A big hat tip to the reader who sent both the Order and this summary – and congratulations to Oliver and Jennifer Diaz and their attorneys Chuck McRae and David McCarty:
Judge Jordan ruled late this afternoon regarding the case Oliver and Jennifer Diaz had filed against former U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton, Commission on Judicial Performance Senior Counsel Darlene Ballard, and former Commission member Leslie Lampton. The suit was about the confidential violation of their financial information after the federal cases against them were over.
It is a lengthy and complex opinion in which Judge Jordan examines the issues in the case. Long and short: The Diazes can maintain their lawsuit against Dunn Lampton for disclosing their personal confidential data and the Diazes may continue their suit against Leslie Lampton to the extent he violated state privacy laws. Darlene Ballard is removed from the suit.
I linked the Order on Scribd – it follows this bit of background taken from the Order.
These litigants have a long history that pre-dates the subject dispute. Between 2003 and 2006, Defendants/Counterclaimants/Third-Party Plaintiffs Oliver E. Diaz Jr., then a Mississippi supreme court justice, and his wife Jennifer Diaz were prosecuted on various fraud, bribery, and tax evasion charges. Oliver Diaz was ultimately acquitted, and Jennifer Diaz pleaded guilty to tax evasion.
After the criminal prosecution ended, Third-Party Defendant and then-U.S. Attorney Dunnica Lampton filed a complaint with the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance (“the Commission”) that initiated an investigation of Oliver Diaz. ccording to the Diazes, Dunnica Lampton submitted to the Commission certain of the Diazes’ tax and other financial records he had obtained during the prior federal criminal investigation.
Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant Leslie Lampton, a relative of Dunnica Lampton’s, served as a member of the Commission and participated in the Commission’s investigation of Mr. Diaz. In 2008, the Diazes learned that the Commission had their financial information and asked for its return, apparently leading to a Department of Justice investigation into its disclosure. Third- Party Defendant Darlene Ballard, staff attorney for the Commission, responded to Oliver Diaz’s
request for the return of the information in a way the Diazes found “mocking” and “glib,” and Ballard ultimately returned the information not to the Diazes but to Dunnica Lampton. In December 2008, the Commission dismissed the Complaint against Oliver Diaz.