Civil War

The Maryland Campaign

Late Friday afternoon, Mike Scarcella of the Legal Times had news on the latest skirmish in Kathy Wone’s $20 million wrongful death civil suit.

General Price

General Price

Any small victory the defendants may have felt following Judge Weisberg’s September status hearing in the criminal case was likely beat back by Judge Brook Hedge, sitting in the civil case.

The defendants wanted no judicial supervision of the civil case, asking Hedge to schedule the next status hearing anytime after June 25, 2010 – around the time the criminal case is decided.

A long march indeed.

Ben Razi, representing Kathy Wone, argued that further delays will cause problems; evidence could be lost. “…if it has not been lost already.”  Then this:

Mrs. Wone is precluded from taking any discovery with respect to the recently disclosed inconsistent statements made by the defendants to the police in the hours after her husband’s murder.”

Talk of Officer Durham’s notes sure is getting around.

Hedge agreed with the plaintiff.  No more stonewalling.

There will be no delay between the end of the criminal trial and the start of the civil; Hedge ordered the defendant’s depositions be complete within 75 days of the jury verdict of next May’s trial.  Nor will the civil case be put on hold pending appeal.

Robert Spagnoletti, arguing on behalf of Dylan Ward, told Hedge they’d have a difficult time meeting deadlines because of the complicated discovery disputes.  An old argument that never gets too old, it seems.

Baltimore attorneys Craig Roswell, of  Niles, Barton for Joe Price and sole practitioner Frank Daily for Victor Zaborsky complete this defense team in the civil case.  Why the out-of-towners?  A lower billing rate?  Is Price leading that defense as well?

The last line in Scarcella’s piece jumps out:

If the criminal case doesn’t go to trial in May 2010, Hedge said she would hear a motion to lift the stay.

That could be read two ways – a possible delay in the May hearing or perhaps no hearing?  What would it take to get there?  A flip and a different set of criminal charges probably.

But that’s only if 7900 Ariel Way is a house divided.

None of the three defendants attended Friday’s hearing.

posted by Craig

18 comments for “Civil War

  1. Clio
    09/21/2009 at 11:49 AM

    Editors, as an historian, I love Craig’s rhetorical allusions to what is still sometimes called (incorrectly) in my country of Virginia: the War Between the States. I do hope that General Price in the caption is not an ancestor of one of the defendants (for the General’s sake), but he does look a little like the former partner at Arent Fox. And, I do hope that this particular Maryland campaign would soon lead to the Gettysburg of “a flip and a different set of criminal charges.”

    This is great news (and analysis) that both the mainstream and pink media cannot continue to ignore!

    • CDinDC
      09/21/2009 at 11:59 AM

      “But that’s only if 7900 Ariel Way is a house divided.”

      Perhaps separate cells after an arrest for murder could divide them. Meeting bond might be awfully hard for the trouple. Any relatives willing to take out a second mortgage? Third mortgage? Sell your house? Do we have ANY takers?

    • AnnaZed
      09/21/2009 at 10:37 PM

      Off topic note:

      Where I grew up, New Orleans, this conflict held a special place, in spite of both sides of my family having had men both serve and die in both World Wars, the Korean War (police action) and the Vietnamese War, even the French and Indian War the Civil War was always referred to as “the war.”

    • corgivet
      09/22/2009 at 1:54 PM

      We were just in Va. and our hosts referred to it ( the war) as the War of Aggression:)

  2. Bea
    09/21/2009 at 12:54 PM

    Letting Dylan’s criminal lawyer do the civil trial means to me that Dylan, having no assets, isn’t really concerned about the civil trial. My guess that the civil trial attorneys are where the money is. I don’t know why Marylanders were hired, though I’m certain that Joe is topping from the bottom again.

    • Craig
      09/21/2009 at 4:26 PM

      Frank Daily’s website offers this: “While our firm recognizes the paramount importance of resolving matters efficiently and expeditiously prior to trial, the firm tries cases when necessary.”

      Yet he, Spagnoletti and Roswell were trying to slow walk the civil case’s next steps well into 2010.

      Judge Hedge obviously has a different definition of “expeditiously.”

      • NYer
        09/21/2009 at 5:26 PM

        But Craig- wouldn’t you agree that the delay of the trial until May 2010 only helps the prosecution?

        • CDinDC
          09/21/2009 at 5:54 PM

          I can’t imagine either side loses out. More time gives both sides to prepare behind the scenes.

        • Craig
          09/21/2009 at 5:56 PM

          NYer – I vividly remember when the trial date was set at the May status hearing. Hopes were lifted when Judge Weisberg started looking at his December 2009 calendar.

