It’s so refreshing when the filings and correspondence in celebrity lawsuits live up to personalities involved. So it’s a tremendous joy when a bombastic and confrontational figure has a lawyer willing to colorfully snark up a settlement offer… and then let that letter leak so we can all revel in it.
In this case, the litigant is retired former All-Star Jack Clark, who is being sued by the still-active, but nonetheless also former All-Star Albert Pujols, after Clark repeatedly and publicly accused Pujols of using steroids. How much of a career dick is Jack Clark? His Wikipedia entry uses the words “rift,” “feuded,” and “enjoyed playing for manager Billy Martin.”
In any event, Clark’s lawyer endeavored to make a settlement offer worthy of his client and produced an enjoyable read for all involved. So let’s take a look at what Clark offered Albert Pujols, if that is his real name….
Which, in fact, it’s not. Pujols is really “Jose Alberto Pujols Alcantara,” and his attorneys refer to him as “Mr. Alcantara” in filings. This is the first bur in the saddle of Clark’s lawyer, Albert S. Watkins.
I am somewhat concerned, however, about the designation in the style of your Petition of the Plaintiff as Mr. Alcantara while in the text of your Petition you never reference Mr. Alcantara. In anticipation of your eye rolling expression of disgust at my raising the issue, I would like to confirm that I have indeed noted the designation in the style of your Petition that Mr. Alcantara is “better known as Albert Pujols.” Unlike, “formerly kown as,” the “better known as” designation is not a legally recognized term of art in the circuit courts in the Gateway to the West. While not fatally defective if the text of the Petition clarifies as a matter of record that Mr. Alcantara will prospectively be designated and referred to as “Albert Pujols,” it is a matter of import in the world of pleadings construction.
Without intending to further digress (but being regretfully compelled to do so), my name is Albert, not Alberto. One of your client’s many legal names appears to be Alberto. However, in the text of your Petition, you refer to him as “Albert.” While in the Dominican Republic, whence I understand Mr. Alcantara hails, I met a Dominican citizen named Albert. He did not respond to the moniker Alberto. I also met a Dominican citizen named Alberto. He did not respond to the moniker Albert. The nuances of names in Latin America can indeed be interesting. To avoid future confusion on any level, and with a tip of the hat to Mr. Simon of Simon and Garfunkel fame of yesteryear, Martin, when you call me, you can call me Al.
I stand corrected: Clark’s lawyer is Al S. Watkins. By, “Martin,” Al is referring to famed celebrity lawyer Martin Singer, who represents Pujols.
Watkins has some issues with a lot of the terms used by his opposite number, including “juicing” and “performance enhancing drugs.” And all of these issues are dealt with using the same entertaining, if totally disingenuous, nit-picking:
A similar issue arises out of your use of the three words, “performance enhancing drugs.” Without in any way intending to belittle the importance of erectile dysfunction to those who, regularly or from time to time, suffer from the frustration associated with “taking batting practice with a rope”, but Viagra™ is considered by a whole lot of folks to be a performance enhancing drug. For that matter, Ben Gay™ may be considered a performance enhancing drug. Perhaps I am speaking out of turn, but I would strongly discourage the concurrent use of both Viagra™ and Ben Gay™. Again, I digress. That being said, kindly consider this a request that you define as a matter of court record specifically those drugs that you consider encompassed by your use of the three words, “performance enhancing drugs.”
That is good advice. This, on the other hand, is really depressing advice:
But I am compelled to point out that odds tremendously favor Mr. Alcantara paying your firm (and your St. Louis based counter-parts/collegaues) more in legal fees prior to his deposition being taken than one could ever hope in one’s wildest and wettest of dreams to procure through post-judgment execution efforts directed at seizing or procuring assets of Mr. Clark. I remember my father telling me as we walked stoically from the graveside of my then recently buried maternal grandfather, “son, we are simply on this earth killing time between funerals.”
Note that he carried us seamlessly from wet dreams to his grandmother’s funeral to the most depressing life philosophy since Sartre in the span of two sentences. Alice Munro should return that award immediately, because we have a more deserving winner.
Ultimately, Watkins offers a settlement structured around dual-polygraph tests for the litigants, with the result that:
(g) If Mr. Clark is found to be deceptive and Mr. Alcantara is found to not be deceptive, Mr. Clark will climb to the highest mount in a loin cloth (read: issue a public statement) fully retracting all objectionable statements, apologizing to the world, and promising never to prospectively cast Mr. Alcantara in any disparaging light to dispose of the case;
(h) If Mr. Pujols is found to be deceptive and Mr. Clark is found to not be deceptive, your underlying Petition will be dismissed, with prejudice, and your client will issue a public statement apologizing to Mr. Clark;
(i) If both Mr. Pujols and Mr. Clark are found to be deceptive, your Petition gets dismissed, again with prejudice, and neither party needs to apologize to the other.
Since the person that Clark claims told him that Pujols was juicing also swears that he hasn’t spoken to Clark in a decade, I’ll just advise Clark to start looking for a good Sherpa just in case these tests don’t work out for him.
If you want to read the whole letter — and you do — complete with references to Jack LaLanne and a recommendation for the best Italian restaurant in the Dominican Republic, it’s reproduced on the next page.