Darnay Hoffman/Vertigo

Discussion in 'JonBenet Ramsey' started by Tricia, Mar 27, 2004.

  1. Tricia

    Tricia Owner Staff Member Administrator

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    From comes this article about Darnay.

    A New York lawyer who failed to show up for a high-profile oral argument at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2002 defended his actions before the court’s discipline committee this week.

    “I am ashamed of having to be here,” Darnay R. Hoffman told the nine members of the 11th Circuit’s Committee on Lawyer Qualifications and Conduct gathered Monday in the court’s en banc courtroom.

    But Hoffman argued that “labyrinth vertigo,” an ailment that he has suffered occasionally since 2000, prevented him from flying to Atlanta to argue his case.

    Dealing with a medical emergency “is not dilatory,” he said, referring to one of the accusations against him.

    The panel could recommend that the 11th Circuit dismiss the case against Hoffman, disbar him from the court’s bar or anything in between.

    Hoffman said he rejected an offer by the panel to accept a one-year suspension and a letter of reprimand because doing so effectively would cut off his way to make a living for a year; state bars typically honor sanctions imposed by courts.

    The panel members—three appellate lawyers from each state the 11th Circuit covers—struggled to understand Hoffman’s explanations.

    “We are left with a concern about your credibility,” said the panel’s chairman, Marvin E. Barkin of Tampa, Fla.’s Trenam, Kemker, Scharf, Barkin, Frye, O’Neill & Mullis.

    The panel usually conducts its business in secrecy. In a 1999 Daily Report article about a disciplinary matter, the committee’s then-chairman refused to name the other eight members. This week the 11th Circuit’s chief clerk was unable to say how many cases came before the panel in the past year because the secret caseload makes statistics hard to gather.

    But Hoffman decided that he wanted the hearing to occur in the open so that his side could be heard beyond a closed courtroom. Three spectators attended, sitting in the court’s en banc courtroom. The panel was seated along a row of tables in front of the court’s bench, facing Hoffman, who sat alone.

    ‘Media Hound’ Defense

    “I’ve been accused of being a media hound,” Hoffman said.

    By reminding the panel of his penchant for announcing his court appearances in press releases—a friend of Hoffman sent the Daily Report an e-mail announcing the discipline hearing—Hoffman was trying to explain that he would never intentionally miss a chance to be in the spotlight. It follows, he told the panel, that he must have had a good reason for failing to show up on Nov. 13, 2002.

    That was the day a three-judge panel gathered to hear an appeal Hoffman brought on behalf of a client suing John B. and Patricia A. “Patsy” Ramsey, the parents of murder victim JonBenét Ramsey. Hoffman’s client, Linda Hoffmann-Pugh, was the Ramseys’ housekeeper when the 6-year-old girl was killed in their Boulder, Colo., home in December 1996.

    Hoffmann-Pugh claimed that in the Ramseys’ 2000 book about their daughter’s slaying, “The Death of Innocence,” the couple identified her as a suspect. U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash Jr. dismissed Hoffmann-Pugh’s libel case in April 2002.

    On Nov. 12, 2002, Hoffman e-mailed a media alert to Atlanta journalists headlined “John & Patsy Ramsey in Court (Again)” that announced the next day’s argument.

    Why He Failed to Appear

    Discussion at Monday’s hearing focused on this story: Hoffman left a voice message at the court shortly after midnight the day of the argument saying he would not be present because he could not get a flight from New York to Atlanta. That message was delivered to the judges shortly before they took the bench at 9 a.m.
    On Nov. 14, Judge Edward E. Carnes, Senior Judge James C. Hill, and 9th Circuit Senior Judge Jerome Farris, sitting by designation, asked 11th Circuit Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson to consider disciplinary action against Hoffman. According to the judges’ request, Hoffman failed to appear “without any justification or advance notice.” Hoffmann-Pugh v. Ramsey, No. 02-12643 (11th Cir. Nov. 14, 2002).

    Five days later, the panel ruled for the Ramseys’ and affirmed the dismissal of Hoffman’s client’s suit.

    Nearly a year-and-a-half later, Hoffman stood in the building where he was supposed to be the day of the argument.

