Defamation

Last summer, we brought you a tale about some mom-and-dad law grads who had been accused of planting a potpourri of drugs and drug paraphernalia in a school aide’s car for her apparent failure to “properly supervise” their child. At the time, Kent Wycliffe Easter (UCLA Law ’98) and Jill Bjorkholm Easter (Boalt Hall ’98) were charged with conspiracy to procure a false arrest, false imprisonment, and conspiracy to falsely report a crime.

The pair later pleaded not guilty, but were indicted for those crimes in October. A fact that hasn’t been trumpeted from the rooftops — perhaps it wasn’t salacious enough? — is that according to court records, the complaint against the Easters was dismissed in November.

UPDATE (6/26/2013): But note that the grand jury indictment is still pending.

Kent and Jill Easter are understandably upset after having been dragged through the mud for so long, regardless of the fact they’re still under indictment. And so, like any lawyer would do, the Easters are now suing several parties for defamation….

Please note the UPDATES throughout this post.

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* Congratulations to Sri Srinivasan on his unanimous confirmation to the D.C. Circuit. Fun Fact: Sri Srinivasan played high school basketball on the same team as Danny Manning. No joke there, it’s just a random fun fact I know about him. [USA Today]

* Should health care cover sex for people with disabilities? Sure, but spring for the Cadillac plan so you don’t get stuck with Helen Hunt. [PrawfsBlawg]

* The federal government has almost $5 billion invested in law schools. That’s around 4.4% of the total federal investment in higher education. So screw you future microbiologist, we need moar lawyerz! [Law School Cafe]

* Skadden covertly recruited its lawyers and staff best versed in Star Wars to sort through the intellectual property rights to 209 characters to make sure Disney successfully acquired the proper rights for every core character. If they had any decency they’d just let Jar Jar go. [Hollywood Reporter via ABA Journal]

* Law school to reconsider applicant it dinged the first time around. As Paul Caron notes, “Money quote from Dean: ‘we wanted to make sure that we weren’t taking advantage of them.’” How magnanimous of you to reconsider taking their money. [Tax Prof Blog]

* Judges manipulated the system to promote a vendor they personally operated on the State’s time. That’s one way to pad that judicial salary. [Washington Times]

* Kirkland and Ellis associate Roy Cho is mulling a run for Congress in New Jersey. It’s not official yet, but he has set up a campaign-ready Twitter account, and in politics that’s like changing to “In a Relationship” on Facebook. [NJ Herald]

* Zachary Cohn, age 6, drowned after becoming entrapped in the drain of his family’s swimming pool. The Connecticut Superior Court recently finalized a combined settlement of $40 million to Zac’s estate. Now his parents have taken all of the net proceeds from the case to establish The ZAC Foundation to tackle the nationwide issue of pool suction entrapment in private and public pools and to improve overall water safety. [Daily Business Review]

* The gender and age discrimination suit between Pat Martone and Ropes & Gray settled. [Thompson Reuters News & Insight]

* The Times Publishing House is suing a 22-year-old law student for defamation. A newspaper suing a new media reporter with the very laws that land them constantly in court? *Cuts off nose to spite face* [Spicy IP India]

So what got that Wake Forest law student mad enough that he started calling for Wake’s accreditation?

To briefly recap, a Wake law student, Daniel Skinner, filed a defamation suit against Wake and several Wake officials over a letter he received suggesting that he’s quick to accuse folks of fraud and deceit.

Underlying this dispute is Skinner’s claim that Wake failed to meet basic accreditation standards and therefore defrauded the ABA and the federal government.

The details of this claim weren’t clear from the complaint and Skinner’s personal blog. But thankfully some folks have stepped up and provided us with more material Skinner has sent around explaining his beef with Wake Forest. So in the interest of full disclosure, let’s take a look at Skinner’s side of this story…

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Law schools have been sued before. Often, we here at ATL, applaud those efforts. It’s a David and Goliath undertaking to bring a school literally filled with lawyers to court.

But this lawsuit has a little less “heroic struggle” to it. Suing because a dean accused you of being too quick to accuse others of acting in bad faith? Maybe he hasn’t taken torts yet, because truth is a defense…

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* Joseph Rakofsky has lost his case against, well basically everyone. Including ATL. [Popehat]

* EDNY Judge Edward Korman is earning accolades for his sassiness. [Jezebel]

* The Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Monsanto case. Reading the decision is not exhausting. Get it? [Patently-O]

* Happy Mother’s Day from Kobe Bryant! Black Mamba takes his mom to court. [Legal Blitz]

* Sammy Hagar can’t be held liable for defaming a woman. He also can’t drive 55. [Courthouse News Service]

* Stealing $100 worth of cigarettes may seem crazy, but $100 worth of cigarettes in Texas would net something like $480,000 in New York City. [Legal Juice]

* Intellectual property run amok. And it doesn’t involve Prenda in any way! [Dealbreaker]

