Lunacy

Alison Maynard Allison Maynard Sunny Maynard Alison Sunny Maynard Above the Law blog.gifWhen we wrote about her amusing court filing earlier today, we redacted her name. But since she has shown that she has no problem with being identified, even going so far as to comment on our prior post, we’re happy to shout her name from the blogospheric rooftops: ALISON MAYNARD.
Alison Maynard, who ran unsuccessfully for Colorado Attorney General as a Green Party candidate, is known in some circles as “Sunny” Maynard. And with her hilarious motion, Sunny Maynard has brightened the days of thousands of lawyers around the country.
This is why we’re naming her our Lawyer of the Day. Congratulations, Ms. Maynard!
For those of you who didn’t read our prior post, here’s the relevant excerpt from Maynard’s motion:
inebriation 2 excusable neglect drink drunk drinking motion Alison Maynard Allison Maynard Above the Law blog.JPG
In the hours since we posted it, we’ve been bombarded by several lengthy email screeds from Maynard. Because most of them contained the words “water rights” and “bill of costs,” they were initially banished to the “Boring Stuff” subfolder of our “Junk Mail” folder.
But we dutifully rescued them, and we even read them. Some excerpts, as well as links with biographical information about Alison Maynard, appear after the jump.

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* Domenici asked for ousting of New Mexico U.S. Attorney. [New York Times via How Appealing]
* Descendants of ex-slaves not welcome in Cherokee Nation. [Jurist]
* Prosecutors decide to pass on attempted murder charge for astronaut in kidnapping case; CNN decides to use a more flattering picture. [CNN; compare with CNN (2/05/07)]
* And speaking of unflattering pictures… [CNN]
* Breyer to appear on NPR “comedy” show. [AP via Yahoo!]
Update: In case you were hoping to attend the “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” taping, you should note that it has been pushed back by a week.

Patek Philippe watch timepiece Above the Law.JPGWe sure do love pro se litigants. Like the guy who filed this notice of appeal. Or the loon who filed this lawsuit against Arm & Hammer. And, of course, there’s Aaron Charney (although he now has counsel).
Today we introduce you to Michael Melnitzky, who served as the principal art conservator at Sotheby’s for almost three decades. From the NYT:

[W]hen his wife filed for divorce in 1994, Mr. Melnitzky became something else: a litigator. A prolific one. And although he has no law degree and only himself as a client, he has never been busier.

Through a series of self-fashioned lawsuits and appeals, issues that might have been settled with his divorce have gone on for 13 years, 3 years longer than his marriage.

He has sued virtually everyone involved: one of his former lawyers, his wife’s lawyer, three banks, five judges and a psychiatrist appointed by the court to evaluate his mental health. In unrelated cases, he has sued a neighbor, a thrift shop, the city and his former employer. And he has almost always lost.

Unlike so many pro se litigants, Melnitzky is neither incarcerated nor impecunious. But in terms of his psychology, he fits the pro se profile:

At a recent hearing, an opposing lawyer called him a “serial litigator” who was turning the legal system into a “hobby” at the expense of the people he sued.

Mr. Melnitzky takes exception to such characterizations, as he does to the mention of obsession.

“It’s not an obsession; it’s a cause,” he said. “Would you call the fight against Nazis an obsession?”

Melnitzky is a Holocaust survivor. But despite that fact, we respectfully question whether it’s appropriate to compare the worldwide struggle against Fascism and genocide to litigation over a watch collection (even a very nice one — it includes timepieces by Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin).
The Marriage Lasted 10 Years. The Lawsuits? 13 Years, and Counting. [New York Times]


glock gun Above the Law Above the Law handgun Above the Law.jpgLaw school can be stressful. Very stressful. Sometimes people crack under the pressure.
Several tipsters directed our attention to this unusual story:

A University of Pennsylvania law student couldn’t shake his paranoid suspicion that his two neighbors, Drexel University graduate students, were foreign spies sent to work on some sort of a terrorism plot, police said.

His anger-laced curiosity grew after he approached the roommates, both Indian-born bio-engineering majors, during a seemingly friendly conversation yesterday morning….

At about 12:30 p.m, the 31-year-old Korean-American law student returned home, took out his legal Glock-9, and knocked on his neighbors’ front door.

The 22-year-old Drexel student, the only one inside, ignored the pounding. The Penn student’s anger exploded as he fired about 15 shots into the apartment’s door, three of which sliced through the door’s lock.

The wannabe lawyer, whose name wasn’t released, left the building as the graduate student hid in a bedroom, police said.

“It is a strange case,” said Lt. John Walker..

