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Thursday, January 25, 2007

I Just Wanna See His Face

Or know his or her name, or the name of the firm. There are so many different PERS-related lawsuits going on right now that it takes a program to figure out which case is which and who is representing whom in each. One high profile case, captioned Robinson, lost its attorney and law firm at the end of December. Gene Mechanic, who represented the PERS Coalition in the Robinson case, left the firm, which also dissolved, at the end of 2006. Mechanic now works as a labor attorney for the Florida branch of SEIU, while each of the other partners in Goldberg, Mechanic et al have moved on to either their own practices or to other firms in the area. When announcing the dissolution of the firm and his departure from Oregon, Gene Mechanic reported that there would be "continuity" on the extant cases, including Robinson. However, I have been unable to determine who will continue to represent the Coalition in this case. I know to a near-certainty that it won't be Greg Hartman and his firm. Hartman and the PERS Coalition filed a claim against the Legislature in Strunk that was diametrically opposed to the position staked out in the Robinson case and so, to avoid a conflict of interest, Hartman recommended that the PERS Coalition (including OPRI) find a different legal firm to represent the plaintiffs in Robinson. That's how Mechanic got involved in the first place. It would be awkward, to say the very least, for Hartman to become involved in this litigation and make the legal argument that is in exact opposition to the one he made in the Strunk case. I've emailed Gene Mechanic to see what information he can provide. He should know, but I haven't heard back from him yet, and I don't know if he will respond. In the meantime, if anyone else out there knows who the new legal eagle is on this case, I and the readers of this blog would appreciate the information.

Update 3:30 pm. Gene Mechanic just emailed me back with the relevant information. Gene continues as lead counsel in the case. He will be assisted by Jim Coon of Swanson, Thomas, and Coon. Jim will be co-counsel and will be involved with much of the appellate work (should it be necessary). My thanks to Gene for his remarkably quick reply to my message.

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