Bad Ideas

For a long time, Jonathan Lee Riches reigned as Craziest Pro Se Litigant in America. But at a certain point, JLR jumped the proverbial shark. His handwritten complaints, making bizarre allegations against everyone from Michael Vick to Martha Stewart to the late Benazir Bhutto, were just too clever by half. And once he passed the 1,500 mark in lawsuits, his shtick got… old.

Fortunately we have a new favorite pro se party for you. Meet Deborah Frisch (or Deborah E. Frisch, Ph.D., as she identifies herself in court filings). Frisch appears to be something of a loon, despite her doctorate and past teaching positions at such schools as the University of Oregon and the University of Arizona. Ironically enough, or maybe not so ironically, the nutty professor teaches… psychology.

Here’s the charming opening paragraph from a document that Frisch filed last week in federal district court in Oregon:

Plaintiff shall henceforth refer to self as litigant since she is defendant, appellant or plaintiff, depending on which shyster-vermin she is dealing with. Litigant files this response to the order filed by Docket Clerk Brinn and signed by USDC-OR Magistrate Coffin deeming all pending motions… moot since the frocked cowfucker in San Francisco denied the plaintiff’s appeal.

The “frocked cowfucker” appears to be the Honorable Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit, who served on a panel that rejected a Frisch appeal. For the record, his chambers are in Pasadena, not San Francisco.

Let’s look at the rest of Frisch’s filing, shall we?

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Practice pointer: don’t refer to judges as ‘frocked cowf**kers.’

tajudeen-oladiran.jpgArizona attorney Tajudeen “Taj” Oladiran came onto our radar back in 2009, when he filed one of the craziest motions we’ve ever seen. Solo practitioner Oladiran, a former associate at Greenberg Traurig, filed a racketeering lawsuit against “Suntrust Bank and its pimps” for allegedly suckering him into predatory housing loans.

The motion that caught our eye — “Motion for a [sic] Honest and Honorable Court System” –  was filed to vent Oladiran’s frustration with the “dishonorable” Susan Bolton, whom Taj called “a brainless coward.” That would be the same Susan Bolton who, in a not-so-cowardly move, blocked part of Arizona’s controversial immigration law.

Taj ended the motion:

Finally, to Susan Bolton, we shall meet again you know where. :-)

Not only did Taj get our Motion of the Day nod with that, he earned Motion of the Year honors.

The Arizona court system was less impressed with the motion, though. There, it earned Taj a threat of disbarment…

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There’s nothing like cheating on the LSAT to start off your legal career. Sure, even if you manage to get into and graduate from law school, you’re going to have serious problems when it comes to the MPRE. Or the Character and Fitness interview. Or the “following the law” part of being a lawyer. But you know what they say: if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.

So it is for one would-be law student. The kid tried to give his career a jump start by hiring someone else to take the LSAT is his place. And, even more stupidly, he posted his request for an “LSAT Stand-In” on Craigslist.

Of course, now that we’ve contacted him about the “questionable ethics” of his Craigslist post, he claims that it was all a joke. We’ve heard that before.

Let’s take a look at the ad, and you can decide for yourself what to make of it.

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We’ve come a long way from the days when federal courts issued orders banning racial discrimination. Now federal judges hand down orders mandating, or at least encouraging, race-based discrimination.

As reported in the American Lawyer, earlier this week Judge Harold Baer (S.D.N.Y.) issued an unusual order. On Monday, Judge Baer directed two firms serving as lead counsel in a securities class action to “make every effort” to staff the case with at least one minority and one woman:

ORDERED that Co-Lead Counsel, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP and Labaton Sucharow LLP, shall make every effort to assign to this matter at least one minority lawyer and one woman lawyer with requisite experience….

If federal judges can run school districts and prison systems, law firms should be a piece of cake, right?

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Self-awareness: it’s a really important character trait. As you go about your day, your life, and your life’s work, it’s important to have an understanding of who you are and how you are perceived.

But what if your self-perception is grossly misaligned with objective reality? Well, then things could get tricky. You might make a mistake like perceiving yourself as sober when you are really drunk. Or perceiving that you are just drunk-driving down the West Side Highway when you are really drunk-driving while black down the West Side Highway.

Luckily, not all “self-awareness v. reality” conflicts result in serious consequences. For instance, if your self-perception doesn’t match reality while you are enrolled at New York Law School — well, then that’s just going to be hilarious.

As exhibit A, I present a Craigslist ad posted by a current 2L at NYLS. She’s looking for an unpaid intern to help her out with “things I need to do.” In return, she offers the great experience of learning about the law and about law school — secondhand, of course — from a prestigious NYLS student.

