The attorney who filed the lawsuit against Oral Roberts University responds to a move to disqualify him. Lawyers for the university filed a motion Friday claiming the opposing counsel, Gary Richardson, has a conflict of interest and should be removed from the case. The News On 6's Ashli Sims reports ORU's attorneys claim Gary Richardson is playing both sides of the fence.
On one hand, attorney Gary Richardson is representing three former ORU professors who are suing the university and Richard Roberts for wrongful termination. They say on the other hand, he has long represented Roberts' sister-in law, who created the computer document that started the legal firestorm.
Gary Richardson's legal career spans three decades. He has represented many people, currently three former Oral Roberts University professors who are suing the school for wrongful termination. ORU's attorney says he has also represented Stephanie Cantees, Richard Roberts' sister-in-law and staff member for Oral Roberts Ministries.
In the motion, the lawyers claim Richardson has represented Cantees, since 1996, and it sites half a dozen occasions when he acted as her attorney. The motion goes on to say that is a problem because Richardson's case against ORU is based on information, they say was stolen from Cantees' computer.
Those computer files are at the heart of Richardson's client's lawsuit against the university. The former professors claim they were fired for trying to bring attention to those files, which detailed financial mismanagement and inappropriate behavior by Richard Roberts and his wife.
ORU's attorneys also claim that Cantees went to Richardson to discuss the stolen files, and she said in a sworn affidavit that they discussed how to handle the theft.
Gary Richardson told The News On 6 on Monday that conversation never happened. He says that his firm, not him personally, represented Cantees in her divorce several years ago. He says about a year-and-a-half ago, she asked him to represent her in a car accident case. Richardson said he refused and told her to pick up her case file, which he says she did. Richardson says that ended their professional relationship.
Gary Richardson also released a letter from another attorney who says he represents Stephanie Cantees in the matter of stolen computer data. Richardson says nowhere in the letter does it mention anything about him acting as Cantees' attorney.
The first hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled next month.
KOTV - 11/5/2007 5:40 PM - Updated 11/5/2007 10:23 PM
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