Michigan

Every time we do a post about a crazy attorney website, our readers send in even more tips about the seemingly endless supply of wacky websites that are out there (which we appreciate, so keep ‘em comin’). Rarely, however, do we get a tipster begging us to place a fellow attorney in Above the Law’s crosshairs. Until now: “Can you please, please profile this guy, Mark Davis from Toledo, Ohio?” Well, since you asked so nicely….

As far as we can tell from his many, many websites, Mark A. Davis, a solo practitioner in Ohio and Michigan, is a sort of jack-of-all trades who aims to corner the market in all ways possible. In his own words: “Attorney Mark Davis, founder of The Davis Law Office has always lived his life to accomplish nothing less than excellence.”

Here, excellence means, among other things, being able to break bricks with his bare hands (sadly, the video links to these feats are “private” and can’t be viewed). In his opinion, your attorney should not only excel in the courtroom, but “should be mentally tough and a gentleman warrior.”

This gentleman warrior has taken to fighting the good fight on almost all possible legal fronts. Really, it seems that there is nothing that his guy hasn’t tried to do, both in the courtroom and out. From martial arts to starving horses, keep reading to uncover the many talents of Mark Davis….

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* Some West Village pet stores won’t let you buy a puppy if you are drunk. I don’t know if this fact represents a high point in intelligent rulemaking or a reason to bomb a place like the West Village that makes a law like this necessary. [Village Voice]

* People under 30 are most satisfied with their standard of living. I think that’s because people under 30 assume things will get better for them one day, so I’m not sure they’re “satisfied” so much as “delusional about a future that will be hotter, wetter, and has already been sold to the Chinese.” [Huffington Post]

* The only thing worse than an unaccountable judiciary is an underpaid, disgruntled, unaccountable judiciary. [Faculty Lounge]

* Embattled Widener Law Professor Lawrence Connell is now suing students? Be careful man, “embattled” is usually the stage where the wheels start coming off. [FIRE]

* You can once again purchase “Raging Bitch” beer in Michigan. See, now that we know Jim Tressel bought his dominance over Michigan, I think the whole state will lighten up a bit. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Before rising 3Ls realize nobody is coming to interview them, maybe we should point them towards the Schola2Juris program of Waller Lansden one more time? [Schola2Juris]

Dr. Jack Kevorkian (via Getty Images).

Jack Kevorkian was a Michigan pathologist — but the doctor spent more time in the courtroom than in the operating room. He was a frequent litigant, thanks to his central role in the national controversy over assisted suicide, whose legality he advocated.

Early this morning, “Dr. Death” died, at the age of 83. It’s telling that Kevorkian’s passing was confirmed to the media by his lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger (whose awesome website we’ve previously deconstructed). The exact cause of death was not immediately known, but Kevorkian reportedly suffered from kidney and respiratory problems.

UPDATE (10 AM): According to Mayer Morganroth, another attorney for Kevorkian, Kevorkian suffered a pulmonary thrombosis, when a blood clot in his leg broke free and moved up to his heart. Morganroth was with Kevorkian at the time of his death, according to the Detroit Free Press (via ABA Journal).

The legal system tried to stop Dr. Kevorkian from assisting in suicides for many years, without success….

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* If the Supreme Court grants cert to the Winklevoss twins, it’ll be time to start paying more attention to this Mayan prophecy. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Michigan’s public defender system is one of the worst in the country. So are we to understand that Thomas M. Cooley Law School, the #2 law school in the country, can’t even produce quality public defenders? [ABA Journal]

* If you’re a student at Liberty Law and can’t figure out that “God’s law” trumps “man’s law” on the final exam, then you are really beyond salvation. [Religion Dispatches]

* So you think you can dance? Well you can’t! Not at the Jefferson Memorial. Mwahaha. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Prominent Skadden partner Sheila Birnbaum, known as the “Queen of Torts,” has been picked as the special mistress master who will administer the new $2.8 billion fund for sick Ground Zero workers. [Wall Street Journal; Main Justice]

* Learn to write like a Supreme Court justice — you know, one of those people who writes things that nobody bothers to read. [An Associate's Mind]

* The Tea Party isn’t that irresponsible, right? They’re going to raise the debt ceiling, right? Or is it time to take all my money and put it in my mattress? [Huffington Post]

Andrew Shirvell (far right) and Chris Armstrong

Here’s a quick update on a past Lawsuit of the Day. Last month, Chris Armstrong, the openly gay ex-president of the University of Michigan student body, sued Andrew Shirvell, the former Michigan assistant attorney general and outspoken opponent of homosexuality. As you may recall, Shirvell criticized Armstrong in a blog called Chris Armstrong Watch, making allegations that according to Armstrong were false, and Shirvell also followed Armstrong around Ann Arbor. So Armstrong sued Shirvell for stalking, invasion of privacy, and defamation (among other claims).

Now Andrew Shirvell is firing back. Last week, Shirvell, proceeding pro se [FN1], moved to dismiss Chris Armstrong’s lawsuit.

