Big Coal Lawyers Discover the Hard Way That Hillbillies Have Lawyers Too

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Crowell & Morings impression of Appalachian folks
  • Crowell & Moring's impression of Appalachian folks
Oh, this is too good to not share. So, folks in Appalachia are concerned that mountain top removal mining is causing birth defects among Appalachian people. And in fact, a study released earlier this year showed that there seems to be some correlation between mountain top removal mining and birth defects.

Now if you're a law firm like Crowell & Moring, with ties to the National Mining Association, there are many things you could say about this study. You might remind people that correlation does not equal causation. You might remind people that, sadly, the links between extreme poverty and the inability to get adequate prenatal care are well-proven and that there are fewer places poorer than rural Appalachia (and thus why mining is so important to the area). Hell, I don't know. I'm not an evil genius law firm and I came up with those two things right off the top of my head. I assume if you were an evil genius law firm, you could come up with more things.

You know who else is obviously not an evil genius law firm? Crowell & Moring.
What did they say? That the study "failed to account for consanguinity, one of the most prominent sources of birth defects," which is just a fancy-pants way of saying that the study didn't account for all of the cousin-fucking those hillbillies like to do.

Unfortunately for Crowell & Moring, sometimes hillbillies go to law school and hillbilly lawyers tend to get pissed when you invoke derogatory stereotypes about Appalachian people in order to make your friends in the coal industry feel better about poisoning them.

And so assistant law professor Jason Huber of the Charlotte School of Law is filing an ethics complaint, alleging that since science has proven that there's no more inbreeding in Appalachia than anywhere else, Crowell & Moring were invoking a negative stereotype of Appalachians in order to drum up business. That'd be in violation of the standards of the D.C. Bar, where Huber filed the complaint.

Huber says, "Research has conclusively established that Appalachians are no more prone to inbreeding than any other population, such as white-collar professionals or for that matter, attorneys that work at Crowell & Moring."

I'm not hip to the lingo of young people, but I believe, after studying this chart, that Crowell & Moring just got told — and thus the proper thing for me to say is, "Oh, snap!"

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