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jberryhill

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Delaware
Member since: Fri Jan 20, 2006, 07:14 PM
Number of posts: 34,767

Journal Archives

About that Romney Racketeering Lawsuit - Litigation As Performance Art

For around $350 anyone, anywhere can file a document in a federal court and call it a civil complaint. After doing so, one can certainly post about it on the internet. I can file a federal lawsuit against Mitch McConnell for screwing goats if I want to. No matter that I have no standing or grounds to sue him for that, or that screwing goats is not something that I could actually sue him over, even if he did screw goats, with the minor exception of him screwing my goats. But still, I'd need to plead that I am out at least $75,000 for him screwing the goats, even if they were my goats.

So, when I see "FEDERAL LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST MITCH MCCONNELL FOR SCREWING GOATS!" I'm probably going to be fairly skeptical of that suit going anywhere. It's not a matter of my having any great love for Mitch McConnell. I certainly don't. And, as is obvious, at least one of his parents had a romantic interest in turtles. The point is that a dumb lawsuit filed for the purpose of publicity or feeling important is just that - no matter who it is against or what it claims.

And so we come to what is likely the last curtain call in the "Mitt Romney Sued For Racketeering" saga, involving a growing hairball of scattered and disconnected points without any real answer to the question of "what did he do to you and what do you want a court to do about it", aside from complaining about the fact that most of the lawsuit is a collection of rantings about the same claims already having been thrown out by a court which had actual jurisdiction over the bankruptcy proceeding in which the claim arose.

One hallmark of the litigant as performance artist is failure to actually serve the lawsuit on the defendants. This is not a great and mysterious task. In some circumstances, service can be effected by such complicated means as "mailing them a copy", but the local rules of any court spell out in pretty unambiguous detail what sorts of things will, or will not, be considered effective service of process. The upshot is also pretty simple - if you are suing someone, you have to let them know about it. Not DailyKos, random internet blogs and forums - the actual defendants in the suit.

When we were last updated on this performance, the court had denied the plaintiff's request to have federal marshals serve the complaint on the defendants. It's a pretty bizarre request when you consider, again, that service can often be effected simply through the mail. It's not rocket science. The federal rules give you a generous 120 days to figure it out.

And so we come to the most recent development, oddly not reported by our intrepid reporter of reports from this performance. Instead of serving the suit as the 120 day clock started to run out, our hero filed an "emergency" request to dick around with the growing mountain of paper. While it's not clear what is the "emergency", I believe we are nearing the end of the show....

02/03/2014 10 EMERGENCY REQUEST and seeking for leave to file a second amended complaint with Plaintiff's declaration and memorandum points to serve second amended complaint upon the defendants filed by Plaintiff Steven Laser Haas. Lodged Proposed Order and 2nd Amended Complaint. (pj) (Entered: 02/05/2014)

02/11/2014 11 MINUTES (IN CHAMBERS): ORDER Denying Plaintiffs Motion Seeking Leave to FileSecond Amended Complaint and Requesting 60 Day Extension of Time to Serve Complaint 10 by Judge Stephen V. Wilson: For the foregoing reasons, it is HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs request for leave to file the proposed Second Amended Complaint is DENIED, and plaintiffs request for an extension of time to effect service is DENIED.: (pj) (Entered: 02/12/2014)


On October 18, 2013, plaintiff filed a 108-page Complaint citing 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961, 1962, and1964 (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO)) and naming fourteen defendants. The Complaint contained what it described as “a flood of assertions against an array of extremely well-known and very powerful parties.” (Compl. ¶ 3.) On November 6, 2013, plaintiff filed a 150-page First Amended Complaint (FAC) naming ten defendants. The FAC also “makes an array of contentions against many parties.” (FAC ¶ 4.) The Court denied plaintiff’s request to order the United States Marshal to serve the FAC. (Dkt 9.)