You can say that again. Here’s are quotes from two area students:

“Spies – that is out of left field. Spies in West Philly – that is ridiculous.”

“You’d think a law student would be smarter than that.”

Indeed. A serious law student wouldn’t mess up his stereotypes. It’s the Arabs who are plotting to kill us all, not the Indians.
(The Penn Law student’s name will become a matter of public record upon his arraignment. But perhaps it will emerge in the comments to this post before that time…)
P.S. Jeez, running a blog aimed at lawyers can suck sometimes. Lawyers are critical by training and serious by disposition (for the most part). We are therefore compelled to issue the following disclaimers:

1. Please do not take offense at the title of this post. It cannot be denied that (a) many South Asians own convenience stores and (b) many are held up at gunpoint. Pointing this out is no more offensive than the character of “Apu” on the Simpsons.

2. The sentence about getting stereotypes straight is tongue-in-cheek. We are NOT saying that Arab-Americans are terrorists, etc.

3. Please do not write to us to point out that the Penn law student in question is probably mentally ill, that mental illness is no laughing matter etc. We know. If you want to have a pissing contest with us over sensitivity to mental illness, bring it.

Student shoots at ‘spies’ [Philadelphia Daily News]
Law student arrested for firing at neighbors [Daily Pennsylvanian]

WSJ Law Blog Peter Lattman Above the Law.jpgThe Justice Department’s Shanetta Cutlar isn’t the only idiosyncratic manager in the legal profession. The WSJ Law Blog offers up some interesting blind items about bosses from hell challenging supervisors in the world of private practice.
From the main post:

[Wall Street Journal columnist Carol Hymowitz] interviewed Gary Hayes, a psychologist and consultant, who says he worked with a New York law firm where a senior partner flung heavy law books across the room at an associate.

“The associate told me it was all right since the partner intentionally threw to miss — not hit him,” says Hayes. “But the associate soon moved to another firm.”

It’s okay to hurl F.3ds at your underlings, as long as you have crappy aim.
And from the comments:

“In the eighties there was a story making the rounds about a partner at a major firm (yes I do know which one) who punctuated a heated discussion by ripping a telephone out of the wall and flinging it across the room at another partner. Does partner v. partner mean it’s ok?”

“There is a certain partner at a certain well-known firm who is reputed to have hit her secretary in the head with a phone.”

“It just happened to me on Monday. A partner started yelling at me, reaching a high-pitched crescendo, because I handed him a photocopy of the wrong e-mail in an informal discussion. I almost started laughing, which infuriated him even more. The guy was on the verge of a stroke. I pity the man. He is a punishment to himself.”

If you’d like to enlighten us about these blind items, or speculate as to the individuals involved, you may do so — at your own risk — in the comments.
We will remind you, as we’ve done before, that under Section 230, YOU are responsible for any defamatory comments you post. We are providing the forum for discussion, but YOU are the speaker or publisher of your own remarks.
(And only YOU can prevent forest fires.)
The Scream [WSJ Law Blog]

Shanetta Cutlar Above the Law Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section Above the Law.jpgAmidst all of the hoopla over associate pay raises and Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell, some of you have requested updates about Shanetta Y. Cutlar. We’re happy to report that we have some new material for you.
(For those of you who are new to ATL, Shanetta Cutlar is the deliciously imperious, ruler-wielding diva who heads the Special Litigation Section, in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. To get a sense of Shanetta Cutlar, in case you haven’t read our prior coverage of her, see here, here, or here.)
We hope that Shanetta Cutlar has been pleased by our coverage of her — ’cause if she’s not, she might put a curse on us. Here’s the latest tip about her:

Those who worship together, work together. Principal Deputy Tammie Gregg, who was promoted by Shanetta, as well as the Supervisor of the Investigators, whom Shanetta refers to as her “spiritual advisor,” all attend the same Church. Both were promoted over others more experienced than they, and obviously for their personal connection to Shanetta.

Shanetta is very superstitious. She had her office “excised” of evil spirits and ill will toward her, as evidenced by the cross etched faintly, in some sort of oil, on the upper right hand corner of her door. Most recently, an escapee [from the Section] said she told them that she was “gathering her protections.”

“Gathering her protections”? Boy are we f***ed.
(But not as much as Ty Clevenger, the whistleblower who first brought Shanetta Cutlar to the public eye. We hear that Shanetta has a voodoo doll of him in her desk drawer, which she abuses regularly with a staple gun.)
Earlier: Prior coverage of the Special Litigation Section under Shanetta Cutlar (scroll down)

Naomi Campbell 2 Above the Law Legal Tabloid nude naked pics photos.GIFWe loooove successful, strong, African-American females. Like the Justice Department’s Shanetta Cutlar, who demands respect from everyone who works for her. Or supermodel Naomi Campbell, who similarly doesn’t take s*** from underlings — even if it requires hurling the occasional cellphone in their direction.
Here’s a report on the latest Naomi Campbell assault case. From the AP:

Naomi Campbell pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault Tuesday for hitting her maid with a cell phone over a pair of missing jeans.

