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MICHIGAN LAW STUDENT CAN SUE STATE BAR NEW YORK — A law school graduate who claims he was unfairly denied membership in the Michigan Bar because he offended a judge years ago has scored an early-round win in appeals court. The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 3 that Michigan State University, DCL College of Law graduate Dennis Dubuc could sue the heads of the State Bar of Michigan and the Michigan Board of Law Examiners over his denied membership. Dubuc had sued both groups for denying him admission into the Bar after finding him morally unfit to practice law for allegedly falsely accusing a judge of criminal actions in 1995. The case is Dubuc v. Michigan Board of Law Examiners, 02-1897. “They didn’t like the fact that he had made harsh remarks about a judge,” said Robert Horvath, Dubuc’s lawyer. “They wanted him to say ‘Gee, I made a mistake.’ But in his view he thought he was justified.” Dubuc, 55, had initially sued both the Bar and licensing board, as well as the heads of the groups, in federal district court claiming his First Amendment rights were violated. The case was dismissed on immunity grounds, but the appellate court ruled that Dubuc could still sue the chief officials of the organizations, but not the groups themselves. Horvath, a solo practitioner in Troy, Mich., called this a classic First Amendment case. “Should he have restrained his tongue more? Yeah. It wasn’t the prudent thing to do. He basically dynamited himself,” Horvath said. “When you attack a judge and you don’t win on that allegation, you’re stuck.” — The National Law Journal DISCLOSURE EQUATED WITH PRIVILEGE WAIVER PHILADELPHIA — A litigant’s intentional disclosure of an attorney-client privileged document that helps its case constitutes a waiver of the privilege as to all confidential communications regarding the same subject matter, a federal judge has ruled. “The attorney-client privilege is a shield used to protect communications, not a sword wielded to gain an advantage in litigation,” U.S. District Judge Berle Schiller wrote in his 13-page opinion in Murray v. Gemplus International. “Where one party attempts to utilize the privilege as an offensive weapon, selectively disclosing communications in order to help its case, that party should be deemed to have waived the protection otherwise afforded it by the privilege it misused,” Schiller wrote. The ruling is a victory for plaintiff’s attorneys Alan Epstein, David Picker and Paul Rosen of Spector Gadon & Rosen, who argued that Gemplus waived its attorney-client privilege when it turned over e-mails to and from its in-house counsel. Since Gemplus’ disclosure of the e-mails was “deliberate” and “not inadvertent,” the plaintiff’s lawyers argued, it should be forced to turn over all other privileged documents relating to the same subject. In court papers, Gemplus’ lawyers argued that the disclosure of the privileged e-mails was inadvertent. — The Legal Intelligencer

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