Generally, when I ask a question of readers, I get a fair amount of feedback. But when I askedlast week what readers thought about Judge Peck and whether he should recuse himself, I received only a dozen or so comments.
Like Dr. Seuss' Grinch, I puzzled and puzzled over this until my puzzler was sore.
But then I realized the following:
- Most of the contacts were by phone (readers usually write)
- No one wanted to be quoted
- No one wanted to be identified
Apparently, this topic is toxic and no one wants to touch it with a 10-foot pole.
I was contacted by a representative from Recommind (who also didn't want to be identified but was both courteous and responsive). He wanted me to convey the following:
- Recommind has never paid Judge Peck to speak
- Recommind has not reimbursed Judge Peck for travel expenses
- Recommind was not reimbursed by LegalTech for Judge Peck's travel expenses
- Recommind was a Legal Tech sponsor, but did not sponsor a panel on which Judge Peck spoke
I take Recommind at its word. Clearly, Recommind did not want Judge Peck to recuse himself. Everyone else did.
Responders were measured and cautious in what they said, but the common thread was this: Judge Peck may have done nothing wrong but his quoted statements (assuming their truth) were ill-advised at best and the totality of the circumstances gives rise to the appearance of impropriety, even if none exists. At least one vendor has reported that it did pay Judge Peck to speak.
As the entire e-discovery world knows, Judge Andrew Carter affirmed Judge Peck's order on April 26th - I agree with that decision as I thought Judge Peck's order was carefully crafted and well-reasoned. However, Judge Carter has not yet ruled upon the Motion for Recusal. Judge Carter is highly regarded as being scrupulously ethical - I am comfortable that his decision will be a sound one and based on the facts. Unfortunately, we have more allegations than facts here.
This case has become the closest thing to a soap opera that I've seen in the EDD world. To follow this compelling saga, all of the court documents in the case have been posted by my colleague Rob Robinson here.