Friday, July 28, 2017

street law, Key West and Birmingham, Alabama, with a host of actors, including Guardians of the Universe and the vexatious litigator Judith Eloise Haney, of Leeds, Alabama



The two journalists from The Guardian were in Key West for a couple of days and nights, and left yesterday afternoon after speaking with quite a few homeless people, with Kari Dangler's asssitance. The journalists also went out to KOTS, the city's homeless shelter, and spoke with personnel there. And, they spoke with City Commissioner Sam Kaufman, a local attorney who also is Chairman of the Board of Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, with offers in-residence housing for chemical-free homeless people trying to get work and turn their lives around. 

Key West is one of several American cities The Guardian journalists will visit as part of an article on homelessness, which perhaps will be published a month from now. 

I heard all of that from the journalists and Kari. I was otherwise occupied when the journalists were touring the streets of Key West. When I receive the article from the journalists, I will share it at this website.
Meanwhile, from Friday's edition of Key West the Newspaper (thebluepaper.com), Key West's version of al Jazeera, the "tame" version - this here website is the "feral" version:

The Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, Inc. announces the retirement of Rev. Stephen Braddock as FKOC’s President & Chief Executive Officer after seventeen years of service.   Rev. Braddock’s long career with FKOC began in 2000 as a planned “short six months” to help the homelessness agency transition to new management.  However, Rev. Braddock remained as a leader not just for FKOC’s mission and growth, but also among homelessness advocates in Monroe County. Under Rev. Braddock’s leadership FKOC has grown from one facility in Key West to [continue reading…]
  1. Dr. Larry Murray says:
    Steve: You will be missed!! No one has done more than you to help the homeless and downtrodden in our community. While you will no longer hold an official position, I hope that you will remain active, at least in an advisory role. You have a lifetime of beneficial experience that the community still needs.
    Larry
  2. Steve indeed will be missed. FKOC takes the steep and narrow path, requiring its clients to be chemical free, attend 12 Step meetings, get paying work, help keep the shelters clean, live by house rules, get in by night curfew time, and keep moving forward in FKOC’s program. Yes, there are dropouts, Yes, sometimes graduates relapse. Yes, some graduates stay with and work and live at FKOC. Yes, some graduates go on to independent living wherever life takes them.
    This kind of program is not in vogue today in homeless help circles, nor with grantfunders, including the U.S. Government. In vogue is, just give homeless people free housing, regardless. No, they don’t have to be chemical free. No, they don’t have to pay rent or utilities. No, they don’t have to anything. What’s important is to get them inside. In the long run, that costs society less money than having them roaming the streets.
    Housing first has not been tried in Key West. A hybrid called “housing first” is being tried by Southern Homeless Assistance League, Catholic Charities, and perhaps other organizations. Homeless people are given first, last and deposit on an apartment, efficiency or room, and they move in and are expected to start being able to pay rent and utilities sooner or later.
    How well do you figure it goes for homeless people who get that deal, but do not give up their chemical habit(s)? How well do you figure it goes for landlords who rent to homeless addicts who have not given up their habits?
    FKOC knows there is no rehabilitation, if the chemicals are not given up. Furthermore, there is no way to really treat mentally ill homeless addicts while they are still using. In Key West, booze and spice are favorite homeless chemicals. Spice, sometimes called “synthetic marijuana” is nothing like marijuana. I often turns homeless people into sub, or non, human beings. Seeing is believing.
    Father Braddock and I talked about “housing first”. He said it is not going to work. I agreed, but people will try to make it work. Cities have tried to make it work. Miami spent a great deal of money on housing for homeless people, and Miami still has a lot of homeless people on the streets.
    While I admire FKOC’s efforts, and I have been a client at FKOC, so I’m not pulling this out of thin air, there is no real cure. Homelessness has become part of American society. It’s here to stay. What each city and county and America need to decide is just how much money do they wish the spend trying to MANAGE something that cannot be fixed.
    If you don’t believe me, take a walking or bicycle tour of Key West and chat up homeless people and hear their stories. Dress down and go out to KOTS and spend a few nights there observing and talking with and sleeping sandwiched between clients in the dormitories.
    Then, you will have a realistic view of homelessness.
Homelessness is what wannbe Judge Judy (Judith Haney), of Leeds, Alabama, proposed to save me from last December. 

What ended up happening should be made into a TV shitcom. 

All my fault, too, if you believe what Haney alleged in her two lawsuits against me. 

I surrender. 

It is all my fault. 

