Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ashley Madison customers revealed: Lawyer Matthew Couch, of Cabaniss firm, appears at cheaters' site, and his wife, Mary Ann Couch, works at Bradley Arant

Matthew Couch
An attorney at a major downtown-Birmingham law firm -- his wife is an attorney at another big downtown firm -- appears as a paying customer at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site.

Matthew M. Couch is an associate at Cabaniss Johnston Gardner Dumas and O'Neal, focusing on litigation in the transportation sector. The Cabaniss firm, founded in 1887, is one of the oldest continuous law practices in Alabama. One of Couch's colleagues, James F. Henry, recently joined the Cabaniss firm after we profiled him as an Ashley Madison customer back in March, while he worked at Bradley Arant.

That's ironic because Couch's wife, Mary Ann Couch, is an associate at Bradley Arant. This presents the first case we've discovered of an Ashley Madison case that is contained wholly within the Birmingham legal community (unless, of course, Matthew Couch had an affair with someone who is not a Birmingham lawyer).

Here is background on Matt Couch from his profile at the Cabaniss Web site:

Matt Couch is an associate in the firm’s Birmingham office. His practice focuses on civil litigation in the transportation sector, particularly in the areas of railroad personal injury claims and regulatory compliance. He regularly represents one of the largest class I railroad companies in the nation, litigating a wide array of issues and legal claims in state and federal courts. Matt is admitted to practice law in all state and federal district courts in Alabama and all state courts in Florida. Prior to joining the firm, Matt clerked for Judge Sharon L. Blackburn, former Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama. Matt graduated with honors from Cumberland School of Law in 2011, where he served on the editorial board of the American Journal of Trial Advocacy. Matt graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 2008.

What about Couch's life outside the office. Here is more from his Cabaniss profile:

When not practicing law, Matt enjoys participating in outdoor activities with his wife, Mary Ann, including running, hiking, wakeboarding, and snowboarding. Matt is an Eagle Scout. He also serves on the junior board of directors for the Firehouse Shelter, a men’s homeless shelter and outreach organization serving the Birmingham, Alabama, metro area.

What about Mary Ann Couch? Here is a summary of her legal practice from a Bradley Arant bio:

Mary Ann Couch helps her clients avoid and solve problems in a variety of matters—from commercial disputes and financial services litigation to employment matters and ERISA litigation.

Mary Ann is licensed in both Alabama and Florida, and litigates cases in trial and appellate courts across the Southeast. She represents clients in a number of industries, including manufacturing, health care, natural resources, employee benefits, and financial services.

Here is more on Mary Ann Couch's background:

Before joining Bradley, Mary Ann served as a law clerk to the Honorable Joel F. Dubina, former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. During law school at the University of Alabama, she was an Executive Editor of the Alabama Law Review and an active member of the Moot Court Board. Mary Ann graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music (violin performance) and English.

Joel Dubina should be a familiar name to many Alabamians. He's retired chief judge from the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the father of U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL). Dubina has strong right-wing roots, so it makes sense that Mary Ann Couch (and her husband, for that matter) both work at corporate, GOP-leaning law firms.

On a personal note, I've seen evidence that Joel Dubina was more interested in hiding judicial corruption than in addressing it. When U.S. District Judge William M. Acker Jr. repeatedly cheated me in my employment-discrimination case against the University of Alabama Board of Trustees (UAB) -- going so far as to tell me from the bench he was going to cheat me -- I filed a complaint with the Eleventh Circuit.

How bad was Acker's chief job. He granted summary judgment to the university without allowing any discovery to take place; no discovery schedule even was set. That simply cannot happen in any federal circuit, and it clearly is prohibited in the Eleventh Circuit by a case styled Snook v. Trust Co. of Georgia, 859 F. 2d 865 (11th Cir., 1988). As chief judge, Dubina wound up with my complaint, and he proceeded to make every excuse imaginable for Acker's misconduct.

In other words, Dubina provided cover for a cheater (Acker). That was in 2012, and now, roughly five years later, we learn that Mary Ann Couch worked for a cheater (Dubina) -- and her husband (Matthew Couch) has tried to cheat on her.

