Thursday, January 10, 2008

A gift for Duke Law Professor Coleman from a Blog Hooligan


Duke Law Professor James Coleman was recently quoted in the Duke Chronicle about his concerns regarding the 379-page lawsuit filed in federal court by Durham attorney Bob Ekstrand, Law '98 and a lecturing fellow at the School of Law, on behalf of senior Ryan McFadyen, Matt Wilson, Trinity '06, and Breck Archer.

Law professor James Coleman, who has not read over the filing, said although the men might have a legitimate case, the length of the suit would make it difficult to respond to, potentially making it easier for litigators to make blanket claims.

"It's a lot to try to wade through to see what the substance of their complaint is," Coleman said. "This seems to be a situation where lawyers have sort of taken over the management of the students' response to this.... A 400-page complaint is pretty extraordinary. One would think if there's been injury it would be more readable and straightforward."
Chronicle

One of the Blog Hooligans, jvj, was so concerned about Professor Coleman's difficulty in reading a 379 page detailed complaint that he rushed into print, sparing no expense, the above Cliffs Notes version of the Civil Complaint.

For the folks with a little more time and desire to actually read the complaint before commenting on it, here is the link to download it.


Note! We are still working on the Classic Illustrated comic book version for the "88!"

Hat Tip & Thanks goes to: jvj

31 comments:

Mr X said...

still only 4.95 a copy??

I think it's gonna end up costing Duke, Durm and the named Henchmen lots more.

Great work jvj.

mays said...

I've been reading Liestoppers daily from the beginning, so I'm a little surprised by the snide joke at Professor Coleman's expense.

Wasn't Professor Coleman one of the few faculty members who expressed doubts about the rape and assault charges from the first? The Group of 88 may have been wrong, wrong, wrong,
but Professor Coleman had the courage to speak up and challenge them when almost nobody else dared. I thought he was one of the good guys.

For the record, I do think that the plaintiffs in the new action probably have a viable case against Duke. But, as a former litigator, I think a complaint of 379 pages is much too long. I'm not sure the plaintiffs help their case by filing such a lengthy pleading. I think that is what Professor Coleman was pointing out and, in my view, he is correct.

Even if he weren't, Liestoppers should remember he was on the right side of the case when it counted.

W. Mays

Anonymous said...

My favorite law student tells me that when such a case as this is filed, every possible "stone" that may eventually have to be overturned has to be specifically mentioned. If some of the stones are eventually "dropped" that is not a problem. But if they are ommitted in the initial filing, they cannot later be added.

Is my favorite law student more accurate than the good professor?

And BTW, I am impressed at the sheer preponderance of complaints and evidence in the filing. For those who keep squeaking about "moving on", they just have got to get it through their thick heads that there is too much weight here to act as if it is only a little feather.

Coleman did some things right at some junctures. But to admit that he had not found the time to read this is pretty puny. As one Blog Hooligan stated, most of us read it with our first cup of coffee. Not as thoroughly as attorneys might, but certainly enough to understand it.

People who complain about this double spaced, somewhat redundant, legalese document buy and read Grisham novels all the time, and the more pages they have the better.

Grisham himself said this whole case was like a novel. You would think that at least the professors could rev up their motors to a dull roar enough to move through it with their eyes. Even for us novices it isn't rocket science.

I'm sick of their bellyaching. You can't do anything right to please them.

They sulk about no evidence. Then they gasp at the amount of the evidence.

They live in la la land, where you close your eyes, wave your magic wand, and all that baaaddddd stuff just gooooosssszzzee awayyyyyyy..

They want fairy tales, when what they have is a criminal mystery. Too much for their little liberal PC sensitivities!!!

LieStoppers said...

Professor Coleman comments on a Civil Lawsuit, which he hasn't read. That is the reason for the post. In that Civil Complaint the data on which Professor Coleman wrote that report, which indeed was critical of the Lacrosse Team conduct was based allegedly on "doctored" data by the Duke PD. Parts of Professor Coleman's report does not stand up well to the test of time and seems to have slimed the players. I find it extremely odd that he didn’t read the complaint before commenting.

Professor Coleman has over the recent months taken somewhat of a “Move On” approach to Duke University’s handling of the event. While we appreciate his comments regarding the 4 April ID and his willingness to go on the record we cannot put aside his recent comments.

See KC's Blog regarding Coleman & his report
http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/2007/12/q.html

Jim in San Diego said...

The McFaydyen lawsuit is extraordinary in its length and detail. A lawsuit needs to plead enough facts to demonstrate the plaintiff has a cause of action, but it does not have to plead every single fact and circumstance. Those are usually developed in discovery as the case progresses.

