Skip to comments.Lacrosse lawyer seeks Duke PR info
Posted on 01/02/2012 5:06:15 AM PST by abb
A lawyer for three members of Duke Universitys 2005-06 mens lacrosse team has subpoenaed the records of two public-relations companies Duke officials consulted in the course of dealing with false rape allegations a stripper made against the team.
Durham attorney Bob Ekstrand has told federal judges information from the two firms, Burson-Marsteller and Edelman, is important to his clients civil-rights lawsuit against Duke because public-relations worries were central to the schools response in 2006.
Dukes media strategy drove its decision-making, including its decisions to deprive [players] of the procedural protections it promises to all of its students in connection with its disciplinary proceedings, Ekstrand said in a memo defending his move.
University lawyers, however, have asked that judges quash the subpoenas.
They contend that Ekstrand is fishing for information about matters going beyond those judges have said are fair game while preliminary rulings on the lawsuit and two like it are under appeal.
Pending a higher-court ruling, they said, Ekstrands only entitled to look at two things: whether Duke breached a contract with the players and whether it conspired with authorities to hide the fact itd turned over to police information about the players movement during the night of a now-infamous team party.
Ekstrands subpoenas are so broadly worded that they extend well beyond the appropriate scope of discovery, Dukes lawyers said.
They added that Dukes public response in 2006 to stripper Crystal Mangums allegation is not ... at issue for the moment, and that it appears unlikely a judge can help Ekstrand by narrowing the scope of the two subpoenas.
Ekstrand is representing three players Ryan McFadyen, Breck Archer and Matt Wilson who escaped indictment in the Durham police investigation that followed Mangums allegations.
Thirty-eight other unindicted players represented by other players are pursuing their own lawsuit against Duke and the city.
As with Ekstrands suit, evidence gathering involving the Duke-only aspects of that case is under way. Lawyers have said the process will go continue at least through the late summer of 2012.
A third lawsuit, filed against the city by a trio of indicted-but-exonerated players, is basically on hold pending an appeals-court ruling about governmental immunity.
It doesnt target Duke at all because the players in question settled out of court with the university.
Ekstrands defense of his subpoenas indicated that hes already questioned one key Duke official, Senior Associate Athletics Director Chris Kennedy.
The 160-page transcript of Kennedys deposition indicated that he was sharply critical of the way Duke President Richard Brodhead and other administrators had reacted to Mangums allegations.
Their actions including Brodheads decision to cancel the 2005-06 lacrosse season and the ouster of former coach Mike Pressler appeared impulsive and reactive rather than well thought out, Kennedy told Ekstrand and the Duke lawyers sitting in on the session.
Kennedy added that he thought Brodhead had been incredibly indiscreet in one of his public statements, in which the president said that regardless of whether thered been a rape, the teams conduct had been bad enough to warrant severe discipline.
But Kennedy admitted that he personally had bawled out the teams captains early on after learning about the ill-fated party, telling them they were supposed to be leaders and that this was a real failure of leadership on their part for either having organized and hosted the party or for not having stopped it from happening.
I got up on my high horse, Kennedy told the lawyers. I wanted them to learn something from it. If I had foreseen what was coming, I would never have gotten up on the horse.
Ekstrands questioning established that senior officials at Duke cut Kennedy out of the decision-making about the team after the crisis broke, even though he was Presslers immediate boss.
But Kennedys responses hinted at a reason for that. He admitted he was close to the coach and some of the players, Wilson included, because his own son had played lacrosse for Duke and for Pressler. Kennedys son graduated after the 2004-05 season.
Read more: The Herald-Sun - Lacrosse lawyer seeks Duke PR info
It was a Frame-Up.
My view on this incident is QUITE different from what I thought back then.
I hope these young men have to hire a Brinks truck to take their winnings to the bank.
The lawsuit is not, nor has it ever been about mere money. It is about the truth. This deposition is the first time anyone from Duke University has been put under oath and asked questions.
DUKE was more than happy to sacrifice the Lacrosse Players on the altar of political correctness.
The players and the coach.
I hope Duke and individual Duke employees get their clocks cleaned.
That's some impressive work!
I hope the Duke powers-that-be are sweating bullets and lots of new information comes out in the process. The fact that Brodhead is still the president of Duke after what happened with the university’s response to this event tells me everything I need to know about the integrity of that operation, and it isn’t good.
Heaven forbid that any university look into the homosexual agenda as a crime. It’s an overt attempt to normalize that behavior. Ever notice how many institutions have gender & minorities studies as degreed departments these days?
Hired by Jamie “Mistress of Disaster” Gorelick???
Burson-Marsteller is a global public relations and communications firm headquartered in the United States. Burson-Marsteller operates 67 wholly owned offices and 71 affiliate offices in 98 countries across six continents. The company was founded by Harold Burson and William “Bill” Marsteller in 1953, and, by the early 1980s, had become one of the largest public relations companies in the world. In 1979 it became a subsidiary of Young & Rubicam, which is now owned by WPP Group. The current CEO of Burson-Marsteller is Mark Penn, who joined the company in 2005.
Burson-Marsteller provides public relations and advertising services to clients, including multinational corporations and government agencies. Burson-Marsteller is primarily known for its crisis management services and political lobbying. It has won numerous awards over the years for its work in high profile crisis management, including the late 1990s Asian financial crisis, a 2002 extortion attempt against British company GlaxoSmithKline, and a response described as the “gold standard” for its crisis management of the 1982 Chicago Tylenol poisonings. Other high profile crisis cases include the manufacturers of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station and Egypt following terrorist attacks on tourists in 1993. At times it has also been the subject of protests and criticism for its use of smearing and doubt campaigns (to undermine concerns about passive smoking for Philip Morris in the 1990s and anti-Google smear campaigning for Facebook in 2011) and its work for regimes facing severe human rights criticisms (Argentina and Indonesia). The firm also specializes in corporate PR, public affairs, technology and healthcare communications and brand marketing.
Mark J. Penn (born January 15, 1954), is the worldwide CEO of the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller and president of the polling firm Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates. In September 2007, he released a book titled Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes, which examines small trends sweeping the world. Penn’s clients have included political and business leaders, including U.S. President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates; he also served as chief strategist and pollster to Hillary Clinton in her 2008 presidential campaign. Penn is married to Nancy Jacobson, a professional fundraiser.
Posted: June 1, 2010
Strategy Corner: Time for Obama to Lift the BP Fog With a New Strategy
05:07 PM on 06/02/2010
You neglected to tell us that BP is now a client of your firm, Burson Marsteller, as is AIG and a host of despots, rogue nations and disgraced corporations...
Care to revisit you little blog now that your affiliations are more transparent?
Did you or your firm have anything to do with the current media blockade by BP and its refusal to allow journalists and others to document the death and destruction resulting from an accident caused by a company that gamed the regulations?
Jamie Gorelick’s new challenge: Backing BP
Not so impressive.
Ping. Entire Kennedy deposition released. See here the links.
Converted to Word doc.
More info at this website.
Hey, I’ve heard of that site! :-)