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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Detroit News on Ave Maria College Lawsuit

The Detroit News has an article about Kate Ernsting, the former Ave Maria College employee embroiled in a 6-year whistleblower suit with Tom Monaghan. Apparently she is facing the possibility of bankruptcy due to the ongoing legal fees.

It looks like the current legal issue preventing this case from being resolved is that Monaghan's lawyers are arguing that Ave Maria College is defunct and that Ave Maria University is not liable as a successor. There are so many reasons why this is an absurd argument, and AveWatch lists three:
(a) AMU acquired the assets of AMC, (b) the university has always used the college's "avemaria.edu" domain name, and (c) AMU's current website even admits "As the successor institution to Ave Maria College (AMC), Ave Maria University assumes the responsibility of issuing AMC transcripts. AMC transcripts appear on Ave Maria University transcript paper."
This case is an interesting study in the ethical duties of a Catholic attorney. Yes, it is important to be a zealous advocate for one's client, including raising all relevant arguments and objections -- but there must be a point at which frivolous arguments and tactics that delay litigation and increase the expense for the opposing side (and waste the time and resources of the court) violate the standards of ethical lawyering from the perspective of Catholic social teaching. Have Monaghan's attorneys gone that far?