WASHINGTON (Map, News) – When Justice Department lawyers filed a 20-count indictment of the New York-based Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP, it was the first time they had ever used federal anti-racketeering laws against a law firm, claiming it was a criminal enterprise.
But then, for more than 20 years, Milberg Weiss had often been among the key players in unprecedented court cases, but always on the plaintiff side, not as defendants.
The May 2006 indictment following a Los Angeles grand jury probe alleged that for two decades, senior members of the widely celebrated firm committed bribery, fraud, perjury, racketeering, filing false tax returns and obstructing justice. The indictment says those crimes were committed while the lawfirm operated what federal officials described as a systematic system for secretly paying off lead plaintiffs in class-action lawsuits.
And now, a shareholders’ suit against Milberg Weiss! Asking treble damages, of course. And ethics-in-government champion (snort), New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, despite all the PR distancing has close campaign ties to the firm.
Good reading on the types of horrible excesses that can develop when the law is overtaken by a sense of “jackpot justice,” where the money flows for politicians and attorneys alike — no matter what effect the outcomes have on the consumers, workers and employers.
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