I should not have agreed to her proposal last December: 

to bring me to my hometown, Birmingham, Alabama, 1st class, on Delta; 

to live in a free apartment, including utilities, cable, wi-fi, car, credit card, new clothes, doctor bills, for 7 months, at her expense, no strings attached, financial, relationship, or otherwise - 

all backed up by her Facebook messages and emails to me, BEFORE I took the bait and got on that Delta flight.

I took her less than a week to change her mind and threaten me with the police, if I did not give back everything she had stated in writing she would give to me, and I got on that airplane and arrived in Birmingham, and then she gave all of that to me, and it was a contract, and it was a gift, and it was mine, but she makes up her own laws as she goes, I soon learned.

Threatening me with the police, if I did not agree to her new laws, was extortion, which is a felony. 

In her 2 lawsuits, the first dismissed by a judge in Key West, she alleged I blackmailed her by threatening to publish her and my Facebook chat and emails, if she extorted me. Indeed, I told her that is exactly what I would do, if she sicced the police on me, and when she sicced the police on me, unlike her, I kept my my word.

She alleged I threatened to keep publishing, reporting and commenting on her suing me, if she did not accept my settlement offer, which was that I would take down everything I had ever published about her, which was her demand, and she would lay off of me, and the judge would approve it, and if either of us broke the settlement agreement, the other could sue the one in breach, and she did not even respond to my settlement offer, which remained open, and still remains open, but none of that did she allege in her two lawsuits against me, which looked to me, a former Birmingham practicing attorney, like they had been written by someone living in a state mental hospital for the criminally insane.

Here's what the judge in her federal bankruptcy case wrote about her:

IN RE HANEY
Bankruptcy No. 98-41169 S. Adversary No. 98-4059.
238 B.R. 432 (1999)
In re Judith Eloise HANEY. Robert Fureigh, Plaintiff, v. Judith Eloise Haney, Defendant.
United States Bankruptcy Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division.
August 25, 1999. 

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

MARY D. SCOTT, Bankruptcy Judge.

"......The debtor testified that she has mental health problems. The Court file in the case, this adversary proceeding, and the conduct of this trial, reveal the credibility of this statement. She that she needs therapy and that she has been urged by various doctors to seek such assistance. While she previously had customers, she testified that she had effectively "driven" them away. She even believes that she may have suffered some sort of brain damage a decade ago. While the debtor introduced no supporting documentation or other evidence of her disabilities, the Court can readily believe she has been repeatedly urged to seek professional mental care..... "

Link to entire opinion:


When I checked my P.O. Box last night, there was a notice from the US Postal Service that a delivery requiring my signature had been attempted earlier in the day by UPS. I figured that was the new Birmingham lawsuit papers. I will deal with that today at the post office. 

Also in my P.O. Box was a letter from a Birmingham law firm saying they had become aware of the lawsuit and could help me win, including my taking bankruptcy. Dumb shit lawyers did not read the lawsuit papers. The plaintiff is asking for lots of punitive damages, payable out of my future inheritance. You cannot bankrupt punitive damages awards.

I fixed her red wagon, though. 

I just got abducted by the mother ship and am no longer on this planet. 

She gets a default judgement against me and it's worth nothing, because the spendthrift clauses in my father's estate plan bar any creditor from getting at my inheritance before I have it in my own paws, which can't happen as long as I'm on the mother ship, which currently is in the Andromeda belt, slightly beyond the range of the US Postal Service, UPS and human courts.

Just joking. I'm actually somewhere in the Caribbean setting up an offshore bank account the plaintiff will never find, nor me.

Just joking. I'm mulling how to put her out of the suing business.
A little birdie emailed yesterday:

Leave me out of any naming of names. I don't have time or means to go to court. I am just giving your some info I found.. 