Is that a sign of karma -- what goes around, comes around? We will let you decide on that.

We sought comment from both Couches for this post, but neither has responded to our queries.


Article with links to 1-20 in Ashley Madison series

(21) Craig Oliver, attorney, Springfield, MO (1/24/17)

(22) Craig Lowell, attorney, Wiggins Childs, Birmingham (1/26/17)

(23) Thomas Mancuso, tax attorney, Montgomery, AL (2/16/17)

(24) Nicholas Arciniegas, attorney, Washington, D.C. (2/21/17)

(25) Griffin McGahey, vice president, High Cotton USA, Birmingham (3/16/17)


Anonymous said...

Snakes will eat each other, right?

Anonymous said...

How does any work get done at Bradley Arant? Sounds like they all are on Ashley Madison, or they need to be checking up on their spouse who is on Ashley Madison.

legalschnauzer said...

Just a guess, but I'm not sure legal ability and diligence have much to do with working at Bradley Arant. I think the firm depends on having judges (and governors and AGs and senators) in their back pocket.

Anonymous said...

You can't get more starch-shirted than Cabaniss firm. They have been around forever.

Anonymous said...

Joel Dubina gave us Martha Roby. Will have to remember to "thank" him for that.

legalschnauzer said...

Memo to "Davy Hay":

You might not be tech savvy, but you should know that every comment you've sent to this blog has created a digital footprint that I can, and will, use to track you down. Your comments, which go into my email account before I decide to publish or not, have no purpose but to harass, and thus likely constitute a crime (harassing communications). For sure, they constitute a civil wrong, and you can count on being the target of a lawsuit if you keep sending garbage my way. This is a final warning: You will face legal consequences if you continue to engage in unlawful behavior. The ball is in your court.

Anonymous said...

Can't believe how stupid some of these guys are. I barely have a high-school diploma -- I was on the five-year plan -- but even I knew that Ashley Madison was a scam.

Anonymous said...

Both Couches seem like they've saddled up to the right-wing legal trough to drink from the cash flow of corporations and crooks. I'm having a hard time working up much sympathy for either one.

e.a.f. said...

not only bad karma but these people have poor judgement. one could also say, birds of a feather..... what ever happened to going to a bar to pick some one up? at least there is no digital record. or haven't these a.m. people heard of "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas".

Truthseeker said...

Legal Schnauzer wondered if you have seen that the alabama state senate voted for Briarwood Christian Church to have their very own police force, paid for by the church? Why does a church need their very own policemen? To cover up pedophilia and crimes their members commit? Remember Bill Upton and Gincie?

Truthseeker said...

legalschnauzer said...

Truthseeker --

Yes, I've been following the story. Briarwood has the white, moneyed, suburban clout to get anything it wants from Alabama Leg. Briarwood also is a fundamentally corrupt institution, so it fits with the the Leg. As I recall the idea of a police dept. for Briarwood started when there was a drug bust at the school, I think in '14 or '15. Because the Shelby County Sheriff's Office had to be involved, the records were public and word of the bust got into the press.

Like everything else, this is about money. Briarwood attracts students by convincing clueless parents that the school's environment is spotless, and their kids won't be subject to reefer-smoking heathens they might encounter at public schools. Lots of parents buy into that myth and pay up big tuition dollars for their kids to go to Briarwood. If the school is lucky, the parents also become members of the church, pay a bunch in tithes and offerings, and the church makes more money.

My guess is that Briarwood knows its drug problem is worse than anyone wants to let on. They probably know another bust is inevitable, and they want to control records that might get into the public realm. If any records from the dept. become public, and I doubt they will, you can bet they will be whitewashed by the school admin.

Anonymous said...

Dear Legalschnauzer:

I just wanted to THANK YOU for putting TRASH where it belongs. Out in the open - where EVERYONE can see it. Wives - get your head out of your a$$. Please tell me at least one of you ladies married to an Ashley Madison whore dog had a clue? Come on, raise your hand....just one???

Anyway, thanks for the great work - just like this story and many, many others - one more business I will NOT patronize. Have an awesome rest of the week!!