Plaintiff has now lodged a 340-page proposed Second Amended Complaint (SAC) naming the same ten defendants as the FAC. In this document, among other things, plaintiff “apologizes in advance to the court for the profuse, burdensome and even intrusive upon other venue issues that this case is about to present to His Honor.” (SAC at 173.) The SAC alleges that “this case has issues vast, of national important and significant issues, as pertains to the civil needs of maintaining a good order of society.” (Id.) Plaintiff has failed to serve either his original complaint or the FAC. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) permits a party to amend a pleading “once as a matter of course” within 21days of serving it (or defendants’ filing of certain motions or responsive pleadings). The Court concludes that the 2009 amendment to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) was not intended to permi tan indefinite number of pre-service amendments as a matter of course. See Koplow v. Watson, 751 F.Supp. 2d 317, 322 (D. Mass 2010) (“Plaintiff’s complete failure to serve the Complaint on Defendantsdoes not give Plaintiff free rein to amend the Complaint whenever he wishes.”); Charles A. Wright et al., Federal Practice and Procedure §§ 1480-1483 (2010). Although leave to amend should generally be freely given “when justice so requires,” Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2), leave to amend should be denied when it would be futile. Nunes v. Ashcroft, 375 F.3d 805, 809 (9th Cir.2004). The proposed SAC, likethe previous versions of the complaint, would be subject to dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. See McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177-80 (9th Cir. 1996) (“Something labeled acomplaint but written more as a press release, prolix in evidentiary detail, yet without simplicity, conciseness and clarity as to whom plaintiffs are suing for what wrongs, fails to perform the essential functions of a complaint.”).

Plaintiff also asks the Court to grant a sixty day extension for service of his complaint. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m) provides: “If a defendant is not served within 120 days after the complaint is filed, the court . . . must dismiss the action without prejudice against that defendant . . . but if the plaintiff shows good cause for the failure, the court must extend the time for service for an appropriate period.” Good cause requires “a demonstration of good faith on the part of the party seeking an enlargement and some reasonable basis for noncompliance within the time specified in the rules.” MCITelecommunications Corp. v. Teleconcepts, Inc., 71 F.3d 1086, 1097 (3d Cir. 1995) (emphasis added). Whether a plaintiff has failed to “diligently pursue service during the allotted period” is a considerationin the good cause determination. Cardenas v. City of Chicago, 646 F.3d 1001, 1007 (7th Cir. 2011). Plaintiff’s application and the exhibits in support thereof fail to show that he has diligently pursued service since filing his original complaint and the FAC, and fails to provide any reasonable basis for excusing compliance with the 120-day requirement under Rule 4(m).

For the foregoing reasons, it is HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s request for leave to file theproposed Second Amended Complaint is DENIED, and plaintiff’s request for an extension of time to effect service is DENIED.

What "there is evidence" means to a lawyer


The word "evidence" as used by lawyers doesn't always mean what people interpret to be "proof".

"There is evidence" that Christie knew. We know that Bridget Kelly was with Christie and texting about it that day.

That fact constitutes "evidence". It is a thing which, if proven, renders a conclusion more likely. "Evidence" may render something even a teeny bit more likely, than in its absence.

For example, let's say a bank was robbed of $100 bills and you were arrested. At the time you were arrested, you had a $100 bill in your pocket.

Now, you could have a $100 bill in your pocket for a lot of reasons. But the fact that you had a $100 is "evidence" that you robbed the bank. It is by no means proof that you did.

So, whatever was meant by that line, the construction "there is evidence" doesn't necessarily mean that Wildstein is in possession or knows the location of anything in particular, and could just as easily be a careful wording that he might - and would talk about it if granted immunity. Because if he had anything in his possession, it would have to be turned over in response to a subpoena anyway.

Absent some idea of whether this is documentary evidence or merely circumstantial evidence, it's hard to say whether the letter means that Wildstein has a smoking gun.

What the Sochi Olympic threats are about


In the event you were wondering just what these folks are upset about...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circassian_Genocide

Although there is no legal continuity between the Russian Empire and the modern Russian Federation, and the concept of genocide was only adopted in international law in the 20th century, on 5 July 2005 the Circassian Congress, an organization that unites representatives of the various Circassian peoples in the Russian Federation, called on Moscow first to acknowledge and then to apologize for Tsarist policies that Circassians say constituted a genocide. Their appeal pointed out that "according to the official tsarist documents more than 400,000 Circassians were killed, 497,000 were forced to flee abroad to Turkey, and only 80,000 were left alive in their native area". Other sources give much higher numbers, totaling 1–1.5 million deported and/or killed. The movement has since been campaigning for the recognition of the "Circassian Genocide". Nevertheless, the Circassians view the memory of the brutal expulsions and killings by the hand of Russia and the suffering they caused as a central part of the Circassian identity. Circassians have also taken issue with the 2014 Winter Olympics, to be held in Sochi, the Black Sea coast city and the supposed site of the final expulsion of the Circassians.

Spoiler rules for Olympic events

Can someone dig out the ones we used before?