http://disinherited.com/vexatious-nut-bar-litigant-0/

THE VEXATIOUS LITIGANT

May 16th | 2013

Vexatious litigation generally involves legal proceedings brought solely to harass or oppress the opposing party.
Vexatious litigation may range from a first-time, frivolous lawsuit to repetitive, meritless applications brought within an otherwise proper lawsuit. In a nutshell, vexatious litigation involves an abuse or misuse of the legal system for the litigant’s own ends.
In the case of O’Neill v. Deacons, 2007 ABQB 754, a dispute over a dog, vexatious litigants were described as follows.
[25] What the various common law and statutory criteria suggest is that vexatious litigants are those who persistently exploit and abuse the processes of the court in order to achieve some improper purpose or obtain some advantage. Vexatious litigants tend to be self represented, and quite often the motivation appears to be to punish or wear the other side down through the expense of responding to persistent, fruitless applications. This is why the failure to pay costs for such applications is a significant element in determining whether a litigant is vexatious.
Vexatious litigants may be broadly categorized into two groups:
• those with mental health concerns who launch multiple legal actions against diverse targets, and
• those, unsuccessful in a lawsuit, who become aggrieved and refuse to accept defeat. They hopelessly persist attempting to re-litigate their case.
Vexatious litigants abuse the court process, often with a complete disregard for court orders, while paradoxically seeking their own court orders. One sometimes wonders if they are operating under a delusional belief that eventually they will find a judge who will completely understand them and make things ”right.”
As vexatious litigants are usually self-represented, they are initially given a certain amount of leeway. Only with time does the litigant’s obsession become clear. Ultimately that persistence becomes evidence of the party’s unreasonableness.
We learned first-hand about vexatious litigants in 1982 after winning a successful civil claim. Thereafter, the defendant appealed—alleging the trial judge had been bribed. The defendant went on to sue several parties including the Attorney General and many downtown Vancouver law firms. Ultimately, the court granted an order prohibiting him from commencing any further court proceedings except with leave of the court.
Such orders have been made against litigants ranging from the Church of Scientology, to incarcerated malcontents, to defendants in foreclosure proceedings. In appropriate circumstances, our courts are indeed willing to intervene to prevent abuse of the court process.
The Law
Superior courts, such as the BC Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, have an inherent jurisdiction to control their own process. Supplementary to this, many jurisdictions have enacted legislation to allow the courts to control vexatious litigants.
In British Columbia, Section 18 of the Supreme Court Act permits the court to order that a legal proceeding must not be instituted by a named litigant except with leave of the court. Such an order may be made where a court is satisfied that the person has habitually, persistently, and without reasonable grounds instituted vexatious legal proceedings against the same or different persons.
As to the criteria for determining whether legal proceedings are vexatious, the oft cited case, Re. Lang Michener v. Fabian (1987) 59 O.R. (2d) 353, (H. C. J.) has been applied in many BC decisions. In paragraph [19] of that decision, the court enunciated the following principles.
a. The bringing of one or more actions to determine an issue that has already been determined by a court of competent jurisdiction constitutes a vexatious proceeding.
b. Where it is obvious that an action cannot succeed or if the action would lead to no possible good or if no reasonable person can reasonably expect to obtain relief, the action is vexatious.
c. Vexatious actions include those brought for an improper purpose, including the harassment and oppression of other parties by multifarious proceedings brought for purposes other than the assertion of legitimate rights.
d. It is a general characteristic of vexatious proceedings that grounds and issues raised tend to be rolled forward into subsequent actions and repeated and supplemented, often with actions brought against the lawyers who have acted for or against the litigant in earlier proceedings.
e. In determining whether proceedings are vexatious, the court must look at the whole history of the matter and not just at whether there was originally a good cause of action.
f. The failure of the person instituting the proceedings to pay the costs of unsuccessful proceedings is one factor to be considered in determining whether proceedings are vexatious.
g. The respondent’s conduct in persistently taking unsuccessful appeals from judicial decisions can be considered vexatious conduct of legal proceedings.
In British Columbia (Public Guardian and Trustee) v. Brown, 2002 BCSC 1152, Mr. Justice Halfyard set out two distinct elements that must be established for a section 18 application to succeed.
1. The proceedings themselves must be “vexatious.” In other words, the proceedings must be annoying, irritating, distressing, or harassing and must be taken without reasonable grounds.
2. There must be intent. That intent is judged objectively and requires proof of a knowing and deliberate repetition or continuation of the vexatious conduct. It is not necessary to prove that the vexatious litigant actually knows that his or her conduct is vexatious but rather that a reasonable person in those same circumstances would believe the conduct to be vexatious.
Re. Kaiser (2008) 41 CBR (5th) 200 (BCSC), concluded that section 18 orders apply only to future applications and not retroactively to outstanding applications.
This statutory provision, however, is supplementary to similar powers residing in the court’s inherent jurisdiction. In Household Trust Company v. Golden Horse Farms Inc. (1992) BCJ 652, the Court or Appeal held that under this inherent jurisdiction, the court could bar prosecution of proceedings already commenced and also make orders against those defending actions—in this case, defendants in a mortgage action. The court upheld a direction that none of the litigants would be permitted a court audience, except through counsel i.e. they could not personally make submissions to the court—only their lawyer could do so.
Conclusion
The ability to curb abusive litigation must be balanced against a citizen’s right to legitimate access to the courts.
Section 18 of the Supreme Court Act, together with the court’s inherent jurisdiction, provides our courts with valuable tools to prevent the misuse of legal process.
As Justice Southin aptly stated in Household Trust Company v. Golden Horse Farms Inc. (1992) BCJ 652 at page12:
In my opinion, the Supreme Court of British Columbia has an inherent jurisdiction and a corresponding duty to exercise that jurisdiction to protect a petitioner or plaintiff who seeks relief in that Court from proceedings by a defendant who is vexatiously abusing the process of the court. That it is a jurisdiction to be exercised with great caution, I have no doubt. But not to exercise it where there is no other way to bring reason into proceedings is, in effect, to deprive the plaintiff or petitioner of justice according to law. The court if it fails to act becomes but a paper tiger. (Emphasis added)
Nevertheless, judges are typically very hesitant to forbid a party from instituting legal proceedings except with leave of the court. The courts will afford a litigant great leeway to ensure he or she receives a proper hearing. The case must be very clear for such an order to be made.
I emailed that to my hoodoo witch amiga on the mainland, and she, in turn, emailed:

