Nick1 
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Re: “The Trial of Charles Hurwitz

Remember that Hurwitz believes in the Golden Rule, and he has proved it once again. As he told Pacific Lumber workers soon after seizing control of the company in 1986: “He who has the gold, rules.” After sucking some $3.75 billion out of Humboldt County (according to Humboldt Watersheds Council) Hurwitz buys his way out of trouble for a mere $4 million and slithers back to Houston. Let’s see, a billion is a thousand million, so $4 mil is slightly more than 1/10 of 1% of Hurwitz’s haul. The plaintiffs’ lawyers were afraid they wouldn’t get a unanimous jury verdict, based on their jury watching. They were worried that the judge’s ruling barring evidence from the PL bankruptcy filings that showed Hurwitz exercised active control of PL would make it harder to prove their case. According to two of the jurors interviewed on KMUD News, the jury was going strongly for the plaintiffs, especially after two very strong witnesses on Monday. The evidence of malfeasance was clear and convincing. If one or two jurors sided with the defendants it would have meant a hung jury and a mistrial. That would not necessarily have ended the case if the plaintiffs stuck with their case and went through a second trial. In the Humboldt Pepper Spray Q-Tip case, the first two trials ended in a hung jury, but the third time was the charm for the plaintiffs. I’m disappointed that the plaintiffs and their legal team didn’t have the courage and stamina to play their very strong hand to the end, and not settle on such weak terms. Of course that’s said with the advantage of 20/20 hindsight. I don’t know the circumstances, but maybe the plaintiffs’ legal team wasn’t willing to do it over in case of a hung jury, and was afraid of not getting paid. With this settlement the lawyers will get their $1 million fees and costs paid promptly. If they had won a jury verdict awarding tens or hundreds of millions in damages, Hurwitz would certainly have appealed, and it would have been another two or three years before the appeal would be decided. In the meantime, no money from the defendants, and the defendants might even get lucky at the appeals level and overturn the verdict. The great majority of civil suits end in a settlement, not a verdict. I just wish they had held out long enough for Hurwitz to have been forced to answer questions under oath in front of the jury and the public, which has never happened before, and which was about to happen. And I wish the plaintiffs had held out a richer settlement that was more painful and humiliating for Mr. "Golden Rule" Hurwitz. Even though the settlement was disappointing for many of us who have watched and battled Maxxam over the decades, there's no denying that the result vindicated Paul Gallegos, Tim Stoen, and the citizens who tipped them off to the fraud.

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Posted by Nick on 05/01/2009 at 5:44 PM

Re: “Hurwitz Fraud Case Settled

Remember that Hurwitz believes in the Golden Rule, and he has proved it once again. As he told Pacific Lumber workers soon after seizing control of the company in 1986: "He who has the gold, rules."

After sucking some $3.75 billion out of Humboldt County (according to Humboldt Watersheds Council) Hurwitz buys his way out of trouble for a mere $4 million and slithers back to Houston. Let's see, a billion is a thousand million, so $4 mil is slightly more than 1/10 of 1% of Hurwitz's haul.

The plaintiffs' lawyers were afraid they wouldn't get a unanimous jury verdict, based on their jury watching. They were worried that the judge's ruling barring evidence from the PL bankruptcy filings that showed Hurwitz exercised active control of PL would make it harder to prove their case.

According to two of the jurors interviewed on KMUD News, the jury was going strongly for the plaintiffs, especially after two very strong witnesses on Tuesday. The evidence of malfeasance was clear and convincing.

Even if one or two jurors sided with the defendants, that would not lose the case for the plaintiffs. A hung jury would simply mean a mistrial, followed by another trial. That happened in the Humboldt Pepper Spray Q-Tip case twice, followed by a victory the third time for the plaintiffs.

I'm disappointed that the plaintiffs didn't have the courage and stamina to play their very strong hand to the end, and not settle on such weak terms. Of course that's Monday morning quarterbacking.

I don't know all of the circumstances, and maybe the plaintiffs' legal team wasn't willing to do it over, and was afraid of not getting paid. With this settlement the lawyers get their $1 million fees and costs paid promptly. If they had won a jury verdict awarding tens or hundreds of millions in damages, Hurwitz would certainly have appealed, and it would have been another two or three years before the appeal would be decided. In the meantime, no money from the defendants, and the defendants might get lucky at the appeals level and overturn the verdict.

In any event, it's true that the great majority of civil suits end in a settlement, not a verdict. I just wish they had held out long enough for Hurwitz to have had to testify under oath in front of the jury and the public, which he was scheduled to do, and which has never happened before. And I wish they had demanded a richer settlement that was a more painful and embarassing for Hurwitz.

Posted by Nick Wilson on 04/30/2009 at 5:42 PM

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