* As we reported before, being a divorce lawyer is not just for nailing your clients anymore. [Jezebel]

* Texas law student/international small-arms dealer Cody Wilson got shot down (pun!) days after revealing a fully security-proof 3D printable gun. The State Department pointed out that Wilson seems to be violating all manner of international arms agreements, which was pretty obvious when he went on video boasting about how his weapons were being used in hotbeds of civil strife. [Foreign Policy: Passport]

* The Juice may soon be loose! But probably not. O.J. Simpson has a hearing seeking a new trial in Las Vegas and blaming his former lawyer, Yale Galanter. Best part? Simpson claims Galanter approved the whole “armed, threatening confrontation” plan beforehand. Oops. [FOX News]

* Michael Arrington, a lawyer and “one of the most powerful people on the Internet,” is suing his ex-girlfriend for defamation. The complaint compiles some pretty salacious claims that she made via social media. [Valleywag]

* Just when you thought being an unpaid intern couldn’t be sadder, Judge Baer makes it sadder. [Fashionista]

* The “Thug’s Lawyer” got a reprieve when a judge tossed his indictment for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, theft, and perjury. [The Advocate]

* The EEOC filed suit against a Miami company that required its employees to become Scientologists. In other news, someone actually thought they could get away with making all their employees join the Church of Scientology. [Lowering the Bar]

* The history of the Madison Avenue IPOs alluded to in last week’s Mad Men. [DealBook]

Juan Monteverde and Alexandra Marchuk

For connoisseurs of salacious suits, Marchuk v. Faruqi & Faruqi is the gift that keeps on giving. First Alexandra Marchuk, a young lawyer and recent Vanderbilt Law graduate, sued the Faruqi firm, claiming that she was subjected to relentless sexual harassment during the short time that she worked there. Then the Faruqis and partner Juan Monteverde fired back, filing aggressive counterclaims against Marchuk.

Marchuk isn’t taking these claims lying down. She has amended her complaint to add new causes of action and to increase her multimillion-dollar demand….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Can This Litigation Get Any Uglier? Alexandra Marchuk Amends Her Complaint Against Faruqi & Faruqi”

* Earlier this week, after some political wrangling, Senator Chuck Grassley proposed the Court Efficiency Act in the hope of paring down the D.C. Circuit. But really, come on, what are the odds of that happening… again? [National Law Journal]

* Biglaw partners, rejoice, for it seems that your legal secretaries will be unable to sue you for defamation over emails written to your wives. Spousal privilege, baby! (N.B. This doesn’t apply to your girlfriends.) [New York Law Journal]

* Which law schools placed the highest percentage of grads in federal clerkships? This info comes from the rankings guru himself. We may have more on this later. [Morse Code / U.S. News & World Report]

* The Rutgers basketball scandal claimed another scalp yesterday after the school’s former general counsel resigned. Rutgers Law dean John Farmer will be stepping in for a brief assist. [Star-Ledger]

* So, do you remember that environmental report Steven Donziger allegedly had made up in the Chevron case? Yeah, the consulting firm just disavowed all of the evidence in the report. Oops! [Businessweek]

* Say so long to your retirement money, sweetie: Junie Hoang, the actress who sued IMDb for revealing the fact that she was over the hill, received a less than favorable jury verdict. [Houston Chronicle]

Star-crossed lawyers: Juan Monteverde and Alexandra Marchuk.

If you want to sue a defense-side Biglaw firm for employment-related claims, go for it. Unless your lawsuit is bats**t insane, chances are the firm will settle with you. See, e.g., Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell; Schoenfeld v. Allen & Overy. Heck, you don’t even need to file an actual case; even threatened litigation can yield a six-figure payday.

Biglaw firms are busy — busy making money, of course — and very reputation-conscious. They don’t want to be distracted by litigation, and they don’t want their white shoes sullied by grime. They will pay good money to make headaches go away.

But suing a scrappy plaintiff-side firm is an entirely different story. They will hit back — and hard.

Last month, Alexandra Marchuk sued her former firm, Faruqi & Faruqi, making a host of salacious allegations. The most incendiary: that a partner of the firm, Juan Monteverde, forcibly had sex with her in his office after the firm holiday party.

Now the Faruqis and Monteverde are turning it around on Alexandra Marchuk. They’re suing her back, filing counterclaims and seeking an eight-figure sum….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Nobody Puts Faruqi in the Corner”

Honestly, I’m surprised this kind of thing doesn’t happen more often.

Tipsters report that a recent graduate returned to his law school campus and proceeded to throw some kind of tantrum. One source alleges that the recent grad was seen “knocking over security guards” and was eventually led away in handcuffs, shouting at students on his way out.

And this isn’t even the most shocking security breach that has taken place at this law school over the years, because sending out an alert to beware of the guy who allegedly throws a fit is a lot better than sending out alerts about the guy who is masturbating in the law school library….

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