Last night's dream (there were others, unremembered on waking):

The Authorities are Seeking....

My front doorbell rings.  I open the door to find two men in uniform standing on the porch.  They identify themselves as "The Authorities."  They are seeking information and/or any knowledge of the whereabouts of your well known vexatious litigator.

I tell them I have no information to offer other than that I am aware that she filed yet another motion yesterday or the day before.  

The two "Authorities" are graciously cordial, thank me, and leave.

Long article... but quite interesting...

Excerpt:


Persistent litigation is a problem in many legal jurisdictions and is costly at individual and systemic levels. This phenomenon is referred to as “querulous” behavior in psychiatric literature, whereas legal discourse refers to it as “vexatious litigation.” We refer to this phenomenon as “hyperlitigious behavior” and those who engage in these actions as “hyperlitigious litigants.” Hyperlitigious litigants and hyperlitigious behavior were once the focus of a considerable amount of psychiatric literature, but research devoted to these topics has declined over the past half century. A review of the published literature on hyperlitigious behavior in European and English-speaking countries highlights geographic differences in the conceptualization and management of this behavior. We provide an alternative framework to consider the motivation to engage in hyperlitigious behavior and suggest three strategies for mental health professionals who interact with these individuals. Finally, we call for a revival of discussions and research within the English-speaking psychiatric community to facilitate more informed decisions regarding the management and treatment of hyperlitigious behavior.
Again? How many times do you want me to sue them? If memory serves me correctly, this will be the 17th time you have brought suit over the same issue!1
Fans of the British TV comedy Kingdom,1 which aired from 2007 to 2009, may recognize this quotation. The show's main character, Peter Kingdom played by Stephen Fry, speaks these words to the show's antihero, Sidney Snell. Snell is well known by the show's other characters for his propensity to file unmerited or futile lawsuits against members of the city council. When told that he has brought 17 suits against the city council, Snell quickly corrects Peter, telling him he has actually filed 18 suits against them. After Snell leaves, Peter describes his case load to his secretary, colorfully portraying Snell's character by listing a few of his current cases before quipping, “Then there is Snell versus everybody else.” While obviously comical, Snell's character nicely illustrates the concept of the hyperlitigious person.
Although the quote refers to a fictional character, it may have reminded you of a problem client or examinee with whom you have interacted or heard about over the course of your career. Forensic mental health professionals, lawyers, judges, and court clerks have little difficulty conjuring up a story of at least one individual whom they have encountered who is like Sidney Snell. These clients frequently inhabit the doorways of law offices and courthouses, each time with a new complaint against an individual or a group of people. The cost or consequences of litigation are sometimes trivial to these clients, whereas retribution for a real or imagined slight or injustice is their foremost priority.
These individuals and their behaviors are the subject of this article. The current article proposes a new, nonpejorative label for the behavior and examines historical and geographical differences in the conceptualization of the phenomenon. An alternative conceptualization is proposed and discussed in the context of the psychiatric literature and real-world examples. The role of the forensic clinician is examined, including assessment and treatment of such individuals. Finally, we encourage a revival of attention and propose directions for future research about this oft-neglected phenomenon.

Hyperlitigious Persons

Persistent litigation has been described across professions in different ways. Legally, it is referred to as “vexatious litigation,” whereas medically it has been diagnosed as “querulous paranoia” and “litigious paranoia.”12 Other critical names include “cranks,” “injustice collectors,” “serial pests,” and “wrecks of justice.”3 In general, these terms describe an individual who exhibits several of the following qualities:
  • Initiates dozens or hundreds of suits.
  • Has a life that revolves around the development and progress of litigation.
  • Is not deterred by repeated negative outcomes.
  • Files suits that are trivial or unfounded.
  • Invests great amounts of time in litigation.
  • Is a known and persistent presence for lawyers, judges, and clerks.
Hoodoo witch then emailed:

The long piece at the other link is more informative than this one.... still this is interesting. 


