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Rod Laporte

Rod Laporte


Rod Laporte

Rod Laporte is a Canadian attorney. He was a law student before entering the Canadian Parliament House of Commons in 1988, serving as a representative for the areas of Moose Jaw and Lake Centre in the Canadian state of Saskatchewan for one term. During his time in Parliament, Rod Laporte was particularly involved in the regulation and oversight of issues related to grain, oilseeds, wheat and agriculture in general. Rod Laporte was defeated in his run for re-election in 1993 and returned to Moose Jaw, where he resumed practicing the law.

Rod Laporte is currently a staff attorney for Legal Aid Sasketchewan, an organization which was founded in 1974 following the passage of the state's "Legal Aid Act." This legislation was designed to create a legal infrastructure providing legal representation for defendants involved in both civil and criminal legal actions who are unable to pay for private legal counsel.

As a staff attorney for Legal Aid Saskatchewan, Rod Laporte is one of over 80 attorneys working on behalf of this organization in a full service capacity. This means that every lawyer, including Rod Laporte, is assigned cases on a rotation basis that shuffles cases from one office to another. Legal Aid Saskatchewan may occasionally decide to transfer handling of a case handled by Rod Laporte or another staff attorney in the interests of easing the workload of each attorney or to avoid a potential conflict of interests. In total, this organization processes approximately 20,000 cases in a calendar year. Of those, more than 90% are handled by staff attorneys rather than contracted to a private attorney. Those seeking representation from Legal Aid Saskatchewan may not request the representation of a specific attorney, such as Rod Laporte.

In addition to its full service representation services, Legal Aid Saskatchewan also provides limited advice and representation in the initial stages of the criminal prosecution process. Once a person is arrested, they may contact Legal Aid Saskatchewan over the telephone and receive legal advice. Such a person can also request that an attorney such as Rod Laporte or another lawyer visit them following the advice received over the telephone. A representative of Legal Aid Saskatchewan, such as Rod Laporte, may also attend the first court hearing of such a defendant. Afterwards, no further counsel will be provided unless the defendant is eligible for full service representation from Rod Laporte or another attorney.

Rod Laporte is an employee of the Moose Jaw office of Legal Aid Saskatchewan. Overall, there are 14 such offices in the state of Saskatchewan. Each such office is operated under independently codified policies and has the ability to decide whether or not it will provide minimal legal advice, information or counsel of any kind, either in person or over the phone, to anyone who requests it, even if they are not required to go to court or have not been detained.


Jackson B. Davis

Jackson B. Davis


Jackson B. Davis

Jackson B. Davis is a former Louisiana state senator and currently practicing attorney in Shreveport, Louisiana. After obtaining his law degree and serving in World War II, Jackson B. Davis returned home and began practicing the law. From 1956 to 1980, he also served as a senator in the state legislature representing Caddo and Bossier parishes.

As a practicing attorney, Jackson B. Davis has been involved in a number of cases. One notable lawsuit occurred in 1970, which began as a dispute over an oil and gas lease. The lease was made to four men from South Carolina who alleged that Carl W. Jones, along with business associates, fraudulently misrepresented the value of the property in question, especially with regard to its possibilities as a site for mineral production.

In a counter-claim filed with the Court of Appeals, Jones disputed the factual evidence sworn to in affidavits presented against him. Additionally, he claimed that the charges brought forth against him by Jackson B. Davis and another attorney, Robert J. Moffatt, constituted libelous statements maliciously made with the intention of damaging his reputation. In affidavits filed with the court, Jones said he had heard Davis listening to his clients inform him that they were deliberately blaming Jones for actions they knew he did not commit. In separately filed affidavits, Jackson B. Davis and Moffatt disputed all such allegations.

Though Jackson B. Davis was not successful in obtaining a summary judgment and dismissal against Jones, the case is notable because the claims regarding potentially libelous charges made by lawyers were rejected. The case established a precedent in the Louisiana court system that plaintiffs or defendants cannot be held legally culpable for any defamatory statements made by their lawyers.


