Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Motion Denied

Judge Beaty denied Duke's motion to eliminate the website maintained by Bob Bork's D.C. based public relations firm on behalf of the 38 families currently suing Duke University and Durham. Ray Gronberg of the Durham Herald Sun and Dan Galindo of the Winston-Salem Journal report.

This development comes as little surprise given what uninvolved lawyers have predicted, including Duke Law's own Thomas Metzloff. Metzloff has stated that he believes the motion is "future-oriented" to inform the judge of the publicity the case is likely to receive and to ensure that the website does not, at a future date, cross the line in terms of prejudicing a jury. Powerline's Paul Mirengoff noted that "setting up this kind of website, and indeed ones that are much more aggressive, is a common thing for plaintiffs to do these days."

A likely explanation for Duke's motion was offered by one of KC Johnson's more thoughtful commenters - a litigator himself - suggesting that the motion was likely an attempt to gauge the judge's receptiveness to the possibility of limiting discovery. Duke's lawyers may believe - or may know for a fact as Pam Bernard of Duke's General Counsel has been collecting the emails of all university employees involved since early last fall - that discovery in this affair has the potential to become very painful for the Duke University defendants in particular regardless of what it contributes to the legal case. The embarrassment of such publicity alone could potentially be a motivation for Duke to settle simply to keep such information out of the public eye.

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