Michael Josephson made a career of encouraging people to do the right thing. His Los Angeles-based nonprofit, the Josephson Institute of Ethics, has trained government officials, corporate officers, Olympic athletes and millions of schoolchildren in ethical decision making, and Josephson personally doled out advice for years on local talk radio.
This spring, he embarked on a legal battle that is, by his own account, a threat to his carefully built reputation as a moral authority.
"I've spent my life about ethics and settling and not fighting," he said recently. "I'm 71. I need a fight like a hole in my head."
Josephson's unlikely opponent is the...