“Texas plaintiffs’ lawyer James ‘Wes’ Christian, the legal mind behind the rash of claims alleging naked short-selling in penny stocks…was a consistent seller of several companies that he is representing in high-profile and bitter legal fights,” according to records obtained by the New York Post. For example, “in May 2001, several months after Nanopierce retained Christian to launch one of the initial lawsuits against naked short-sellers – and after the publicity surrounding the legal battle goosed the stock price – he began unloading blocks of stock.” Christian is partnering with regular Overlawyered mentionee John O’Quinn on the naked-short-selling lawsuits, which have not fared well in court thus far. (Roddy Boyd, New York Post, Aug. 18).
Reporter Christopher Faille interviewed me for an August 23 article in the subscriber-only HedgeWorld. The article quotes me as saying that Mr. Christian
“seems to be preserving a possible line of argument that inducing a stock-price rise isn’t really part of his business plan, he just happens to own these stocks because the companies pay him in shares, he would have been happy to take cash payment instead, et cetera.”
That was precisely what Mr. Christian said in the interview Tuesday—that he took the stock instead of cash simply because Nanopierce didn’t have the cash necessary for him to do the original pre-litigation due diligence.
Older ethical rules — now often fallen into disuse — used to discourage or prohibit lawyers from taking stakes in enterprises they represented in litigation. As the HedgeWorld article quotes me as saying, “If what attorney Christian is doing is consistent with the ethical rules of the Texas bar, maybe it’s time to revisit those rules.”