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Compromise on Joe Price’s Work Emails?

On September 10, Kathy Wone’s civil team filed a Motion to Compel Production of Third-Party Documents, regarding several hundred emails that Joe Price sent from his work email account at Arent Fox before and well after Robert’s murder.

Fox Five file photo

Price wants to keep them away from the plaintiffs by claiming privilege under several umbrellas: spousal, attorney work product, attorney-client, joint defense or just plain confidential.  Covington says he has no standing – that under Arent Fox employee guidelines emails remain the property of the firm and that he had no reasonable expectation of privacy when sending them.

The guidelines state explicitly that emails are “…subject to subpoena and disclosure in a legal proceeding and to review in the context of a document search…”

Where does Joe Price see daylight in any of that? 

For the last two weeks we’ve been expecting the defense to lob in a response to the motion to compel; they haven’t yet and have asked for an extension by filing this consent motion.  The deadline is today and there’s been movement in settling the dispute. Price’s guys, Brett Buckwalter and Craig Roswell write:

“Both before and since the filing of Plaintiff’s underlying motion, Plaintiff and Defendant Price have been in communication regarding a possible compromise to the issues raised in the motion, and the Parties are making progress in that regard.”

Compromise and progress; enough so that Covington’s Ben Razi agreed to the extension so that “the parties can continue working toward a resolution.”

Did Price cave?  Or is there nothing in there that he feels is really worth fighting for?

Consent motion to extend time to respond to plaintiff’s motion to compel production

53 comments for “Fox News

  1. Bea
    10/04/2010 at 12:04 PM

    Since the extension was by ‘consent’ it generally means there has been some movement by Price to agree to more production than was originally provided – how much more is yet to be seen. Plaintiff likely asked for more than it expected to get, so rather than risk getting LESS than it expects, it’s willing to deal. The devil will be in the details. If Covington thinks they’re getting what they’re entitled to, then they may not pursue the Motion to Compel – if not, they’ll require the defense to file its Response and let the Judge decide.

    My guess is that Covington trusts Price about as far as they can throw him (as time passes, less and less distance). They may have some third party involved in assessment of the actual emails.

    • Craig
      10/04/2010 at 2:12 PM

      I’m still wondering if a subpoena is in the works for IDFA or AB Data, the former employers of Zaborsky and Ward. Couldn’t those yield something for the plaintiffs or are they thinking that everything revolved around Price? The Verizon home phone and email records are still hanging out there too.

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        10/04/2010 at 3:35 PM

        That’s a good point, Craig. Seems like throwing the net a little farther would be a good idea.

        By the way, doesn’t VZ still work at IDFA? Or did he quit. I remember he had gone back to work after a brief hiatus.

        • Bea
          10/04/2010 at 3:54 PM

          Covington OUGHT to be going after ALL these – I suspect they are. Anything done on an employer’s email is just begging to be turned over! CD, I think Victor “works” with IDFA but perhaps as a consultant instead of an employee (my online snooping) – may give the organization proper distance under the circumstances, though we’ve heard here from a coworker about how much he was liked and respected. I assume that’s why they kept him around (and that he’s good at his job). Not so much on Joe’s former employer!!

          • David
            10/04/2010 at 4:23 PM

            I am also thinking Virginia Equality’s e-mails from Dylan (who worked there) to Joe Price as Board Chair might be worth a look too. I don’t know if they would fall under the time period they are looking at because Dylan might have already left by then.

            David, co-ed.

            • Clio
              10/04/2010 at 10:21 PM

              And, (former Executive Director of Equality Virginia) Dyana Mason’s potential correspondence with Mr. Price and Mr. Ward (both before and after the murder) may yield key details about the trouple’s commitment to the cause (before) and their scandal management skills (after).

      • Cat from Cleveland
        10/04/2010 at 8:42 PM

        In civil litigation, documents are obtained through a third party via subpoena. Whenever a subpoena is issued, it must be filed with the court(the documents produced in response are not typically filed, however).

        Every time something is filed with the clerk in any particular case, an entry must be made by the Clerk of Court on the “docket” for that case. The “docket” is simply an up-to-date listing of all pleadings, documents and court orders filed in that case. It typically lists each item filed, the date of the filing, and the identity of the filing party.

        Do the eds have access to the docket in this case? Up here, most of our dockets are online and can be accessed by anyone. My online research indicates the docket for this court is not online. The docket will tell us all subpoenas that have been issued in the case.

