Geoffrey Fieger

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Geoffrey Fieger
Personal details
Born Geoffrey Nels Fieger
(1950-12-23) December 23, 1950 (age 66)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Kathleen Fieger
Alma mater University of Michigan, Ann
Arbor

Detroit College of Law
Website Official website

Geoffrey Nels Fieger (born December 23, 1950) is an American attorney based in Southfield, Michigan.[1] Fieger is the senior partner at the law firm of Fieger, Fieger, Kenney & Harrington P.C., and is an occasional legal commentator for NBC and MSNBC. His practice focuses on personal injury, civil rights litigation and medical malpractice cases.

Fieger is best known as the defense attorney for Jack Kevorkian and as the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for governor of Michigan in 1998.

Early life and family[edit]

Fieger grew up in Oak Park, Michigan, a northern suburb of Detroit, Michigan, the son of June Beth (née Oberer) and Bernard Julian Fieger.[2] Fieger's father was Jewish, and his mother was of Norwegian descent,[3] he earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1976 and his J.D. from the Detroit College of Law (now the Michigan State University College of Law) in 1979.

Fieger is the older brother of the late Doug Fieger, lead vocalist of the late-'70s/early-'80s rock group The Knack, best known for their hit song "My Sharona" in 1979. Fieger and his wife, Kathleen ("Keenie"), have three children and live in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Legal career[edit]

Fieger has been involved with a variety of high-profile or controversial cases; in 1994, he represented Dr. Jack Kevorkian in the first of several doctor-assisted suicide trials. Kevorkian was acquitted in that trial and all subsequent trials where Fieger represented him. (Kevorkian was convicted when he represented himself in his last assisted suicide trial in 1999.) These events were made into a movie, You Don't Know Jack, aired on HBO, in which Fieger was portrayed by actor Danny Huston.

Other notable clients and cases include:

  • Nathaniel Abraham, charged with the 1997 shooting death of Ronnie Green, Jr. in Pontiac.[4] Abraham, who was tried as an adult, was convicted of the crime in 1999, and released from prison in 2007.[5]
  • The family of Scott Amedure in a 1999 wrongful death and negligence suit against The Jenny Jones Show
  • The family of Isaiah Shoels, who was killed in the Columbine High School massacre
  • Ralf Panitz, accused of killing his ex-wife Nancy Campbell-Panitz in July 2000, following their appearance along with Panitz's new wife, on a segment of The Jerry Springer Show. Panitz was convicted in 2002
  • Robert Turner, a 6-year-old boy, whose 911 call to the City of Detroit was allegedly not taken seriously, resulting in the death of Turner's mother, Sherrill[6]
  • Lorraine Hayes, shot in the head and chest by her boyfriend and whose call to 911 on January 12, 2005, was ignored, resulting in her paralysis from the waist down[7]
  • Master Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver, a U.S. soldier who defused roadside bombs in Iraq and claims to be the main character in The Hurt Locker[8] Sarver's case was dismissed, and under California law, was required to pay the defendants' attorney fees of $187,000.[9]
  • The family of Aiyana Jones
  • A lawsuit against the Michigan State Police on behalf of the family of 64-year-old Jacqueline Nichols, a pedestrian who was killed when a cruiser crashed into her during a police chase in Flint on July 3, 2014. [10] The state agreed to settle the suit for $7.7 million.[11]
  • A $100 million class action lawsuit in regards to the 2014-2015 Legionnaires' disease outbreak in the Flint, Michigan area, on behalf of four Genesee County residents who contracted the water borne illness during the Flint water crisis, including one woman who died seven days after entering the emergency room with a headache. The suit names McLaren Regional Medical Center and several Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials as defendants. [12]


Political career[edit]

1998 gubernatorial campaign[edit]

In 1998 Fieger ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic nominee for governor of Michigan, during the campaign Fieger made several inflammatory and controversial comments and statements, including

  • an assertion that his opponent John Engler was the product of barnyard miscegenation;[13]
  • a claim that "rabbis are closer to Nazis than they think." [14]
  • a radio appearance characterizing Michigan appellate judges as "jackasses" for overturning a 15 million dollar medical malpractice judgment he had won. (A lower court reprimand based on these comments was eventually upheld by the Michigan Supreme Court.)[15]

2020 presidential campaign[edit]

In January 2017 Feiger began running a television advertisement indicating his intent to run for president in 2020.[16]

Other activities[edit]

In 1997, Fieger donated four million dollars to the Detroit College of Law, now the Michigan State University College of Law, to start the nation's first trial practice institute for law students, which was named the Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute.[17]

Fieger appeared as one of the attorneys on the reality TV show Power of Attorney, and was opposing counsel in an episode of NBC's The Law Firm.

Trial and acquittal[edit]

In August 2007, Fieger was indicted on federal campaign finance charges; the U.S. government alleged that Fieger had illegally funneled $127,000 to John Edwards' 2004 presidential campaign. Fieger was defended by famed defense attorney Gerry Spence, who announced this would be his last case. A jury acquitted Fieger of all 10 charges, and Fieger's co-defendant and law partner Ven Johnson on five charges, on June 2, 2008. Johnson stated that the charges were politically motivated.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Law practice homepage - fiegerlaw.com, retrieved 9/08/07
  2. ^ "Motormouth". 
  3. ^ "Behind the mouth: Geoffrey Fieger". 16 December 2004. Archived from the original on 16 December 2004. 
  4. ^ Bradsher, Keith (17 November 1999). "Michigan Boy Who Killed at 11 Is Convicted of Murder as Adult" – via NYTimes.com. 
  5. ^ "- The Michigan Daily". 
  6. ^ Suit filed over boy's ignored 911 call - CNN.com, 4/10/06
  7. ^ Second 911 Lawsuit - WXYZ News, 4/11/06
  8. ^ Soldier sues, says 'Hurt Locker' is his story - CNN.com, 3/03/10
  9. ^ Iraq War Vet Ordered to Pay $187,000 in Failed Lawsuit Against 'Hurt Locker' Producers , Hollywood Reporter, December 8, 2011
  10. ^ Attorney Geoffrey Fieger to file $50 million lawsuit over fatal Flint state police chase The Flint Journal via MLive, July 7, 2014
  11. ^ State to pay $7.7M to settle fatal police chase lawsuit The Flint Journal via MLive, October 2, 2015
  12. ^ John Wisely & Jennifer Dixon, Fieger files $100-million suit over Flint Legionnaires' disease cases, Detroit Free Press (February 2, 2016).
  13. ^ "Michigan Review". Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  14. ^ Brash Candidate a Problem in Michigan - WashingtonPost.com, 9/24/98
  15. ^ "Reprimand Of Fieger Upheld By Supreme Court", NPR - LANSING, MI 2007-02-20) http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/michigan/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1042622
  16. ^ Russell, Kim (January 13, 2017). "Ad for attorney Geoffrey Fieger sends message he wants to run for president in 2020". WXYZ-TV. Retrieved June 7, 2017. 
  17. ^ Gift Establishes First Institute For Law Students - newsroom.msu.com, 9/08/07
  18. ^ Kristine Pioch, "Geoffrey Fieger acquitted in campaign-finance violations case" (June 2, 2008). Kalamazoo Gazette.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Howard Wolpe
Democratic nominee for Governor of Michigan
1998
Succeeded by
Jennifer Granholm