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Law Student Sues to Enforce Lawyer's $1 Million TV Challenge

With legal employment prospects on the decline, a new lawyer's got to find a way to make a buck somehow. In the case of South Texas College of Law graduate Dustin Kolodziej, he decided to play detective. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Kolodiziej took up a challenge issued by Orlando attorney Cheney Mason on nation television, offering $1 million to anyone who could prove that his client gunned down four people within the time frame alleged by the prosecution. And now that Mason won't make good on his offer, Kolodziej has found another job -- that of the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against Mason, seeking $1 million.

Mason issued hi challenge during the course of this interview on MSNBC, which covered the prosecution and subsequent conviction of Mason's client, Nelson Serrano, for four murders. Mason's defense was simple: He argued that it was impossible for Serrano to have committed the murders within the prosecutors' alleged timeline. Mason explained:

In less than half an hour, Serrano would have had to get off a wide body jet, exit Atlanta airport -- one of the busiest in the world -- and arrive back at his hotel five miles away. All in time to be photographed looking up at that surveillance camera.

I challenge anybody to show me, I'll pay them a million dollars if they can do it ... 28 minutes. Can't happen. Didn't happen.

Kolodziej retraced Serrano's route and made the final leg of the journey within the required time. He taped his trip and sent the video to Mason demanding that he make good on the $1 million offer, but Mason refused.

So what are Kolodziej's chances of winning this suit? Stetson law professor James W. Fox told the Sentinel that he thinks there's enough evidence of a contract to avoid a summary dismissal. But whether Kolodziej wins or not, this newbie will have taught an older lawyer an important lesson at the outset of his career: If you make an offer on television in jest, be sure to say so.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on June 24, 2009 at 02:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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