Stalking

Does anyone really like insurance companies? The answer is, of course, no. Sure, some people tolerate their carriers, but no one really likes them.

Probably because they do things like send lawyers to watch trials and creep out the jury.

That’s the charge in this case, where the judge called the observing lawyer to the stand to confront him over the jury’s concern that he was “stalking” them.

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* A Charleston School of Law student leader was arrested for stalking. I’m not sure how else Charleston Law students are supposed to get jobs. [Fitsnews]

* I think this is a very poor reading of the history of the Second Amendment that is making the rounds. Sure, having weapons really helped slaveholders, but that’s not “the reason” the Second Amendment was ratified. The founders had better reasons… reasons that have nothing at all to do with the time we live in, but that’s a different story. [Truthout]

* By the way, you saw that Obama nominated a black lawyer for something, right? Since the Republicans in Congress are so concerned about Obama’s record on diverse appointments, I’m sure Todd Jones will be confirmed super quickly. [Daily Beast]

* Should pet owners be allowed to recover for “sentimental value”? A Texas case might answer that question. I’m looking forward to the companion case in Arkansas where pet owners try to recover from loss of consortium. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* I’d be shocked if this Manti Te’o thing doesn’t end up with somebody suing someone for something. [New York Daily News]

* There’s going to be a law and robots conference at Stanford in April. Because we all know how much robots love law. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

Andrew Shirvell

[T]here’s no way I could possibly ever pay such a judgment.

Andrew Shirvell, commenting on the $4.5M jury verdict awarded to Chris Armstrong in his stalking and defamation case against the former Michigan assistant attorney general.

(Shirvell has been unemployed since being fired from the state attorney general’s office over his anti-gay online campaign against Armstrong, and he plans to appeal the judgment.)

If you’re an attorney having a long-term affair with a fellow member of the bar and your married beau decides to break it off, you probably shouldn’t try to organize a harebrained extortion scheme in exchange for not telling his wife about his extramarital philandering.

If you do devise such a plan, you could wind up like Sasha C. Intriago, our Lawyer of the Day, a New Jersey woman who is currently imprisoned in lieu of $50,000 bail. In a Mob Wives meets Real Housewives scenario, Intriago allegedly attempted to extort lavish gifts and jewelry from her former flame.

How did the cops get involved in this situation? Let’s find out all of the details….

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Some people say that all’s fair in love and war. Regarding love, at least, I would have to disagree. Some behavior is neither fair, considerate, or legal.

Take stalking, for example. But love, especially when it’s unrequited or broken (that’s your cue, ATLCommentBot), leads people to do crazy things. This week, a Midwestern law professor and former high-ranking CIA lawyer, was on the receiving end of a restraining order based on allegations that he harassed a woman with whom he was reportedly having an affair.

Keep reading to learn more about our Law Professor of the Day and see what happens when Minnesota Nice turns into Minnesota-leave-me-the-hell alone….

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Daniel Watkins: cleared of all charges.

Back in May, around the time of the Johnathan Perkins craziness at UVA Law School, we wrote about stalking and assault charges leveled against another UVA law student (and friend of Perkins), Daniel Paul Watkins. An ex-girlfriend and female classmate claimed that Daniel Watkins assaulted and threatened her.

At the time, we quoted a friend of Watkins who counseled caution in reacting to the charges. This source stated that “there is another side to the story, which has yet to surface,” and that observers should “keep an open mind” and “not pass judgment too quickly.”

As it turns out, these words were prescient. A judge just dismissed all of the charges against Daniel P. Watkins….

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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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UVA looks tranquil -- but looks can be deceiving. (Yes, I know this is a picture of the Rotunda on Central Grounds, not the Law School. But I took it myself, when I spoke at UVA a few years ago, and wanted to use it.)

Just out of curiosity, I took a look at the academic calendar for UVA Law School. It turns out that they’re right in the middle of spring exams (which started on Monday, May 2, and finish on Friday, May 13). I can’t imagine trying to study for or take exams amidst this kind of upheaval.

And, as it turns out, the Johnathan Perkins controversy isn’t the only thing happening at the law school right now. On Friday, a 2L at UVA, Daniel Paul Watkins, was charged with stalking and assault by university police.

UPDATE (8/31/11): Daniel Watkins has been cleared of all charges.

This incident is separate from L’Affaire Perkins, but some suggest there’s a connection….

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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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