        • Craig
          10/04/2010 at 9:25 PM

          Cat: The links to the DC Superior Court database are found here in this handy wmrw stringer toolkit. They keep it pretty up-to-date but it’s just a listing of filings; the docs aren’t retrievable online.

          • Cat from Cleveland
            10/04/2010 at 9:58 PM

            Thanks! Reviewing, I note that there are no subpoenas on the docket. In Jan. 2009, before the stay, a motion to quash a supboena was filed, but there is no corresponding entry for a subpoena. This leads me to conclude that subpoenas are not filed in this court (odd, to me), and we have no way of knowing what has been subpoenaed to date.

  2. Michael
    10/04/2010 at 1:16 PM

    hey Joe – I sent a bottle of sparkling apple juice to your house… did ya get it?

    • AnnaZed
      10/04/2010 at 4:03 PM

      I hope that is a joke.

      I hope that no one who posts here would do anything so wildly inappropriate as to communicate directly with any of the parties to this matter (on either side) let alone impose on them and their privacy and dignity by sending them packages. I know that if I were involved in any way (how ever tangentially) with something like this and I received a package, or flowers or anything at all from a stranger I would be frightened and horrified and feel justifiably violated.

      • HopeForJustice
        10/04/2010 at 4:07 PM

        AZ : re bottle of sparkling apple juice…. yes, must be a joke. It was a skit this past Saturday on Saturday Night Live.

        • AnnaZed
          10/04/2010 at 4:26 PM

          Whew, ok, sorry to be a nanny.

      • Rich
        10/04/2010 at 8:38 PM

        Even though you missed the obvious joke, would you care if someone engaged the defendant, Joe Price?

        He is not exactly here on this site posting anything.

        Joe, might consider the, “Apple Juice,” as a compliment.

        • Cat from Cleveland
          10/04/2010 at 8:43 PM

          Joe would certainly like the sparkling part.

          • Rich
            10/04/2010 at 8:48 PM


  3. 12345
    10/04/2010 at 4:06 PM

    Covington also represents IDFA.

    • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
      10/04/2010 at 4:59 PM

      Conflict of interest?

      • Bea
        10/04/2010 at 5:30 PM

        If true, then perhaps an ethical wall could be established – really depends on what nature of the work is – AND whether either client objects to the continued representation. I really doubt there’s a worry EXCEPT if IDFA does have the instinct to protect Victor (unlike Arent Fox, who didn’t care to put up a fight on Joe’s behalf); if the representation is regulatory or something that far afield, I don’t see an issue that can’t be resolved. I believe Cat is our ethics expert thought – Cat?

        • Cat from Cleveland
          10/04/2010 at 9:39 PM

          Hmm. This one presents as a bar exam question – by that I mean this: in the time allotted, the best I can hope to accomplish is that I will spot the major issues and generally address them. As an aside, thanks for reminding me of the bar exam. Now I’ll have nightmares. Again.

          Two general notes. The ethical rules are shades of gray. For the most part (and with multiple exceptions), if a lawyer is disqualified from representing a client in a particular matter, his firm is also disqualified.

          Generally, an attorney has a “conflict” if his representation of the client is at substantial risk of being impacted by the interests of someone other than that client (such as the lawyer, his law firm, or another client of the firm). In evaluating whether a conflict exists, lawyers do not consider only what has happened to date, but they should consider the various ways a conflict may arise down the road. Some conflicts may be waived by the client. Others cannot (the rules vary by jurisdiction).

          Could there be something in the IDFA emails that might be embarrassing to AF if it was disclosed? If so, one could suggest that AF’s advice might be colored by concern for itself, which would be a conflict for AF.

          I understand that Victor is a former “client” of AF (as Joe provided him with legal advice while he was with the firm.) The firm will owe him some ongoing duty of loyalty and confidentiality that, conceivably, could come into play if the firm were to represent Victor’s former (or current) employer in a matter in which Victor is a party. This is particularly true if disclosure of IDFA emails could be damaging to Victor in the matter for which Price, as a partner with AF, represented Victor.

          There is some possibility that one or more members of AF could be called to testify in this matter, and generally, AF should avoid acting as counselor and witness in the same proceeding.

          Does AF actually have a conflict that would preclude it from representing ADFA in this matter? I do not know. However, when a lawyer is “close” to a case (and in this case, I’d say AF is pretty “close”), ethics advisors typically advise the lawyer to avoid representing anyone in the case. Sorry for the long answer. And for the reminder of the bar exam.

          • susan
            10/04/2010 at 10:00 PM


            When you say AF do you mean Covington?

