Good idea to release Sugarland depositions?

April 17, 2012
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A northern Indiana attorney says he has released portions of the deposition with a member of the band Sugarland to counter what he believes to be inaccurate press releases from the band. But is it a good idea for an attorney to be releasing this information to the press before the matter has gone to trial?

Sugarland band members Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush are being deposed about what they know regarding decisions on whether to postpone their concert at the Indiana State Fair Aug. 13, 2011, due to incoming bad weather. Attorney Ken Allen of Merrillville, who is representing victims in the stage collapse, handed over some of the recorded deposition of Nettles to the press.

According to news outlets in Indianapolis, he says he’s done so to combat inaccurate information coming from Sugarland representatives. He’s also spoken to the press about the depositions, claiming testimony was “cold and calculated.”

Of course, Sugarland’s spokesman Allan Mayer is bothered that Allen has released the depositions, telling CNN, “When you think about it, you can’t really blame these lawyers for attempting to try their case in the press, because if they tried to make those arguments in court, they’d quickly be tossed in the trash, which is where they belong.”

Mayer also claims that the deposition has been selectively edited.

Tell me, attorneys, is releasing portions of a deposition good trial strategy? Is this tactic something that is common in these types of cases? Would it compromise your case in court to release it to the press before hand?

 

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  • Publishing depostions
    I was appalled. I saw it as either a publicity grab by the lawyer or an attempt to "poison the well" and bias the possible jurors - -neither of which reflects well on our profession. Journalists will do what they do - -we need not answer every volley in return or sink to that level.
  • A Few Bad Apples
    It is no wonder the general public has a negative view of lawyers. Ken Allen should be disciplined for his actions. While I think a good tar and feathering is more appropriate, I woudl settle for a public reprimand.
  • Publishing Depositions
    The actions of all of the plaintiff's lawyers in this matter, particularly Allen and Brizzi, is shameful. They are trying the case in the court of public opinion and getting press for themselves.

    The press reporting on the matter is no better. Sugarland was attacked in the press for "blaming the fans" based on its answer to Complaints in which it simply raised comparative fault - which is the law and they have a right to assert all available defenses.
  • sad
    Lawyers should not be disciplined for doing press releases and playing mass media in an age when mass media predetermines the outcomes of all kinds of important contests.

    At the same time lawyers should save it for the courtroom, and avoid sensational press battles. Generally it seems like a waste of effort and time doing something less productive than a lot of other things that could be done.

    I think its the mark of a superior lawyer who keeps a sensational matter OUT OF THE PRESS. Whenever I see a lawyer avoid commenting to reporters, I think, "class act;" whenever I see a press conference, I think "showman."

    And I apply that same thought to prosecutors, who also should avoid the sensational press conferences and commentary wholly, ahead of the verdict.

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  1. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  2. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

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  4. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

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