Darnay Hoffman - "Vertigo" - why he failed to show for Ramsey Atlanta 2002 court date

Discussion in 'Justice for JonBenet Discussion - Public Forum' started by Tricia, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. Tricia

    Tricia Administrator Staff Member

    From www.dailyreportonline.com comes this article about Darnay.


    A New York lawyer who failed to show up for a high-profile oral argument at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2002 defended his actions before the court’s discipline committee this week.

    “I am ashamed of having to be here,†Darnay R. Hoffman told the nine members of the 11th Circuit’s Committee on Lawyer Qualifications and Conduct gathered Monday in the court’s en banc courtroom.

    But Hoffman argued that “labyrinth vertigo,†an ailment that he has suffered occasionally since 2000, prevented him from flying to Atlanta to argue his case.

    Dealing with a medical emergency “is not dilatory,†he said, referring to one of the accusations against him.

    The panel could recommend that the 11th Circuit dismiss the case against Hoffman, disbar him from the court’s bar or anything in between.

    Hoffman said he rejected an offer by the panel to accept a one-year suspension and a letter of reprimand because doing so effectively would cut off his way to make a living for a year; state bars typically honor sanctions imposed by courts.

    The panel members—three appellate lawyers from each state the 11th Circuit covers—struggled to understand Hoffman’s explanations.

    “We are left with a concern about your credibility,†said the panel’s chairman, Marvin E. Barkin of Tampa, Fla.’s Trenam, Kemker, Scharf, Barkin, Frye, O’Neill & Mullis.

    The panel usually conducts its business in secrecy. In a 1999 Daily Report article about a disciplinary matter, the committee’s then-chairman refused to name the other eight members. This week the 11th Circuit’s chief clerk was unable to say how many cases came before the panel in the past year because the secret caseload makes statistics hard to gather.

    But Hoffman decided that he wanted the hearing to occur in the open so that his side could be heard beyond a closed courtroom. Three spectators attended, sitting in the court’s en banc courtroom. The panel was seated along a row of tables in front of the court’s bench, facing Hoffman, who sat alone.

    ‘Media Hound’ Defense

    “I’ve been accused of being a media hound,†Hoffman said.

    By reminding the panel of his penchant for announcing his court appearances in press releases—a friend of Hoffman sent the Daily Report an e-mail announcing the discipline hearing—Hoffman was trying to explain that he would never intentionally miss a chance to be in the spotlight. It follows, he told the panel, that he must have had a good reason for failing to show up on Nov. 13, 2002.

    That was the day a three-judge panel gathered to hear an appeal Hoffman brought on behalf of a client suing John B. and Patricia A. “Patsy†Ramsey, the parents of murder victim JonBenét Ramsey. Hoffman’s client, Linda Hoffmann-Pugh, was the Ramseys’ housekeeper when the 6-year-old girl was killed in their Boulder, Colo., home in December 1996.

    Hoffmann-Pugh claimed that in the Ramseys’ 2000 book about their daughter’s slaying, “The Death of Innocence,†the couple identified her as a suspect. U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash Jr. dismissed Hoffmann-Pugh’s libel case in April 2002.

    On Nov. 12, 2002, Hoffman e-mailed a media alert to Atlanta journalists headlined “John & Patsy Ramsey in Court (Again)†that announced the next day’s argument.

    Why He Failed to Appear

    Discussion at Monday’s hearing focused on this story: Hoffman left a voice message at the court shortly after midnight the day of the argument saying he would not be present because he could not get a flight from New York to Atlanta. That message was delivered to the judges shortly before they took the bench at 9 a.m.
    On Nov. 14, Judge Edward E. Carnes, Senior Judge James C. Hill, and 9th Circuit Senior Judge Jerome Farris, sitting by designation, asked 11th Circuit Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson to consider disciplinary action against Hoffman. According to the judges’ request, Hoffman failed to appear “without any justification or advance notice.†Hoffmann-Pugh v. Ramsey, No. 02-12643 (11th Cir. Nov. 14, 2002).

    Five days later, the panel ruled for the Ramseys’ and affirmed the dismissal of Hoffman’s client’s suit.

    Nearly a year-and-a-half later, Hoffman stood in the building where he was supposed to be the day of the argument.

    Pressed several times on whether he in fact told a clerk he could not get a flight, Hoffman said he didn’t know: “I was very upset.â€

    Hoffman explained that the Friday before the Wednesday argument, he began suffering an episode of “labyrinth vertigo,†a recurring ailment that caused him to feel as if his head were being thrown from side to side and made him fall down.

    As the weekend progressed, he said, he hoped the vertigo would clear up so he could fly to Atlanta to present his case. Worried that he might be unable to make it, Hoffman said he located Atlanta appellate attorney David A. Webster by Martindale-Hubbell’s Web site and telephoned him for advice.