Disclose Act

Disclose Act



What is the Disclose Act?

The Disclose Act is a piece of legislation that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Democrat Chis Van Hollen (Maryland) on April 29th of 2010 and in the U.S. Senate on July 21, 2010 by Democrat Charles Schumer of New York. 

The Disclose Act aimed at amending the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 in the hopes of prohibiting foreign influence in the U.S’s federal elections. The Disclose Act also wanted to impede government contractors from engaging in expenditures with respect to these elections. Lastly, the Disclose Act wanted to establish further disclosure requirements regarding spending in these elections and for other purposes.

When the Disclose Act was introduced it banned American corporations that were controlled by foreign governments from influencing federal elections through the use of campaign contributions. The Disclose Act also prevented Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) beneficiaries from making political contributions. In general, the Disclose Act gave organization members, shareholders and the public, access to information concerning corporate and interest group campaign expenses and donations. Through these provisions, the Disclose Act bolstered transparency’ the legislation forced corporations (any business entity with over 500,000 members) to stand by their political advertisements and contributions.  

Why was the Disclose Act Passed?

Before the Disclose Act was introduced to the House of Representatives, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, argued in favor of Citizens United and stated that it was unconstitutional to ban free speech by limiting campaign contributions made for independent communications by associations, unions or corporations. 

Following the Supreme Court’s decision, President Barack Obama expressed displeasure, by stating that U.S. elections should not be dictated by America’s most prevailing interests. The President stated, in his 2010 State of the Union Address, that American elections should only be decided by the people. In turn, the President urged Republicans and Democrats to unite behind a legislation to remedy this problem. 

To thwart the Supreme Court’s ruling, Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Chris Van Hollen introduced versions of the Disclose Act to their respective houses. 

In the House of Representatives, Van Hollen stated that Congress must enforce disclosure and improve transparency on special interest groups who attempt to undermine or influence the election process.   

The Disclose Act in the House of Representatives:

The House Sponsors of the Disclose Act believe that Americans deserve the right to information concerning special interests. This transfer of information will further protect democracy by ensuring the legitimacy of federal elections. Further, supporters of the Disclose Act argued that opponents in the House cannot stand against the merits of bi-partisanship. 

Those in the House who opposed the act (most notably Republican Minority Leader, John Boehner) argued that the legislation is a direct violation of the First Amendment. Opposition to the act believed that the bill was a scheme to silence the majority’s opponents. Those in the House who disagreed with the bill, claimed that it actually promoted special interest exemptions and backroom deals.

The Disclose Act in the Senate:

Charles Schumer (Democrat Senator from New York), the lead sponsor of the Senate’s version of the Disclose Act, claims that Americans need control over their own elections, especially in a time when people speculate and fear the influence of special interest groups. Schumer and his supports argued that unless Congress acts quickly, the United States Supreme Court, through their ruling, could ultimately predetermine the outcome of Federal elections. 

Opponents to the bill in the Senate (led by Republican leader Mitch McConnell) stated that the majority drafted the bill in a clandestine manner, without Congressional markups or hearings. McConnell argued that the politics surrounding the bill was the ultimate vehicle to introduce and subsequently pass the law. 

Who Supported/Opposed the Bill?

Supporters of the Disclose Act:

The United States Public Interest Research Group: This group supports the introduction of the Disclose Act, but actively withholds its support when a special interest exemption is provided. The United States 

Public Interest Research Group started the “Stop the Corporate Takeover of Democracy” campaign, which is an effort to educate American voters on the negative effects and contributions that businesses and labor unions impose on the Democratic process, through a lack of transparency and disclosure. 

AFL-CIO: The AFL-CIO supported Congress for introducing the Disclose Act and creating transparency requirements for the delivery of political contributions. AFL-CIO stated that the United States needs to implement stronger regulations to promote equal participation on the part of individual voters and corporations to protect the democratic process and political speeches. The AFL-CIO promotes full disclosure regarding advertisement contributions. 

The Disclose Act was also fully-supported by the Democratic Party.

