Facebook Lawsuit Plaintiff Sharon Beatty is Lawyer Grant Woods' Secretary

GrantWoods.jpg
Grant Woods, a Valley lawyer and former state Attorney General, filed a federal complaint against Facebook this week on behalf of plaintiff Sharon Beatty -- who happens to be his secretary.
"Hey, Sharon, want to file a lawsuit against Facebook?"

We imagine that a conversation that included that line might have taken place last week between former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods and his executive assistant, Sharon Beatty.

Beatty, we've come to find out, is the Scottsdale woman acting as a plaintiff in one of several federal complaints filed this week against Facebook. And Woods, her boss, is her attorney in the case.

The complaints allege that Facebook owes users  money after sneakily obtaining Web browsing histories while users were logged off the social media site. Facebook claims the data collection was a glitch.

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes writes to New Times today, "We believe this complaint is without merit and we will fight it vigorously."

Sleazy and cheesy are the first two words that came to mind after we confirmed this one. A man who answered the phone at Woods' law firm this morning told us that, yes, Beatty is Woods secretary, and, yes, she's the client in the Facebook lawsuit.

Now, we have no idea if Woods solicited his secretary for this job. If he did, and did it to make money, he could arguably have been in violation of an ethical rule that prevents lawyers from doing things like that. (See Ethical Rule 7.3 on the State Bar's website).

Woods wants a judge to deem this a class-action suit, with 150 million Facebook users as plaintiffs. Assuming this and similar lawsuits move forward all the way to settlement, it's unlikely that each offended Facebook user would get more than a few bucks each.

The lawyers in the cases, however, might stand to gain tens of thousands of bucks each in a settlement. Would Beatty get a cut of that? If so, that would be another likely ethical violation: Lawyers aren't allowed to share their fees with clients.

Now, we're not sure of any possible ethical violations if Beatty simply said, "You know, Grant, I'm mighty ticked off at Facebook over this cookie thing, and you're a lawyer -- want to help me sue?" Then, again, our suspicious mind still would wonder if any under-the-table deal has been made.

We left a message for Woods last week, on the day we published the post about his Facebook lawsuit. He didn't return the call. Today, we sent him an e-mail to ask about Beatty.

Beatty replied by e-mail that Woods is on a plane to Chicago today and can't be reached. We replied to her, asking if she made any deals with Woods on the Facebook site. No reply from her yet.

It appears the allegations against Facebook have sparked a veritable feeding frenzy on the part of lawyers nationwide.

The plaintiff in the same type of case in Kansas is a lawyer. Same goes for another Facebook-cookie lawsuit filed this week in Alabama.

In Louisiana, former state Attorney General Richard leyoub filed a similar Facebook lawsuit on behalf of client Janet Seamon. When we called his law firm, he was out -- so we asked if Seamon was there.

"No," said a secretary.

"Does she work there?" we pressed.

"No comment," the woman said, chuckling.

In full wise-acre mode, we called a few minutes later and asked if we could speak to Seamon.

"No," said a different receptionist.

"How about her voice-mail?"

"No."

"Is she in now?"

"I'm not going to answer any more questions," the woman said.

Sounds like Woods and Beatty are in good company.


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14 comments
hkendrick005
hkendrick005

Why waste any time with this guy,  In the history of Arizona politics, Woods is probably the most corrupt politician we've ever elected.  And given the idiots we've put in office that's saying a lot.

He used the AG's office to punish his political enemies and massage his huge ego.  His used taxpayer's money to try an protect the illegal liquor operation his "best friend" Rob Carey was running in Tempe during the 1990's.  It was Carey who later  stole $24,000 of taxpayer money. The Woods fired him and rehired him days later. 

Any who listens to this fool needs to find something to better to do with his or her time.

Jason
Jason

I smell a conflict of interest here.

It may be best for Mr. Woods to recuse himself off this case due to his own secretary being the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by him.

paganheart
paganheart

In the immortal words of Mr. Shakespeare: "Kill all the Lawyers."

Eleanor
Eleanor

That is such a creepy looking photo of Grant Woods. 

Bornell398
Bornell398

Arizona must be the reprobate capital of the world, your greed may seem to satisfy you in this life.

jim
jim

Those words are spoken in Henry VIII by a character who seeks to create a new aristocracy, one where a style of living later called communism would prevail.  He wants to kill all the lawyers to enable the subjugation of the people.

I thought we all learned this during the Mecham impeachment trial?

<quote>

Cade:I thank you, good people—there shall be no money; all shall eatand drink on my score, and I will apparel them all in one livery,that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.Dick:The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.</quote>

jim
jim

Sorry, should read Henry VI.

'Kill the Lawyers,' A Line MisinterpretedPublished: June 17, 1990Sign In to E-MailPrint

In reference to the review of ''Guilty Conscience,'' (May 20) Leah D. Frank is inaccurate when she states that when Shakespeare had one of his characters state ''Let's kill all the lawyers,'' it was the corrupt, unethical lawyers he was referring to. Shakespeare's exact line ''The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers,'' was stated by Dick the Butcher in ''Henry VI,'' Part II, act IV, Scene II, Line 73. Dick the Butcher was a follower of the rebel Jack Cade, who thought that if he disturbed law and order, he could become king. Shakespeare meant it as a compliment to attorneys and judges who instill justice in society.

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