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Punish UM law clinic for 'frivolous' suit

Laws and LegislationColleges and UniversitiesExecutive Branch

While we're "Regulating farms with certainty" (March 18) as The Sun editorializes, let's be certain that we hold the University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic accountable for their own litigation runoff. It's "outrageous" (your word, not mine) when The Sun suggests that law clinics should be immune from punishment for knowingly representing a frivolous lawsuit. Even Gov. Martin O'Malley registered his concern. In November of 2011 he complained about the "ongoing injustice" of the Environmental Law Clinic pursuing "costly litigation of questionable merit."

Nor is this the only time University of Maryland law clinics have run amok. In the 1980s, Gov. William Donald Schaefer barred those same clinics from using state funds to sue state agencies. And recently, our legislators have asked for an audit of the clinics activities and expenditures. Those clinic expenditures are taxpayers' money. And yet The Sun says, "...requiring taxpayers to foot the bill for a private civil suit is outrageous." You can't have it both ways.

We are all just as endangered as our farmers if the University of Maryland's law school is allowed to persecute citizens with no consequences for their clinic's abuse of power. Maybe the clinic will litigate responsibly when its leadership learns that they are just as affected by the law as their targets are.

Karl Pfrommer, Lutherville

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