Letter received by Bill Quigley
Friday, Jan. 26, 2007 at 3:13 PM
The following is the text from a letter received by Bill Quigley in response to information posted on Indymedia and other websites.
Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann l.l.c.
counsellors at law
Rachel W. Wisdom our file number
Direct Dial: (504) 593-0911
Direct Fax: (504) 596-0911
546 CARONDELET STREET
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA 70130-3588
FAX (504) 581-3361
January 26, 2007
BY ELECTRONIC AND FACSIMILE TRANSMISSION
William P. Quigley, Esq.
R. Judson Mitchell, Jr., Esq.
Loyola University School of Law
7214 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana 70118
Re: Yolanda Anderson, et al. v. Alphonso Jackson, et al.;
No. 06-3298, United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana
Dear Mr. Quigley:
During our investigation regarding the facts underlying HANO's recent request for a temporary restraining order, we came across many reported statements by you to the press that prejudice HANO's position in this litigation, including but not limited to an audio recording of an interview you gave that is posted on the New Orleans Indy Media website. These extrajudicial statements by you violate Rule 3.6 of the Louisiana Rules of Professional Responsibility.
According to that Rule, "[a] lawyer who is participating or has participated in the investigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that it will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding." Louisiana Rule of Professional Responsibility 3.6(a). In fact, the previous version of the Rule specifically provided that a "statement is ordinarily likely to have such an effect when it refers to a civil matter triable to a jury" and addresses " the character, credibly, reputation . . . of a party." See former Louisiana Rule of Professional Responsibility 3.6(b)(1).
In clear violation of Rule 3.6, plaintiffs' counsel has and continues to make prejudicial extrajudicial statements to the press and others about the subject matter of this case. You, for example, made the following statement: in response to the reporter's question about HANO" and HUD's position that the St. Bernard housing development is not habitable:
"The fact is that HUD and HANO have been lying to the public."(1:19 into the recording posted on the New Orleans Indy Media website).
January 26, 2007
Moreover, many other statements by plaintiffs' counsel reported by local news and other media and posted on these and similar websites (including a "documentary" featuring your video recorded statements that is posted on the Advancement Project's website) violate the Rule.
This improper conduct poses a risk of serious prejudice to HANO. We therefore demand that you, on behalf of all plaintiffs' counsel, agree in writing (1) to abide by Rule 3.6 going forward; (2) to immediately cease and desist from making extrajudicial statements to the press or to others who will likely disseminate the information to the press, except for statements permitted under section (b) of Rule 3.6, and (2) take immediate action to have this recording, the so-called "documentary" on the Advancement Project website, and all other such statements, removed from all websites or other public forums where you or others have published prejudicial extrajudicial statements by plaintiffs' counsel, including the following:
Due to the seriousness and urgency of this matter and the risk of prejudice to HANO, we must have your response no later than noon Monday, January 29, 2007. If we do not reach an agreement that satisfactorily addresses this problem by that time, we will be forced to seek redress from the Louisiana Disciplinary Board and/or seek intervention by the Court, so that HANO's position in this matter is not harmed any further.
Very truly yours,
Rachel W. Wisdom
cc: Monique Dixon, Esq. (by email)
Heather Phillips, Esq. (by email)
Daniel Reiss, Esq. (by email)
William Lane, Esq. (by email)
Ross B. Bricker, Esq. (by email)
John F. Ward, Jr., Esq. (by email)
Lara E. Fitzsimmons, Esq. (by email)
Tracie L. Washington, Esq. (by email)
William Patrick Quigley, Esq. (by email)
Judith A. Browne, Esq. (by email)
Anita Sinha, Esq. (by email)
January 26, 2007