anti-business Dann had been lionized in the New York Times after his election as a possible “next Eliot Spitzer“.
More: Above the Law, John Phillips (“Other key words are pajamas, condo, inappropriate text messages, Hawaiian pizza, booze, passing out in a bedroom, unbuttoned pants upon waking up, and nothing on but his underwear.”), Law and More. Update: Dann’s emails with scheduler released (Dispatch via Genova)