- “What you will not see in the findings of this bill, where politicians typically describe the problem they intend to solve, is any evidence that arbitration harms consumers or anyone else.” [WSJ]
- You saw it first on Overlawyered (Jun. 9; Jul. 20; Sep. 14): “Plaintiffs Lawyers in ‘Blood Feud’ Over Fees From $2 Billion Settlement” [American Lawyer]
- Junk science verdict against Dole Pineapple and Dow Chemical over pesticide use. [Cal Biz Lit]
- Alabama Supreme Court points out that good-faith contract dispute does not merit multi-billion-dollar punitive damages. [Birmingham News; Marketwatch; Exxon v. Alabama via Alabama Appellate Watch via Bashman]
- Still more Montgomery Blair Sibley follies. [Legal Times]
- The latest farm follies. [Postrel; Mair; Rauch]
- Why Ron Paul is a crank [Frum]
In an unusual order, with seven of the nine Justices not taking part, the Court summarily upheld a D.C. Circuit Court ruling that those Justices had immunity to a civil damages claim of $75,000 by a Washington, D.C., attorney who has challenged the Court for an earlier refusal to hear his case. Since those seven members of the Court were directly sued, they were recused; under federal law, when the Court does not have a quorum (six Justices minimum), the effect is to affirm the lower court ruling. The attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, had sued the Justices after they had denied review of a case involving a domestic relations and child custody dispute. In Monday’s order, no Justice made any comment on the Circuit Court ruling being affirmed.
Today’s WaPo has more on the temporary restraining order against Deborah Jeane Palfrey’s sale of her phone records, which we discussed Mar. 17. Available for your viewing pleasure is the redacted government’s TRO application, which was just unsealed, and has some entertaining anecdotes of attorney Montgomery Blair Sibley’s litigation history. Palfrey now has her own (easily googlable, we won’t link to it) website, which includes her civil complaint against one of her alleged escorts (which the government alleges is an attempt to harass a witness in the criminal case), and a page of phone records, which Josh Marshall’s commenters have already begun tracking down.
…which may not necessarily mean that some people can’t even give it away:
A federal judge ruled Friday that a former escort service owner cannot sell phone records and other documents that could be used to publicly identify thousands of her clients…. [Deborah Jeane] Palfrey’s civil attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, said Friday he does not believe the judge’s order bars him from distributing copies of the phone records for free. In any event, Sibley said it’s a moot point because he has already given copies of the records to an undisclosed news organization.
Washington, D.C. has been on edge lately over the news that Deborah Jeane Palfrey, facing charges of running a pricey call girl operation in the capital, wants to sell her list of 10,000 clients and 46 pounds of phone records to the highest bidder to raise money for her legal defense. (Scott McCabe, “Accused D.C. madame’s client list remains in limbo”, Washington Examiner, Mar. 10; Fox News, Mar. 9; Anne Schroeder, Politico, Mar. 1; TPM Muckraker, Dec. 7, Mar. 1, Mar. 7, Mar. 9). Palfrey’s attorney and adviser, Montgomery Blair Sibley, says numerous overtures for purchase have already come in, that efforts are underway aimed at “mining the data to identify individuals,” and that his client will do her part in cooperating with the buyer of the data to identify clients. Attorney Sibley is quoted in the Examiner as teasing journalists about the newsworthy nature of the client names: “You won’t be disappointed.”
Something about the name of Palfrey’s attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, rang a bell from the past. Was it the historical resonance of his having been named after a member of Lincoln’s cabinet? Or his having once headed an organization called Forfeiture Endangers American Rights, which I’ve had occasion to cite favorably for its work against police and prosecutorial abuses? No, that wasn’t it. Oh, wait, here it is: an Overlawyered entry from March 7 of last year about how Arthur Vanmoor, a South Florida man accused of running one of the largest prostitution rings in the Southeast, had taken the step of suing his own former clients for getting him in trouble (seems they had signed credit card slips which read “Cardholder states that this transaction is not for illegal activity”). As I noted then, “One wonders whether the possibility of [publicity for the “johns” being sued] might be one factor influencing the prospective settlement value, if any, of the new round of suits.” Vanmoor’s attorney appeared on Tucker Carlson’s “The Situation” to discuss the strategem, with entertaining results. His name? Montgomery Sibley.
Maybe Mr. Sibley can adopt as a new promotional slogan for his law practice, “Turning your client lists into gold.”
Partners in crime dept.: “A Dutch man who served time in jail and was deported for running one of the largest escort services in the Southeast has sued six former customers.” Arthur Vanmoor, 46, who used aliases such as “Big Pimpin’ Pappy” and whose South Florida enterprise “accounted for up to 90 percent of the escort service listings in Broward County’s 2002 Yellow Pages”, claims his customers got him in trouble by breaking the law and violating their contracts with him. “To pay the $245-per-hour escort fee, the men signed a credit card slip that said, ‘Cardholder states that this transaction is not for illegal activity,’ said Vanmoor’s attorney, Montgomery Sibley.” (AP/NBC6.net, Feb. 27).
Montgomery Sibley, attorney for Vanmoor, appeared on Tucker Carlson’s “The Situation” Mar. 1 to explain his client’s case; see this amusing account with video. A Google search reveals that a Florida attorney named Montgomery Blair Sibley, proceeding pro se, sued federal judicial officials including the nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court (including “Steven” Breyer) demanding a million dollars in damages from the Justices individually for various purported offenses which included not granting certiorari review to a domestic dispute Sibley was involved in. Sibley took his case up to the Eleventh Circuit (PDF), but did not prevail.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “Vanmoor is known for his litigious nature. In the past decade, he has been a plaintiff or defendant in 29 lawsuits in Broward County alone. He has sued businesses that challenged him, police departments that investigated him, an assistant state attorney who prosecuted him and journalists who reported on him.” (Sean Gardiner, “Man charged in Broward prostitution ring sues his clients”, Feb. 27). The alleged johns have not been named in the latest round of news coverage, so far as a cursory search of coverage reveals. One wonders whether the possibility of such publicity might be one factor influencing the prospective settlement value, if any, of the new round of suits.