          No dice. Connolly broke the news to Weisberg that he and Schertler were going to be ginning up for the January 2010 Blackwater (manslaughter) hearing. No bandwidth for the Wone case.

          Maybe you’re right. The extra months gives team Kirschner all the time in the world to put a solid case together and close the deal.

    • David
      09/21/2009 at 4:29 PM

      Bea,

      What about any inherited assets that Dylan might receive from his parents at some point down the road? Wouldn’t those be subjected to the civil judgement as well?

      David, co-ed.

      • Perplexed
        09/21/2009 at 4:49 PM

        Ok, I think I’m reading this completely different. First of all, Dylan having the same atty. for civil as he does for criminal and his atty. leading off tells me he is the one with the money or financed atty. That’s why the other two have lower lined attys for the civil – they don’t need to have the hyped up attys. as they do in the criminal trial, b/c they can just latch on to Dylan’s hyped up atty’s work – the criminal case is a little different b/c there’s something bigger than money involved, and they each are at great risk and can’t necessarily completely rely on the other to have their back. It’s a fact that I’m sure has been drilled into them, even though they are acting as though they currently are – which they probably are at this time – but I and prob. every good defense atty. has seen situations like this completely unravel b/t defendants being tried together.

        My take on the Judge pretty much saying that even if the criminal trial was postponed that this trial would not be or that the Discovery would be due at the noted time anyways, was prob. at the behest of the Plaintiff’s atty. in knowing that the Defense attys. would try to play this postponement game forever, especially if it was linked to another trial. In reading this, it seems as though the Judge is trying to cover all bases right up front, and is not looking kindly upon giving the Defendants any wiggle room in this case.

        • Bea
          09/21/2009 at 5:10 PM

          I disagree to an extent, Perplexed. Criminal lawyers, especially high-falutin’ ones like Grimm, don’t touch the civil stuff. Look at any high profile case and you’ll see that the civil trial attorneys are NOT the ones who saved the defendant’s ass in the criminal procedure. Different rules, different strategies.

          David, it’s possible that Dylan’s inheritance is at stake but the Ward family is likely far less concerned with the civil trial since Dylan doesn’t have two nickels to rub together. While any outstanding judgment would remain valid for years, there are ways of getting Lil Dyl the money by paying his rent directly, giving him credit cards where he doesn’t have to pay the bill, etc. Then they can ‘homestead exemption’ him a house before the elder-Wards die and instruct the bevy of siblings to take care of the eldest as they did. I’m not saying they’re going to default; I’m saying that they’re less concerned than Joe and Victor about the civil trial than Joe and Victor – and the Wards may well pony up for a good civil attorney if their boy isn’t convicted and spending his future behind bars. If, for example, Victor turns state’s witness (I know, I know) and the charges turn into murder charges, the Wards aren’t going to care much if a hefty monetary award is issued in the civil trial – ain’t nobody going to pay it. Ms. Wone won’t be able to capitalize on inheritance if Dylan is simply cut from the will.

          As usual, I went overboard in responding. Sorry.

          • Doug
            09/21/2009 at 5:18 PM

            Bea;
            Don’t sweat it. We’ll let people know when they’ve gone overboard.
            And will likely toss in a life preserver to boot.
            -Doug, co-editor

          • Perplexed
            09/21/2009 at 5:40 PM

            Hmmm that’s an interesting take Bea, and I’m leaning towards that now……interesting…..

          • CDinDC
            09/21/2009 at 5:52 PM

            Overboard? no. Not at all, Bea. It’s a complicated issue.

            I’d be hard-pressed to believe that Joe et al are not doing their research on how to side-step any civil awards given to the Kathy Wone.

            They already did it with the Florida house. I wonder if it’s protected.

      • CDinDC
        09/21/2009 at 5:43 PM

        If they lose the civil case, seems like all future assets from that point forward would be garnished, if set up that way.

        • Bea
          09/21/2009 at 7:46 PM

          Yes, with some exceptions (remember that OJ got to keep his NFL pension and his home in FLORIDA). And there are ways to circumvent the system to an extent – though Dylan has less to lose than the regularly employed defendants who own property and likely would LIKE to go back to work at some point.

          • Clio
            09/21/2009 at 10:57 PM

            Bea, your chilling reference to OJ and Fla. reminds me of the pertinence of another TV moment to this civil case: “Florida, Florida, Florida!,” the famous quote from the late, great Tim Russert about the key importance of the Sunshine State during the 2000 presidential election, could be used here in a different context, unfortunately.

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