Freshwater: Strong Words for Hamilton from Federal Judge

As you will recall, two of John Freshwater’s trial attorneys in the federal suit in which he is a defendant, attorneys who were retained by the school’s insurance company, withdrew in late April citing professional ethics concerns. Freshwater then requested that the insurance company appoint new counsel, arguing that with the withdrawal of Stoffer and Deschler he was left with no legal representation. However, Stoffer and Deschler had said in their request to withdraw that

Defendant Freshwater continues to be represented by R. Kelly Hamilton.

The insurance company has agreed to retain another attorney for Freshwater but asked that Freshwater request a continuance from the Court so that new attorney could get up to speed. In an email, the insurance company’s claim analyst wrote

Mr. Hamilton is your attorney for purposes of defending the lawsuit against you, as was the firm of Mazanec Raskin, Ryder & Keller [Stoffer’s and Deschler’s home firm].

So the insurance company regarded Hamilton as co-counsel in the federal suit’s defense.

In their request for a continuance Freshwater and Hamilton claimed that Hamilton had never represented Freshwater in the Dennis’s federal suit but only represented him in the counterclaim that the Court dismissed a few weeks ago. But as the Court’s ruling says, in opposing the motion for a continuance the Plaintiffs argued that Hamilton

… has been intimately involved with the preparation for the trial, including participation in discovery, participation in conferences before this Court, in person and on the telephone, after the dismissal of Freshwater’s counterclaims. (Italics in the original.)

While the judge granted the continuance until July 26, 2010, he had some strong words for Hamilton:

This court agrees with Plaintiffs’ assessment of Attorney Hamilton’s involvement in Freshwater’s defense. Despite Hamilton’s insistence that he was not involved in Freshwater’s defense, his actions spoke otherwise. After this Court’s dismissal of Freshwater’s counterclaim Hamilton on several occasions held himself out as trial counsel for Freshwater and this Court accepted him as such. Indeed, after the final pretrial conference during the approximately five hours of settlement negotiations held with this Court’s assistance, Hamilton participated most aggressively on behalf of Freshwater. The Court is sorely disappointed at the current unbelievable assertions of uninvolvement made by Hamilton.

I titled an earlier post Playing fast and loose with the truth. It appears that Hamilton does that in a federal court as well as Freshwater does in radio interviews.