Thus, Professor Coleman is correct in calling the length unusual. However, considering the immediate importance to Duke students, faculty, and administration, of the facts alleged, it is very puzzling that Professor Coleman claims not to have read the complaint. It takes a while, but not a great while, for someone familiar with legal writing, to read the complaint through.

The lawsuit reads like it was meant to be read as history, not in the quiet of the judge's chambers. Anyone can understand that, if the facts alleged are true, great wrongs were done by the defendants against innocent Duke students. This undermines, intentionally of course, the "Move On" mentality. Since virtually all the culprits who perpetrated and enabled the hoax, except Nifong, are still in positions of responsibility, we have not reached a position from which we are prepared to move on.

Professor Coleman gets great credit for standing up for due process when no one else wanted the job. ("Where was the Law School?"). Subsequently, he has decided that, for him, the hoax is over, and he will no longer stand up alone against the ferocious Groupthink we have observed at Duke for nearly two years. So be it.

It is for others, such as Mr. Ekstrand, to decide when it is time to really move on.

Jim Peterson

Jim in San Diego said...

There are other questions in the air:

Where, even now, is the Law School? Has anyone there read the McFaydyen complaint? Does anyone there have a view of the substance of the complaint?

Is every single responsible person at Duke truly ready to move on? Is there anything about the situation that anyone finds even remotely unsettling?

Just asking.

Jim Peterson

lynp said...

You are so right Ms/Mr Mays. Professor Coleman was there when no one else from Duke, questioned the case. See, the good Professor had the nerve to write that KC's view of the Coleman report was NOT a "stunning vindication" of the team. Since then, the Professor has been Coleman - with or without a capital C. Exactly LS did his report not "hold Up?" The part where they wrote "the team drank to much alcohol and behaved badly when drunk?"

Anonymous said...

Last time I looked, drinking too much alcohol and behaving badly when drunk were not the exclusive behaviors of college kids. We have some well-known Senators who have done the same, and some of them may have been responsible for deaths of innocent people.

However, the Lax hoax is NOT about rude behavior and alcohol abuse. No matter how much spin the Hoax crowd wants to put on it, it is about the false accusations of rape, and the pursuit of lies, even after the authorities knew it was lies.

Immaturity in drinking and boorish behavior are not quite in the same category, and YOU know it.

Very thin and shallow jibes. Easty to see through.

lynp said...

Funny, I was writing about the great Professor Coleman and the Coleman Report on the lax team. What are you writing about? See, I think the hoax is about how far this injustice went before Nifong's misdeeds blew it out of the water. I believe the judges were part of the hoax, but despite Bob E, the rest were and are minor players. The Judges, like the Physician are too powerful for bloggers to take on, so they content themselves with persecuting the nobodies. IMO

Anonymous said...

Mays,

Being on the right side of the LAX hoax is important all the way through. Not just at one point along the way, then drop off when the heat changes. We are all grateful that ANYBODY spoke up for justice at all at Duke. Prof Coleman's contribution is appreciated. If he, or anybody at Duke, stood up and said "BEFORE we move on, let's clean up the mess" they would go down in history as helping to effect the healing that is desperately needed.

Something is better than nothing. But is nobody willing to see this thing through to the end, and see justice served and polices implemented to protect innocent students in the future?

ruth said...

A simple fact is, lies are quick and easy. People can be harmed by one soundbite, one sentence, one word.

The truth, takes time and proof. The truth is always longer and more detailed than the lies.

Lies were told for well over a year by too many people to count. I'm amazed they could even scratch the surface of the truth in under 400 pages.

The lawsuit is at least an attempt to correct some wrongs. I appreciate their effort and wish them luck.

Chris Grieb said...

I got a very good laugh. I want to see the Classic comics edition

Law 72 said...

I dont know for sure how it works in the Federal courts these days but in New York a pleading like this in a case with multiple defendants can be devastating. In NY EACH defendant in his answer must go thru the complaint line by line and as to each allegation made either ADMIT it DENY it or allege the he lacks sufficient knowledge OR Information upon which to be able to form an opinion as to the truth of falsity of the allegation. If you DENY a fact that is proven at trial to be true and it is shown that you in fact knew it was true all along there are as they say "consequences"not just for the defendant but for his attorney who is supposed to check into his clients' allegations before he files them. By the time all the various defendants here get done admitting and denying the allegations made in such detail the plaintiff may have at least one defendant having admitted to darn near everything giving the plaintiffs a good shot at those who are not only guilty as charged but are also guilty of lying about it to the court. In the end plaintiffs council will use each defendant and his pleading as a weapon against the others. Oh what a tangled web we weave...

