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Nov. 26, 2014

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News-NMLeaks-SFR-071812

Pat Rogers: 'Res ipsa loquitur'

Lawyer and lobbyst offers only a Latin phrase about his resignation from sunshine group.

July 27, 2012, 9:30 am
By Justin Horwath

Republican lobbyist and lawyer Pat Rogers has something to say about his recent resignation from the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government. And it's Latin.

Res ipsa loquitur. Translated, it means: "The thing speaks for itself."

But it actually means a lot more than that.

Rogers is a veteran lawyer at the Albuquerque firm Modrall Sperling. A more complex meaning of the phrase is unearthed upon analyzing its legal definition.

Res ipsa loquitur (pronounced ray-sip-sah loh-quit-er) is a legal presumption that a defendant acted negligently even though there may be no direct evidence of liability, according to Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute.

The Institute uses an example of a construction company being presumed negligent "if a load of bricks under its control falls off a roof and injures a pedestrian, even though nobody witnessed the incident."

Rogers resigned amid revelations that he tried to influence the politics and policies of Susana Martinez's administration through a private email network with the governor's closest aides--a practice in obvious contradiction with the policies of NMFOG, an organization that advocates for an open, transparent government. SFR revealed that Rogers' communication with top Martinez officials on their private accounts--away from glare of sunshine laws that subject government email accounts to inspection--was more extensive than previously known, lasting at least a year.

In the email, Rogers once again accused SFR of violating Society of Professional Journalists ethics guidelines by recording a telephone interview without his prior knowledge. The conversation was off the record. That's a less serious allegation than when he suggested SFR might be violating "federal and state law" by printing contents of emails the paper obtained.

SFR, like many media organizations, sometimes records phone conversations to ensure its reporting is accurate. New Mexico is a one-party consent state, which means only one person in the phone conversation needs to know it's being recorded.

He goes on to reference various individuals, with whom Rogers implies, incorrectly, SFR interviewed for publication of his private emails.

Joe Monahan is a political blogger critical of Martinez. Scott Forrester is the executive director of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. Heath Haussamen is a political journalist whose call for Rogers' resignation made it into Rogers' resignation letter. There is a Bob Cornelius in New Mexico, but he's actually a Republican and former land commissioner candidate whose campaign was derailed after SFR revealed that his claims didn't add up.

SFR did obtain the emails from Michael Corwin, who runs a union-backed political action committee, Independent Source PAC, which opposes Gov. Martinez. Rogers says the emails were stolen. Corwin denies that allegation, but he will not disclose his source.

Rogers concluded the email with the Latin phrase: "And, as to the NMFOG resignation, res ipsa loquitur." 

A few hypothetical situations could apply if he's applying the legal definition of the phrase, chief among them that Rogers feels he is being persecuted without direct evidence of his wrongdoing.

Suffice it to say that the thing doesn't speak for itself.

http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/blog-3673-pat-rogers-res-ipsa-loquitur.html
Rogers Email 1
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