|David Deusner and family|
I'm not making this up -- and we're not talking here about a stupid guy.
David Deusner is managing director of compliance forensics intelligence for Control Risks, working out of Birmingham and Washington, D.C. Before that, he worked for roughly six years at Birmingham's Bradley Arant law firm, first as director of litigation support and eDiscovery Services and then as senior eDiscovery counsel in the litigation and construction group.
Deusner earned a bachelor's degree in business administration/music business and artist management at Belmont University in Nashville and a law degree at DePaul University in Chicago. This is a bright guy, so why the bizarre -- even stupid -- response to our Ashley Madison post, which was published on April 26? Let's address that question by examining our communications with Deusner, which began the next day via e-mail:
Please take down the post about me and my family. I was diagnosed with sex addiction several years ago. It nearly destroyed my family. I went through counseling and continue to work on my addiction, almost daily. My wife and I went through years of counseling as well due to this, and our marriage is still not where it should be as a result of my addiction. My wife and family have suffered enough from my horrendous mistakes and poor choices. They do not need to suffer any further because of this posting now. I can't stress enough how painful this has been to my wife, and your bringing this up again will only cause more pain and grief. I realize the point of your blog is to report on attorneys and their conduct, but this is a VERY personal matter, a very private matter, and your publicizing it only will cause more pain and suffering to my family.
PS. I now see your emails to my work email account; they were sitting in my junk folder. I would have responded sooner. But I implore you - please remove this posting immediately.
I was in the midst of preparing court documents that had a tight deadline, so I was slow responding. Deusner sent me another e-mail, on April 28:
Mr. Shuler -
Please take down this post immediately. I have caused enough damage to my family, and this is only opening old wounds. Please respond to let me know you will be taking this down immediately.
I was concerned about his tone, but I was willing to talk with him, so I responded later that day:
I apologize for being slow responding. I'm in the midst of preparing court documents that have a deadline, and it probably will take me through the weekend to finish them up. Perhaps we can talk via phone early next week? Let me know if you would be OK with that.
My concern about Deusner's tone only increased with his response:
I will talk to you, but you have to take this post down. I am happy to explain whatever you feel you need, and will make myself available early next week, but I need you to take this down now. The embarrassment you're causing my wife is something I don't think you fully grasp, and the pain of not only opening these old wounds but opening it to the public for her ridicule is outrageous. Please take this down immediately, and I will talk to you all you need next week.
I doubt there is a journalist in the world who would not be taken aback by this kind of language. And I was stunned that it came from a lawyer, who should know better. A journalist (or anyone else, for that matter) has an absolute right to publish accurate information. For any citizen, especially one with a law degree, to tell a journalist "you have to take this post down" is . . . well, it's nonsense. And to suggest that I was the source of any embarrassment for his wife -- rather than his own behavior -- was pure rubbish.
My responses made it clear I was willing to communicate with Deusner. But his pushy tone and ill-informed statements made me think nothing much would come from any discourse. I would be proven right about that, but not before Deusner went down a path that perhaps was even more ill-advised than his adventures with Ashley Madison.
(To be continued)