    Hoffman said he was left with the impression from Webster that if he could not make it to the argument, the court “would let me submit [the case] on the brief.â€

    Continuing to reflect the candor by which he had invited the public to dissect an embarrassing moment of his career, Hoffman later read aloud a letter in which Webster strongly disputed Hoffman’s recollections.

    In the letter, Hoffman said Webster wrote that he had urged Hoffman to ask the 11th Circuit clerk what he could do.

    Hoffman said Webster added that he “didn’t know of anyone who had the chutzpah [to] simply fail to appear†at an oral argument.

    Hoffman’s discussions with an 11th Circuit clerk did not help, he said, because the clerk “was awfully angry on the phone.â€

    “He kept repeating, ‘The court takes this matter very, very seriously,’†said Hoffman.

    Several times panel members asked why Hoffman did not, when he realized he would not be able to come to the argument, fax a motion to waive oral argument. They suggested that Hoffman could have told the court that a doctor’s affidavit explaining his condition would be sent later.

    Hoffman said the rules for doing so were confusing.

    No Plans for Transportation

    More troubling for many panel members was Hoffman’s failure to make plans—by plane, bus, train or car—to travel to Atlanta for the argument scheduled for Nov. 13, 2002, even though he had known for about two months that the court had accepted his petition to hold oral argument.

    Knowing a doctor had said Hoffman should not fly, Patrick T. O’Connor of Savannah’s Oliver Maner & Gray asked, “Why didn’t you look into alternative travel plans?â€

    “I should have been more diligent,†Hoffman said later.

    He added that his wife, former “Mayflower Madam†Sydney Biddle Barrows, was a public figure and could arrange good hotel rates quickly, so he had few doubts that he could find a place to stay in Atlanta.

    I have a subscription to this online/newspaper. I bought it for research purposes for FFJ and Websleuths through my company. If any of you need to use it please let me know. It's for all of us.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2004
  2. RiverRat

    RiverRat FFJ Sr. Member Extraordinaire (Pictured at Lef

    My only question.....

    What mode of transportation did Darnay use to get to this hearing?

    IMO - Linda needs to sue this buffoon for ineffective assistance of counsel then she maybe she would have the opportunity that she deserves to speak out in her own words.

  3. Elle

    Elle Member

    So...now we know!

    Too late! Thanks for the update, Tricia. Vertigo is not a very pleasant thing, but wouldn't you have thought Darnay would have complied to some of the methods mentioned above?
  4. zoomama

    zoomama Active Member


    I agree. BTW there is a mention of a Judge Edward E Carnes in this article. I wonder if he is any relation to the other Judge Carnes?

    Hoffman started out , it seems, with such great promise. He used to post on the old JW all the time. I thought he was great then. What has happened to him now? He has fallen so low.
  5. Watching You

    Watching You Superior Bee Admin

    Did a doctor

    back up Hoffman's claim of having this disease? I've never heard of it before, not to say it doesn't exist. Sounds to me, though, as if Hoffman did some research on diseases to see what he could come up with to explain his absence. He hadn't even made travel arrangements for the hearing.

    Ole Darnay might not be telling the truth. Ya know?
  6. Moab

    Moab Admin Staff Member

    Re: RR,

    From the article: " “labyrinth vertigo,†a recurring ailment that caused him to feel as if his head were being thrown from side to side and made him fall down." I felt like that one time too--worst hangover I ever had!

    I do agree with you though Zoomama, he leaves his clients hanging. He actually won the LHP suit on appeal, and then when it was a slam dunk...oops he just didn't appear.

    Maybe in his own words he has really summed it up for us...

    "By reminding the panel of his penchant for announcing his court appearances in press releases—a friend of Hoffman sent the Daily Report an e-mail announcing the discipline hearing—Hoffman was trying to explain that he would never intentionally miss a chance to be in the spotlight.
  7. Tricia

    Tricia Administrator Staff Member

    Hey if you ever want to research law articles and such please pm me. I'll give you the info.

    The Daily Report Online is the best. It's there for us to use so let me know.
  8. Watching You

    Watching You Superior Bee Admin


    This is the biggest load of crap I've heard lately. Between not showing up for court and backing that baby killer, Steinberg, Hoffman ought to be disbarred forever. He's done more damage to the JBR case than just about anyone.

    That reminds me - wasn't someone at CS grousing about FW not showing up for court and what a bad boy he was? Tsk tsk. Seems Darnay did a hell of a lot worse than FW ever thought of doing. Imagine that.
  9. AK

    AK Member

    Funniest thing I've read lately!

    “'Labyrinth vertigo,' a recurring ailment that caused him to feel as if his head were being thrown from side to side and made him fall down."

