|Hugo Black U.S. Courthouse|
I recently stumbled upon such an opportunity while investigating a law clerk and the corrupt federal magistrate judge he works for in the Northern District of Alabama. At the risk of sounding self congratulatory, I didn't let the opportunity pass. I saw a high fastball coming and decided to swing for the fences, leashing a Schnauzer rant upon the ear drums of David Waters Jr.
Did I connect for a home run? Well, that is up for debate, and you can hear the exchange in a video at the end of this post. But I felt a whole lot better when my rant was over--and Waters undoubtedly was left with the distinct impression that I don't much care for legal con games in a system that is funded with public dollars.
Is David Waters Jr. really a member of the financial "1 Percent"? I would say that is highly unlikely. But as the son of a partner at the national, pro-corporate Jones Walker law firm, Waters certainly has close ties to legal elites. And his arrogance was on display when he hung up on me after being questioned about a conflict involving his boss, U.S. Magistrate T. Michael Putnam, in my wife's ongoing employment lawsuit against Birmingham-based Infinity Insurance. Actually, as we showed in a recent post, Waters hung up on me twice.
Did I land a few punches on David Waters finely manicured face? Well, you can be the judge. I went on the offensive by noting my experience before U.S. District Judge William M. Acker Jr. in my employment case against the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). I pointed out what appears to be a patronage system for hiring law clerks at the Hugo Black U.S. Courthouse, a subject that Waters probably was not thrilled to see raised:
Who are some of the other law clerks down there? Is that how it’s done? I know Ben Slaughter used to be Judge Acker’s law clerk, and he now works at Haskell Slaughter. And you’re Judge Putnam’s law clerk, and your father works at Jones Walker. Is that how it’s done, all the big, pro-corporate law firms get their children these nice clerkships down there? But regular everyday people like us who get cheated out of our jobs, we just get screwed, time and again. And you don’t care, do you, David? You’ve got your future, you’ve got a nice little nest made for you, at Jones Walker, when you get out of your clerkship. Some of the rest of us have to actually work for a living and actually have to earn jobs. But you don’t care about that.
What kind of response did this draw from Waters Jr.? Nothing but an audible sigh. Sensing that I was on a bit of a roll, I decided to forge ahead:
And you’ve got a conflict of interest, and you know it, and that’s why you hung up, and Judge Putnam knows it and he’s crooked.
Waters apparently couldn't let that haymaker pass without a response, although he didn't deny that Putnam is crooked:
There is nothing I can do to help you. Further conversation on this topic is inappropriate at this point . . . This conversation has to end.
That brought return fire from yours truly:
You can end it whenever you want. You’ve already hung up once, go ahead and do it again. But I’m a journalist, and I am going to print this. I’m not going to sit back and let you and your little colleagues at Jones Walker cheat my wife. She’s been out of a job for 3 years and I know who did it . . . and Angie Ingram has been wrongfully dismissed and you know she put matters outside the pleadings into this case, and therefore she cannot be dismissed. You know that, everybody down there knows it. Then I find out Angie Ingram is represented by someone from your father’s law firm. That’s a conflict of interest, David. You can’t sit there with any sort of serious look on your face and deny it.
With that, Waters resorted to the same line that ended our first conversation:
This conversation is over.
If it's been awhile since you've heard a member of "The 99 Percent" vent at an elite, you might want to check out this exchange. It begins at about the 3:40 mark in the video below: