Above the Law provides us with what will be a Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog Top Ten Nominee for craziest lawsuit of the year. (Ignore the fact that there is not such a list.) I can’t believe Overlawyered has not picked it up yet.
A former medical malpractice lawyer in Maryland (Montgomery County) is sentenced to 5 years in jail for stealing $1 million from his clients. He has to go to jail for this. But it is a sad story. The insane part of the whole thing is how he got caught, falling for one of those email schemes I get about 10 times a week. The lawyer is asked to collect on a non-existent claim for a contingency fee; he receives a big settlement check, and then sends the client a check. If the lawyer does not wait until the check clears and the scammer gets his portion of the check, the lawyer has made a disbursement on a phony check. Here, his IOLTA account had a bounced check which sent off alarms that lead to his downfall. Think about it: this lawyer steals $1 million from his clients while handling malpractice cases (and I can’t even figure out the scheme), gets away with it for years, and goes down by falling for an insane email scam that fools no one. It can’t be easy for a malpractice lawyer to steal a million bucks. It would be like beating Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in tennis only to lose in straight sets to my 3-year-old son. I feel bad for the guy, I really do. But if he gets out in 15 months when he is eligible for parole, he is getting off pretty lightly for stealing $1 million. This case is also historic because it is the first good thing to come from spam email in human history.
An unemployed lawyer goes on a hunger strike. Gets lots of attention. One minor detail: she is not going hungry, and she is not unemployed. Setting these details aside and the fact that the entire thing was inane to begin with, she is a real American hero. But I love how the Huffington Post identifies her law school in the first paragraph as a “fourth tier” law school. The article never elaborates why it applied to the story or who designated the school as “fourth tier.” It had to be U.S. News & World Report, right? Are these rankings such an infallible gold standard that they need no introduction? The irony is – and I subscribe to and enjoy U.S. News & World Report – I bet they would be out of business by now without this ranking of schools gimmick they came up with that everyone agrees is flawed (yet impossible not to read).