Don’t call Vaughn Walker at home. The chief judge of the Northern California district court has apparently disconnected his phone and Internet service to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest as he presides over a class action against AT&T accusing the phone company of illegally cooperating with government wiretaps.
“The undersigned discontinued telephone service from AT&T/SBC, thereby eliminating any possible interest in the declaratory and injunctive relief sought by plaintiffs. The undersigned also is prepared to opt out of any class that is certified in this case and disclaim interest in any monetary or other award that might be recovered in this case,” Walker wrote in a Friday order in which he said there was no potential conflict problem necessitating he recuse himself from the case.
Walker did, however, ask for guidance from lawyers for AT&T (represented by Pillsbury and Sidley Austin) and for the purported class, whose lead counsel are from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins.
— Justin Scheck