Not surprisingly, Shirvell claimed in his motion to be a victim: “Plaintiff’s course of conduct was politically motivated and intended to make an example out of Defendant in order to deter others from criticizing Plaintiff’s homosexual activist agenda.” More specifically, Shirvell argued that certain counts of the Armstrong complaint fail to state claims upon which relief can be granted, that Shirvell’s criticism of Armstrong was protected by the First Amendment, and that Shirvell never had direct contact with Armstrong (e.g., by email or by phone).

In addition, Shirvell lodged some counterclaims against Armstrong. What is the basis for Shirvell suing Armstrong?

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What an awesome venue. They should try playing football there or something.

Well, Michigan Law Dean Evan Caminker got what he wanted: Ohio Senator Rob Portman addressed gradating 3Ls, at senior day. But conscientious members of the Michigan Law community didn’t have to stomach it if they didn’t want to. There was a walk-out during Portman’s speech, and some reports claim that over 100 students (out of 400) joined in.

Michigan students who support civil rights and marriage equality should feel proud. They’ve brought national attention to this issue. And they did so without “ruining” graduation for anybody else. There’s video of the walk-out up on Perez Hilton, and it doesn’t appear that the protesting Michigan students were unduly disruptive to those who wanted to hear Portman speak.

While it is sad to see the class split like this, perhaps the Michigan administration will invite a less divisive speaker next year. Given the position Michigan Law put its LGBT community in, I’m not sure how this could have turned out much better…

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Michigan Law Dean Evan Caminker has issued what appears to be his final decision about the Rob Portman fiasco. The Dean has listened to all the relevant constituencies and decided that pulling Rob Portman might cause more long term harm. And so Portman is going to be allowed to speak. Dean Caminker announced this in a letter to concerned Michigan Law alumni.

Maybe Dean Caminker is right. I mean, look at what’s happening with King & Spalding. And, to my mind, a big Senior Day protest involving LGBT and straight students at Michigan Law will really show the community just how many people support the cause of equal human rights. So some good may still come out of all of this.

But perhaps the most important thing that has happened here is that Michigan Law and Dean Caminker have learned a lesson about just how far outside the mainstream the anti-marriage-equality people have strayed. This issue seems to have moved beyond our normal partisan debates about debt ceilings and which sovereign nation we should be meddling in this week. This issue is starting to transcend, and I bet Michigan will remember that next year….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Closing the Loop on Michigan: Rob Portman Is Speaking, But I Bet This Won’t Happen Again”

We told you yesterday that Michigan Law has decided to invite Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) to speak to its 3L class for senior day. We told you that many Michigan Law students have objected to the choice of Senator Portman, because of his strong anti-gay rhetoric on the issue of gay marriage.

We told you that Michigan Law Dean Evan Caminker — the hottest law school dean in America, by the way — didn’t respond to our request for comment. We wondered, though, if he would dig in his heels against the LGBT community at his school, or if he would try to be sensitive to the concerns of minorities at his school who would like to enjoy basic civil rights.

Well, Dean Caminker decided to dig in, and in so doing kind of totally missed the point…

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What’s more strange about that headline? That Michigan Law would invite a guy who stands against the civil rights of certain members of the Michigan Law community, or that Michigan Law would invite a representative from Ohio to speak to its outgoing students?

I’m going with the latter. Rob Portman graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1984, but he has gone on to become the junior senator from Ohio. Ohio! In related news, Bo Schembechler was born in Ohio and went to college at Miami of Ohio, but I don’t think he was ever the keynote speaker during an Ohio athletics Hall of Fame ceremony.

Sadly, the fact that Michigan invited a guy who has taken a strong stance against the civil rights of gay people probably isn’t that out of the ordinary. Sure, at some point these anti-gay-marriage people will look as tolerant as pre-conversion George Wallace in front of a desegregated schoolhouse. But right now these enemies of love get to walk among us as regular people.

Guys at my high school used to have ignorant and flawed views about gay people all the time. It was no big deal.

But some students at Michigan Law are trying to make it a big deal. And that’s pretty exciting….

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Former Michigan prosecutor Andrew Shirvell might be gone from the Michigan attorney general’s office, but he has not been forgotten. Shirvell, an outspoken opponent of homosexuality, has just been hit with a lawsuit — by Chris Armstrong, the ex-president of the University of Michigan student body.

Armstrong is suing Shirvell in Michigan state court for stalking, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and abuse of process. His lawsuit seeks more than $25,000 in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages and injunctive relief (to enjoin Shirvell from, well, being such a creep).

As you may recall, Shirvell seemed obsessed with the young, beauteous, and openly gay Armstrong, devoting an entire blog to criticism of Armstrong and following Armstrong around, day and night. As explained by Armstrong’s lawyer, Deborah Gordon, Shirvell demonstrated a “bizarre personal obsession” with Armstrong, reflected in numerous blog and Facebook postings in which Shirvell asserted that Armstrong was advancing a “radical homosexual agenda.” [FN1]

Let’s take a closer look at the complaint….

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