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Wrong Gus Puryear?

Mr. Gus Puryear A. IV

General Counsel

Corrections Corporation of America , Inc.

HQ Phone: (615) 263-3000

Corrections Corporation of America , Inc.

CCA Headquarters (Facility Support Center) 10 Burton Hills Blvd.

Nashville, Tennessee 37215

United States

Company Description

CCA is the nation's largest owner and operator of privatized correctional and detention facilities and one of the largest prison operators in the United States, behind only the federal government and three states. We currently operate 65 facilities, inclu... more

Find other employees at this company (2,109)

Background Information

Employment History

Executive Vice President and General Counsel

Asurion Corporation

Lead Software Developer

Press Ganey Associates Inc


Board Member
Truxton Trust Company

Board Member
Nashville Bank And Trust Company

Board Member

Board Member
Nashville Area Red Cross

Belle Meade Country Club

Board Member
Middle Tennessee Red Cross Chapters

Counsel To the Committee On Governmental Affairs' Special Investigation of Campaign Finance Abuses
U.S. Senate


Political Science
Emory University


University of North Carolina

J.D. , with honors

University of North Carolina School of Law

political science
Emory University

law degree

University of North Carolina

Web References (171 Total References)

Gustavus A. Puryear ...

www.snl.com [cached]

Gustavus A. Puryear IV

G. A. Puryear IV is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of NEW Asurion Corporation ("Asurion") and its various subsidiaries. Asurion is the global leader in technology protection services, including cellular handset protection programs and extended service contracts for electronics and other consumer goods.
A graduate of Emory University and the University of North Carolina School of Law, Mr. Puryear previously served for more than nine years as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE: CXW), an owner and operator of private prisons. He previously held government positions in Washington, D.C., and he practiced law in Nashville.
Mr. Puryear has served on various civic and charitable boards in the Nashville community, including the Nashville chapter of the American Red Cross, Antiques & Garden Show of Nashville, Boy Scouts of America, Middle Tennessee Council, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens & Museum of Art, and Exchange Club of Nashville. He currently serves on the Board of Visitors of the University of North Carolina.

Nashville Debate - About Us

www.nashvilledebate.org [cached]

Gus Puryear Corrections Corporation of America

Prison 2008 News & Views

victimsoflaw.net [cached]

8-20-08 -- Bedeviled this year by negative publicity on several fronts, Corrections Corp. of America late last week launched a public relations push to counter what it says are biased reports. . . . The Nashville-based company has been under the microscope since its general counsel, Gus Puryear, was nominated for the federal judgeship of the Tennessee Middle district in February. . . . At the same time, activists have stepped up their work against the company, seeking the company's contracts and other papers under public-record laws. . . . CCA's response includes an advertising campaign pointing people to a new Web site that promises an "unfiltered, full, 360-degree view of CCA.

Tennesseans Against Puryear

www.againstpuryear.org [cached]

judicial nomination of CCA general counsel Gus Puryear! Read the January 22, 2009 press release, here.

