Sunday, April 27, 2008

Musgrave's behavior cited in two other Bar complaints

CHARLESTON - Along with disciplining him in Eshenaur case, the state Bar Association ordered Raymond G. Musgrave to pay one client $5, and warned him about his lack of communication with another.

Along with the one filed in 1988 by the Eshenaur family, Musgrave has 10 other complaints in his disciplinary file. Though the Eshenaur complaint is the only one where a formal statement of charges was brought, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel felt Musgrave's actions in Dana Jones' and Vickie Smith's cases were enough to issue a mild rebuke.

For more on this article, go to The West Virginia Record.

Musgrave previously sanctioned over '79 plane crash settlement

CHARLESTON - Failing to return a settlement check is not the only time a Point Pleasant attorney has mishandled legal matters involving a physician. Nearly 20 years ago, Raymond G. Musgrave had to answer for "gross incompetency" in settling the estate of a doctor and his wife who died in the worst single-airplane crash in American history.

On April 4, the Lawyer Disciplinary Board, the prosecutorial arm of the state Bar Association, filed a formal state of charges against Musgrave with the state Supreme Court. In its statement, the Board found probable cause that Musgrave violated at least two Rules of Professional Conduct in not turning over $15,000 awarded to Dr. Danny R. Westmoreland in 2004. The statement of charges, records show, came almost three years to the day Westmoreland filed his complaint with Musgrave with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the Bar's investigative arm.

The Bar took three years to investigate a complaint filed against Musgrave in 1988 by the family members of Dr. Roy and Marian E. Eshenaur. The family accused Musgrave of "gross incompetency" in not properly settling the Eshenaur's estates nine years after they died in a 1979 plane crash in Chicago. In 1991, the Bar closed its investigation into the Eshenaur family's complaint finding merit to their allegations.

Alcohol played an apparent role in Musgrave's conduct as the Bar ordered Musgrave to abstain from consuming it, and into recovery treatment.

For more on this story, go to The West Virginia Record.

Photo: An amateur picture of American Airlines Flight 191 taken moments before it crashed at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on May 25, 1979 killing all 271 passengers and crew members aboard, includingMason County residents Dr. Roy and Marian E. Eshenaur

Sunday, April 20, 2008

How not to prevent a recession

by William L. Anderson

I recently heard a radio interview with a prominent economist who was defending Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's moves to shore up the markets on Wall Street. Bernanke, the economist said with emphasis, had spent years studying the "mistakes" of the Fed during the Great Depression and was not going to repeat the "errors" that the Fed directors committed from 1930 to 1933.

The "errors" of which the economist spoke were outlined by the late Milton Friedman both in his 1963 A Monetary History of the United States (written with Anna Schwartz) and his popular Free to Choose (with Rose Friedman), published in 1979. According to Friedman and his coauthors, the economic collapse that occurred in the United States from 1930 to 1933 came about because the Federal Reserve System failed to act in the face of bank failures and banking panics, leading to a massive contraction in the amount of money in circulation, which ultimately led to the calamity.

Friedman made his arguments as a means to counteract the common explanation of the Great Depression — that it was the result of the "internal contradictions" of capitalism. The typical explanation, popularized by John Kenneth Galbraith as well as the gaggle of Keynesians that proliferated in US universities, was that the capitalist system tends toward "underconsumption" or its evil twin, "overproduction."

(Galbraith held that underconsumption occurred because the income "gap" between the wealthy and poor grew during the 1920s — another "natural" outcome of capitalism — while John Maynard Keynes and his followers held that private investment spending was volatile because of the "animal spirits" of investors. The system had a built-in, self-multiplying, downward spiral whenever private investors were unwilling to throw more money into the economy.)

Those who blamed the Great Depression on the "failures" of the free market were all too happy to come up with their own "solutions," including attempts to cartelize the entire US economy or to force up wages via increased minimum-wage legislation or through the endorsement of expanding labor unions. Some, like Galbraith, went further and advocated out-and-out socialism and central economic planning. The free-market system, they have argued, is too inherently unstable to be left to its own devices. (This is the same argument that Paul Krugman makes twice a week from his perch on the New York Times op-ed page)

Thus, Friedman was seeking not only to explain why he believed the Great Depression occurred, but he also was trying to defend the free-market system, or at least was trying to defend most of the free market system. There was one portion of the system that was prone to failure, he argued, and that was the monetary system.

For more on this article, go to the Ludwig von Mises Institute's Website

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Musgrave facing Bar disciplinary action

CHARLESTON - A Point Pleasant attorney faces possible disciplinary action for his mishandling of a settlement awarded to a Mason County physician in a 2001 civil case.

On March 11, the Lawyer Disciplinary Board, the prosecutorial arm of the state Bar Association, notified Raymond G. Musgrave of its intention to file a formal statement of charges against him with the state Supreme Court. Three days earlier the Board's investigative panel found probable cause that Musgrave violated at least two Rules of Professional Conduct in his handling of a settlement awarded to Mason physician Dr. Danny R. Westmoreland.

For more on this article, go to The West Virginia Record.