Decent Terms

Tonight Jane and I were out for dinner at the Highland Grill, enjoying our week without the kids by eating at places that we don’t go when we have kids, which is to say 50 weeks out of the year. Being only two allowed us to belly up to the bar for the only open seats. I miss the heck out of our kids, more than I ever have, but traveling lighter has several advantages.

While we were at the bar I noticed a patron that resembled Jane’s former boss at her first “real” legal job, some 13 years ago now. He was seated across the restaurant; I looked the guy over but ultimately decided the body builds didn’t match, her boss was a Minneapolis guy and we were in St. Paul, etc. Not him.

Well, about 10 minutes later Jane and I were discussing some matter of marginal importance when we both heard the voice of her former boss. At least I was pretty sure it was her former boss. He was standing two feet away from Jane, talking to the waitress behind the counter about some issue with his bill. As he walked away I caught Jane’s eye to see if that was who I thought it was, and her wide eyes told me the answer.

Jane’s old boss, as it happens, was one of the Democratic candidates for Minnesota governor this year, though he left the race relatively quickly after the caucuses. He was a real piece of work, this guy. It was not a happy time in Jane’s professional life, though it was at times entertaining.

Anyway, as I said, that was 13 years ago. Time had drawn a misty veil on my recollection of the exact circumstances surrounding her departure, so I asked, “I know it’s weird seeing him out and about, but is there any reason he’d be pissed at you? Didn’t you leave on decent terms?”

She shook her head as she wiped a doughy pirogi crumb from her mouth. Her eyes narrowed on me in a way that told me I had forgotten something generally unforgettable. “Well,” she said as she folded up her napkin, “Decent terms, depending on how he felt about me walking out with no notice the same day the paralegal filed a discrimination suit against him, then testifying against him in court in said discrimination suit. Depends on how he sees that.”

I looked back over my shoulder at the former boss, now seated again, while I reconnected with that strange time in Jane’s life and the ugly way it all ended. So, yeah, maybe not the guy you want to run into at the Highland Grill, standing two feet from your grill.

Jane leaned in close while I was looking at him.  “I also reported him to the IRS.”

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6 Responses to Decent Terms

  1. Stanton says:

    Lawyer’s disciplinary rulings can be entertaining reading. If only I had a little more info to Google with…..

    In the meantime, I once clerked for a trial involving this guy:

    On April 28, 1994, the accused received the appellate court’s decision. That same day, he drove from his office in the Portland area to Salem with the intention of discussing the decision with Judges Rossman, Leeson, and De Muniz. He testified during the disciplinary hearing that he hoped to discuss with Judge De Muniz how the judges had voted in their deliberation on the case and to bring to the court’s attention information showing that, in his view, Judge Leeson had a conflict of interest in the case. He further testified that he did not call ahead to schedule an appointment, because he wanted the element of surprise in his favor. He thought that he might get “more of the truth” from the judges if they did not have time to prepare a “cover-up.”

    As the accused appeared on the third floor of the Justice Building, where the Court of Appeals has its offices, he encountered a judicial assistant whose desk was close to the elevator door. The accused asked if Judge De Muniz was in his office. The assistant replied that Judge De Muniz was not available. The accused then asked to speak with Judges Rossman and Leeson. Believing that the accused was angry and agitated, the assistant became frightened. She stepped out of the accused’s view for a moment, then returned to tell the accused that Judge Leeson was not in her office. At that moment, the accused saw Judge Leeson walking down the hallway with a law clerk.

    The accused started walking toward Judge Leeson, shaking a copy of the appellate opinion in his hand, which was outstretched above him. As he approached the judge, the accused said in an angry tone:

    “These are lies. You know these are lies. You are sending me to hell with these lies. You haven’t read the record. The least you could do is to read the record.”

    Out of concern for Judge Leeson’s safety, the law clerk stepped between the judge and the accused, informed the accused that he had to leave, and advised him that he could express himself in writing. The accused replied:

    “I know what I can do. It’s all just legal games. You know that. But I know what to do, and you’re sending me to hell.”

    The judicial assistant then told the accused that if he did not leave immediately she would call security. At that time, the accused left the building.

  2. david says:

    Doug – I don’t think there is a gubernatorial race in MN this year. I could be wrong though. Was he perhaps a US Senate candidate?

  3. Doug Hennessee says:

    Yeah, my bad. Definitely meant Senate race.

    Stanton, that’s a scary story. Those are the kind of people who show up with guns and just start firing. The judicial assistant was justifiably afraid, I’m sure, but it sounds like they stepped up and did the best they could.

  4. pipelineblog says:

    Jane here.

    He actually dropped out before the caucuses. I wouldn’t want anyone to confuse him with the other attorney who was actually a serious candidate in the Senate race this year.

  5. david says:

    Yeah, I was pretty sure you didn’t work for Mike Ciresi. Otherwise, you’d be livin’ large.

  6. Steve C says:

    Wow. Russert’s dead. I’ll bet you didn’t have him on your list.

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