    Pressed several times on whether he in fact told a clerk he could not get a flight, Hoffman said he didn’t know: “I was very upset.”

    Hoffman explained that the Friday before the Wednesday argument, he began suffering an episode of “labyrinth vertigo,” a recurring ailment that caused him to feel as if his head were being thrown from side to side and made him fall down.

    As the weekend progressed, he said, he hoped the vertigo would clear up so he could fly to Atlanta to present his case. Worried that he might be unable to make it, Hoffman said he located Atlanta appellate attorney David A. Webster by Martindale-Hubbell’s Web site and telephoned him for advice.

    Hoffman said he was left with the impression from Webster that if he could not make it to the argument, the court “would let me submit [the case] on the brief.”

    Continuing to reflect the candor by which he had invited the public to dissect an embarrassing moment of his career, Hoffman later read aloud a letter in which Webster strongly disputed Hoffman’s recollections.

    In the letter, Hoffman said Webster wrote that he had urged Hoffman to ask the 11th Circuit clerk what he could do.

    Hoffman said Webster added that he “didn’t know of anyone who had the chutzpah [to] simply fail to appear” at an oral argument.

    Hoffman’s discussions with an 11th Circuit clerk did not help, he said, because the clerk “was awfully angry on the phone.”

    “He kept repeating, ‘The court takes this matter very, very seriously,’” said Hoffman.

    Several times panel members asked why Hoffman did not, when he realized he would not be able to come to the argument, fax a motion to waive oral argument. They suggested that Hoffman could have told the court that a doctor’s affidavit explaining his condition would be sent later.

    Hoffman said the rules for doing so were confusing.

    No Plans for Transportation

    More troubling for many panel members was Hoffman’s failure to make plans—by plane, bus, train or car—to travel to Atlanta for the argument scheduled for Nov. 13, 2002, even though he had known for about two months that the court had accepted his petition to hold oral argument.

    Knowing a doctor had said Hoffman should not fly, Patrick T. O’Connor of Savannah’s Oliver Maner & Gray asked, “Why didn’t you look into alternative travel plans?”

    “I should have been more diligent,” Hoffman said later.

    He added that his wife, former “Mayflower Madam” Sydney Biddle Barrows, was a public figure and could arrange good hotel rates quickly, so he had few doubts that he could find a place to stay in Atlanta.
    I have a subscription to this online/newspaper. I bought it for research purposes for FFJ and Websleuths through my company. If any of you need to use it please let me know. It's for all of us.


  2. Toth

    Toth Inactive

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    I've always viewed NYLawyer as having a strange obsession and lacking common sense, but only now do I view him as simply being dishonest. I don't believe a word of his defense. I think he had no intention of ever appearing and thats why there were no travel arrangements or hotel accommodations. The only 'vertigo' involved is in the people listening to his statements whose heads are now spinning as they realize that NYLawyer actually expects people to swallow this guff.
  3. BrotherMoon

    BrotherMoon Former Member

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    This case sure attracts some strange characters, eh Toth?

    I predict Hoffman will end up trying to make a living as a mime on the Pearl Street Mall.
  4. Seeker

    Seeker Former Member

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    Thanks Tricia! I have never heard it called labrynth vertigo before this article. Not in over 9 years of working in the medical field area have I ever heard labrynthitis referred to that way. It's also a condition I have. It's a viral infection of the inner ear that affects your equilibrium and can flare up at any time. However, there are many over the counter remedies to help combat the dizziness. Most doctors recommend Meclizine. It's over the counter, not that expensive, very mild with minimal side effects and it works!

    NYL is a liar IMO. He had no intention of showing up to that court date. I don't know what his real reasons were for chickening out (but have an idea) and I doubt he'll ever be honest enough to admit what it was either. He had no travel plans in place and who did he think he was that he could just hop on a plane without reservations anyway? This was post 911!

    I hope all those I know who kept telling me to cut DH some slack will realize that I just recognized him for what he was and what he was up to early on.

    This is my opinion, if you don't agree feel free to scroll right on past it.
  5. Shylock

    Shylock Former Member

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    Yep, we couldn't agree with you more, Toth. Just keep in mind that this moron is the person who presented the non-intruder side of the case to the court - which is why Carnes decision is totally valueless and not worth the paper it's written.

