Federal Judge Calls for Investigation of “The Civil Equivalent of the Ted Stevens Case”

sullivanThe World Bank/IMF protest case had a sanctions hearing yesterday that had found its way into the media. Because I am lead counsel (with Dan Schwartz) in one of the two cases (Chang) against the District of Columbia, Federal government, Fairfax County, and various police officers, I will not comment on the controversy.

We have been following Judge Sullivan’s orders in various cases (and here), including the Ted Stevens cases, where he has sanctioned the government for discovery and litigation abuse.

For the story, click here.

For a prior column, click here.

11 thoughts on “Federal Judge Calls for Investigation of “The Civil Equivalent of the Ted Stevens Case””

  1. Isn’t the appropriate remedy for “losing” discovery evidence, or otherwise not producing it, having the allegations sought by the other party preemptorily then taken as true?
    Such a sanction would discourage loss of such evidence, as it would show no advantage to such loss.

  2. From the article:

    “According to attorneys for the protesters, the District has lost a key computer record and 12 paper copies of a “running résumé,” a police log of the officers’ actions that day.

    The government has also produced tapes of radio calls that are missing stretches of transmissions during key moments of the arrests, the attorneys said.

    Jonathan Turley, an attorney for the protesters, called for an independent investigation of the attorney general’s office. Another lawyer for the protesters, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, said she had never seen such “a breathtaking destruction of evidence before.”

    The government stands to lose millions in the suits and has spent more than $1 million in legal fees for private attorneys representing Ramsey and another top police official, Peter J. Newsham, who has said he ordered the arrests. A handful of protesters settled suits over the mass arrests, costing the city more money.”

    If you had it, and you “lost” it, “it” must have been really bad. That, in a nutshell, is the essence of the spoliation of evidence doctrine.

  3. is it possible to be astonished and at the same time not surprised?

  4. Way to go Professor!

    Missing docs? Sure. I’ve run into that a time or two but I’ve never had to endure the insult of an opposer use it as a reason to ‘lobby’ for more money.

    From linked article: “After the judge’s harangue, the District’s attorney, Thomas Koger, had tears in his eyes. He declined to comment.”

    I know that professionals are well beyond such things but If I were present when a referee lit into an opposer so strongly that it made him cry, well, it would sure have done my petty little heart good. I do though hope you enjoyed it for all it was worth, in an entirely professional manner of course. 🙂

  5. Pardon us, but what the hell exactly has been going on over at DOJ lately? I’m not sure if there’s the equivalent of Brady evidence in a civil context, but if there’s discovery violations on the DOJ’s civil side precisely whose interest are they honestly claiming to protect?

    We be highly interested to find out how much of this stems from the previous administrations hiring practices or if this is an ongoing problem just recently culminating?

  6. From the link Jill provided:

    “Despite Huvelle’s ruling, U.S. attorneys said they might pursue a new case against Jawad.”

    The young man deserves his freedom.

  7. Dredd,

    Thanks for that link and I agree about JT’s team. I doubt this evidence is truly MIA, anymore than the tapes of CIA interrogations are “disappeared”–somebody has it all and they need to start leaking.

    BTW, the govt. just lost in their attempt to keep imprisoning a detainee who was about 12 when the US captured and tortured him.


  8. From the Washington Post link provided in the article:


    Nickles said in an interview that his agency needed more money to create systems to better manage its records. He said that he has tried to reach a settlement with the protesters but that their “demands are far out of reach.”

    End Quote}

    How can we learn what the “demands” are from the protesters for a settlement?

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