Posts Tagged ‘pro se’

Microblog 2008-11-21

  • “Forensic Experts Aren’t Team Players. Nor Should They Be.” [Balko, Reason “Hit and Run”]
  • Australia high court reverses 2 crim convictions, judge snored loudly a lot (not just your innocent-error naplet) [Lowering the Bar]
  • Hear that V-3 hum: preview of 2012 post-bailout car from Congressional Motors [Iowahawk satire]
  • California Supreme Court gets a Prop 8 amicus brief from “Divine Queen of the Almighty Eternal Creator” [Box Turtle Bulletin]
  • Bristol, CT mulls ban on smoking on public streets [Connecticut Employment Law Blog]
  • “Singers Sue Label For Failing To Sue Others For Infringement” [TechDirt; Hall & Oates, Warner/Chappell; h/t @tamerabennett]
  • Lawyer must spend half her time deflecting jokes about her name [Sullivan & Cromwell]

November 10 roundup

  • Time for another aspirin: Harvard Law’s Charles Ogletree, key backer of lawsuits for slave reparations, mentioned as possible Attorney General [CBS News, BostonChannel WCVB, Newsweek; earlier speculation about post as civil rights chief]
  • Calif. law requires supervisors to attend sexual harassment prevention training, a/k/a sensitivity training, but UC Irvine biologist Alexander McPherson says he’ll face suspension rather than submit [AP/, On the Record (UCI), Morrissey, Inside Higher Ed, OC Register; ScienceBlogs’ Thus Spake Zuska flays him]
  • Fan “not entitled to a permanent injunction requiring American Idol singer Clay Aiken to endorse her unauthorized biography” [Feral Child]
  • Local authority in U.K. orders employees not to use Latin phrases such as bona fide, e.g., ad lib, et cetera, i.e., inter alia, per se, quid pro quo, vice versa “and even via” [via — uh-oh — Zincavage and Feral Child]
  • Participants in 10th annual Boulder, Colo. Naked Pumpkin Run may have to register as sex offenders [Daily Camera, Obscure Store]
  • Joins drunk in car as his passenger, then after crash collects $5 million from restaurant where he drank [AP/WBZ Boston, 99 Restaurant chain]
  • Election may be over, but candidates’ defamation lawsuits against each other over linger on [Above the Law, NLJ]
  • School nutrition regs endanger bake sales, but they’ll let you have “Healthy Hallowe’en Vegetable Platter” instead [NY Times]

October 29 roundup

“Scandal in Louisiana’s criminal courts”

“[Jerrold] Peterson said he was instructed to write up and file the denials [of pro se appeals by indigent convicts] without ever showing the appeals to the judges. Peterson handled about 2,400 such cases in the 13 years he was in charge of them.” (Radley Balko, Reason “Hit and Run”, Oct. 28). Under the court’s rules, “every criminal writ application is supposed to be reviewed by three judges”. Peterson committed suicide and his farewell note called attention to the scheme. (James Gill, New Orleans Times-Picayune, Oct. 10).

“…His penchant for litigation as a form of costless entertainment”

In the past two years Tyrone Hurt has filed more than seventy appeals with the D.C. Circuit, whose judges observe (PDF):

In just the last couple of years, Hurt has sued the Declaration of Independence, Black’s Law Dictionary, the United Nations, agencies of the District of Columbia and the Federal Government, and various courts and their officers. Hurt has . . . demanded the deportation of a Spanish-speaking government employee.

Finding that Hurt has abused the privilege of having filing fees waived for indigence (“in forma pauperis”) the court dismissed his forty-four pending cases and decreed that he will have to pay ordinary filing fees if he wishes to bring any more pro se actions in that court. Hurt’s various failed lawsuits have demanded “sums of money dwarfing the size of the Federal Government’s annual budget”. (WSJ law blog, Oct. 3).

W.V.: pot smoker sues over rejection by pain management center

As a condition of granting pain-management services, Family Care Health Center in Putnam County, West Virginia required patient Ronald Sprouse to sign an agreement stipulating that he would cooperate with unannounced urine and bodily fluid testing and that the presence of “unauthorized substances (legal or illegal) will result in discharge from the practice.” Kicked out of the program after testing positive for cannabinoids, Sprouse admits using them but is suing the health center and doctor anyway: “When he does not smoke marijuana, Sprouse claims he becomes violent toward his family and does not leave his house in fear of how he will react toward others in society.” He is representing himself. It’s too bad for his case that he doesn’t live in California, where lawmakers seem to be headed toward making medical marijuana smokers a legally protected class. (Kelly Holleran, “Pot smoker sues for getting dismissed from pain management center”, W.V. Record, Sept. 8)(& KevinMD, ER blog Crass-Pollination).

“Obama, McCain make a joint appearance — in frivolous lawsuits”

Famous persons often attract the attention of serial or scattershot lawsuit-filers, including inmates filing handwritten complaints. Senators McCain and Obama are luckier than many defendants because of the principle cited by a federal judge as he dismissed one recent complaint: “Members of Congress are absolutely immune from lawsuits, such as this one, arising from the performance of their official duties.” But such suits do “require both the defendants and the judicial system to pay attention”, and sometimes employ attorneys to file multi-page formal motions in response. (Michael Doyle, McClatchy, Sept. 12 via How Appealing).

Gay man sues Bible publishers

Bradley LaShawn Fowler wants $60 million from Zondervan and $10 million from Thomas Nelson over hurt feelings from the editorial handling of the scriptural passages in question. Yes, the suits are pro se, and the judge won’t be appointing a lawyer at public expense to handle them, which still leaves the question of whether employing coercive legal process in such a manner should be free of a price tag in the form of Rule 11 sanctions. (“Man sues Zondervan to change anti-gay reference in Bible”, Grand Rapids Press, Jul. 9)(updated link should be working again).

More: Ron Coleman at Likelihood of Success has a copy of the hand-written complaint (PDF), as well as other commentary and links. James Taranto also comments. And Bill Poser, Language Log (via our comments), on the translation issues raised by the complaint.

Update July 2015: A federal judge soon tossed the hand-scrawled complaint out of court. But the case was destined to take on an urban-legend life of its own, with mostly conservative social media outlets re-reporting it in mid-2015 as if the case were a new and significant legal development, typically omitting its date, circumstances, and disposition. One site alone at last report had reaped more than 90,000 Facebook shares from its July 2015 version.

Losing patience with Jonathan Lee Riches

The federal judges in the Northern District of Georgia decided to place curbs on the famously litigious inmate who’s filed more than 1,000 lawsuits nationwide naming celebrities and politicians as members of hallucinatory cabals against him. In March the judges enjoined him from filing more suits without permission in the district, which he can do only if he agrees to be prosecuted for false statements. (Miami Daily Business Review, Jun. 12, also with some discussion of Jack Thompson and of a few other Florida litigants who’ve had their acts shut down after filing (e.g.) 18, 20 and 60+ meritless or inappropriate actions.)

The order in the Northern District of Georgia has not prevented Riches from continuing to file lawsuits against celebrities and public figures elsewhere, as in the federal District of South Carolina. (Rachel Barron, “Vinod Khosla Slapped With $43M Lawsuit”, Greentech Media, Jun. 20).