BTW, your vexatious litigator would not stand a chance in California.... and probably not in Texas...... Perhaps soon Birmingham/Leeds will take action.


Excerpts:

Vexatious litigants are individuals who burden the judicial process by repeatedly filing causes of action that are ultimately found to be without merit. Despite the considerable cost to the judicial system (and ultimately to society) little has been written about vexatious litigation and less has been done to understand the psychological motivations for vexatious litigation in order to better manage the problem. This is partly because in a constitutional democracy everyone is deemed to be “entitled to his (or her) day in court.” The federal and state constitutions within the United States jealously protect citizens’ right to submit their grievances to our judicial systems in order to resolve civil disputes in a timely and equitable manner. At the same time, the Court, already overburdened with the shear volume of litigation, is charged the responsibility to protect the integrity of our judicial system from abuse by a very small but very troublesome minority of litigants.

A triad of behavioral characteristics are frequently demonstrated by vexatious litigants:
1. A history of changing counsel more than once, coupled with at least one episode of representing themselves in Court in propria persona. Not surprisingly, competent counsel generally find a means to ethically remove themselves from the case after a period of poor client control. Sooner or later, usually after a time of appearing “pro per,” these litigants find counsel who more or less identify with their client, presumably for reasons having to do with their own personal psychology. The result of this is an attorney-client dyad that is driven by a mission. No client control exists nor is it even recognized by plaintiff’s counsel as lacking. Hence no settlement can ever occur.
2. Evidence of narcissistic and paranoid personality traits, obtained from psychiatric examination and psychological testing. These traits are generally manifested by attitudes expressed verbally or behaviorally (e.g., through physical appearance) conveying that the individual considers himself to be an exception, i.e., that the normal rules of behavioral conduct within a judicial process to which all litigants are expected to submit uniquely do not apply to him because he is allegedly special, having suffered abuse, humiliation and/or victimization unduly at the hands of alleged perpetrators, including judges, thereby entitling the vexatious litigant to exceptional status and accommodation by the Court. Not infrequently, although the source of alleged abuse is initially the defendant in a civil action, eventually the Court itself is drawn into this “dance” and is experienced from a paranoid perspective by the litigant, as itself also an abuser. Invariably, this is due to the Court attempting to impose a modicum of decorum on behavior of the litigant by invoking normal procedural requirements. As a result of this transformation of the Court, in the litigant’s mind, from arbitrator to oppressor, the Court’s responses may eventually be perceived as more persecutory and humiliating than was the alleged conduct of the original defendant.
3. A refusal to settle disputes through customary procedural channels of negotiation and even traditional litigation. These individuals wish to have their alleged suffering, humiliation and victimization witnessed on the stage of litigation. Their common fantasy is that unspecified “others” (the jury, initially the Court itself) will sympathize with suffering and offer some sort of illusory vindication and redemption. Consequently, not only do they characteristically refuse to accept negative judicial decisions, sometimes they will reject decisions in their own favor, if they believe that acceptance will terminate the litigation and their chances to obtain the imagined vindication. Although this may superficially appear to be perverse, it is in fact a direct product of their peculiar motivation to litigate in the first place, i.e., to have their alleged victimization witnessed, not to resolve conflict. Of course, such motivation leads to an endless quest because no degree of witnessing and acknowledgment of their pain can ever approach the unconditional love for which they long and thus “restore” the wounded narcissism and damaged self esteem of these individuals. If permitted to do so, they will attempt to appeal trial court decisions to the highest judicial levels.

Judicial Dilemma:
The judicial dilemma is to balance the rights of the individual to have his “day in Court” with the pressure to assure that justice for all is administered in a timely and expeditious manner by keeping judicial calendars moving and trying to urge disputing parties to utilize alternative methods of conflict resolution, To further complicate the task, as a result of a series of revisions of codes of judicial oversight and the evolution of commissions on judicial conduct during recent decades, trial court judges are charged with balancing their judicial demeanor with the requirement that they maintain decorum within the courtroom. When confronted by the behavior of a vexatious litigant, who behaves in a manner signifying that they are an exception to the usual rules of the Court, balancing judicial demeanor with courtroom decorum can present a formidable judicial challenge.

Then, to top off my day, Biker Chick emailed:
sloanbashinsky@outlook.com

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