Tuesday, May 27, 2008

ALERT: Judge rules Nifong can be sued

This from newsobserver.com a few hours ago:

Former District Attorney Mike Nifong will not be able to hide from a lawsuit in bankruptcy court, a federal judge ruled today.

The three exonerated lacrosse players who filed suit against the fallen prosecutor in October will be able to pursue their claims in federal civil court, Judge William L. Stocks ruled.

The ruling came more than a month after lawyers representing the players and Nifong presented their arguments in court.

Nifong was stripped of his law license and ousted from office last summer for his misconduct in the Duke lacrosse case.
The rest of the newsobserver.com story's here.

A few thoughts now, with more to come tomorrow - - -

Many months ago North Carolina's attorney general's office turned down Nifong's request that the citizens of North Carolina foot the bill for his defense of his leading role in the frame-up attempt of three innocent young men.

Nifong has a nice pension, but not the money to pay for the extensive legal representation he's going to need to defend his malicious activities which took place for almost a year.

Nifong's malicious activities involved his working the frame-up attempt with Durham Police, Durham City, Duke University, Duke University Medical Center,DNA Security and numerous individuals.

Will any of them pony up money to help Nifong in an effort to help themselves?

I don't know.

But the question's worth asking.

Message to Nifong: Look out! Justice is coming.

Message to Duke's trustees: I don't need to tell you things are going to get uglier and Dukier because you already know that.

Question for the Duke trustees: Why are you standing by BOT chair Bob Steel and president Brodhead instead of Duke University?

Hat tip: Archer '05


Ex-prosecutor said...

I suspect that Mr. Nifong will get no help from any of the other defendants or anyone else. In fact, it looks to me as if all of the other defendants have interests antagonistic to his, as do most of them to each other.

While he can attend the depositions other then his, and, acting as his own lawyer, ask questions, he probably won't be able to afford copies of the depositions. They are obtainable only from the court reporter and cost at least a dollar a page, maybe more.

The interest of the other defendants will be to dump on him, hoping the jury will return the judgment against him and not them.

The danger for the other defendants will be that if the multitude of defense lawyers gang up on him, which likely will be the case, the jury can feel sorry for him and punish the other defendants. Also, since Mr. Nifong is defending himself, the jury will know that a judgment against him is worthless, and, if the plaintiffs are to collect money, the judgments must be against the other defendants, who are solvent.

While there's no way to find out the limits on the defendants' insurance policies, I suspect they are far less than the exposure of each defendant. Further, I'll bet that some, or maybe all of the insurance companies may be defending with a reservation of rights, meaning that the company will provide a defense to the lawsuit, but does not agree that it is liable for a judgment against its policyholder. Sometimes, after big judgments, there's a second round of litigation, this time by the policyholders against their companies.

Insurance law can get very arcane, and some of this is out of my area, but I believe it's correct.

What would be interesting is to find out which defendants are represented by the same lawyer. Those who are will present a united front. The danger for lawyers who represent parties with antagonistic defendants, as insurance companies sometimes try to require, is that defendants may later go against their own lawyers, claiming the lawyers represented th interests of the insurance company instead of the insured.

Years ago, there was a tv commercial in which mouse traps had been set with ping pong balls, with a loose ball then tossed into the room, setting off a chain reaction. To a lesser extent, that could happen here, especially with so many defendants and the huge amount sought.

Anonymous said...

This is good news because it puts Nifong squarely in the crosshairs of the civil suit. Granted, the plaintiffs can't get blood out of a stone, but it will result in some interesting discovery and will be Karma for Nifong. More important: when will the State of North Carolina change the grand jury procedures that permits police and prosecutors to tell bare-faced lies to a grand jury in order to obtain an indictment? Until someone in our state legislature finds the integrity to take action, there is potential for more frame-ups in the future.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...


"Question for the Duke trustees: Why are you standing by BOT chair Bob Steel and president Brodhead instead of Duke University?"

While it will be interesting to see what the depositions turn up, I suspect that Bob Steel called the shots for Duke without much consultation with the other board members.

Those folks may just now be understanding what actually transpired. I say that from my experience of trying to get large committees to agree on anything.

If it turns out he gave his approval for the frameup, he deserves a special award for his level of corruption.


Anonymous said...

R. Bostock T '62, former Blue Devil Footballer, current CHMN.BD Yahoo, bragged in March 08 Duke Alumni publication " I advised the Trustees & Executive Comm. during the early days ". David Gergen, Trustee as well as political pundit to 5 former Presidents, told a senior Defense Attorney in June' 06 the BDT at Duke including Bostock et all was only worried that Hooker Mangum was about to sue Duke, all should come out during "discovery" in the next few months.

Anonymous said...

Is the BOT so foolish as to jeopardize the entire University because they thought the lying hooker was going to sue? Give me a break! If true, my respect for those people has dropped from NO to NEVER.
Tarheel Hawkeye