Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Local News

December 11, 2008

Video snared in Web of controversy

Houston judge slaps down local attorney’s posting on Net of taped deposition in civil fraud case

A videotaped deposition in a Houston civil lawsuit has raised an interesting legal question, and Athens attorney Jeff Weinstein is at the center of the issue.

Last December, Houston resident Elizabeth Harper filed a civil lawsuit against Mac Haik Ford Ltd. in Harris County’s Court-at-Law No. 4. She claimed the dealership engaged in fraud by failing to disclose all the terms of her financing on a pick-up truck she purchased. Harper claims she should have paid a lower interest rate than the dealership secured for her.

Two months ago, Weinstein — who is representing Harper — deposed Mac Haik Ford Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Heath. The deposition, taken on October 8, was videotaped.

Harper, Weinstein says, was outraged by some statements Heath made and wanted others to know about it. So Weinstein posted a six-minute clip of the deposition on his Athens-based law firm’s Web site. By doing so, he said he hoped to inform other consumers who might be looking to buy a vehicle.

But earlier this month, the video could no longer be found on the site or its host, YouTube.

On December 3, Harris County County Court-at-Law No. 4 Judge Roberta Lloyd — based on a request from the defendant — ordered Weinstein to yank the video off his Web site. The issue got immediate notice among the ABC and Fox news affiliates in Houston, and now it’s raising an interesting question in legal circles: What is an attorney allowed to do with a deposition, which may or may not be considered public record?

“This is one of the more interesting issues I’ve been involved with,” Weinstein said Wednesday. “I still don’t see anything we did that was wrong.”

The YouTube hosted video was posted on the Weinstein Law Firm’s Web site under the title, “It’s Not a Kickback — It’s a Fee, An excerpt from a deposition in a case where an automobile dealership marked up the customer’s interest rate from 7.5% to 10.5% and did not tell her.”

Text Only
Local News
  • 2726192_300x300.jpg Darin Karl found Thursday on Cedar Creek Lake

    The body of a 42-year-old man who had been missing in Cedar Creek Lake was recovered on Thursday.
    The drowning victim was identified as Darin Lynn Karl of Kemp. According to Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt, Karl and his nephew were fishing near Cedar Creek Country Club when the boat overturned, ejecting the men. 

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif AISD approves moving monthly meeting, additional drug testing

    Discussion on meal prices for the 2014-15 school year was pulled from Thursday's Athens Independent School District Board of Trustees agenda but other items were approved that will bring about change in the district.
    By unanimous decision, the school board approved changes to the scheduled date for its monthly meetings; additional drug testing on the high school campus and modification to the graduation policy.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 drugs.tif Prescription Drug Take Back Day April 26

    On Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Athens Police Department and Keep Athens Beautiful will host the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, giving the public its seventh opportunity in four years to prevent pill abuse and theft.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • ADR logo.tif Feud between Tool VFDs extends to city council

    The two volunteer fire departments in Tool have been dueling for 11 years. The feud between the two departments started in 2003, when the citizens of Tool voted to establish Emergency Service District No. 4. According to reports, this was about the same time the Tool Volunteer Fire Department was established.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Would Lake Athens residents suffer if city controls water?

    Members of Lake Athens Property Owners Association have been watching the dispute between the City of Athens and the Athens Municipal Water Authority uncertain of how this will affect their future.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Hot issue

    The two volunteer fire departments in Tool have been dueling for 11 years. The feud between the two departments started in 2003, when the citizens of Tool voted to establish Emergency Service District No. 4. According to reports, this was about the same time the Tool Volunteer Fire Department was established.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Surplus property to be moved or demolished

    Athens Independent School District purchased property at 404 Royall Street during its March school board meeting with the intent to square off property previously purchased by the district.
    During Thursday's school board meeting, a unanimous decision was made to designate the property as surplus and advertise the home to be moved or demolished.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0077.JPG Taste of Home Cooking School

    The Taste of Home Cooking School was held Thursday at the Cain Center. Hundreds attended the events that was sponsored by Cole A/C and the Athens Daily Review.
     

    April 19, 2014 6 Photos

  • ADR logo.tif City, AMWA differ on future management of water supply

    The 57-year relationship between the Athens Municipal Water Authority and the City of Athens grew stormy in 2013 because of a disagreement over who should pay certain bills.
    The difference-of-opinion led to the Authority filing suit against the city last December, and the city responding by setting the wheels in motion that slated a May 10 election to decide whether to abolish AMWA.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 Easter.jpg Excited and ready

    Lexie and Isabella Hawkins are excited and ready for the Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at 9 a.m. in Kiwanis Park.  Bicycles, rabbits and lots of Easter Eggs will be waiting for you. Everyone is welcome, and of course the Easter Bunny will be there.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo