Robert Peirce should take his punishment like a man


Back in the old days, before the publication of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care and the advent of enlightened parenthood, suburban kids who misbehaved got spankings. Country kids who acted up went to the woodshed for a whuppin’.


This was called corporal punishment. Anybody over the age of 50 remembers it well.


Disciplinary duties usually fell upon the male parent (no same-sex couples back then). On a weekday, this meant that chastisement of the malefactor would have to “wait ’til your father gets home.”


Delay was bittersweet. It made things worse by giving the victim more time to anticipate the dreaded moment, but it also raised the remote possibility of avoiding reprisal.


Dad might get home late, after the accused had gone to bed. Mom might get distracted by other motherly duties and forget to tell the Old Man. Or maybe some trick from the condemned party’s arsenal of dodges might precipitate a series of postponements until all memory of the crime had disappeared from the minds of the two avenging adults.


Pittsburgh attorney Robert Peirce must have vivid memories of childhood crime and punishment. He clearly has mastered the art of delaying tactics.


Unfortunately for Peirce, the punishment he hopes to avoid looks inevitable.


Two years ago, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a fraud case filed against Peirce’s firm by CSX Transportation. The suit charges that Peirce and his associates schemed “to deliberately fabricate and prosecute objectively unreasonable, false, and fraudulent asbestos claims against CSX.”


Peirce is doing his best to delay the denouement of the case, but so far, his tactics aren’t working.


U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp recently affirmed a lower magistrate’s order denying Peirce’s motion to compel CSX to reveal the amount of attorney fees spent in its defense against Peirce’s suits. That information will be required only if a verdict is rendered in CSX’s favor.


Be patient, Peirce, you’ll just have to wait ’til the Old Man gets home.



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