As the Seattle Times reported late last year, Washington State’s Attorney General’s office was sanctioned approximately $1.3 million for destroying “potentially relevant evidence” connected with the OSO mudslide that killed 43 people in March 2014. Not only was this a deliberate act to sabotage the case of the OSO VICTIMS but an improper use of taxpayer funds used to carryout the unlawful destruction of evidence by Ferguson’s office.
What may not be obvious is that “destroying evidence” and being sanction $1.3 million is better than having $100’s of millions awarded to VICTIMS because of that “evidence”. It is “institutional corruption” by the Washington State Attorney General for the benefit of insurance companies; NOT for compensating victims of government corruption and incompetence that resulted in 43 deaths.
Anne Block, who is joined with John Scannell, filed a Washington State Bar Complaint, ODC File No. 16-01555, against the lawyers involved in the “unlawful destruction of evidence” which will deprive OSO Victims of their just compensation. Bob Ferguson, Washington’s chief lawyer, is center stage in the WSBA complaint for his and his subordinates violations of the rules of professional conduct.
The basis for their WSBA grievance is presented below.
From: Zamboni John
Date: February 24, 2017 at 2:43:37 PM PST
To: Marsha Matsumoto , AB
Subject: Re: ODC File No. 16-01555
Dear Ms. Matsumoto,
Please be advised that I am joining Ms. Block in her bar complaint and she has agreed to the joinder. Please consider this letter as a response by both of us to the response by Mark Jobson to her initial bar complaint. You are further advised that our complaint is now being expanded to include not only the one attorney mentioned in the complaint, but all attorneys working for the attorney general in the Oso mudslide disaster case, including Bob Ferguson.
Your office has more than ample opportunity to investigate this, as all documents are of public record and the documented wrongdoing is obvious. You are therefore advised that we expect that the decision to present charges to a review committee should be made by 5:00 next Thursday.
The basis for our response to Mr. Gordon is outlined in the attached motion that was presented in the Oso case. According to that document:
The State of Washington has repeatedly described this case as the largest tort claim in the history of the State. It has now become apparent that this case will also be known as the biggest discovery fraud in the history of the State. Over the past two years, the Court has granted the State two trial continuances, and plaintiffs have patiently waited for their day in Court, which is now five weeks away. We now know that the State hid the truth from the Steelhead Haven community before the Oso landslide and has continued to hide the truth from them in this prolonged litigation after the slide. The State spend over $3 million in taxpayer dollars developing the opinions of its expert team, but that undertaking was launched 17 months ago with a secret pact by the State’s experts, with the blessing of the State Attorney General, to systematically destroy emails and repeatedly deceive Plaintiffs about what they were doing.
The plaintiffs in their 30 page motion present a compelling case for severe disciplinary action. They document months of multiple violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct of obstructing the legal process. Ann Block and I agree completely with the conclusions of the plaintiff’s attorneys.
The court ended up sanctioning the State over $1.3 million for the conduct of these attorneys. So far, the only persons who have been punished are the taxpayers. The lack of accountability is so blatant, is it any wonder that one of the attorneys involved, now describe his own actions as “honorable”?
Compare this case with my own case decided in 2009. There I was disbarred for violating discovery rules by refusing to turn over attorney client privileged information to a disciplinary counsel who was trying to prosecute my client. Even though the ninth circuit eventually refused to recognize the disbarment because of clear and convincing evidence it constituted a grave injustice and many charges involved a complete and total denial of due process (only the fifth time a federal court has done this in US history), and even though a federal judge found the rule I was prosecuted under, in all likelihood violated the sixth amendment right to counsel, the disbarment still stands.
Compare this with the actions of attorneys in this case, who have orchestrated the biggest discovery fraud in the history of the State.
Attorney Paul King was suspended for two years in 2001, in part because an appeal of $500 small claim judgment was not timely served. Mr. King was not even involved in the case. He was in Europe at the time and months earlier had turned over the matter to another licensed attorney who supervised a rule nine who supposedly forgot. The hearing examiner made it clear that the person responsible was the not the licensed attorney, nor the rule 9, but Paul King, because he was “Captain of the Ship”, a principle that was upheld by the disciplinary board and the Washington State Supreme Court.
Well, who is the captain of the ship here? The plaintiffs counsel presented clear and convincing evidence of a systematic attempt to obstruct justice by multiple attorneys, not once, not twice, but multiple times over a two year period. The result was not a loss of a $500 small claims judgment, but a loss of $1.3 million in sanctions and $50 million in damages for the case in chief, indeed, the largest tort claim in Washington State history. To us, it is inconceivable that a fraud of this magnitude involving this many attorneys over a two year period of time, could have occurred without “the blessing of the
State Attorney General.”
In my case the stand was principled. What principle was Bob Ferguson trying to protect, when he failed to supervise his employees when they committed the largest discovery fraud in Washington State history?
(sent without signature to avoid delay)
“Zamboni” John Scannell
Agreed to by Anne Block