Attorney sues Louisville judge over released drug test results
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville defense attorney has filed a defamation lawsuit against Jefferson Family Court Judge Gina Calvert, claiming she ordered him to be drug tested as part of his divorce case and then failed to properly seal the results, damaging his reputation.
The lawsuit, filed in Jefferson Circuit Court Thursday by Brendan McLeod, alleges that Calvert’s failure to make the medical records confidential caused “a whirlwind of gossip, looks, stares and whispers” in the courthouse during a period in which McLeod was handling back-to-back murder trials.
The suit also names as defendants others involved in McLeod’s family court case, claiming they defamed him by telling his family and others in the community about the positive drug test results. The suit alleges it was an “intentional act” that “has caused a huge professional hit” to McLeod’s reputation.
Calvert, according to the lawsuit, told McLeod in a July 18 hearing that the test results were public record and it is McLeod’s responsibility to request they be sealed.
Calvert did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
Court records show McLeod has now requested the drug tests to be sealed.
The results of the tests were made public in court documents in May. The lawsuit claims there was language at the bottom of the results "clearly stating" the information represented confidential medical records.
McLeod tested positive for methamphetamine on a May 8 urine screen, according to the documents.
That same month, McLeod was representing Jodie Cecil in a murder trial in the May 13, 2016, shooting of 42-year-old Jennifer Cain.
McLeod was accused by the Louisville Public Defender’s office of visiting Cecil’s co-defendant, Brian Greenwell, around 2 a.m. during the trial in late May, discussing whether he should testify.
The public defender’s office, which represented Greenwell, asked for a mistrial, arguing that McLeod committed misconduct and violated Greenwell’s rights.
“It’s absolutely clear and not even arguable that Mr. McLeod was not supposed to be in contact with Mr. Greenwell, yet he was for the better part of an hour at least,” Jay Lambert, with the public defender’s office, told McDonald-Burkman. “And he acknowledged … he discussed the possibility and advisability of (Greenwell) testifying” as well as other issues in the case.
Lambert had a witness from Metro Corrections corroborate that McLeod talked with Greenwell for 50 minutes at the jail at about 2 a.m. Thursday. He then visited with his own client for about a half hour before returning and again talking with Greenwell.
For his part, McLeod said Lambert was “amazing at making a molehill into an ant hill,” and said he was only trying to help Greenwell. “I talked to him and his family and he wrote me records from the jail to visit him. You’d have to be blind to think I’m antagonistic at all.
“My client desires to help him," McLeod continued. "This is like shooting someone who is your sidekick.”
Judge McDonald-Burkman said in the hearing that it is an ethical issue that’s "not going away," and possibly a violation of the rules of professional conduct for attorneys. However, she ruled she was “not concerned” that McLeod’s actions would affect the trial and allowed it to continue.
Both Cecil and Greenwell were found guilty of murder.
In a separate murder trial last month, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Angela Bisig fined McLeod $100 every day he was late to court.
McLeod's lawsuit is requesting a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages.
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