Opposition to the Disclose Act:

United States Chamber of Commerce: In a press statement, the United States Chamber of Commerce outwardly criticized the House majority for passing the Disclose Act, because the legislation violates the principles of equality, as prescribed by the Constitution. Further, the United States Chamber of Commerce argued that the passing of the legislation was a result of backroom deals with unions and special interest groups. In general, the Chamber of Commerce believes that Congress should shift their attention to fixing the economy versus protecting their own interests and jobs. 

National Federation of Independent Businesses: This organization—which sent a letter to the House of Representatives opposing the passing of the Disclose Act—believes that passage of the Disclose Act would threaten American small businesses and create an uneven playing field by providing exemptions for special interest group.

Brief Summary of the Disclose Act:

Section 101—regulates certain political spending: The first section of the Disclose Act prevents Government contractors from making campaign-related expenditures. This regulation effectively extends existing bans on contributions offered by government contractors. A threshold of $50,000 is included to exempt small government contractors. This section of the Disclose Act also prevents Corporate Beneficiaries of TARP from making contributions or spending money on federal elections. Corporations that received bailout funds are not permitted to use taxpayer money to influence an election. This section of the Disclose Act prohibits bailout beneficiaries from making federal campaign-related contributions. Once the bailout money is repaid, however, the impediments are removed. 

Section 102—prevents foreign influence in federal elections: This section of the Disclose Act bans foreign corporations (incorporated overseas and foreign nationals from making political contributions to help influence a U.S. election. This act; however, created a significant loophole—domestic corporations that are controlled by foreign nationals can provide funding to candidates or political parties. To eliminate this loophole, the Disclose Act extends the exiting ban to include domestic corporations under the following series of circumstances:

• The Foreign National owns at least 20% of voting shares in the said corporation

• The majority of the board of directors are foreign nationals

• If multiple foreign nationals possess the authority to direct or control the decision-making process of the corporation or a U.S. subsidiary to the corporation

Section 103 of the Disclose Act: prevents corporations and organizations from coordinating their activities with parties and candidates 

Section 104: implements provisions on political party communications

• The Disclose Act states that any payment by a political party board or committee for the direct costs of an advertisement or any other communication made on behalf of the said candidate affiliated with the party is treated as a contribution the said candidate if the communication is directed or controlled by the individual. 

• The Disclose Act ensures that the American public will have full disclosure of campaign related expenditures made by organizations and unions. 


Alpha Phi Alpha

Alpha Phi Alpha


What is Alpha Phi Alpha?

Alpha Phi Alpha was the first fraternity every established for African Americans.  The fraternity was founded on December 4, 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.  The founders of the fraternity saw a need for a strong Brotherhood of African descendants, and the founders—known as the “Jewels” of the fraternity—are Henry Arthur Callis, Charles Henry Chapman, Eugene Kinckle Jones, George Biddle Kelley, Nathaniel Allison Murray, Robert Harold Ogle, and Vertner Woodson Tandy. 


Members of the fraternity were leaders of the African American civil rights movement, such as W.E.B DuBois, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Edward Brooke, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young, Willian Gray, Paul Robeson, and others.  The fraternity became interracial in 1945. 


Taxes and Alpha Phi Alpha

Chapters are required to use the identifying number of 501(c)(3) if they formed a charitable organization in their community.  However, contributions made to the fraternity are not deductable as “charitable contributions.”  The fraternity is nationally exempt under section 501(c)(7), but it does not classify as a charitable organization under the IRS code. 


The fraternity recommends that each chapter should contact the IRS to determine their tax ID status.  Each chapter is unique, and the tax IDs are thus unique. 


Anti-Hazing Efforts by Alpha Phi Alpha

The fraternity is strongly against hazing and has strict anti-hazing policies compared to other fraternity in the United States.  In its anti-hazing statement, the fraternity specifically prohibits all forms of mental or physical hazing.  “Pledging” is abolished by the fraternity, and the fraternity states, “Aspirants must not submit themselves, or agree to submit themselves, to any membership activities that are prohibited by the Fraternity.  Members of Alpha Phi Alpha are forbidden from requiring any aspirant to engage in prohibited membership activities.” 


