Monday, June 6, 2011

Mouthpiece Hall of Infamy: Eric Deters

Last year, I told you about the Cincinnati-area high school teacher and sometimes Bengals Cheerleader who obtained an eye-popping $11 million dollar default judgment against an Internet gossip website.  After I left off talking about that story, my curiosity about Ms. Sarah Jone's lawyer, Eric "Bulldog" Deters was tirggerd.  This was because there were suggestions in the coverage, at that time, that Mr. Deters sued the wrong entity.  This meant that the $11-mil judgment was nothing but a chimera.   I don't know if Mr. Deters was able to collect anything for Miss Jones who claimed her reputation was sullied by an ex-boyfriend who posted something unkind about her at the website.  Of course there's no more glaring publicity than news articles in your hometown paper trumpeting you mega-millions lawsuit with suggestions that you go look at the obnoxious things said about you justifying a million dollar default judgment.

It turns out that Eric Deters is, or should I say, was a radio personality at WLW 700AM, Cincinnati.  WLW is one of those old-fashioned (owned by Clear Channel) AM channels with a huge (50,000 watt, a friend claims that the station once had a 500,000 watt) radio signal and lots of right wing talk--although, not Deters who got canned for racially "insensitive" remarks.  The remarks that cost Deters his weekend radio slot were made in a video (now deleted) at Deters' Facebook page according to the Cincinnati.

Then it came out this week that a Kentucky Bar disciplinary authority is looking to suspend Deters for a systematic pattern of filing frivolous lawsuits or put another way, filing lawsuits without first figuring out if he has a good faith basis for the lawsuit.  Deters response, sue the Bar Association  Brilliant. 

Here's an excerpt from the Kentucky Post account on the status of the current investigation: 

Lawyer and [former] WLW-AM (700) radio personality Eric Deters may be in danger of having his license to practice law in Kentucky temporarily suspended.

Trial Commissioner Frank P. Doheny recommended the suspension in a report claiming that Deters has abused his position as attorney by adopting a "sue first, ask questions later" mentality. Deters is also being accused of reckless action without accountability.

If the suspension is carried out, it would last 181 days. All suspensions lasting longer than 180 days require the lawyer to go through the bar association’s character and fitness committee before he or she can be readmitted. In that case, readmittance is not a guarantee.

Doheny's report claims [Mr. D]eters violated several rules including contacting clients already represented, claiming bias on the part of Judge Stephen Bates during a radio broadcast and accusing former Kenton County Judge Ralph Drees of conspiring with a home builder to place a bid for a new jailhouse in Independence.

"(Deters) simply spits out words to see where they splatter and injures people in the process," Doheny wrote in the 21-page report.

Deters issued a statement in response to the requested suspension.

“Those baseless charges against me do not include: dishonesty, a crime, theft, malpractice, harm to a client, moral turpitude or any shameful act,” the statement said. “They are nitpicky nothings.”

Deters plans to fight the recommendation filed by Dehony Tuesday in Frankfort's Office of the Disciplinary Clerk.

“My battle with the Kentucky Bar Association is far from over,” Deters said. “Frank Doheny, my hearing officer, was supposed to serve as an unbiased one. He is not a judge in real life.”
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Deters is a flame-thrower in the mode of Hall of Infamy member, Geoffrey Fieger, except Fieger actually appears to fairly investigate his claims prior to filing.  Deters sounds like he's a whole lot more improvisational and maybe a little more low-rent.  Of course, this is just O-P-I-N-I-O-N.  Lest you think I'm being overly paranoid, Deters sued a Cincy blogger last year over an item in the Whistleblower blog.

I added the latter caveat, because Mr. Deters likes to file lawsuits including his second lawsuit against the Kentucky Bar Association last week over his disciplinary process.  The coverage of that lawsuit in the Cincinnati Enquirer caught my eye suggests that Deters will have his Kentucky law license suspended.  Deters, of course, felt it was necessary to respond to his public and posted the YouTube video at this link to the BluegrassBulletin.com where Marcus Carey writes:

"Deters tends to polarize people, but he says he doesn't care. This week the bar association, through a hearing officer, recommended that he be suspended for 181 days. That kind of punishment means that the suspension would not end with automatic reinstatement, rather would require a character and fitness review and perhaps permanent removal from the practice.