            • Cat from Cleveland
              10/04/2010 at 10:26 PM

              See? I thought about the bar exam (two decades ago, but who is counting) and it made my brain malfunction. Nevermind, my whole post is a waste of data space.

              Generally, a lawyer should avoid accepting an engagement if the lawyer knows or should know that it will cause the lawyer to be adverse to a current client.

              That said, Bea is absolutely correct – the issue will turn on the nature of the representation of IDFA and whether either client objects.

              The fact that an engagement might require the lawyer to serve a subpoena on a current client of the lawyer’s firm, alone, is not enough to prevent the lawyer from accepting an engagement. But, if the subpoenaed client objects, the firm can face a claim that it has violated its duty of loyalty to that client. If that happens, if the court determines that a conflict exists, the firm could be disqualified from representing either party.

  4. TT
    10/04/2010 at 5:46 PM

    AnnaZed, love the new avatar. But, Bea, could AnnaZed be legally responsible for putting our precious Dyl up as an avatar? Just concerned for you. My ex often tells me to be careful of what I post here for legal reasons. Just being a little co-dependent.

    • Bea
      10/04/2010 at 6:03 PM

      Hey TT, just as Patti Smith could tell me to quit using her photo as an avatar (or the Estate of Robert Mapplethorpe could as well as photographer and holder of the copyright) so too could Dylan Ward stop AnnaZ from using the avatar (so too could the photographer in question). Because AnnaZ makes no claim to BE Dylan Ward nor have ANY relationship with him, I don’t see any monetary claims (could likely get injunction against further use – gut reaction only).

      The things all of us need to be careful of in posting here is to offer up opinions as ‘facts’ or make bald-faced slanderous remarks having no basis in reality. Actually, the Judge’s dicta probably helped those of us who believe the trio (or two of them) had something to do with Robert Wone’s murder.

      • Bea
        10/04/2010 at 6:04 PM

        whoops – NOT to offer up opinions as facts.

        • AnnaZed
          10/04/2010 at 6:05 PM

          I liked it the other way better.

      • CDinDC (Boycott BP)
        10/05/2010 at 12:28 PM

        whatever happened to the good ol’ days when copyright infringement meant making money from something that wasn’t yours.

        With the advent of Napster and other peer-to-peer sites, everything went straight to hell.

        It went from “you can’t make a profit off my work” to “you are peventing me from making a profit off my work.” Greedy bastards.

        Piracy my eye. Arrr.

    • AnnaZed
      10/04/2010 at 6:03 PM

      I can’t think why anyone would object to this image of Little Dyl, it’s rather flattering I think.

      • Kate
        10/04/2010 at 6:13 PM

        And a precious Lil Dyl it is, too!

        Love it.

      • Bill 2
        10/04/2010 at 6:55 PM

        It’s probably very flattering. For reality, you may want to consider a gherkin size.

        • AnnaZed
          10/04/2010 at 7:01 PM

          I couldn’t find a picture of a lone cornichon.

          • susan
            10/04/2010 at 9:06 PM

            That is so funny! The L’il Dyl one was funny too. Maybe you could post it periodically and then switch back quickly–always being one step ahead of the law, so to speak. Just like whoever murdered Robert Wone–for now.

  5. Clio
    10/04/2010 at 9:45 PM

    For the sake of future historians, I applaud Mr. Price’s decision to cave on allowing public scrutiny of his electronic telegrams: as a scholar, one can never have too many details to analyze or to deconstruct.

    For the sake of the present “very active” investigation, I worry that his sudden willingness to compromise here means that there may be no “smoking gun” amongst all of those keystrokes. Sigh!

    • Kate
      10/05/2010 at 7:53 AM

      Sigh, indeed, Clio – I must be under the mistaken impression that all of these e-mails, phone records, et al, were examined for evidentiary value some (2-4) years ago.

      To what degree would the MPD and the Federal Prosecutors Office have had access to this information? Certainly, not much was used in the criminal trial, save those few e-mails from Joe to Lil Dyl discussing the addition of a third in their play dates.

      The insights of our fearless Editors and our legal experts would be greatly appreciated.


    • Rich
      10/05/2010 at 8:11 AM


      Or, quite possibly, much to all of our surprise, maybe he’s giving up the ghost and finally trying to find the easiest way out.

      Oddly, that he would feel under pressure with a civil suit and not criminal charges where the outcome is worse.

      He was way to, “Brazen,” in the criminal trial. No fear at all.

      Or, maybe he is just tired.

      Over 4 years is a long time to keep the ruse alive.

