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 that 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. In this case, 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 seemingly 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 actually 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.
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 whole 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 as to why it was relevant 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 seemingly everyone agrees is flawed (yet impossible not to read).