If any hazing occurs at a chapter, the fraternity recommends that you contact the Chapter Advisor, the District Director, or the Regional Vice President.  A Hazing Reporting Form can also be forwarded to the National Director of Membership Services. 


Possible Sanctions

The fraternity declares that any individual or chapter convicted of hazing will be face suspension, expulsion, or revocation of the chapter’s charter.  The individual or chapter may receive fines, and they are subject to penalties from the university as well. 


If the individual is suspended, they are not allowed to participate in any fraternity activities until the Regional Vice president restores good standing after approval from the General Convention.  If the individual is expelled, their membership is revoked. 


Lawsuits Involving Alpha Phi Alpha

In July of 2012, the general president of the fraternity, Herman “Skip” Mason, was removed from his position after the fraternity claimed his mismanaged finances.  He filed an emergency temporary restraining order with the DeKalb County judge, but the judge denied his request.  Mason’s attorneys stated Mason’s term was about to end this year and denied that Mason ever mishandled funds.  The restraining order would have reinstated Mason, but he still removed from the position. 


Sources: https://www.alpha-phi-alpha.com/alpha-new-look/alpha-interactive/homepage-intro.html

Political Correctness

Political Correctness


What is Political Correctness?


The term refers to language, ideas, behavior, etc, that is used in political, societal, and public discourse so individuals of a certain gender, sexual orientation, race, culture, ethnicity, religion, belief, age, occupations, etc, are not offended.  The topic of political correctness is hotly debated, and numerous pieces of legislation have tried to install the idea of “political correctness” into law. 


The Debate over Political Correctness (P.C.)


On one side, proponents of p.c. argue that certain terms should be used in public broadcasts, such as on the radio and television, to ensure members of certain societal groups are not offended.  Certain pieces of legislation like the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004 have set up fines for people or parties that broadcast “obscene, indecent, or profane language.”


Opponents of p.c. argue that the standards are an obvious attack on the First Amendment rights for the freedom of speech. 

On February 5, 2000, Bill Lind compared p.c. to cultural Marxism.  He argued that p.c. was a movement toward an ideology that was enforced by the power of the state.  He ripped at p.c. and stated the following:


“The name originated as something of a joke, literally in a comic strip, and we tend still to think of it as only half-serious.  In fact, it’s deadly serious.  It is the great disease of our century, the disease that has left tens of millions of people dead in Europe, in Russia, in China, indeed around the world.  It is the disease of ideology.  PC is not funny.  PC is deadly serious.”


Examples of Political Correctness


Authors Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf provide common examples of p.c. used in political and public discourse in their book titled The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook.  Some of the examples listed in the book include the following:


·         using “intellectually disabled” instead of terms like “retarded”

·         using “African American” instead of “black,” “negro” or other terms

·         using “Native American” instead of terms like “Indian”

·         using “Caucasian” instead of terms like “white”

·         using words like “visually impaired” or “hearing impaired” instead of “blind” or “deaf”

·         using gender-neutral terms like “server” instead of waitress or waiter or “police officer” instead of “policeman”

·         using terms like “winter holiday” instead of “Christmas” to respect religious rights


Views on Political Correctness


P.C. is, in large, a truly American term, and other countries have criticized the United States for restricting the rights it was founded upon.  Many left opponents of p.c. argue that it’s a social issue rather than a constitutional issue. 


In March of 2004, Representative Ron Paul called the Broadcast Indecency Act of 2004 an “indecent attack on the First Amendment.  He stated, “And now comes the right’s attack on the first amendment, with its effort to stamp out “indecent” language on the airways.  And it will be assumed that if one is not with them in this effort, then one must support the trash seen and heard in the movie theaters and on our televisions and radio.” 


Even though legislations has approached the idea of p.c., it is likely to stay a social issue and remain a highly debated topic for years. 

