Over the course of my thirty plus years in business as an owner of several companies, having been engaged in litigation defending those companies, I thought that the unethical behavior and decisions of some attorneys with whom I came in contact was their separate and unique behavior. It is not.
Moreover I believed that the written body of a code of ethics by the Oregon State Bar and the American Bar Association, would curtail the brazen violation of honestly in court. But it does not.
I believed that the BAR having a committee dedicated to evaluating complaints and removing those unethical ingrates from practicing law in our state would by way of exposure curtail common and material breaches of the same code of ethics. But it does not.
I believed that the Professional Liability Fund, a separate corporation owned by the BAR, would necessarily require that those law firms hired by the PLF to defend attorneys engaged in malpractice represent the highest ideals of the professional as outlined in the code of ethics. But it does not.
In my appeal of the dismissal of he defamation case against Marshall and Christiansen, a new reality is apparent…at least to me. The foremost is that in representing an attorney the PLF is willing to play in the gutter. While we are indoctrinated to believe that unrelated facts, both personal and transactional, should be excluded from consideration in a case, it is not so.
Consider this for example. I found out that Christiansen and Marshall contacted a Judge that I had applauded for his adeptness and concern for fairness some 15 years ago and in a case involving one of my companies. These two knuckleheads claimed I intended to hurt this Judge. As support for that position these two claimed I had been arrested for domestic violence and was otherwise unstable. The inference being that the Judge was in danger.
It’s bad enough that frick and frack did this. What has disappointed me beyond belief is that the PLF has picked up the torch and essentially took the same tactic. They accused me just as their clients did citing grossly misleading intimations of behavior some 15 years ago. Presumably this is for bringing the lawsuit.
But there is a greater reason to be alarmed. While frick and frack may just be idiot practitioners, the PLF attorneys are not. Counsel’s decision to pursue this strategy simply means that they too believe the average Judge will retaliate if one of his colleagues is challenged. They believe that we have already lost the battle of good sense, of morality and that the expectation of sound judgment can be displaced with the right emotional rhetoric.
Fake news is often lauded as targeting the uneducated, to exploit emotional weaknesses and to discourage thoughtful consideration. When the Bar lies, we all lose. When the Bar places winning above civil behavior it’s time to acknowledge that we are as a society spiraling now to the floor, to the baseness of our existence.
I don’t know how we defeat it except through exposure. And if exposure does not work then its simply time to acknowledge that a once noble profession has been reduced to being employment as a carpetbagger.
The partner leading the PLF defense is Matt Kalmanson . He’s good and for those that do not care about the way a case is won, he might be the right lawyer for you. He just won a big case for Portland Adventist, which you can find here. But knowing your clients are engaging in perjury and doing nothing about it, when the ethical rues requires notifying the court of that dishonesty, is endemic now it would seem. I’ve let the PLF know through many an email to PLF president Carol Bernick. She does not care. The Board does not care.
The Oregon Department of Justice wont process a complaint against an attorney. They refer to the Oregon State Bar. But in this case the Oregon State Bar owns the PLF. The circle allows attorneys representing other attorneys and the PLF to be fairly certain they wont lose an investigation on an ethics complaint. You can file a complain against an attorney here.
My Appeal Reply is Rote Amended Appeals Court Reply Brief.
The actions taken by Marshall and Christiansen were designed to discredit me, to promulgate defamatory misinformation about me because I had published a 70,000 word analysis of an arbitration corrupted by cronyism, perjury and the destruction of evidence. My attack was on the attorney, and her client, who manipulated an arbitrator, namely Bill Crow.
In 2010 William B. Crow was the Mult. County Chairman of the disciplinary board. He had been president of the BAR. In 2011 he was the state Chairman. dbr24. In 2009 Bill Crow referred the defendant in the arbitration to one of his former partners, who ( Linda Marshall) was then engaged to represent the defendant. It was an ethical violation to do so. Linda Marshall and her client then engaged in 13 counts of perjury and destruction of thousands of documentary evidence. In a movie, book or TV the perpetrators of this crime would have been caught, exposed and action would have been taken to right the wrong. In real life, too often that is not true. In real life, the Bar, Judges who review the case and the media are often helpless to right the wrong.
Under the American Bar’s Code of Ethics, “The obligation to disclose interests or relationships described in paragraph A is a continuing duty which requires a person who accepts appointment as an arbitrator to disclose, as soon as practicable, at any stage of the arbitration, any such interests or relationships which may arise, or which are recalled or discovered.” That was not done. Moreover, it made Bill mad when he was challenged on this. I blame Marshall for this. She soft pedaled her past relationship with Bill even saying that they crossed paths only. Actually she was a partner when Bill was a partner. The fact that neither Marshall nor Bill Crow informed us accurately is important, because we did not endorse it. See ABA rules here Code_Annotated_Final_Jan_2014_update.authcheckdam.
Now, I would be remiss if I left you with the impression that I think Bill Crow is inherently evil, dishonest or unethical. I do not. In fact I like Bill a lot. I think it is far more likely that his cognitive skills were deteriorating and he was manipulated by Linda Marshall. It’s a shame that there is no recourse for this. It could have been avoided had he not referred the case to Linda Marshall, his first violation. And the truth is that there is no value to hiding this. I’m sure his friends would like to sweep this under the rug.
The value to the public lies in revealing it. The caring part of me reveals it with empathy for the attorneys, arbitrators and Judges who continue to practice well into their senior years. You still have your moments of great clarity and insight, but lack the stamina and discernment to eliminate the irrelevant information designed to influence you…which leads to very bad decisions and a violation of the public trust.