Pointer #2 (November 8, 2011): Robert Mayman is a California lawyer who is alleged to have conspired with charlatans to separate plaintiff William Barth from Barth’s $3.5 million for a bogus mining operation. The fictional mining venture in Utah, the lawyer in California, the plaintiff from North Dakota, the ringleader of the fraud in Vancouver, British Columbia, Attorney Mayman may have thought that he could avoid being haled into court in Minnesota (or anywhere else), but that was not to be. Sr. U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Magnuson ruled last week that Mayman will have to defend his conduct here in Minnesota.
Minnesota Litigator will go out on a limb and suggest that Mayman will find it quite difficult to defend his conduct in the case brought against him by Barth. Barth, on the other hand, may be hard-pressed to collect on any judgment he might get against the defendants whom he has sued.
In a different case recently settled, I had the misfortune of encountering another lawyer who was alleged to have used her title as a lawyer, and the imprimatur of legitimacy that many associate with lawyers, to assist in the fleecing of fraud victims. (See linked complaint at paragraphs numbered 28-35.)
In yet another recent matter, I came across fraudsters who actually tricked a large-firm Minnesota lawyer into forwarding bogus investment promotions to an unwitting “investor.”
It is hard for many lawyers (and so many others, of course) to earn a living in today’s economy, but before you lend your license to practice law, in effect, to fly-by-night schemers for a quick buck, remember how much the license cost you and please reconsider trading against it in the short-term for the quick pay-out that fraudsters traffic in. The quick cash may come with a long tail of woe stretching into your future and, ultimately, around the wind-pipe of your career.
Practice Pointer #1 (For Idiots): When you are a civil litigant in U.S. federal court, and you have been ordered to preserve electronic evidence, and a forensic examiner has been appointed by the U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge to collect ESI (electronically stored information), you probably don’t want to be destroying ESI literally at the same time that the examiner is on site collecting the ESI. Just saying.
Update #1 (September 8, 2011): Either the plot thickens in this case or the litigants are likely to quietly settle. (Attached is U.S. Mag. Judge (D. Minn.) Tony N. Leung’s Order halting fact discovery in the case to allow time to “accommodate settlement discussions” and “permit motion practice with respect to allegations of spoliation.”)
Original post (August 4, 2011): If you get a legal opinion and you are in a great rush, maybe just read the footnotes? Pound for pound, the words in judicial footnotes can pack quite a punch.
The most famous footnote in American jurisprudence, or at least federal constitutional law, is footnote 4 of the 1938 U.S. v. Carolene Products case. But almost every opinion or court order has a footnote or two (or more), it seems. (Footnotes, in fact, as a literary device, are actually controversial among lawyers (which some might argue highlights how pathetic lawyers’ lives are)).
For an example of a punchy footnote, there’s footnote 3 in the Rockwood v. Patterson Thuente case covered earlier by Minnesota Litigator. Also, with some frequency, courts use footnotes to say what they do not intend to say…
That is, a court might state a proposition in an opinion and go out of its way to avoid misunderstanding by pointing out in a footnote what the court does not mean to say with its stated proposition in the main text of the court’s order or opinion.
In a sharply worded “show cause” order from U.S. Magistrate Judge Tony N. Leung (D. Minn.) today, there is an ominous footnote. Both parties in the Multifeeder case (previously covered here) are taken to task for the failure to pay Mark Lanterman and Computer Forensic Services, an e-discovery vendor. Footnote 1 of Judge Leung’s order, however, suggests this order, stinging as it is, might not be the final chapter in this e-imbroglio…