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that Professor Coleman has not read the complaint.

If he truly has not read it then shame on him. He's the head of a new program at the law school whose goal is to address injustices. He wants us to believe he has not read that document?

I'd wager every member of that law school has read that document. None of them have the courage to admit it, much less speak out against the injustices.

Ralph Phelan said...

But to admit that he had not found the time to read this is pretty puny.
I could understand and forgive Coleman's being so sick of this case he never wanted to hear or talk about it again.

What I don't get is why he thought it necessary or even permissible to comment on something he hadn't read.

There's also the question of why the "reporter" considered the opinion of someone who hadn't read the pleading worth wasting pixels on.

A reporter calls the one of his "usual sources," who doesn't know anything and so makes up some vaguely plasuible blather, and the reporter uses it to fill his news hole not caring whether it actually contains any information. Looks like the Chronicle has learned the true meaning of "professional journalism."

Anonymous said...

LAW 72, That was also my understanding from my favorite law student.

These accusations are not a problem for the plaintiffs... but they are a tight net around the defendants, especially any who lie.
I am totally surprised that Prof. Coleman did not acknowledge that. But then, he is looking thru Duke eyes.

How we all could wish that the Duke Law School would have done the bold and courageous and MORAL thing, and stood up to the railroading the University was engaged in and threatened to resign unless the Univ. backed down, out, and cleaned up the mess.

As it is, the whole Law School looks like a bunch of cowards. Surely, such an august group of scholar/ lawyers should have known and done better!

It just looks like they were all more protective of their own careers at Duke, than they were concerned about law and justice. Puts them in the same playpen as Nifong.

dsl

Law 72 said...

To Anon and Jim -The pleadings aside I guess all three of us are still more than distressed at the LS. Are we alone? What would A. Kenneth Pye have said? Perhaps they have all forgotten their professional fire and morphed into modern day faculty full of sound and fury. I'm getting mental images of Teddy Kennedy as he tried to melt into the woodwork while the committee borked Clarance Thomes over his alleged treatment of women. Or worse- the Committee of community leaders in the Warsaw ghetto who argued far into the night over the fine points involved in deciding who they would deliver to the morning train. I'm feeling very cold and a little sick to my stomach and I had a flu shot so I don't think that's the problem.

Anonymous said...

{Wasn't Professor Coleman one of the few faculty members who expressed doubts about the rape and assault charges from the first? The Group of 88 may have been wrong, wrong, wrong,
but Professor Coleman had the courage to speak up and challenge them when almost nobody else dared. I thought he was one of the good guys.}

So he did the bare minimum that basic ethics requires him to do, and now gets a free pass to make idiotic comments about a document that he apparently can't read?

Anonymous said...

The bare minimum - this must be a joke - No one else at Duke had those "basic ethics". His comments are not idiotic but yours are. Can't read the document??? Not in his, yours or my lifetime. Get a life.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Coleman spoke up. We give him credit for that. But did he loose his voice afterwards?

Yes, you are right. NO ONE ELSE at Duke had those "basic ethics".

And no one else still does.

And we, the critics, alumna, and interested public, keep wondering when the rest of the law school is on the "speaking up".

All we can conclude is they are now under an administrative gag order, in which they are NOT free to speak up for fear of repercussions.

And that puts them into the same shoes that the other faculty and students were.

But pardon us if we just don't get it.

Coleman gets praise for yelling "Fire, fire"... but where is just ONE of the Duke Law School faculty who would be willing to lead the people out of the burning building. Alerts, yet. Leadership, NOT!

Anonymous said...

I do not know where the Law School is nor do I care. If there is any fixin to be done, it will need to be done by Duke Admins - the alumni have not stopped giving and the students are movin on. I think trying to demean Professor Coleman is just as bad as the "quiet" of the School. BTW, In answer to "Where are the Methodist?". The Methodist must still remember that their is a seperation of Chuch and State.

Anonymous said...

jvj's Cliffs Notes brought a smile because it was clever.

The defense of Coleman seemed okay. Everyone should have someone who stands up for them.

But then came the laugh out loud moment, "their (sic) is a seperation (sic) of Chuch (sic) and State."

Poor Coleman, not that his defender can't spell (type) or understand simple words (their/there), it's the total lack of understanding of even the basic concept of the Establishment Clause.

It was funny but sad. Coleman should have more than a Victoria Peterson style advocate.