J. Michael Luttig

J. Michael Luttig


J. Michael Luttig


J. Michael Luttig is an American attorney best known for his period as an appellate court judge. J. Michael Luttig served in this capacity in the fourth circuit court from 1991 to 2006, writing opinions on many major cases during this period. Prior to this period, he worked in private practice from 1985 to 1989. In 1989, he entered the Department of Justice.


In 1994, J. Michael Luttig's father was killed during a carjacking. The defendant twice filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. However, many of the Supreme Court justices recused themselves from hearing the case because of their personal familiarity with J. Michael Luttig. The defendant was later executed.


One of his most prominent opinions was written in 2003 when hearing the case of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. The case concerned Yaser Esam Hamdi, who had been captured in Afghanistan and detained as an enemy combatant despite being an American citizen. Hamdi appealed his custody and was rejected by the majority court, which deferred to the powers of the executive branch in deciding not to hear his case. However, in a dissenting opinion, J. Michael Luttig stated that Hamdi was entitled to a rehearing of his case, since he had not been granted due process. J. Michael Luttig also stated that the reasoning given in favor of the executive branch was insufficiently strong. The case was later heard by the US Supreme Court.


Another prominent case concerned the detention of another enemy combatant. The case concerned Jose Padilla, who was arrested in 2002 on suspicion of planning to detonate an large bomb. Padilla had been detained as an enemy combatant, a legal procedure which was validated by a Fourth Circuit Court decision. The majority opinion was written in September of 2005 by J. Michael Lutting. However, in December of that year a decision was made by the Bush administration to transfer Jose Padilla to a civilian prison. J. Michael Lutting refused to authorize this request, arguing that the government's request seemed to be motivated by a desire to avoid a Supreme Court hearing about the earlier opinion. The Supreme Court eventually approved this request.


Another prominent case occurred in 1999, when J. Michael Lutting wrote the opinion of the majority regarding the Violence Against Women Act. This was legislation permitting victims of gender-motivated crimes to file suit specifically regarding such actions in federal court. In his opinion, J. Michael Lutting argued that this act was unconstitutional, since Congress is not permitted to regulate interstate commerce by permitting citizens to file such damage claims against the states. The Supreme Court later concurred in its hearing of the case.


During his time as a judge, J. Michael Luttig was often compared to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom he had formerly acted as a clerk. In 2006, J. Michael Luttig left the Fourth District Court and took an executive position with Boeing Motors. 

Lee A. Johnson

Lee A. Johnson


Lee A. Johnson


Lee A. Johnson is an American judge. After graduating from law school in 1980, he entered private practice. He served as the city attorney of Caldwell, Kansas from 1987 to 1997. In 2001, Lee A. Johnson was appointed to the Kansas Court Appeals system. From 2001 to 2007, Lee A. Johnson served in this capacity until appointed to the state Supreme Court in 2007.


 One notable case Lee A. Johnson has ruled upon recently concerned placing caps on settlement payments related to medical malpractice. The case was filed by a woman who, during surgery to remove her right ovary, instead had her left ovary removed. The woman filed suit and was awarded $759,679.74 in damages. Of this sum, $575,000 was concerned with pain and suffering and related side effects of the surgery rather than pure economic loss. State law stipulates that this type of non-economic compensation should be limited to $250,000. Therefore, the amount of the settlement was modified by the judge.


The plaintiff then filed an appeal challenging the constitutionality of this restriction and the settlement adjustment made by the judge. The doctor also filed an appeal, alleging that the plaintiff had failed to conclusively demonstrate evidence of malpractice and that expert witness testimony had been improperly restricted.


The court heard this case in October 2012. Lee A. Johnson contributed to the majority opinion issued by five members of the Supreme Court. In their opinion, the court noted that placing caps on malpractice compensation is a controversial issue which the state Supreme Court has previously issued conflicting rulings about. The majority opinion went on to state that this restriction did not violate the right to trial by jury, the right to the due course of law and the right to equal legal protection. The majority opinion also stated that this legislation did not constitute  violation of the separation of powers between state and federal governments.