“I threw a cell phone in the apartment. The cell phone hit Ana,” Campbell told Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Robert Mandelbaum. “This was an accident because I did not intend to hit her.”

Perjury, anyone? Eh, whatever.

Campbell, 36, hit Ana Scolavino in the back of the head with the phone in the supermodel’s Manhattan apartment last March. Scolavino was treated for a head injury.

In exchange for her guilty plea, Campbell must pay Scolavino’s medical expenses of $363, do five days of community service and attend a two-day anger management program.

Community service? Here’s our suggestion. Place Naomi Campbell inside a dunking booth. For a fee, a player gets to throw a cell phone at a target. If the cell phone hits the target, SPLASH! Into the water she goes.
Proceeds from the Naomi Campbell Dunk Tank will go to an appropriate charity (e.g., an organization for battered women). Great idea, eh?
Naomi Campbell Pleads Guilty to Assault [Associated Press]
Earlier: Naomi Campbell: Supermodel or “Superbigot”?

William Rehnquist William H Rehnquist William Hubbs Rehnquist Chief Justice Above the Law.jpgWe’re reading Tony Mauro’s super-juicy article as fast as we can. Highlights and discussion will follow shortly.
Okay, we’re done. Here are some excerpts:

The late Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s Senate confirmation battles in 1971 and 1986 were more intense and political than previously known, according to a newly released FBI file that also offers dramatic new details about Rehnquist’s 1981 hospitalization and dependence on a painkiller….

In July 1986, when President Ronald Reagan nominated Rehnquist to be chief justice, the Justice Department asked the FBI to interview witnesses who were preparing to testify that Rehnquist had intimidated minority voters as a Republican Party official in Arizona in the early 1960s. According to a memo in the Rehnquist file, an unnamed FBI official cautioned that the department “should be sensitive to the possibility that Democrats could charge the Republicans of misusing the FBI and intimidating the Democrats’ witnesses.” But then-Assistant Attorney General John Bolton — who more recently served as ambassador to the United Nations — signed off on the request and said he would “accept responsibility should concerns be raised about the role of the FBI.” It is unclear whether the FBI ever interviewed the witnesses.

John Bolton? That guy is everywhere! Did he have the walrus moustache back then?
More discussion — including tales of Rehnquist’s “bizarre ideas and outrageous thoughts,” his paranoia that the CIA was out to get him, and his attempt to escape from a hospital while in pajamas — after the jump.

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Elmo Tickle Me Elmo.jpgIf you enjoyed the Best Notice of Appeal Ever, as well as the complaint in Ward v. Arm & Hammer, you’ll enjoy our latest pro se filing, too.
It’s an interesting challenge to jurisdiction, filed by a fellow who legally changed his name to Elmo Fred; Griffiths. (Yes, the semicolon is legally part of his name.) The case is a guardianship proceeding for Griffiths’s mother, Ruth Griffiths, brought by one of Elmo’s siblings.
Here’s the first page:
Elmo Fred Griffiths 1.jpeg
And there’s more. The rest of the document appears after the jump.

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Jesus freak Above the Law.jpgWe have a weakness for the ridiculous and bizarre. So we’re finding ourselves quite taken with all these tales of law school library strangeness.
Here’s an update on yesterday’s item about the “attorney general of the United States,” at the Emory Law School library:

The “attorney general” was a homeless guy that wandered around the whole law school. I was studying in the main common area when he asked me if there were any professors who would be interested in the “largest federal lawsuit ever filed.” He also asked me to vouch for him if security came looking for him.

Apparently he had already done his shtick in the library and was chased out by the librarians. The library was locked, and students needed to swipe their ID card to get in, so a fellow student must have let him in.

I dispatched him to the floor that contained the faculty offices (and was nicely contained). Security was informed. He was discovered changing his clothes, then was escorted off the premises. Nice guy, just a little… err, very creepy.

We’re glad Emory security can tell the difference between homeless people and law professors. Given the similarities — disheveled, smelly, given to wearing ratty sports coats, talking to themselves — it’s only a matter of time before a mistake gets made.
(Oh, and speaking of homeless people…)
Earlier: What Is Up With Law School Libraries These Days?
Breaking: Mystery Smell Hits NYU Law Library!!!

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