Thursday, February 21, 2008

Today's suit filing: don't miss this post

Folks, the JinC Regulars know I often say most of the best stuff here is on the comment threads.

A number of outstanding comments have appeared in the past week.

I want to bring the following one to your attention. After it, I add a few thoughts below the star line.

If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to take a look at the case summary before reading drew's comment:

drew has left a new comment on your post "Case Summary of Latest Duke Suit":

Jim in SD - like yourself, I noticed that Mr. Steel's name is not one of the defendants. I suspect that this was not an oversight - the LAXers seem to have very competent representation in this matter, and I would think it unlikely that a “target of opportunity” would be overlooked.

Perhaps the plaintiffs are trying to drive a wedge between the named defendants and the other “elephants in the room”. You can probably foresee President Brodhead trying to lay the blame for all the mess in the laps of the Board members, because he’s pretty much run out of other people he could blame this on. Likewise the G88 – they’re probably whistling past the graveyard right now, but they'll see themselves held up to some (justly deserved) ridicule once the fur starts to fly.

Actually, by using the “wedge-driving” methodology, the plaintiffs may be doing the other civil-suit plaintiffs a favor. If the court doesn’t seal any of the discovery in the 38-plaintiff suit, the plaintiffs in the prior civil suit against the civic and University defendants might be able to elicit some discovery that might otherwise not be available directly from a defendant except under direct (and adversarial) examination.

The other interesting parties in this list of defendants is the two (alleged) attorneys that were named; specifically, J. Wesley Covington, Esq. and Kate Hendricks, Esq., both of whom might actually be obliged to identify for whom they were working at the time of their involvement in these matters, and what duties they owed to either the players (as clients?) or their real clients.

Mr. Covington could potentially be the party most exposed to some sort of professional liability issues, since he was at times referenced as a legal representative of both the University, and the players, and nobody at all in this matter. If he was legally representing nobody in this matter, he in fact had a fool for a client.

Something in the back of my mind suggests that Mr. Covington was first brought into this matter by some of the BOT members on some sort of "unofficial" basis. At the time,I would expect that the BOT members thought that they could insulate the University's own legal department as a result; however, this strategy could well backfire, as do most other similar strategies that are cooked up by people who just presume that they're the brightest folks in the room.

Mr. Covington might be the nexus between the case and BOT on a direct basis, as opposed to merely having the BOT provide their occasional (and ill-thought-out) votes of confidence in President Brodhead's actions.

Tighten up the chinstraps, folks, ‘cause its going to be an interesting ride. Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times, and good supply of hand sanitizer always ready, because it only gets messier and Dukier from here on out.

The Raleigh N&O has a story on today's suit filing, Duke's response, and the attorneys for the plaintiffs press conference.

Drew is serving us well.

I was especially glad drew noted the difficult position Wes Covington's in. Who was he serving and why? That's never been made clear, has it?

Don't attorneys bill for their services? So whom did Covington bill?

If he was working pro bono, for whom and why?

Did he ever make it clear to anyone(s) that he and the anyone(s) were entering into an attorney/client relationship?

Why hasn't the N&O, which reported the tax value assessment of the Seligmann's home, asked Wes Covington those questions and others?

Wes is a Durham resident and easy to reach.

I plan to post again tomorrow morning. A lot is running through my head, but I want to check with some folks tonight before I share it.

With so many informed people commenting here, I can't be too careful.

One other thing: I bet most of us agree the MoveOn.Duke campaign's in about the same shape as Sen. Clinton's.


Anonymous said...

Thanks again John

The last few days have added to my reading material, which is not complete yet.

We need to remember that a person does not have to be listed as a defendant in order to subpoena them to testify.


drew said...

John, your kind comment re: my earlier musing is much appreciated. Like many others here and on the other blogs, I'm merely trying to "move the pile forward".

I dont' write often, due largely to my own time constraints; but I do read regularly. I remain in awe of those like you who can keep grinding out words every day, yet keep the rhetoric fresh, on point, and (perhaps most of all) civil.

Anonymous said...

read the complaint ...steel is simply dumb...he and paulson were smart salesmen and they went to work for bush and became as dumb as he is..

Anonymous said...

Why weren't some of the 88 or the News and Observer named as defendants?

Anonymous said...

John: What gives me much pleasure is the knowledge that when a top-notch law firm launches a suit like this one, they have already taken depositions from people involved and they are basing most, if not all, their claims on these depositions. They have also made independent investigations to confirm the details. They aren't simply making "shotgun" claims that the defense attorneys can swat down like pesky mosquitoes. When the defendants read the detail in the suit, their stomachs should be churning and their knees should be knocking. It couldn't happen to a more disreputable bunch of truly evil people. Since the Bush "Justice Department" is unwilling to perform its sworn duty in this matter, I thank God for the plaintiffs' attorneys.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

Everyone should read Joan Foster at Liestoppers. A very powerful piece.

Anonymous said...

I think what we need to do is parody the G88 ad. "To the gang of 88: thank you for not waiting for the facts before denigrating the Duke Lacross Team. To remain silent would have shown you are responsible adults. By making yourselves heard through collective noise, you have given so many parents and students a reason to consider Duke and reject it as the school of choice." Of course, the ad should be published in the Chronicle,the N&O, and the HS. It should also include a wanted poster featuring photos and telephone numbers for all 88 professors.