The Clarion-Ledger broke the story today about the ridiculous lawsuit that Jackson attorney Herbert Lee filed against Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill and selected justices of the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Here is Lee’s Complaint, which he filed in federal court in Jackson. It’s an odd Complaint. In it, Lee feels compelled to point out that the defendants are all “Caucasian,” while Lee is “African-American.” Supreme Court Justice Leslie King also decided against Lee, but wasn’t named a Defendant.
Lee presumably didn’t sue Justice King because it would damage his narrative of the white judges sticking it to the black lawyer. Back to the race issue in a moment.
Judge Dan Jordan drew the short straw and was assigned the case–not that this case will be hard or take long to decide.
The background is that two former clients sued Lee for improperly withholding part of a Fen Phen mass tort settlement and won. The Mississippi Supreme Court found unanimously against Lee. Twice. Once here in 2010. And again here in 2014.
Lee’s complaint contends that the sued judges violated his due process and equal protection rights because the “Caucasian” Ed Williams won his fee dispute involving mass tort MDL fees. One problem, the prevailing parties in the dispute with Lee were also African-American, a fact omitted from the Complaint.
Never in the history of law have so many lawyers been paid so much, for doing so little, as in the Fen Phen litigation. Yet more than ten years down the road, lawyers are still dealing with allegations that they kept even more money than they were entitled to. In other states lawyers have even gone to jail for stealing clients’ Fen Phen money. Amazing.
Here would be some good counsel for Mr. Lee: “it’s not that you’re black. They just don’t like you.”
That was a joke, by the way, for my readers who don’t get my sense of humor.
Seriously, this case is ridiculous. I first got wind of it in August and decided not to blog about it because it looked silly.
You can’t sue a judge who rules against you. They have immunity. The immunity applies even if the plaintiff alleges that the judge’s acts were done maliciously or corruptly. Like in the case discussed in the book The Price of Justice, which I reviewed here.
The A.G., who represents the defendant judges, will file a motion to dismiss in the near future. The motion will be granted. End of ballgame.
As I’ve written before, losing sucks. When you do lose, it’s pretty easy to start thinking that somehow, the decision was personal against you. But the reality is that the Court just didn’t buy your arguments. It happens.
Every time a Court rules, one side thinks that the Court got it wrong. Every time.
But you don’t get to sue the judges who ruled against you. There is really only one thing you can do. Suck it up. Congratulate the opposing side. Act like a professional. And then head down to the neighborhood bar, have a few drinks and tell everyone how bad you got hosed in court.