The record should reflect that you keep interrupting me, Your Honor.
“It should be clear by now that this court’s focus has shifted from protecting intellectual property rights to attorney misconduct.” — U.S. District Judge Otis Wright
John Steele, the lawyer who told me he’d made “millions” going after people who illegally download pornographic movies, is experiencing some legal trouble of his own. A district judge in Los Angeles has questions about the way in which Steele and his colleagues have conducted their litigation. Ars Technica and Popehat have been providing detailed (and often gleeful) coverage of a series of hearings that may lead to the unraveling of hundreds of lawsuits filed by Steele and his colleagues at Prenda Law against alleged XXX-movie lovers whose IP addresses were caught downloading the films online.
Steele and his colleagues have been pursuing “John Does” who download XXX films without paying for them for copyright violations. When I interviewed him last year, he told me he had filed over 350 of these suits, and that he was at that time suing approximately 20,000 people. The tactic is similar to the one employed by the recording industry years ago, but where RIAA wanted to scare people out of illegal downloads by getting massive, scary judgments in highly publicized cases against individual Napster users, Steele and the lawyers like him are content to get relatively small settlements — deal letters often ask for $3000 or so — from individuals who pay up quietly to avoid being named in public court filings for allegedly watching a film such as “Illegal Ass 2.”
But now Steele and his firm are starting to run into serious problems.
- Attorney Misconduct, Judge of the Day, Legal Ethics, Sex, Sex Scandals, State Judges, State Judges Are Clowns
You must remember Judge Wade McCree. Not only is he the son of the first African-American to be appointed to the Sixth Circuit, but he’s also the man who sent sext messages to his bailiff and had an affair with one of the litigants who appeared before him while he was on the bench. Note that we’re no longer using the word “allegedly” in that sentence.
We now know for sure that McCree — who’s been referred to as Judge McCreep since the media caught wind of his sexual derring-do — was getting down and dirty with the woman who he claimed had been stalking and extorting him, the same woman who shouted from the rooftops that she’d banged McCree’s gavel “[o]n his desk, in the chair, the couch, you name it.”
We know with relative certainty that McCree did all of these things because he just admitted it all in his response to the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission’s (MJTC) formal complaint.
Let’s see if he’s got any “shame in [his] game” now….
- Attorney Misconduct, Boutique Law Firms, Federal Judges, Lawyer of the Day, Legal Ethics, Legal Fee Voyeurism, Litigators, Plaintiffs Firms, Small Law Firms
Has the “master of disaster” been mastered by disaster? Has a class-action king been stripped of his crown?
It would seem so. One of the nation’s most famous and successful plaintiffs’ lawyers, Stanley M. Chesley, just got disbarred.
Cue the schadenfreude. We heard about the news from numerous tipsters. “Time to downgrade your Maybach and jet,” gloated one.
So what got this high-flying class-action lawyer grounded? Hint: it’s all about the benjamins….
- Attorney Misconduct, Bankruptcy, Biglaw, Constitutional Law, Facebook, Federal Judges, Guns / Firearms, Insider Trading, Morning Docket, Partner Issues, Partner Profits, SCOTUS, Supreme Court
* If you’re looking for an easy résumé line, then consider joining the Supreme Court bar, an elite organization that doesn’t check to see if its members are still alive. All you need is three years of practice, two signatures, and $200. [Associated Press]
* Stanley Chesley, the master of disaster himself, was disbarred for his “shocking and reprehensible” conduct in a fen-phen case. His wife, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott of the Southern District of Ohio, must be oh so pleased. [Courier-Journal]
* Howrey like dem apples now? Some of Howrey’s former partners, including ex-chairman Robert Ryuak, all lined up to make deals to delay lawsuits from the firm’s bankruptcy trustee, Allan Diamond. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* This Biglaw firm’s future was just a little bit dimmer in 2012, with a 4.9 percent dip in profits per equity partner. This is unexpected from Milbank, a number 3 seed in our March Madness competition. [Am Law Daily]
* The NRA’s New York affiliate filed suit challenging the state’s new gun laws, claiming that a ban on assault weapons violates the Second Amendment — because this is clearly what the founders intended. [Reuters]
* Raj Rajaratnam’s younger brother, Rengan Rajaratnam, was indicted yesterday in a federal insider-trading scheme tied to the Galleon case. You can’t fault the guy, he was just trying to keep it in the family. [Bloomberg]
* Sorry, Dean Boland, but you’re not going anywhere. A judge denied the attorney’s request to withdraw from Paul Ceglia’s Facebook case. He must be wishing there were a dislike button now. [Law 360 (sub. req.)]
