April 11, 2012, 9:43 am
Everyone knows that some attorneys have a reputation for playing hardball. In fact, many of us even seek out attorneys who play hardball. But sometimes “playing hardball” becomes something entirely more disturbing, like a deranged major league pitcher hurling a 90 mile-an-hour fastball at the head of a Little Leaguer. What would you do if you discovered this was the behavior of attorneys representing your university?
This was the question I asked myself in 2008, when my employer, the University of Minnesota, sought $56,000 from a retired St. Paul woman named Mary Weiss. Why? Her mentally ill son had committed suicide in what many observers considered to be a stunningly corrupt, exploitative research study at the university, and Ms. Weiss had the audacity to sue. When her lawsuit was dismissed on statutory grounds, the University of Minnesota apparently decided to…