With Mr. Puryear's nomination dead under the Obama administration, other candidates will be considered, according to this article.
AP National Wire story casts doubt on chances for Mr. Puryear's confirmation. Please click here. The Associated Press thus joins the Tennessean, the Nashville Scene and the Nashville Post in casting doubt on Mr. Puryear's judicial nomination.
Who is Gus Puryear? Mr. Puryear's background includes the following: He received his J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1993; served as a law clerk to Judge Barksdale for the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1993-1994; worked as an associate attorney for the Farris, Warfield & Kanaday law firm from 1994-1997 (now Stites & Harbison); served as counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, 1997-1998; worked as the legislative director for Senator Bill Frist from 1998-2000; and was hired by CCA as general counsel in 2001. He also serves on the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, and is on the board of Nashville Bank & Trust.
Why object to his nomination? He's CCA's general counsel and would hold a judgeship in the same district where CCA's corporate office is located, where numerous lawsuits against CCA are filed. He has very little experience in the federal courts; during his time at CCA he has worked to conceal damaging information about the company, and has belittled prisoner litigation. He is further a member of a blatantly discriminatory country club, and has made misleading statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning the death of a prisoner at a CCA facility.
1. Mr. Puryear would have a conflict of interest in regard to all litigation involving CCA, his current employer. This is a strong argument against his appointment. Puryear's 2006 compensation from CCA included a salary of $237,308 plus $602,957 in "other long term compensation," according to forbes.com. Since Nov. 2006 he has sold shares of CCA stock valued at over $3 million. In short, CCA has made Puryear a multi-millionaire. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 455, "Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned. Under this statute, Mr. Puryear would have to disqualify himself from any case involving CCA, CCA subsidiaries or CCA employees as parties.
At his nomination hearing Mr. Puryear disputed the number of cases in which he would have had conflicts of interest; however, he apparently only counted those cases that named CCA as a corporation. He would, of course, equally have conflicts of interest with cases naming CCA executives, wardens and other staff. Having to assign such cases to other judges would be a burden on the court and would not be an effective use of judicial resources.
At his nomination hearing, Mr. Puryear stated there were only six active cases pending in the Middle District that would require his recusal if he were appointed. Actually, as of Feb. 12, 2008 there were 12 cases in the Middle District pending against CCA or CCA employees. Either Mr. Puryear provided incorrect information to the Senate Judiciary Committee, or he did not know how many cases would require his recusal -- which is his responsibility as CCA's general counsel. A list of the active cases involving CCA as of Feb. 12, 2008 is available here.
Lack of Qualifications and Trial / Litigation Experience
2. Although Mr. Puryear served as a judicial clerk, his time spent in active litigation as a trial lawyer has been scanty. He spent only three years working for a Nashville law firm. One of the attorneys at that firm stated that Puryear was hired right out of law school as a "young lawyer," and mainly assisted other attorneys. According to federal court records, Puryear has been listed as counsel of record in 130 cases in U.S. District Court in Tennessee during his legal career, which certainly sounds impressive. However, an examination of each of those case dockets reveals the following:
85 cases were dismissed by the court without service on the defendants; Puryear did nothing.
39 cases were handled by another law firm or attorney; Puryear was not directly involved.
1 case was answered by Puryear personally; he sent a letter saying the defendant had died.
5 cases included Puryear's personal involvement; all were from 1994 to 1998.
Thus, according to the federal court dockets, and by Mr. Puryear's own admission, he has been actively involved in only five federal cases over his entire legal career, and only two cases that went to trial -- most recently 10 years ago.
UPDATE! In one of only two cases he has taken to a jury trial (which he lost), Mr. Puryear's client sought to have him removed from the case, twice. Mr. Puryear was less than candid when he described his role in that case to the Senate Judiciary Committee, as detailed in this letter. (includes documents from the original case file)
Mr. Puryear has authored only one published law journal article, in 1992. Apparently his qualifications for a federal judgeship are not based on his extensive knowledge as a trial attorney, nor on his litigation experience or academic credentials. Nor is his ABA ranking noteworthy (see below). What, then, are his qualifications for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench?
UPDATE! The American Bar Association (ABA) ranks federal judicial candidates as Well Qualified, Qualified, or Not Qualified. The vast majority of judicial nominees are rated Well Qualified. During the 110th Congress, for example, 102 judicial nominees were rated by the ABA; of those, 79 were rated Well Qualified (about 77%). The remaining 23, including Mr. Puryear, were rated Qualified. The ratings are available here. Thus, Mr. Puryear was ranked in the BOTTOM 23% of his judicial nominee peers.
Puryear is a dedicated Republican supporter, having previously worked under Republican Senators Bill Frist and Fred Thompson.
The Nashville Post referred to Mr. Puryear as a "Republican heavyweight."
Both Senators Alexander and Corker have strongly supported Mr. Puryear's nomination; however, they have not acknowledged that Puryear and CCA have made significant donations to their political campaigns.
Still, federal judges, who are supposed to be impartial, should not be as blatantly partisan as reflected by Mr. Puryear's record, irrespective of party. Political payback should not be the basis for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. That goes for Democrat nominees, too.
UPDATE! Much has been made of a letter from David Randolph Smith, a Democrat and plaintiff's attorney in a suit filed against CCA by Estelle Richardson's family (see below), which endorses Mr. Puryear's nomination.
A number of other attorneys have voiced support for Puryear, too, as has Thurgood Marshall, Jr. What do they have in common? The answer is here, though it will likely come as no surprise.
Not Acting in the Public Interest
4. As CCA's general counsel, Mr. Puryear has actively worked to hide damaging information about the company from the public, including from governmental agencies that contract with the company. Such actions are antithetical to the ethical qualities that should be displayed by a federal judge. There are several examples that can be cited. Following a hostage-taking at CCA's Bay County, Florida jail in 2004, which resulted in a prisoner and a nurse hostage being shot by a SWAT team member, CCA refused to release an after-action report related to the incident. Mr. Puryear arranged to have a private law firm provide the report to protect CCA from liability, and stated the report would never become a public record. This was reported in the News Herald on Nov. 14, 2004. A copy of the article is archived here (search for "Puryear" on the page). Notably, reports by Bay County officials and Florida state officials related to the same incident are public records.
In 2005 CCA's quality assurance division was placed under the company's legal department, so that internal quality assurance reports would not be subject to public record laws. By designating such reports as "attorney client privileged" they could be kept secret, for in-house use only. Of course Mr. Puryear was "just doing his job" as CCA's lawyer; however, deliberately withholding information from the public is not the kind of behavior we want or need in a federal judicial candidate.
Mr. Puryear has been implicated in a scheme where CCA allegedly withheld information

Feeling the Heat, Corrections Corp. Launches "The CCA 360" to Respond to Critics | Texas Prison Bid'ness

www.texasprisonbidness.org [cached]

Our friend Alex Friedmann, the former CCA prisoner whose efforts seem to have de-railed the federal judicial nomination of former CCA chief counsel Gus Puryear has.

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