While convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff is sitting in Maryland federal prison, his lawyer Abbe Lowell has been hard at work fighting a civil lawsuit brought by former employees of the now-defunct Jewish Eshkol Academy. Abramoff and his wife were large contributors and helped set up the school, which went under in mid-2004 because of funding problems. Thirteen former school employees have sued Abramoff and his wife—along with the school and Abramoff’s charitable giving arm, the National Institute of Torah Foundation (later known as the Capital Athletic Foundation)—in Montgomery County District Court for breach of contract.
Lowell, now at McDermott Will & Emery, argued that Abramoff and his wife could not be held liable because they were simply generous donors, just as former employees of the Red Cross could not have sued donors following Hurricane Katrina. The judge agreed. Last week Judge Terrence McGann granted Lowell’s summary judgment motion and dismissed the case.