Nope, I’m not making this all up. But don’t worry, once you get a look at her picture, everything will make sense…

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Feast your eyes on 'The Prize.'

Thanks to the internet, your memory is probably getting worse. But surely you remember our recent Lawyer of the Day honoree, District Attorney Kenneth Kratz of Calumet County, Wisconsin.

A domestic violence victim who turned to Kratz’s office for help claims that the DA sexually harassed her via numerous text messages, trying to convince her to have an affair with him. One of his texts read, in pertinent part, “I’m the atty. I have the $350,000 house. I have the 6-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize!”

(Someone should put that on a t-shirt: “You may be hot, but I am the prize!”)

Alas, the recipient of Kratz’s “I am the prize” text may not be the only woman he harassed. Two other women have come forward with allegations against the district attorney — and one of them claims Kratz has some weird ideas about what constitutes a fun date….

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Does He See Dead People — On a Date?”

Would you want your lawyer to do everything in his power to zealously represent you during your trial? What if doing all he can involves snorting a line during your trial?

Hey, don’t be too quick to judge. Coke heads tend to be alert and aggressive — and those are good qualities for a trial lawyer to have. And I don’t know about you, but one of the things I always tell my lawyer upon the first meeting is: “Look buddy, you handle your detox issues on your own time. When you’re billing me, I want you on whatever drug cocktail you need to be at your best.”

Of course, not all clients are as self-interested as I am. And most court officers also have ridiculous “standards” about “drug use in the courthouse.” Sheesh.

So, unfortunately, a Minnesota lawyer is going to have to spend two days in the pokey for his illicit trial prep skills…

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Everyone thinks of Midwesterners as so wholesome. Perhaps this perception is unfounded.

For example, why are Wisconsin lawyers so darn horny? First there were the Biglaw Bad Boys, accused of sexual assault. Now we’re hearing about a government lawyer — an elected district attorney, in fact — who apparently let his libido get the best of him.

Here’s the story: Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz sent a flurry of text messages to a woman, 30 texts over three days, in an effort to start up an affair with her. The woman, who described Kratz’s harassing texts as putting her through “three days of hell,” was a victim of domestic abuse. Kratz met the woman in course of prosecuting her ex-boyfriend for the violence against her.

OMG. Legal ethics FAIL.

And some of Kratz’s texts are simply 2M2H. Read on, and prepare for the LULZ….

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Any of you guys want a job at the law school?

If I reported that Duke Law School was turning to Craigslist to find its next dean, the U.S. News people would issue “revised” rankings to knock Duke out of the top tier. Heck, if I told you that Duke Law was looking for a new 1L contracts professor on Craigslist, at the very least that report would be met with widespread ridicule.

Of course, Duke would never grab a new dean off of Craigslist. Deans are in charge of making the law school money, and there’s no way Duke would rely on Craigslist, even in part, to fill that responsibility. And picking up a law professor off of Craigslist would make the school look intellectually weak, so there’s little chance of that ever happening either.

But when it comes to providing services that Duke Law students actually need — well, then Duke is just fine leaving the professional futures of its students in the hands of whomever Duke can find hanging out on the CL….

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Ed. note: This post is by “The Gobbler,” one of the two writers under consideration to join Morning Dockette as a Morning Docket writer. As always, we welcome your thoughts in the comments.

Lawyers tend to define their careers by numbers (school rank, class rank, firm rank) – at least when the numbers are to their liking. Unfortunately for Larry Joe Davis, he does not have a good number (a 3.7 out of 10). He is angry about it and, like any good American, expressed his anger in the form of a lawsuit. Larry Joe’s rambling 21-page complaint, which he of course filed pro se, makes him the latest of several plaintiffs to take a shot at Avvo, the Zagat-esque rating website for the legal industry. I haven’t read the other complaints, but I’m still sure his is the worst of the group.

It reads like a Jack Kerouac novel, jumping around and running together, making it harder to follow than a screenplay-style blog post. The two main points seem to be that Avvo has a “routine business practice of publishing false and misleading information regarding attorneys” and that it coerces attorney participation via a “join-us-and-fix-it-or-else strategy” that “approaches actionable blackmail.” In other words, Larry Joe doesn’t like what’s on his profile and can’t figure out how to change it. His Internet ineptitude seems far-fetched at first, but given his statement in the complaint that web searching is a “new field,” maybe he really can’t figure it out.

So what “misleading information” is making Mr. Davis one of the mad ones?

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