A law professor and Appalachia native has filed an ethics complaint against Crowell & Moring this week over a controversial client memo issued earlier this year in response to an academic study exploring possible links between mountaintop coal mining and birth defects in the Appalachian region.
As reported by the Legal Times' sibling publication, Am Law Daily, Jason Huber, an assistant professor at the Charlotte School of Law, filed the complaint with the Office of Bar Counsel in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 4 against four Crowell lawyers.
The study in question concluded that Appalachians who live in areas near sites affected by the controversial process of mountaintop removal mining are more prone to suffer from birth defects than those who do not.
The Crowell memo criticized the study's methodology, claiming that it lumped an array of unrelated birth defects together while discounting similar incidence rates in areas unaffected by mountaintop mining. The Crowell lawyers also wrote that the study "failed to account for consanquinity [sic], one of the most prominent sources of birth defects," but reports at the time noted that consanguinity, the correct spelling for a word that refers to the interrelatedness of people who share a common blood line, is no more prevalent in Appalachia than in other areas of the country.
The full story from Am Law Daily is here.