- American Bar Association / ABA, Attorney Misconduct, Crime, Crowell & Moring, Federal Government, Law Schools, LSAT, Money, Morning Docket, Texas
* The Senate approved a bill that will keep the government running through September, and it will likely pass in the House, but much of the sequester is still in place. I think we’re supposed to be excited about this. Uh… yay? [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]
* Douglas Arnsten, the former Crowell & Moring associate who embezzled $10.7M in client funds and spent it at fancy restaurants and strip clubs, has been officially disbarred in New York. But he was just trying to support single moms. Sigh. [Am Law Daily]
* Sorry, folks, but you’re going to have to continue taking the LSAT in order to get into law school because the ABA says so. Drop that $118 into the burgeoning money pit that is law school, stat! [National Law Journal]
* For all of that work allegedly spent trying to protect their yield rate, UVA Law didn’t even make the Top 10 list of the most popular schools. You might be surprised at some of the schools here. [U.S. News & World Report]
* You must remember that time when the University of Texas Law School Foundation authorized $5.5M in forgivable loans to faculty. Well, now the regents are calling for a probe. Yikes! [San Antonio Express-News]
- Attorney Misconduct, Crime, Drugs, Legal Ethics, Murder, New Jersey, Paul Bergrin, Trials, U.S. Attorneys Offices
Bergrin was first arrested back in 2009. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey, where Bergrin once worked before becoming a defense lawyer, brought him to trial. That trial, which took place in 2011, ended with a hung jury. Some time was taken up with appellate machinations (in which the U.S. Attorney’s Office prevailed).
A new trial, before a different district judge, got underway this January. And today justice finally caught up with the man that New York magazine famously dubbed “the baddest lawyer in the history of Jersey”….
It’s not really fair to use the moniker “Judge of the Day” for Judge Wade McCree. With his third appearance in a “Judge of the Day” feature, he’s crossing into Judge of the Decade status.
After sending a compromising picture to a married bailiff and allegedly hooking up with and impregnating a litigant in his courtroom, the state of Michigan has filed a formal complaint against McCree. What’s wrong with Michigan, by the way?
The 21-count complaint includes a number of new allegations against McCree….
Under the American criminal justice system all individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
– Thomas L. Edwards, a Florida lawyer who handles DUI defense, offering comment on his recent legal wranglings. Edwards was criminally charged this weekend in an alleged drunken hit-and-run accident, and a banner ad for his law firm appeared on the same page as his mug shot.
- Attorney Misconduct, California, Law Professors, Law Schools, Legal Ethics, Sex, Sex Scandals, State Judges, State Judges Are Clowns
The job market sure is rough right now, but the blow job market is an entirely different playing field. If you really want to be counted as one of those employed nine months after graduation, you’ve got to to put up or shut up — or in this case, put out or get out.
It seems that Scott Steiner, a California judge and adjunct law professor at Chapman University School of Law, allegedly decided to trade sex for job placement opportunities. The woman whom he allegedly entered into an affair with eventually landed a position with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the place where he used to work. Steiner used to work in the DA’s Gang Unit, but given the allegations here, the good judge may as well have worked in the Gang Bang Unit.
Oh, and we should probably mention that this woman may have been a law student….