Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ashley Madison customers revealed: Birmingham civil-rights attorney Chevene Hill, a graduate of Miles College School of Law, appears at notorious Web site

Chevene Hill
A civil-rights attorney in Birmingham, AL, appears as a paying customer at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site, according to publicly available records.

Chevene Hill has been a licensed attorney for about 10 years, earning his law degree at Miles College. Before going into the law, Hill worked as a photographer for 14 years at NBC 13 in Birmingham.

What type of cases does Hill handle? He represented the plaintiff in a 2011 case styled Hatcher v. Precoat Metals, 812 F. Supp. 2d 1287 (ND Alabama, 2011). Here are the facts, drawn from a memorandum opinion by a magistrate judge (internal citations omitted):

On or about December 10, 2007, plaintiff and Slitter Supervisor Grady Smith ("Smith") were standing with Allen. Smith asked, "Do anybody know any jokes about cars[?]"  Allen replied that a Ford was known as a "[f]ucking old rebuilt Dodge." Plaintiff and Smith laughed. Smith then asked plaintiff if he knew a joke. Plaintiff said that Ford stood for "[f]ound on the road dead." Plaintiff and Smith laughed again. Then Smith said, "I got one," and said that Pontiac stands for "Poor old nigger think it's a Cadillac." No one laughed at this joke, and the conversation ended. Plaintiff reported the "Pontiac Joke" to group leader Mike Walker, Rob Nemeth ("Nemeth") and Reverend Reginald Mann. A few days after the Pontiac Joke incident, management held an hour and a half meeting to discuss the racial slur. During the meeting, Smith began crying, looked at plaintiff, and apologized for telling the joke; Smith further said that he would never use the racial slur again. Plaintiff did not accept the apology, but never heard another racial slur at defendant's facility. Although plaintiff believed Smith received no disciplinary action as a result of his inappropriate joke, in fact Smith was required to attend sensitivity training in February 2008. Plaintiff was returned to work under Smith's supervision. Plaintiff further states that this Pontiac Joke incident was the worst thing to happen to him at Precoat Metals.

About a year later, Hatcher had a change in job status:

As a result of a business slow down, Precoat Metals, on November 14, 2008, and again on November 21, 2008, reduced its workforce from a three shift operation to a two shift operation that resulted in the layoff of eighteen employees. As a consequence of these lay-offs, several employees in plaintiff's Slitter Group had to be occasionally assigned different weekly duties in order to compensate for the smaller workforce. The two junior employees who previously held the Packer position were laid off, and plaintiff was assigned to fill the position of Packer. Nemeth stated that he assigned plaintiff the Packer responsibilities because his plan was to utilize plaintiff in doing setups and operating when needed and to cross-train plaintiff in learning the computer system. Plaintiff claims that he was made to do this job without assistance, although it had been common practice to have at least two people working in the area. Neither plaintiff nor any other employee received a change in pay or a formal job title change due to this realignment. Plaintiff states that he felt as though this was a demotion, although he concedes that no one ever told him he had been demoted.

Hatcher's situation at work then turned ugly -- and physical:

According to Mr. Hatcher on or about November 20, 2008, after taking a fifteen-minute break. Donald Gordon ("Gordon"), the shift supervisor, approached him and accused him of being away from his work for over an hour. Plaintiff told Gordon that he was on a fifteen-minute break and was returning from the bathroom. Gordon responded by grabbing plaintiff by the arm. Plaintiff told Gordon not to touch him; Gordon responded by grabbing him again. The next day, Tim Zell ("Zell") called a meeting with plaintiff, Gordon, and Anthony Fleischmann ("Fleischmann"). Zell told plaintiff that, "I want this shit with you and Gordon over and done with." When plaintiff tried to explain what happened, Zell told him, "Look at it this way; I can make it where you were laid off." In his deposition, however, plaintiff stated that no one ever told him that complaining about something would cost him his job. Plaintiff claims that he informed James Haas ("Haas"), a plant foreman, about the incident. Haas reportedly told Nemeth what happened, and plaintiff was moved back to the packer position.

Hatcher filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC and wound up being laid off in 2009 amidst another work slowdown. Hatcher filed a lawsuit, with the primary claim that he faced retaliation for filing an EEOC complaint.

The magistrate found against Hatcher, dismissing the case at summary judgment because Hatcher failed to produce evidence that pointed to a specific manager who knew about his EEOC complaint and discriminated against him because of it.

As for Chevene Hill, his Facebook page says that he is married, but we can find no public records with details about his wife. We sought comment from Mr. Hill, and the two of us wound up having a back and forth via email.

Here is our email exchange:

Chevene Hill (CH): "Mr. Shuler, I just read your email about your Ashley Madison story. I have no desire to be a part of your story, I have never spent money on an Ashley Madison account, nor do I recall having ever tried to contact or respond to any person that may be on this site. I request that you remove any information about me, my law practice and clients, including images about me from your story.

Roger Shuler (RS): "You're included as a paying customer on the Alabama list at Ashley Madison, so that is the genesis of the story."

CH: "I request not to be a part of your story."

RS: "I'm sorry, but your name is on the list, and that makes you part of the story."

CH: "Look, I don't want to have to file for cease and desist orders. So LEAVE ME OUT OF IT."

RS: "If you want me to use that as your response/comment, I will be glad to do that."

CH: "Call me."

I did call him, and we had a rather unpleasant exchange on the phone, with Mr. Hill using some colorful and "unlawyerly" language. It proved to be one of the most curious episodes in my coverage of Ashley Madison.

(To be continued)


Article with links to 1-40 in Ashley Madison series

(41) David Armistead, director of enterprise sales, TekLinks, Birmingham (10/19/17)

(42) William House, VP and controller, HealthSouth, Birmingham (10/26/17)

(43) Olin B. Barnes III, VP, One Resource Group, Birmingham (11/1/17)

(44) T.J. Bunn Jr., ST Bunn Construction, Tuscaloosa (11/2/17)

(45) Todd Deffenbaugh, VP and controller, Express Oil Change, Birmingham (11/6/17)

(46) Richard D. Crites, lawyer and reserve deputy, Springfield, MO (11/13/17)

(47) Mark C. Trudeau, CEO, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, St. Louis, MO (11/15/17)

(48) Peter Blasi, lawyer, Evans Blasi, St. Louis, MO (11/16/17)

(49) Todd Wiesehan, director of resource management, Christian Co., MO (11/22/17)

(50) Spencer Desai, lawyer, Carmody MacDonald, St. Louis, MO (11/27/17)

(51) Johnny Aycock, assistant to the president, University of West Alabama (12/19/17)

(52) Chris McIntyre, district judge, County County, AL (1/3/18)

(53) William W. Smith, lawyer, Smith and Alspaugh, Birmingham (1/10/18)

(54) Jake Reinbold, lawyer, Turner Reid Law Firm, Springfield, MO (1/11/18)

No comments: