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Law Profs Gone Wild! UT's Bobbitt Slams Milberg in Suit

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  • Law Profs Gone Wild! UT's Bobbitt Slams Milberg in Suit

    Can we call this a trend: law professors tucking their grievances not into law review articles, but federal court complaints? (Gosh do we hope so. Law school deans, to any of you who may be reading, we think you should encourage it. Get each of your professors to file one federal lawsuit a semester. Staff the cases with go-getting 3Ls, create marketing material about about your clinical opportunities, and watch your applications soar! Hello, U.S. News!)

    Yes, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. But we couldn’t help but notice that shortly after a University of Miami professor sued Above the Law editor David Lat (only to withdraw his suit days later), another academic has taken his gripe to the courthouse door. UT law professor Phillip Bobbitt earlier this week sued the law firm formerly known as Milberg Weiss, now known just as Milberg. Click here for the complaint.

    So what’s Bobbitt’s gripe?

    Bobbitt claims that in late 2000, he made an investment into a Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company annuity contract as part of a retirement plan. Bobbitt became a class member when Milberg filed a putative class-action lawsuit against VALIC in 2003, alleging that the company sold investors products that already qualified for favorable income tax treatment. This resulted in investors paying additional fees without receiving any additional tax benefit.

    In regard to Milberg, Bobbitt claims that after winning class certification, Milberg missed a host of deadlines, which led to a parade of horribles, which ultimately led to the court granting summary judgment on behalf of VALIC.

    Reads the complaint:
    Defendants’ failure to comply with the Court’s Scheduling Order has cost the individual members of the Class the valuable negotiating leverage provided by a certified class. Just as importantly, the Court’s order put the Defendants on notice that their clients, the absent members of the Underlying Class, were in jeopardy of losing all of their rights against VALIC in connection with the underlying claims due to statute of limitations issues.

    The complaint, filed in federal court in Phoenix by lawyers at Lewis and Roca, requests punitive damages against Milberg and a host of Milberg attorneys.

    A spokesman for Milberg said the suit “has no merit whatsoever.”

    A call to Bobbitt, who’s teaching this term at Columbia, was not immediately returned.
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