    I personally like BrotherMoon's suggestion for Hoffman's future employment situation. Hoffman can mime the finer points of the Ramsey case, while his wife rides in circles around him on a clown bike.
  6. LovelyPigeon

    LovelyPigeon Former Member

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    I've never made secret my disdain for Darnay Hoffman or his abilities as a lawyer. This article certain doesn't lend any reason to change how I view him.
  7. Toth

    Toth Inactive

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    Desk ClerK: I'm sorry, we are filled to capacity with conventioneers, we have no rooms at all.
    Darnay Hoffman: "My wife is the Mayflower Madam".
    Desk Clerk: Oh, certainly. I'll go right up and throw out some drunken conventioneers and get you a room.
  8. Shylock

    Shylock Former Member

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    Try THIS version, Toth.

    Desk ClerK: I'm sorry, we are filled to capacity with conventioneers, we have no rooms at all.
    Darnay Hoffman: "My wife is the Mayflower Madam".
    Desk Clerk: Oh, certainly. I'll go right up and see if any of the drunken conventioneers would like to have her bunk with them.
  9. Spade

    Spade Inactive

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    This exchange between Wood and Hoffman during the deposition of Gideon Epstein is very revealing.

    1 MR. HOFFMAN: You know what normally
    2 happens in depositions?
    3 MR. WOOD: Darnay, we don't need to
    4 hear that. I've been taking depositions for 25
    5 years. You haven't taken depositions -- I bet

    6 you haven't taken five depositions in your whole
    7 life.
    8 MR. HOFFMAN: Hey, Lin, given the

    9 fact that you've never tried a libel case in
    10 front of a jury --
    11 MR. WOOD: Darnay Hoffman, let me
    12 tell you something -- Darnay, you've never --
    13 the only case you ever tried you got hit for
    14 $45 million when Bernie Getz was found guilty

    15 for a crime he walked from in a criminal case.
    16 Listen, I have tried cases for 25
    17 years. I've tried more cases than you could
    18 count in your sleep, big boy.
    19 MR. HOFFMAN: -- your first libel
    20 case, okay.
    21 MR. WOOD: Darnay, I don't have to
    22 try a libel case to know how to try a case,

    23 but after listening to Fleet White's deposition
    24 it was obvious to me that you don't know how
    25 to take a deposition.
    1 MR. HOFFMAN: That's okay.
    2 MR. WOOD: Why don't you tell us

    3 how many depositions you've taken in your
    4 illustrious career?
    5 MR. HOFFMAN: I've taken plenty.
    6 MR. WOOD: I bet you haven't taken
    7 25.
    8 MR. HOFFMAN: Can I tell you
    9 something? I'm the only --
    10 MR. WOOD: I've tried more cases
    11 than you've taken depositions. So don't lecture
    12 me.
    13 MR. HOFFMAN: Hey, I'm the only man
    14 on the planet that's taken Patsy Ramsey's
    15 deposition, and plenty have tried, so don't --
    16 MR. WOOD: Let me tell you
    17 something, and it was a joke. You didn't know
    18 what you were doing.
    19 MR. HOFFMAN: I hope that's what you
    20 believe because I hope you prepare your trial

    21 case accordingly, underestimating me.
    22 MR. WOOD: You're not going to see
    23 a trial in this case. You're going to get
    24 booted on summary judgment just like you got
    25 booted out in Linda Hoffman Pugh's criminal
    1 case.

    2 MR. HOFFMAN: Sorry, you're wrong.
    3 I'm sorry, you're wrong. When you went --
    4 MR. WOOD: I'm sure you're 100
    5 percent certain like this guy sitting across the
    6 table is.
    7 MR. HOFFMAN: If I was supposed to

    8 be out of here, I would have been out on that
    9 motion to dismiss, but you guys --
    10 MR. WOOD: You got by that motion
    11 to dismiss by the thinnest of threads, only
    12 because you were willing to plead anything,
    13 despite the fact that you can't prove it.