  6. susan
    10/04/2010 at 10:17 PM

    I should probably post this on another page, since it’s not related to the current discussion, but nevertheless…

    I re-read reports of M. Price’s confrontation with that police officer. In fact, I knew he cursed at her, but read what he actually said this time. All I can think is how vulgar of this guy and how misogynistic, not to mention cowardly. I can’t imagine he’d get away with saying what he did to a male cop. And why did this woman cop not charge him for harassment/threats? Nothing excuses that behavior. Wonder how old he was at the time of RW’s murder. Wonder how Aunt K feels about the kids having an uncle who talks to people that way–even if it was just once. I haven’t read anywhere that that cop did anything to him OR his brother. She was just there as a presence at RW’s memorial service, I believe.

    And that night at Aunt K’s–he makes the call with Aunt K at 4:50. Things at that household (Aunt K’s) seem just as eventful as at Swann. One kid loses a tooth, another rides a two-wheeler. And so it’s 4:50. MP’s class is at 5:00. So he doesn’t go because he’ll be….late.

    So here’s what I don’t get and I hope the Covington people will look into it, since MP, having an unreported key to Swann and burglarizing it, is a factor:

    1. He didn’t want to go to class since he was late, the account goes. Why? He’d be embarrassed to go to class late? Not much of a shrinking violet, I’d say. I’d ask the person who was his instructor at the time if she ever noticed him arriving late and if other students arrived late as well–if it generally wasn’t a big deal. It was four years ago but we can be sure that teacher has spent some time remembering that student who she was asked about by police and who was a potential and still may be a potential suspect in a murder case.

    2. It was 4:50, he’s with his nephews at Aunt K’s house. When did he get off the phone. And didn’t she ask him to stay for dinner? He wasn’t going to class. They were having much fun, by all accounts. When did he leave their place?

    3. Did he use his cell phone that night? If so, where do cell records show he might have been speaking from? Silver Spring, where he’s said to have been, wouldn’t use the same cell tower as Swann.

    This might all be nothing. But there’s something truly ugly about that behavior with that police woman. And not just ugly, but threatening and daring. Maybe a little sign of guilt too?

    • Nelly
      10/05/2010 at 12:24 PM

      You are right. There’s something very strange, unhinged, and at the very least childish, about a man in his early-mid 30’s going off on a tirade at a police officer in the parking lot of a memorial service. Why was he even there in the first place, since he didn’t even know Robert? I suspect Louis Hinton knows more about what was really going on the night that Robert Wone was killed.

      • AnnaZed
        10/05/2010 at 1:48 PM

        Oh absolutely, thanks for bringing my mind back around to the curious pair of Louis and Michael. I am afraid that I do not think that Judge Leibovitz’s findings in re Michael are entirely correct. I think that Michael was there and I think that Louis knows something. This may be a very weak area for team trouple.

        • 10/05/2010 at 2:04 PM

          I also was surprised at the otherwise sharp Judge L. for giving a pass to Michael. Someone removed a whole lotta stuff from the home that night, was not a finicky person (willing to handle blood and other bodily fluids), and I believe took the stuff far out of the neighborhood. I grant that some of the coincidences concerning him might be just that, coincidences (e.g., the kind of course he was taking, timing of missing class, etc.) but not all of them. The tirade at the police officer was SO unhinged, as you put it, as to require a very close look at him.

          • Bruce
            10/05/2010 at 2:37 PM

            Hi All:

            Sorry to interrupt, but wanted you to know that I am going to be out of the country starting today, and won’t be back until October 14. Ok, I’m not taking massage classes in Thailand, a la our “Lil Dyl.” I will be in Europe for a wedding and a family get together.

            Didn’t want anyone to think that I was ignoring anyone’s messages in particular or the blog in general. Well, I am, but not on purpose!

            I will not have internet access, and won’t have access to WMRW. So I’m sure that I will go into withdrawal very soon.

            • Kate
              10/05/2010 at 3:11 PM

              Have a grand time on your European Vacation.

              • Rich
                10/05/2010 at 4:31 PM

                Too Sweet, Kate.

                But, that’s you.

                • Kate
                  10/05/2010 at 5:13 PM

                  Thanks, Rich, you’re too kind.

            • Clio
              10/05/2010 at 3:50 PM

              Bon voyage, Bruce darling! I’ll miss both your raconteur wit and legal bagatelles.

            • 10/05/2010 at 4:12 PM

              Internet is everywhere. On a recent foreign trip, I was determined to decompress from wmrw but ended up hogging one of the two rickety computers, reading up, in the front room of a house turned over to an internet cafe, in a remote rural town!!