Deters has rammed his head into a number of brick walls lately. He has been criticized for suing prosecutors, sanctioned by state and federal courts and sharply criticized for his challenge to the impartiality of the hearing officer assigned to rule on his disciplinary case."
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This means , contrary to what Deters say in his YouTube rant would likely cost him his license to practice law in any state with reciprocal discipline--which is every state including Ohio and Florida.

At this link you can look at Mr. Deters' colorful law firm website.  Truly a remarkable piece of work--and, probably in itself qualifying for disciplinary scrutiny since his representations as an "expert" contravene prohibitions under most disciplinary regimes.  And I was a practing attorney for nearly three decades and I never heard of the US Bar Association which Deters claims to be the president of; nor, does a web search turn up any such entity. 

Then again maybe you can find something at Deter's other shrine to himself, his Facebook page.

All my career I've known lawyers like Eric Deters.  Some had less on the ball than Deters, and some were sufficiently competent that the self-promotion could be forgiven.  Maybe once upon a time, Deters actually cared about the law, and his clients--now, it seems that his gigantic ego totally swamps all commonsense.  He's totally foolish if he thinks an unctuous approach to the disciplinary authorities is a good approach.  In fact the disciplinary rules require lawyers to cooperate and be forthright.  Deters appears from this distance to be taking the opposite approach.  We'll keep an eye on Eric Deters, it should be fascinating and instructive.

13 comments:

  1. Eric should stick with defending J-walkers and over sexed teachers and let real lawyers litigate the real cases. As my daddy always said,"If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch."

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  2. We need a lawyer like Eric in Northern Kentucky. After all every village needs a Idiot and we got the best. Who would we make fun of if we lost Eric.

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  3. If Eric was in any other profession he would have been drummed out by his colleagues by now. Why won't the Bar Association reconize this man is a determent to their profession and disbar him?

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  4. Eric fails at everything he does but spins his failure to make it sound like it's a success. The resturant he ran into the ground in Independence. It closed because it was a s%^#@ing resturant. But if you read Eric's explanation he closed the resturant because of summer vacations. If that was the truth then why is it now a day care center?

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  5. Eric, in his online video, reports that HE takes cases other lawyers won't touch. Of course he does because other lawyers understand rule 11. Maybe thats why he was ordered to take a 20 hour class on how to be a lawyer. Thats why he was ordered to hire a real lawyer to teach him about the law.

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  6. Sounds like a lot of people are scared of Eric Deters... and that's the kind of Lawyer you need on your side. A lot of the great lawyers are disliked.

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  7. I have to agree with the comment from Sept 6 2011. I plan on making an appointment with Mr. Deters with hope he is willing to fight against the injustice of Justice.

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  8. Then Anonymous, people are not "scared" of Eric Deters, and he is not "disliked" for the reasons you suggest. He is disliked because he is a complete idiot when it comes to the practice of law. After the blow-hard theatrics, grandstanding, and persona, one must actually know and understand the substantive and procedural law to effectively represent a client.

    Do yourself a favor ... ask a lawyer who has had a case with Deters what he (or she) thinks of him.

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  9. Nice blog. I had fun reading this. And it is easy to understand. Nice going.
    Macon Lawyers

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  10. My case has literally been passed around @ deters "firm" FOUR times. The last being Phil C. Phil is no longer with Deter's, just like the last guy that was handling my case.

    Either this guy is horrible and it is defamation to his practicing litigators, or it's a jump off point for great careers............

    Which is it????

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  11. As a resident of the Cincinnati area I wake up every morning to watch the local news. At least once a week there is Deters with a new senstionalized case. Recently the suit was for the Bengals cheerleader for slander against a rag mag that was in court and resulted in a hung jury. Deters was on the news afterwards and said quote " I didn't think we would win". THEN WHY TAKE THE CASE? Well, because he got the media attention. He is loathed by most in the Cincinnati area not because he is hardball attorney but because he is an embarrassment to the legal system. BTW he was ordered to attend anger management classes, suspension of practicing law for 61 days and attend a law and ethics training in 2012. Yeah, that's who I want on my side....(sarcasm).

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  13. why is Eric Deters allowed to keep being suspended and not lose his license, he is getting rich treating people wrong he breaks the law and gets a pat on the hand and told not to do that for a short time, then he is back out taking peoples money and not defending them according to the law.

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