Anonymous said...

Coleman's still a piece of crap; he just stinks a little less than the rest of the cesspool.

Jim in San Diego said...

From one who was and is extremely critical of the Duke faculty, administration, and board's inexcusable and anti-intellectual behavior during the Hoax:

It is a huge mistake and distraction to pile onto Professor Coleman. Why do it?

Here is someone who stood up for due process when no one else wanted the job. He gets full credit, because he earned full credit.

We now know of the ferocious Groupthink that grips Duke on pc issues. We have seen the worst hoax offenders rewarded with promotions, new buildings, department upgrades, and awards.

We now know of the authoritiarian response to some Duke students' attempt to register to vote. Mere parents of Duke students were not worthy of the administration's ear. The local Duke newsletter appears under the policital control of the administration, and no one objects. There simply are no rebels at Duke. There should be, think most of the rest of us.

We have heard Professor Coleman called an "Uncle Tom" by the pc warrious at Duke. Not many blacks can stand up to this from their peers.

Thus, with so many worthy targets of scorn and criticism, it is a distraction to be overly critical of Professor Coleman's subsequent decision that he cannot stand alone against the pc mentality that continues to guide Duke.

Jim Peterson

Anonymous said...

Love the Spelling Police, who of course, show their lack of ideas with their spelling stuff. You folk are mad because Professor Coleman refuses to throw your stone laden snowballs.

Carolyn said...

Something has just occurred to me that could explain why Coleman's done an about-face in telling the truth about the Hoax.

The strongest basis for Duke's defense will be citing 'reasonable' ignorance of the law. I.e., Duke had no reasonable way of knowing that the charges against the players were illegal and unlawful - therefore, Duke should not have cooperated with the DPD. However, Coleman blows that defense out of the water. From almost the beginning, Coleman was warning - in print and on '60 Minutes' - that there was something horribly illegal about the charges. Therefore he blows Duke's 'ignorance' claim out of the water. First, there is no reasonable way Duke can say it didn't read the newspapers or watch tv to see Coleman's specific outline of the egregious illegality of the charges. But secondly, Coleman is a Duke professor - so there is no way Duke can plead ignorance about what one of its own professors was warning against. Further, if one Duke professor was instantly aware of the unlawfulness of the DPD's actions, why weren't the others? And the Administration?

Obviously, Coleman is regretting his honesty in telling the truth in the past (which is why he's stopped defending the players and now defends Duke). But I think Duke regrets his honesty even worse. As I said, Coleman's past accurate legal judgments on the case almost assuredly destroy one of Duke's most viable defenses - reasonable ignorance of the law.

Anonymous said...

That's the problem with liars. They're bound to contradict each other, and you never know which spider is going to fuck up the web for everybody. The quickest way to do that is an accidental discharge of the truth at an inconvenient time.

Jim in San Diego said...

Carolyn (10:34) has an interesting perspective on motivations at Duke.
Duke's problem is deeper, however, than what it did or did not know at any particular time about the innocence of the hoax victims.

The behavior of its faculty and administration violated the fundamental rights of its own students, WHETHER THEY WERE GUILTY OR NOT.

It is an interesting thought experiment to imagine where we would be today if the hoax victims actually were gang rapists. Every violation of due process, fair play, statutory protection; every act of moral cowardice by the administration, every obscene self serving pc diatribe by the faculty, would be excused. The end justifies the means, so to speak.

However, that is all wrong. The hoax victims, innocent OR GUILTY were entitled to due process, protection of the law, administration support in loco parentis, and fundamental fairness from the beginning. They did not get it.

Thus, what Duke knew or should have known will have some impact on some of the claims in the McFaydyen lawsuit. However, Duke did know, at all times, that its students were entitled to due process and the protecton of the law, innocent or guilty. That they turned out to be innocent simply magnifies the outrage.

Jim Peterson

Anonymous said...

Not to them it doesn't. They think the only outrage is that the boys were exonerated.

Anonymous said...

2:32. Of course if you are the Gang of 88, or their buddies, the fact that the exonerated were innocent really has little bearing.

What they want is revenge for all their perceived ills and wounds of the past, by the white, the rich, and the males.

These guys were just token offerings to the biggots.

The danger is that the attitudes will not change whatever the truth comes out to be.

"My mind is made up. Don't confuse me with the facts."

The problem is deep, pervasive, and very scary. Thank God we had the Lacrosse Hoax to uncover the hypocrisy. But it will take a lot more to change the culture.

Observer said...

Hilarious. Even Prof. Coleman would find this funny, I think.