The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
An unidentified Connecticut paralegal in the employ of Pullman and Comley is worth $165.00 per hour, at least on firm billing statements submitted to People’s United Bank. William Wenzel, a partner in the firm, represents the bank in a civil suit against James Hastings, who failed to appear in Superior Court on contempt charges earlier this week. Mr. Hastings threatened to publicize thousands of bank customers’ sensitive financial records (including Social Security numbers), which he found in the outside trash bins of the bank’s local branch offices. (Court records refer to him as a “dumpster diver”.) Last year, he was ordered not to disclose the contents of these records, but he posted a “documentary” on YouTube anyway (the site pulled the video).
In addition to suing James Hastings to prevent dissemination of this information, People’s Bank is now being sued by unhappy customers. According to Mr. Wenzel, the bank has spent almost $40,000.00 in its litigation against Mr. Hastings (including Mr. Wenzel’s billing rate of $395.00 per hour and a former federal prosecutor’s fee of $420.00 per hour). A bank employee testified that documents are now shredded daily and that its trash bins are locked and posted with “No Trespassing” signs – but Mr. Wenzel told the court that Mr. Hastings continues to attempt to raid the bank’s trash bins.
See Connecticut Post.
So, in conclusion, People’s Bank is paying really big bucks to an attorney and his staff to litigate a “hot mess” of legal issues, which arose out of throwing thousands of its own customers’ financial records in trash bins that any persistent and obsessive dumpster diver could find and try to post on YouTube.