While Lee A. Johnson concurred in part with the majority opinion, he filed a partial dissent alongside fellow justice Carol A. Beier. In their dissent, they noted that they believed the plaintiff's right to trial by jury and due process of law had been violated and did not issue a judgment as to whether the plaintiff's right to equal protection had been violated. However, Lee A. Johnson concurred by the majority concerning the separation of powers.

Lee A. Johnson also concurred with the majority in restoring $100,000 to the plaintiff awarded to cover future medical expenses, which had been granted by a jury but removed by a post-trial judge. The majority opinion concurred that the jury had had sufficient evidence to justify such an award. In total the plaintiff was awarded that amount, $250,000 for noneconomic damages, and roughly $84,000 in medical expenses already incurred. All arguments presented by the doctor concerning her lack of malpractice were rejected.

Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar


Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar is an American attorney currently serving as a Senator for the state of Minnesota. Prior to her assuming this public office in 2007, Amy Klobuchar practiced both private and public law. In 1998, she became the first female county attorney to be elected in Hennepin County. Amy Klobuchar maintained this position from 1999 to 2007, when she assumed the office of Senator.

During her period as Hennepin County Attorney, Amy Klobuchar emphasized the prosecution of repeat offenders and violent criminals as a matter of particular importance to her office. As part of her efforts, Amy Klobuchar was instrumental in the creation of a community prosecution initiative. The first such program was established in Manhattan in 1985. The purpose of such a program is to establish stronger ties between citizens of the area in question and the prosecutors managing it.

Under the supervision of Amy Klobuchar, the community prosecution initiative established in Hennepin County consisted of three different divisions. One, located in the Third Police Precinct, provided a full-time prosecutor tasked with coordinating law enforcement with local police officials and consulting regularly with a community council on the needs and concerns of the area.

The second division of the community prosecution initiative established by Amy Klobuchar is located in the Fourth Police Precinct and is staffed by two full-time prosecutors concerned with juvenile crime. Another prosecutor in this office is concerned with adult crimes. Community initiatives allow community members to participate in the sentencing and rehabilitation process. The third division of the community prosecution initiative established by Amy Klobuchar is located in the city of Bloomington. Here, one full-time attorney is concerned with handling all juvenile crime cases which occur in the area.

In addition to her active work in prosecuting criminal offenses, Amy Klobuchar was a strong advocate for criminalizing driving while intoxicated as a felony level offense in the state of Minnesota. The appropriate litigation was passed, in large part thanks to her efforts.

Following her arrival to the Senate, Amy Klobuchar has been involved in a great deal of high-profile legislation. One bill which Amy Klobuchar co-authored along with two other Senators is known as the "Commercial Felony Streaming Act." This legislation, which is pending and has not yet been introduced to the Senate, concerns streaming copyrighted material on a computer from an unauthorized provider. Currently, this is only a misdemeanor offense.

However, under the terms of the legislation co-authored by Amy Klobuchar, would criminalize such activities at a felony level. In order to be charged with a felony violation, the defendant in question would have to have streamed material whose value was in excess of $2,500 or for which the licensing fees are in excess of $5,000. Furthermore, to be prosecuted the defendant in question would have to made use of this kind of illegal streaming video at least 10 times within the period of 180 days.


Bruce Bennett

Bruce Bennett


Bruce Bennett was an Arkansas politician best known for serving as the state Attorney General from 1957 to 1960, and then again from 1963 to 1966. During his first term as Attorney General, Bruce Bennett was associated with the passage of a series of bills he authored in 1958 with the specific purpose of making it impossible for the civil rights organization the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to operate in the state. Among other things, the bills authored by Bruce Bennett specifically forbid the NAACP from maintaining attorneys in the state and compelled the organization to give the state a complete list of its members. Similar laws passed by the state of Alabama were later deemed unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in the 1958 case of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People V. Alabama, effectively nullifying his legislative work.