    14 MR. HOFFMAN: And the judge paid me
    15 the complement of actually quoting extensively
    16 from my brief.
    17 MR. WOOD: I don't think the judge
    18 paid you any complements.
    19 MR. HOFFMAN: Hey, I'm here, and all
    20 I can tell you --
    21 MR. WOOD: You're here and you
    22 haven't even bought the deposition --
    23 MR. HOFFMAN: And you guys couldn't
    24 do what 95 percent of the lawyers in
    25 America --
    1 MR. WOOD: You're so proud of Patsy

    2 Ramsey's deposition, you haven't even bothered to
    3 pay for it. You haven't even paid the court

    4 reporter for taking it down yet.
    5 MR. HOFFMAN: Come on, who cares --
    6 MR. WOOD: You haven't even paid the
    7 court reporter for taking down Patsy Ramsey's
    8 deposition.
    9 MR. HOFFMAN: All right, so what?

    10 MR. WOOD: You never got a copy of
    11 it. I thought you were proud of it.

    12 MR. HOFFMAN: So what's your
    13 problem?
    14 MR. WOOD: You don't have the money
    15 to pay for it. It's a frivolous lawsuit filed
    16 by a frivolous lawyer and you don't even have
    17 the money to pay to come down and sit with

    18 your own deposition witness. You never even met
    19 your own client.
    20 MR. HOFFMAN: Hey, Lin, don't talk

    21 to me about frivolity and the fact that I had
    22 to go to an expert because your daughter had a
    23 horse show that you had to attend and you
    24 couldn't be a real lawyer over a weekend, you
    25 actually had to twist everything into God knows
    1 what in order to be able to --
    2 MR. WOOD: I just wanted to make
    3 damned sure that I would be there in Nebraska
    4 to shred Robert Stratbucker.
    5 MR. HOFFMAN: -- your family
    6 outings --
    7 MR. WOOD: I'm going to eat him
    8 alive. Be there. Be there, okay. Guess
    9 what? I'm going to be at my daughter's horse
    10 show and I'm also going to be in Omaha,
    11 Nebraska to rip Stratbucker a new rear end, and
    12 I bet you what, you aren't going to be there.
    13 You ain't going to bother to be

    14 there, neither is Evan Altman, because you don't
    15 have the money and you're not willing to spend
    16 the money on this frivolous case. You got

    17 that? I'll see you in Omaha. Are you going
    18 to be there or are you going to show up by
    19 telephone?
    20 MR. HOFFMAN: How can I not miss
    21 this invitation to be in Omaha? Okay?
    22 MR. WOOD: You be there. You be

    23 there. I bet you a thousand dollars you won't
    24 be there. Want to bet?
    25 MR. HOFFMAN: Lin --
    1 MR. WOOD: Because you're afraid to
    2 fly.
    3 MR. HOFFMAN: -- I would never,

    4 never bet you, you know better than that.
    5 MR. WOOD: You're afraid to fly;

    6 aren't you? That's what you told Susan *******
    7 -- Jamison.
    8 MR. HOFFMAN: I liked the AirTran to
    9 Atlanta, I told you that when I got there.

    10 MR. WOOD: It looked like you were
    11 scared to death.
    12 MR. HOFFMAN: Only of you, Lin.
    13 You frighten me.
    14 MR. WOOD: Well, that may be the
    15 only smart damned thing you've said since I laid
    16 eyes on you the first time. All right, I've
    17 vented enough.

    18 All I'm saying is this: I don't
    19 intend to sit here and listen to you lecture me
    20 one damned second about how to take a

    21 deposition. I know more about taking
    22 depositions on the thumbnail of my right thumb
    23 than you'll ever learn in your damn life. Do
    24 we understand each other?
    25 MR. HOFFMAN: Lin, I'll just have to
    1 take your word on that one.
    2 MR. WOOD: You can take the word of

    3 anybody that's ever had the opportunity to go up
    4 against me in a courtroom. I'll talk to people
    5 you've -- if we can find somebody.
    6 MR. HOFFMAN: Lin, this sounds like

    7 rank speculation on your part. Just drop it.
    8 MR. WOOD: Let me tell you
    9 something, if I am lucky enough, you will have
    10 your day with me, sir.
    11 MR. HOFFMAN: Oh, I hope so, and I
    12 hope --
    13 MR. WOOD: And it will be the
    14 pleasure of my career when I take you down, and
    15 that day may yet come because you still run

