by Brian Mahany
The following is a letter written by Evy Brown, Director of Whistlewatch.org, a leading advocacy group for whistleblowers. Although the letter was previously circulated within the whistleblower community, we have changed the name of the client.
The attorney named in this letter is our very own Joe Bird. Joe heads up both our Detroit office and our Federal False Claims Act (whistleblower) practice. We are proud of Joe for donating hundreds of hours per year to clients who can’t afford counsel. We have never met a more selfless attorney. (Obviously, we can’t take every pro bono client but we always try to help whenever possible.) We are also proud of Evy and the dozens of whistleblower advocates and volunteers spread across the nation. We need many, many more.
Good Morning All,
I want to weigh in here because it’s important that everyone understand the background and be on the same page. Over a year ago I wrote a story on Ms. Jones as the whistleblower in the XXXXXXX School cheating scandal.
Afterward I was contacted by her supervisor who made negative comments about [her]. At the time, Ms. Smith was represented by counsel and the case involved a gag order by the judge. The comments from the supervisor to my organization violated that order. Therefore, I sent the comments to Ms. Smith for her attorney to review.
Then a few months ago, Ms. Smith came to my organization for assistance about the time her counsel wanted to withdraw from the case, which was after the summary judgment motion and on the eve of the trial. Upon hearing this information, my organization placed an urgent request for assistance to Mr. Bird. Since then, Mr. Bird and I have been helping Ms. Smith as best we can.
It should be understood, Mr. Bird is helping Ms. Smith as a favor to Whistlewatch.org since we have a long standing relationship in assisting whistleblowers and those in need of immediate help.
The work we have done up to this point has been with the understanding that local counsel is still necessary or Ms. Smith must continue pro se. We’ve made referrals to local counsels that were not suitable to Ms. Smith for financial reasons. It is always bothersome to us that whistleblowers and individuals subject to employment law abuses struggle to survive financially, which may bar them from hiring effective representation.
Mr. Bird has gone above and beyond to assist Ms. Smith, many times on the eve of deadlines several times, [always without cost]. Should Mr. Bird decide to continue to be involved in the case, I expect he will be charging fees or a percentage of the outcome. We have pulled cases out of the fire on many occasions when all hope was lost to have excellent outcomes. Mr. Bird is one of the most highly regarded attorneys on our team. An outstanding advocate!
If he had not been so generous with our time, I believe Ms. Smith would have already lost her ability to continue her case since the request for extension of time and request to recuse was crafted by Mr. Bird. Often we are asked to assist and there is no charge directly to the requester. Should the case require more than a referral, we usually request that Whistlewatch.org have the exclusive story.
Our organization survives on the generosity of donors. We help many people. In my opinion, it would not be fair to receive free assistance and not pay it forward so that others can also receive the benefits of Whistlewatch.org and our trusted friends. Please keep this in mind as the case marches forward.
Whistleblowers seeking more information or just wanting to someone to talk to about what to expect should feel free to contact Whistlewatch.org. If you are a potential whistleblower with a false claims act case (fraud against the government and taxpayers), an SEC whistleblower case (fraud within public companies) or an IRS whistleblower case (tax fraud), feel free to give us a call too. We are a boutique law firm with a national presence helping whistleblowers around the United States collect cash awards from the government.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Detroit, Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Portland, Maine and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Services available in many jurisdictions across the United States.