Skip to comments.Shocking News About Al Gore's TV Business Partner (Was Villain In "Philadelphia" Movie)
Posted on 10/15/2003 8:34:23 AM PDT by PJ-Comix
...The PUC had had no consumer representation, and one had hoped that Davis would appoint a consumer advocate to the board. Instead, he rewarded big labor for its contributions by selecting Carl W. Wood, an official with the Utility Workers Union. The other appointee is the wealthy lawyer, Joel Z. Hyatt.
Hyatt has had his own problem with some consumers who sued him over the services provided by his Hyatt Legal Services, which specialized in massive television advertising of low-cost legal advice. He has nothing to do with the hotel chain of that name, which sued him over what the chain charged was an effort to exploit its name. Hyatt was his middle name back at Dartmouth, where he was an advocate, in the Alumni Magazine, for keeping the school all male, under the name Joel Hyatt Zylberberg.
Hyatt ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in Ohio in 1994 for the seat of retiring Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, his father-in-law. One issue raised in that Ohio electoral campaign related to the parallels between the Academy Award-winning movie "Philadelphia," starring Tom Hanks, and the lawsuit filed by a lawyer with AIDS who had worked for Hyatt's law firm. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Hyatt's senatorial campaign office made available a statement issued by Tri-Star Pictures, which produced the movie, stating that their story was not "based on any particular person, law firm or incident." In 1990, Hyatt's firm was sued by an employee who claimed he was dismissed because he was ill with AIDS. According to the New York Times account of April 13, 1990: "Federal District Judge Raymond J. Broderick ruled that Hyatt, a pioneer in low-cost legal clinics, had illegally removed the head of its Philadelphia office, Clarence B. Cain, after learning he had AIDS." The Times quoted the judge as saying the firm had mounted a "corrupt assault" on Cain's dignity and that the firm's conduct "was not merely inexcusably insensitive" but "so outrageous" as to warrant punitive damages.
Hyatt's firm did not appeal the judgment, and Cain, who testified that he had been reduced to a life of poverty after the dismissal, died soon after the favorable judgment. Both Wood and Hyatt must be confirmed by the state Senate within the next year, but in the meantime they get to vote on the PUC. Hopefully they and the three Wilson appointees on the commission will keep in mind that someone ought to speak up for the consumers, who, thanks to Gray Davis, remain totally unrepresented on the commission.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.