    16 your mouth to the media so much that you're
    17 going to get yourself sued eventually, you're
    18 going to get your experts sued eventually, so

    19 you just keep the business coming, Darnay. It's
    20 really good for my pocketbook. I'm taking a
    21 recess.
    22 MR. HOFFMAN: I know in this case

    23 that the Ramseys aren't paying a penny, the
    24 insurance company is paying you finally, okay,
    25 which is nice --
    1 MR. WOOD: Hey, I made more money
    2 handling the Ramsey case than you've made in
    3 your whole damn career practicing law, Darnay.
    4 MR. HOFFMAN: -- instead of settling

    5 for chump change, which you've done in all these
    6 other cases, you're actually getting paid a
    7 decent --
    8 MR. WOOD: I've made more money in
    9 the Ramsey case than you've made in your entire
    10 career as a lawyer, you want to bet on that?

    11 MR. HOFFMAN: You mean you've made
    12 more than a hundred dollars?
    13 MR. WOOD: Yes, I have made for
    14 than a hundred dollars, Darnay.
    15 MR. HOFFMAN: -- in this case.
    16 Well, good.
    17 MR. WOOD: I'd just like to know
    18 the poor person that paid you the hundred

    19 dollars. Maybe we'd have a good legal
    20 malpractice claim.
  10. Shylock

    Shylock Former Member

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    Yeah, JonBenet got murdered twice. The first time on Christmas night in Boulder, and the second time when she wound up with the likes of Darnay Hoffman trying to present her side of the case.

    Thanks for posting that Witness2.

  11. Watching you

    Watching you New Member

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    although I remember reading about Wood bragging how much money he's made off the Ramsey case.

    I despise Lin Wood and I don't make any secret of it. He's arrogant and condescending and I'd like to see him taken down a peg or two. But, no one can deny he ate Darnay Hoffman for lunch. That is not so much a credit to his lawyering abilities but rather a testimony to the lack of Hoffman's lawyering abilities.

    This transcript makes them both sound like total idiots.
  12. Seeker

    Seeker Former Member

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    More like two boys on a playground bragging about which one of them is tougher, richer, etc...
  13. RiverRat

    RiverRat Patsy Ramsey to the Left

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    New York Lawyer
    Member # 82

    posted 08-08-1999 04:04 PM
    A challenge to MaskeMan:
    Do you think you are capable of making an HONEST intellectual argument?

    For example, you quote me as saying "the pay-off is publicity."

    What you fail to do is to give the complete quote, trying, instead, in your clumsy and inept way, to take it competley out of context.

    Here is the full quote I made from the "The TRUTH About JonBenet's Death" thread 7/29 at 9:51 a.m.:

    "Like all the other legal pundits who appear in the press or television, the pay-off is publicity."

    I'm including Larry Pozner, Jerralyn Merrit, Bob Grant, Dan Glick, Frank Coffman, Larry Schiller, Charllie Brennan, Sherri Keene-Osborne, Norm Early, Peter Boyles, Carol McKinley, et al., in this group. Nearly every lawyer in America is falling all over themselves to get in front of a TV camera, i.e., Roy Black, Johnnie Cochran, Marcia Clark, Gerry Spence, Leslie Abramson, Barry Scheck, etc.

    Do you get it now, MakedMan?;f=1;t=000309
  14. Barbara

    Barbara New Member

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    Short, sweet, and right on target WY.

    Darnay is an idiot, Lin is scum, but he absolutely chewed DH up and spit him out!
  15. Show Me

    Show Me New Member

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    “We are left with a concern about your credibility,” said the panel’s chairman, Marvin E. Barkin of Tampa, Fla.’s Trenam, Kemker, Scharf, Barkin, Frye, O’Neill & Mullis.

    Sums up my feelings on Darnay.

    Doesn't show up, unprepared.... can't lie worth a damn either.
  16. Toltec

    Toltec New Member

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    Nauseating beyond belief!

    Both NYL and Wood are arrogant publiclity hounds with serious issues IMO.
  17. River

    River Former Member

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    Well Stated! :dance: :Woohoo:

    I used to defend Darnay. No longer. Mark Gegoros, Lin Wood and Darnay Hoffman are why lawyers are so hated.

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