After an unsuccessful run for state governor in 1960, Bruce Bennett returned to the office of the Attorney General in 1963. During this time, he was involved in the creation of the Arkansas Loan and Thrift company. The company was founded by businessman Ernest A. Bartlett Jr., who had come into possession of a building and loan charter whose terms outdated current state laws governing the regulation of savings and loans businesses. The draft for this company's charter was completed in the office of Bruce Bennett, who became a shareholder in the business.


Following the foundation of the company, advertising was successful in soliciting investments from churches and private citizens. The company promised a higher rate of return than could be legally granted by savings and loans institutions, investing the funds into unsafe products while earning roughly $4 million. During this time, the company attracted the attention of the state Savings and Loan Commission. To determine whether the company could be regulated and investigated, the state's savings and loan regulator, Clint Jones, sent Bruce Bennett a series of letter inquiring whether the company could be regulated as a savings and loan association, bank, or insurance company. Bruce Bennett replied in the negative to every query without disclosing his role in the company.


The Arkansas Loan and Thrift company declared bankruptcy in 1967, prompting a renewed investigation, this time from the Federal Savings and Loan Commission. Subsequent legal investigation revealed the role of Bruce Bennett in protecting the company from investigation and regulation. In 1969, he was indicted on charges including securities violations, postal fraud, and wire fraud. However, in the subsequent handling of the case, the presiding federal judge, who was a friend of Bruce Bennett's,  severed the case against him from that of other defendants being charged. Due to his throat cancer, Bruce Bennett was able to receive a number of continuances delaying the start of his trial. Bruce Bennett died in 1979 without ever having been prosecuted for his role in the Arkansas Loan and Thrift Company.

Jan Schlichtmann

Jan Schlichtmann


Jan Schlichtmann


Best known for his work on a lawsuit which served as the basis for a best-selling non-fiction book, attorney Jan Schlichtmann is a currently operating attorney best known for his work on the case Anderson v. Cryovac. Though he lost the case, the publicity attendant to the work resulted in more stringent Environmental Protection Agency regulations.


The case was instigated in the early 1980s, when Jan Schlichtmann met with representatives of the town of Woburn, Massachusetts. In 1979, the state's Department of Environmental Quality tested the town's water wells and determined that two out of eight had been contaminated by trichlorethylene, a chemical which had caused cancer in animals in laboratory tests. Trichlorethylene was found to be present in levels five times higher than safe, and the wells were immediately closed. A 1982 investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency traced the contamination to dumping performed at factory grounds used by two companies, the chemical plant of W.R. Grace and the John J. Riley Tannery


Following the closing of the wells, six children who all lived on the same block of Waltham were diagnosed with leukemia. Jan Schlichtmann and his partners agreed to represent the eight families in question in a lawsuit against the two companies. In part due to the arguments presented by lead defense counselor Jerome Facher, the presiding judge agreed to have the trial take place in two parts.


In the first part of the trial, Jan Schlichtmann and his partners were required to demonstrate that W.R. Grace and the John J. Riley Tannery were responsible for the contamination of the wells in question. After 79 days of trial, the jury returned a verdict of guilty regarding W.R. Grace but not for the John J. Riley Tannery. At this point, the trial continued to its second part, in which Jan Schlichtmann was required to demonstrate that the contamination was the direct cause of the development of leukemia.


At this point, Jan Schlichtmann and his partners had incurred a great deal of debt, in part because of the expenses necessitated to commission studies proving a link between trichlorethylene and leukemia development. Unable to proceed with the case fiscally, Jan Schlichtmann and his partners negotiated a $8 million settlement with W.R. Grace.


After the close of the trial, an in-house report produced by the Tannery emerged proving that the company knew that it had dumped waste chemicals in an illegal fashion, leading to contamination. Jan Schlichtmann therefore appealed the ruling regarding the tannery on the grounds that their attorney had knowingly suppressed this evidence. The case was eventually appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals, which agreed with Jan Schlichtmann and ordered the original presiding judge to reconsider the case.


Ultimately, the presiding judge agreed with the claim of withholding evidence. However, in his opinion the judge ruled that Jan Schlichtmann had launched a frivolous lawsuit when filing without this evidence and ruled against him.