    Is that like "shaken lawyer syndrome"?

    Why didn't he just say he had a "wardrobe malfunction"?

    He can't seriously be offering this for a defense. Can he? I think he'll be saving money on his bar dues very soon now...

    Perhaps someone should fully advise the court of his utter failure in the Ramsey case -- that not only did he file bogus suits for publicity, but he single-handedly did more damage to the cause of justice than any other person who was not at the crime scene that night.

    I did like the part about his wife knowing discount hotels. Snicker snicker.

    This is like the chicken and the egg question. Does an association with Candy make someone go wacky, or are they wacky first which is what attracts them to her? Pretty sad that her only pals now are Hoffman and Shapiro.
  10. Elle

    Elle Member

    Re: Did a doctor


    You can have Vertigo with a middle ear problem, and I know this sounds strange, but if you do have this problem, and I have had it a few times, you have to be very careful of not eating a lot of Chocolate and cheese at the same time. It can really bring on a bout of Vertigo. Plus chocolate and old cheese brings on Migraines for me, so Darnay could be telling the truth. This is something which can hit you in a flash.
  11. Deja Nu

    Deja Nu Banned

    Fed, for the first time in a long time, we not only agree on something but you amused the hell out of me doing it! Thanks for the belly laughs.

    Well, I've never heard of labyrinth vertigo syndrome (I think that was a kid's movie starring David Bowie and Whoopi Goldberg) but I think at least Darnay should have provided the panel with a letter from his doctor substantiating the condition. But I do have to ask what kind of class it is to stand in front of an esteemed panel of Circuit Court judges in another city and not only admit you're an attention-seeking glory hound but that your former hooker wife can hook you up with a cheap motel in Atlanta? Was that all really relevant to his no-show defense??? Does Sydney appreciate her husband's constant demeaning remarks? Moab, I caught the Judge Edward Carnes mention too. My guess is they're H&W; just more Ramsey case incest.

    Geez, Darnay just gets sadder and sadder. I first met him at the ABC discussion board right after the case broke. He was impressive and on top of his game. Thank God I'm retired.....

    Tricia, I'll take you up on that offer of info to research legal periodicals, etc. You know the addy, drop me a line!
  12. Deja Nu

    Deja Nu Banned



    What is labyrinthitis?

    Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the labyrinth, the fluid-filled semicircular canals of the inner ear. It can be the result of a viral or, more rarely, bacterial infection. Bacterial labyrinthitis may develop after a middle ear
    infection (otitis media) or an infection of the lining of the brain (meningitis)and is a more serious condition. See an illustration that shows an inflammation of the labyrinth.

    People with labyrinthitis often have a sudden onset of vertigo (a sensation of spinning or
    whirling) that may be severe enough to cause nausea or vomiting. The vertigo gradually goes away over a period of several days to a week. For a month or more after the initial vertigo goes away, a sudden head movement can trigger another attack of vertigo. Labyrinthitis may be accompanied by hearing loss, which may be temporary or permanent.

    What causes labyrinthitis?

    The specific cause of labyrinthitis usually is unknown, but the condition may occur shortly after an upper respiratory infection. Less often, it may develop after a middle ear infection (otitis media). Viral or, more rarely, bacterial ear infections may lead to labyrinthitis. Labyrinthitis caused by a bacterial infection is usually more serious and more likely to result in long-term hearing loss.

    What are the symptoms of labyrinthitis?

    The main symptom of labyrinthitis is vertigo, a spinning or whirling sensation you feel although neither you nor your surroundings are moving. The vertigo caused by labyrinthitis begins suddenly, without warning, and is severe enough that it often leads to nausea, but gradually goes away over a few days to weeks.

    After the initial attack of vertigo goes away, there may be a period lasting a month or more when any sudden head movement can trigger vertigo.

    The person also often has hearing loss and a roaring sound in the ears (tinnitus). Rarely-and generally only if the labyrinthitis is caused by a bacterial infection-the hearing loss may be permanent.

    How is labyrinthitis diagnosed?

    If you have vertigo, your doctor will need to find out whether it is being caused by an inflammation of the labyrinth in the inner ear-labyrinthitis-and if so, the cause of the
    inflammation. It can be the result of a viral or, more rarely, bacterial infection.

    Your doctor will take your medical history and do a physical examination, which may provide clues to the cause of the vertigo. In particular, your doctor will look for signs of an ear infection, which can cause labyrinthitis.

    If the cause of your vertigo is not clear from the medical history and physical examination, your doctor may want to do more tests.

    How is labyrinthitis treated?

    Labyrinthitis usually goes away on its own after the infection causing it has been eliminated. This normally requires several weeks. If the cause is bacterial, antibiotics will be prescribed.Viral infections cannot be cured with antibiotics.

