Bad Ideas, Crime, Drinking, Litigators, Litigatrix

DLA Piper Partner Accused Of Lying Under Oath About How Much She Had To Drink

For a litigator, DLA Piper partner Laura L. Flippin didn’t do herself any favors on the stand.

As we mentioned in Non-Sequiturs last night, Judge Colleen K. Killilea of Virginia’s 9th Judicial District accused Flippin — an ATL fan favorite, and former lawyer of the month — of lying under oath. Judge Killilea then found Flippin guilty of public intoxication.

We first wrote about Laura Flippin back in October, when she was arrested for public intoxication after an event for her undergraduate alma mater, William and Mary. Police reports claimed that Flippin blew a .253 BAC and needed help standing up.

But when she was on the stand, here’s what she told the judge about how much she had to drink….

The student newspaper for William and Mary, The Flat Hat, has a report from Flippin’s trial:

…. Flippin told the judge she had consumed just one gin and tonic upon arriving at the deli around 10:30 p.m on September 23, 2011. Earlier in Tuesday’s hearing, Norment’s objection stopped the arresting officer, Alfred Drozco, from testifying to what Flippin’s BAC reading was after a breathalyzer was administered that night.

“We had had a drink between us,” Flippin said of a fellow Board of Visitors member and herself, “but I didn’t feel as though I was intoxicated.”

“That’s your testimony under oath? You had one drink?” Killilea asked.

After Flippin said yes, Killilea said it was then appropriate for the BAC to be submitted. Drozco testified that Flippin’s BAC reading was .253, more than three times the legal limit to drive of .08.

Talk about opening the door. Flippin, who previously served as chair of Paul Hastings’s D.C. litigation department before moving to DLA Piper, opened up a huge hole in her defense. If you gave Tinkerbell just one gin & tonic, she wouldn’t blow a .253.

The door she opened wasn’t just big enough to get her BAC into the record. Officer Drozco had a lot to say:

Drozco said that when he first got a call about a woman who had fallen down in front of the Green Leafe, he “assumed it was a college student who’d had too much to drink.”

Instead, he arrived at 12:45 a.m. to find Flippin — a partner at the law firm DLA Piper who was appointed to the Board of Visitors in 2010 — bloodied and straddling a chain line, car keys in hand. He said her speech was “extremely slurred” as she told him that she needed to get to the Williamsburg Lodge, which is about a mile from the Green Leafe…

After an ambulance treated her, Drozco administered the breathalyzer and took her to jail. The officer said that Flippin needed to be physically held up from falling multiple times during her processing, and that, at one point, she walked into a wall.

One drink, huh? The judge straight-up wasn’t buying it:

“In my mind, I do not believe her testimony today,” Killilea told Flippin’s lawyer, state senator Thomas Norment J.D. ’73, R-3, shortly before finding Flippin guilty. “I think she lied to the court.”

As recent Biglaw news suggests, sometimes the cover-up is worse than the crime. See also Adam Kaiser of Winston & Strawn.

Laura Flippin will appeal the ruling against her. She otherwise declined to comment to The Flat Hat.

Meanwhile, it seems like DLA Piper has a Flippin problem on its hands. It can’t be a good thing for a judge to say that one of your partners lied to the court.

But if there are any DLA partners who can get fall-down drunk after one drink, I expect to hear some interesting stories coming out of DLA this summer.

BOV Member Laura Flippin found guilty of public intoxication after judge accuses her of lying under oath
[The Flat Hat]

Earlier: DLA Piper Partner Picks A Penalty For Public Intoxication
Prior ATL coverage of Laura L. Flippin

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