Jason Huber, a professor at Charlotte School of Law, filed a complaint with the Office of Bar Counsel last week against Crowell & Moring. Huber claims the large law firm had no scientific evidence to support a comment it made in a legal alert it posted on its site in July regarding a study that pointed to a higher rate of birth defects among communities near mountaintop coal removal operations.
In its alert, the firm said the study “failed to account for [consanguinity], one of the most prominent sources of birth defects.” The firm’s use of the word “consanguinity,” which means a close relation or connection, is to refer to inbreeding. When complaints came in about the comment in the alert, the firm apologized and immediately removed the alert from its website.
Huber, who has spent time in Appalachia, said in his complaint, “the Authors failed to recognize the lack of scientific evidence to support their attempt to mislead the reader into believing that Appalachian incest, not mountaintop removal mining, caused the observed birth defects.”
A Crowell & Moring spokeswoman responded to the complaint, calling it baseless. “We regret that Mr. Huber has chosen to revisit this issue long after we withdrew the communication and apologized for any offense it may have caused in July,” she added.