Washington, D.C.-based law firm Crowell & Moring has been cleared in an ethics case over a client memo implying that inbreeding is problematic in West Virginia, the AM Law Daily reported Thursday.The “imbreeding memo mishap,” as AM Law Daily called it, happened in June 2011 when the firm issued a client alert that criticised a study that tied mountaintop coal mining to birth defects in Appalachia.
That memo said the study “failed to account for consanquinity [sic], one of the most prominent sources of defects.” The firm was apparently referring to consanguinity, another term for inbreeding.
A West Virginia disciplinary panel found in December that it didn’t have jurisdiction over the case because the lawyers didn’t practice in the state. But the panel found the client memo “did allude to offensive stereotypes.”
Previously, a Washington, D.C. ethics panel threw out the case after finding the firm didn’t knowingly make a false statement.
A spokesman for the firm told AM Law Daily it agreed with the dismissals.
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