            • denton
              10/08/2010 at 8:45 AM

              I don’t know why my post was removed last night but I replied (haven’t been checking in lately) “Euro’s loos is $ gain, enjoy, Bruce.” Hope you get it.

          • AnnaZed
            10/05/2010 at 3:38 PM

            When it comes to murder I am not a person who holds much with coincidences.

        • susan
          10/05/2010 at 8:00 PM

          Right. And there’s also L. Hinton, who has an arrest record, doesn’t he? And it was just a few months before the murder that he was charged with beating up MP and JP defended him.

          It would have been great had Mr. H not been so intent on pleading the 5th or having his questioning limited.

          Maybe the trouple, the trouple-in-law and assaulting friend are innocent of the murder. It’s possible that RW’s cab driver received a poor tip and so plotted his revenge, downloading an App for the layout of Swann. It’s possible. Possible–minus the App.

          I find that (aside from MP) there are characteristics of the trouple that I’d be drawn to if I met them pre-murder. They are all articulate, educated, urban, etc. I really do find that I’d probably like one or all under other circumstances.

          But all this other stuff about them–the planned rendezvous from the partner while he’s away; the torture devices; the use of the law firm website for a private venture (the porn shop), the ad, the visiting secret liaisons with the guy across the street, the burglarizing, drug addict brother, his domestic abuser who the other brother is representing, the massage/prostitution service (his “full body” employed in the massage of others–according to DW’s ad) etc.–Lots of secrets from each other, at least from VZ.

          It might be just bad luck for these guys. Worse luck though, for R. Wone. And because of the latter, I wish these guys had been/will be more forthcoming and help end K. Wone’s pain and reveal, at the very least, what was not shared with police and for which they feared “retribution” from the police as stated by J. Price in his “Catch 22” e-mail. And explain why, during the 911 call, JP didn’t share the most relevant information other than that R. Wone was stabbed and dying–that he pulled the knife out of R. Wone. Why, instead of telling the 911 operator, or the EMT personnel, or K. Wone, or his attorneys (maybe he did?), or the police, he told Scott Hixson in a parking lot, outside of the police station, in a Mercedes, instead.

          So many questions. So little info. shared by J. Price, V. Zaborsky, D. Ward, M. Price, L. Hinton, and maybe even P. Dernbach, Lisa Goddard Desjardins, and any other tight friends of these individuals who might have some information to help K. Wone, Robert Wone’s parents and brother, Robert Wone’s friends finally have some peace in their lives and know that whatever killer or killers there are out there who stabbed and murderered Robert Wone three times will get the justice they deserve for taking his young, 32 year old life.

    • Kate
      10/05/2010 at 3:27 PM

      Susan, Nelly, Anna and Gloria – I agree completely that Michael Price is one erratic fella … he probably knows a thing or two about his brother Joe that are potentially quite damning.

      My questions about his involvement in the events of August 2, 2006 center on his whereabouts at the crucial time. If he were in Silver Spring, or at home with Louis, how did he get to Swann Street so quickly? Even at that late hour in the evening, getting from point A to point B in DC can still be a challenge. If he did assist in removing evidence – such as the missing camera equipment, play mats, etc., – do you not think he would have been closer at hand?

      Your thoughts would be appreciated, this has always been a head scratcher for me.


      • Rich
        10/05/2010 at 4:29 PM

        Door to Door is 20 minutes. Do the math from there.

        • Kate
          10/05/2010 at 5:20 PM

          Yes, Rich – under the best traffic circumstances – all lights green, nobody on the road, no speed traps, etc. But it still seems too tight a timeline. If we do the math with the 20 minutes travel time you refer to above, Michael would have to have been at the house already (or nearly there) by the time the next door neighbor heard Victor scream.


          • AnnaZed
            10/05/2010 at 5:28 PM

            Wait, what am I missing here.

            Uncle Michael is last reliably reported to be with the nephews in Silver Springs right before 5pm.

            Louis Hinton’s alibi I discount wholesale as complete fabrication.

            The police do not arrive at Swann St. until just before midnight.

            Michael had plenty of time to be there and participate on any of various possible levels of involvement. He might even have been “exercising” with Dylan when Victor got home, who knows.

          • Rich
            10/05/2010 at 7:09 PM

            Kinda forgot all the moving parts around the issue.

            Just do the route sll the time and know it can be done in 20 minutes, but do not know how it impacts everything else.

            Could very well be tight.

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