OT - MSU remains a cesspool at the top and no, this time it's not about Engler.

Submitted by Mr Miggle on June 21st, 2018 at 11:53 AM

Here's a new Lansing State Journal article about the conflicts between MSU's lead attorney and the state AG's special prosecutor, William Forsyth. Relevant quotes: 

"Furthermore," Forsyth wrote, "our concern that MSU might be improperly withholding information was heightened by an email produced by the University from Chairperson (Brian) Breslin to his fellow Trustees discussing non-privileged information and directing them to copy legal counsel on their response in order to 'protect client privilege.'"

"I must be sure that the University is not improperly shielding documents from the investigation under the guise of privilege," Forsyth wrote. "...(T)here are emails between William Strampel and Larry Nassar that have been identified as 'attorney-client privileged,' despite not having an attorney included on the email."

https://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/local/2018/06/20/michigan-state-larry-nassar-investigation-search-warrant/719912002/

Comments

MClass87

June 21st, 2018 at 12:13 PM ^

MSU is withholding over 150 documents as privileged information.  This leads me to believe that the documents have nothing to do with the Nassar investigation but would definitely implicate other MSU employees in other programs such as football and basketball.  It is simply a matter of time before they will be forced to release this information and a whole new shitstorm will rain down on East Lansing.  

evenyoubrutus

June 21st, 2018 at 1:14 PM ^

I would guess that's because it's already hit the fan with the Nassar stuff. What else could there possibly be to cover up?

What I find funny (or something) is the fact that so many Sparties like Valenti, etc, keep insisting this is nothing more than a witch hunt orchestrated by ESPN to save their failing business. LOL as if ESPN would single out a no name institution like MSU

jblaze

June 21st, 2018 at 12:31 PM ^

Who the fuck cares? MSU means nothing outside the midwest for football. I work in finance in the NE and honestly know nobody that went to or cares about MSU.

JC06Z33

June 21st, 2018 at 12:46 PM ^

I'm not sure if you've heard what Larry Nassar did to hundreds of young girls, but this situation is magnitudes larger than the school he worked at while he did what he did.  There are quite a few people who care how this plays out including people who didn't even know MSU existed before this scandal. 

LSAClassOf2000

June 21st, 2018 at 1:11 PM ^

Here within the state of Michigan anyway, these stories are huge because they are local on top of it all, but the MSU scandal and its fallout are clearly a national story at this point and has been for a long time now, and considering the scope and nature of what happened, I think a lot of people do in fact care about it. 

RedRum

June 21st, 2018 at 12:54 PM ^

No defense for sparty, but I do believe attorney client privilege is under attack, not on the merits, but on the ease of which electronic communication can be shared or intercepted. 

I just came from a conference where we discussed this. The only real safe way to communicate with an attorney is face to face with no phones present. 

That said, sparty sucks

4roses

June 21st, 2018 at 1:30 PM ^

I see this particular aspect of the MSU tirefire more of an ethical issue than a legal issue. Every person that has spoken on behalf of MSU talks about how committed they are to getting to the bottom of things, making sure this doesn't happen again, restoring the public's trust, etc. If that is what you truly want then you need to prioritize these things over minimizing settlement costs, retaining loyal, career employees, and exercising privilege - even it is 100% your right to do so. You can't have it both ways. 

4roses

June 21st, 2018 at 1:30 PM ^

I see this particular aspect of the MSU tirefire more of an ethical issue than a legal issue. Every person that has spoken on behalf of MSU talks about how committed they are to getting to the bottom of things, making sure this doesn't happen again, restoring the public's trust, etc. If that is what you truly want then you need to prioritize these things over minimizing settlement costs, retaining loyal, career employees, and exercising privilege - even it is 100% your right to do so. You can't have it both ways. 

darkstar

June 21st, 2018 at 1:30 PM ^

I worked for a company that was very sensitive to exposing itself (no pun intended) to any type of government scrutiny so internal emails were regularly cc'd to the corporate general counsel to claim attorney-client privilege.  I think this is a pretty common thing in the corporate world so this really isn't that surprising to me.  The stupid part was sending an email claiming that's what they were doing. Dorf.