    Medications may be used to control nausea and vomiting caused by the vertigo.


    Perhaps Sydney should hook you up with a cheap doctor who treats infections, Darnay.

    "Dear Your Honors,

    Please excuse Darnay Hoffman from today's court hearing. He is suffering a bout of labyrinth vertigo and cannot fly or stand up straight.

    Dr. Ima Quack"
  13. Deja Nu

    Deja Nu Banned

    Here Ya Go, Darnay!

    Just in case Sydney couldn't think of anyone, here's a referral. Say it with me now, CALEEFORNYA


    Top doc backs picking your nose and eating it

    Picking your nose and eating it is one of the best ways to stay healthy, according to a top Austrian doctor.

    Innsbruck-based lung specialist Prof Dr Friedrich Bischinger said people who pick their noses with their fingers were healthy, happier and probably better in tune with their bodies.

    He says society should adopt a new approach to nose-picking and encourage children to take it up.

    Dr Bischinger said: "With the finger you can get to places you just can't reach with a handkerchief, keeping your nose far cleaner.

    "And eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body's immune system.

    "Medically it makes great sense and is a perfectly natural thing to do. In terms of the immune system the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines it works just like a medicine.

    "Modern medicine is constantly trying to do the same thing through far more complicated methods, people who pick their nose and eat it get a natural boost to their immune system for free."

    He pointed out that children happily pick their noses, yet by the time they have become adults they have stopped under pressurefrom a society that has branded it disgusting and anti social.

    He said: "I would recommend a new approach where children are encouraged to pick their nose. It is a completely natural response and medically a good idea as well."

    And he pointed out that if anyone was really worried about what their neighbour was thinking, they could still enjoy picking their nose in
    private if they still wanted to get the benefits it offered.
  14. Elle

    Elle Member

    Am I ever glad I didn't see this post before I had my dinner, DejaNu. This has to be the weirdest article I have ever read from a doctor. :p
  15. Watching You

    Watching You Superior Bee Admin

    Ahhhhhhh, I see

    the inner ear thing - I have heard about this before, now that someone has mentioned inner ear. My ex-mother-in-law claimed she had that. Of course, in her case, the dozen or so Manhatten drinks she had every day didn't have anything to do with her tippsiness, it was the vertigo, inner ear thing.

    So, yes, it is a possibility, although I've never heard it described quite the way Darnay describes it, LOL. I think someone ought to check Darnay's nose and ears out, you know, for foreign substances or objects.

    Speaking of noses, DejaNu, you got my stomach doing somersaults with that post. Ewwwwwwwwww
  16. Elle

    Elle Member

    The inner ear


    I have just experienced this a few times and I'm in my 70's now.
    The dizziness I had stemmed from a perforated ear drum as a child. I have known others who have had these severe dizzy spells like Darnay Hoffman described. Sounds like he has problems with both ears. With me, I had to lie flat in a dimmed room. Turning my head to the right, the room spun round. You can't get up and walk until it dies down. Usually takes the better part of a day. In Darnay's case, maybe two days (?).

    Chronic ear infections do develop early in life, Maybe Darnay had ear infections as a child. Hearing loss can also occur. I'm verylucky. My hearing is excellent.

    Darnay may have been telling the truth, WY, but he would need the doctor's help to prove it. For sure, he would have been out of action for at least two days.
  17. Deja Nu

    Deja Nu Banned

    That's my point on this subject too, Elle, and not to disparage anyone who suffers from such maladies. God knows, I have my share as well.

    But Darnay is a lawyer. He knows that defense claims require proof, evidence, and a simple doctor's letter would have worked wonders for him in that scenario, not just a layman's diagnosis and an off-the-cuff disparaging remark about his ex-prostitute wife and cheap motel rooms.

    If he can't properly defend himself, how could he possibly defend his clients? Sad, really sad.
  18. Watching You

    Watching You Superior Bee Admin

    It would have helped

    his credibility if he had made travel arrangements ahead of time, no matter who his wife knows. It was as if he never intended to show up, since he had made no travel plans.
  19. Elle

    Elle Member

    For sure, Darnay handled this situation very badly and his cheap shots at his wife with the motels, leading to her past, doesn't put him in great light either. I think this warrants a divorce (?). :rolleyes:
  20. Spade

    Spade Member


    Candy is posting over at CS that the flamers/smearers are accusing Darnay of providing Jameson with the case materials Jams sold to National Enquirer. I don't know who you flamers/smearers are but stop this slander of Darnay NOW.

    It was Tracey that provided Jams with the materials that she peddled for $40K. Darnay just tried to under-sell Jams by offering the same evidence for $25K.
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