Vexatious civil litigant extorts settlement; quasi-competent lawyer tapped to pick new federal judges

We all remember Robert Bork. President Reagan nominated the extremist loon to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987, but the nomination failed spectacularly in the U.S. Senate. There was much chest-thumping among various liberal groups over that development, but the person most directly responsible for the demise of Bork’s nomination was Republican Senator Arlen Specter, who meticulously and with surgical precision disemboweled Bork during his testimony before Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bork hates personal injury litigation. As discussed briefly here, he hates PI litigation so much that “originalism” flies right out the goddamn window when the topic turns to federal tort “reform” legislation.

On June 6, 2006, Bork was slated to give a speech at the hoity-toity Yale Club in New York City. While attempting to mount the dais, Bork fell backward and sustained injury to his left leg and head.

One might expect such a staunch tort “reformer” to cowboy up and deal with his injuries on his own, as God intended. But no! Bork filed a premises liability action against the Yale Club on June 6, 2007 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

I had no problem with Bork seeking redress through the civil justice system. Every injured person should have access to courts of law, even flaming hypocritical toilet bugs like Robert Bork. But the complaint — the document filed to initiate the lawsuit — was a whole ‘nother bundle of laundry.

Bork’s lead counsel was Randy M. Mastro, former NYC Deputy Mayor and now a partner at the silk stocking law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP. I’m sure Mr. Mastro does brilliant work when it comes to arranging multi-billion dollar deals for importation and exportation of silk top hats and monocles, but he doesn’t know shit from shinola when it comes to the nuts and bolts of drafting a premises liability complaint.

Tort “reform” advocate Ted Frank called the complaint “embarrassingly silly.” Eric Turkewitz, an attorney who handles personal injury cases in New York for a living, provided a detailed analysis of the many, many drafting and lawyering errors associated with Mr. Mastro’s complaint here. Especially hysterical were the demands for attorney fees and prejudgment interest, neither of which New York law allows. Mr. Turkewitz repeated the favor here when Mastro filed an amended complaint fixing some but by no means all the deficiencies.

But hey, Bork is a conservative icon and Mastro is a playa in the world of New York politics. It’s self-evidently true that such people warrant better treatment than you or I. Accordingly, the Yale Club’s insurer settled Bork’s lawsuit last week. The terms, including the settlement amount, are confidential.

And what of the lawyer who so buffoonishly bollixed things? He’s now a member of John “Walnuts” McCain’s “Justice Advisory Committee“. He’ll be helping select federal judges in the event Walnuts gets to be our next president.

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  • PeteSmith  On May 15, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Toilet bug? Dude, you’ve got me splittin’ my sides almost every time I check in here. I’m a regular! These plaintiffs –especially Bork and counsel of record, too– should be beaten vigorously about the crotch with canoe paddles preemptively for even contriving such a complaint!

  • genghishitler  On May 15, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    should be beaten vigorously about the crotch with canoe paddles preemptively


    Wish I would have thought of that. 😀

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