Njia

June 21st, 2018 at 4:08 PM ^

I also work for a company that is similarly concerned about public exposure. However, the guidance we received from Corporate Counsel was very different. We were told that attorney-client privilege would not likely hold up under discovery if anyone other than legal counsel was on the email (meaning, no cc: to Legal just to cover your ass - it won't hold water). Context (and content) is important, but we were told not to use it as a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card, literally or figuratively. 

DCGrad

June 21st, 2018 at 9:12 PM ^

That’s not how a-c privilege works at all. There has to be actual legal advice in the email for it to be privileged. Emails with attorneys included aren’t automatically privileged and emails without attorneys included aren’t automatically non-privileged either. 

bgoblue02

June 21st, 2018 at 3:12 PM ^

possibly; but I think privilege is being abused.  blindly cc'ing lawyers on everything just so you can say you have privilege feels like not the spirit if; privilege isn't meant to be a confessional.   Consulting them on potential things you did to solicit their direct feedback feels more like it's intent.

PopeLando

June 21st, 2018 at 12:56 PM ^

I bet there are a couple judges in Michigan who would love to order a review if they belive that confidentiality is being abused.

What do you want to bet ESPN already has their next exposé ready and waiting for the start of football season? As much as I like to shit on ESPN, Sparty really fucked them, and I hope every little dirty secret gets front page coverage. 

PM

June 21st, 2018 at 1:00 PM ^

Oddly enough, this reminded me of my daughter's HS graduation two weeks ago. One of the grads  had decorated her cap with a big green and white "Sparty On" (a girl no less).  I had to restrain myself from asking her if it was a joke or was she seriously going to MSU and put that on in support. 

(My daughter heads to UM this fall.) 

bringthewood

June 21st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

It is interesting. I get the urge to yell "what the fuck!" at people decked out in MSU gear.

Here is a telling stat. The ReclaimMSU movement has been pushing for a fire Engler petition for a week or two. They have 50k students and 450k alumni. How many signatures do they have including all non MSU students/alumni?

1000.

That tells me they could give a fuck about sexual assault and the egregious job Engler has done. But if they had a petition against ESPN I bet they would have had 50,000 signatures. That tells you everything you need to know about many of their students and alumni.

I feel sorry and support the ReclaimMSU group as they are trying to do the right thing with little support.

MichiganTeacher

June 21st, 2018 at 6:28 PM ^

That is an amazing stat. Wow.

But it fits with what I see on social media. I'm out in NY, so I don't have to live with it like you folks in Michigan, but I can't believe the continued trash-talk and general oblivious bravado that I still hear coming from the Sparty camp via social media. I just don't get it. I'd be taking about a ten-year sabbatical from all things alma mater-related, but these guys just carry on like nothing happened.

jamesjosephharbaugh

June 21st, 2018 at 1:25 PM ^

at some point i believe i learned that just copying an attorney on a communication and claiming privilege doesn't necessarily make it privileged.  i believe it has to be communication that somehow qualifies as seeking and/or providing legal advice.  can't remember if i learned that at a workplace training or during the trump investigation news cycle.

although it's probably rarely questioned if a document is marked with privilege.  not worth the hassle to get a special review of every document to determine privilege.

jsquigg

June 21st, 2018 at 2:47 PM ^

Well, you know how the saying goes: "Pride comes before evidence reveals conspiracies of molestation/rape/sexual assault cover-ups."

seegoblu

June 21st, 2018 at 3:26 PM ^

Weak and ineffective strategy. Similar to the US Attorney for the Southern District, the AG should request an independent master to review the suspect materials for the presence of attorney/client protected content. Simply copying in an attorney on an email isn't enough to create a privilege.

MartyinDayton

June 21st, 2018 at 5:44 PM ^

MGoLawyer here. To be privileged, the communication must be for the express purpose seeking, receiving, or giving legal advice. Merely copying a lawyer on a communication doesn't make it privileged. 

Jeff4179

June 22nd, 2018 at 3:11 PM ^

If one of MSU's enemies were giving them deliberately terrible advice to make them look as bad as possible, that person would have a hard time topping what MSU is actually doing to itself.