Schoolgirl Hitchikers - on Netflix


It's long been rumored that Sonny Bono had considered an acting career and, using an assumed name, had played roles in foreign films to try it out.  This film may be an interesting clue to that rumor, but maybe not, since associating this film with anything involving a clue is something of a stretch.   Cluelessness is a central theme of the film as a trio of madcap jewel thieves search for their missing booty in all of the wrong places.  While they find plenty of booty along the way, the jewels or anything else of value remain elusive. 

The mystery begins within moments of hitting the play button, as you realize that Schoolgirl Hitchikers does not actually involve a school, hitchhiking or even the two actresses depicted on the cover art image provided by Netflix.   That the  Netflix capsule description also includes misinformation about this dubbed French title makes me wonder if they actually watched it which, I admit, they may not be paid enough to do.   But, hey, you're paying to subscribe and, as they say, they can't all be winners.  There is, after all, only one Oscar each year for best foreign film, and director Jean Rollin clearly had given up hope in 1973.  

There is some hiking, and there are some cars, but not at the same time. If you are looking for a  low mileage vintage Peugot,  Datsun B210 or a Dodge Dart, have I got a deal on three for you, none of which were driven more than 20 yards on the grounds of a French Chateau.  I puzzled over why the word "chateau" seems to combine the words for "cat" (chat) and "water" (eau), and why don't I don't stop watching Netflix to seek some real entertainment by, say, changing the kitty litter.    There's only so much life that can pass you by in 79 minutes, but here again the Netflix description is at odds with the actual 120 minute run time of the film.  It's entirely possible that this is not the film it's supposed to be, and I mean that in more ways than one.  

Fans of French interior design will appreciate many of the country chateau  details, in particular the rosewood chifferobe,  brilliant cinematic use of a stained glass bedecked gazebo, a selection of richly detailed wallpapers and how even a threadbare oriental rug can really just pull the whole room together.   The dude abides, and he abides in the parlor long beyond you will have figured out whodunit, and turned to the more disturbing question posed by this film, which is more of a "why done it".   

My annual three minutes of Fox was a hoot!

I can never understand how people can watch Fox News for any length of time to report "OMG " but once every couple of months or so my wife and I play a game of "watch Fox until someone says something stupid". It usually takes less than a minute.

Bill O'Reilly's angle on Christie was pretty funny, though, but he sent me rolling into laughter in a discussion with Geraldo Rivera in which he said something approximating:

"Look, he had a bad person on his staff! We've all had problems with staff members!"

Yeah Bill, especially the ones who don't want to get into the shower with you and a falafel!

Billy's got this thing all figured out. The US attorney looking into this is a Democrat. Therefore, the result of any investigation will be corrupt.

"Congressional investigators question why Gov. Christie cancelled Hudson River tunnel"


Remember this:

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/04/gov_christie.html

Clearly, he wants to seal the exits.

Bridgegate has reached the critical "what did he know and when did he know it" phase


Okay, so he claims to have found out the facts today about a situation the press was needling him about several weeks ago, and went with "rogue staff".

That is an easier step taken early on in these things. If he had gone with "rogue staff" initially, then it is easier to avoid:

"what did he know and when did he know it"

Where can I get fresh rhino horn?

Unless you are a member of the authoritarian "anti-woo" crowd, you probably know that rhino horn has been a traditional medicine for hundreds of years. While the scoffers deride, with their blind faith in government propaganda, what the Chinese have known for centuries, I keep an open mind about these sorts of things.

As is well known by millions of people not brainwashed by big pharma brainwashing, rhino horn can be used to treat high fever, impotence, and a host of other illnesses.

Most recently, the authoritarians have made it difficult, using the force of law, to get reliable supplies of rhino horn. Unable to win the argument rationally, the authoritarians have resorted to the use of government force in order to prevent people from using this natural remedy.

Even if the authoritarians are right, they still haven't shown that taking rhino horn is harmful, but their controlling mindset can't tolerate a little harmless fun.

Has anyone figured out a way around the government control of imports in order to get a consistent supply of this amazing treatment?

(And if you can't find me some rhino horn, I'll settle for tiger bone)

"That Kind of Girl" - On Netflix


What comes around definitely goes around in this surprisingly watchable cautionary film about syphilis which, we are told, was approved by the British Medical Board - the film, not the disease, although it's a close contest. Before there was a Jerry Springer Show there was the cinema, and this lushly shot tour of London, its clubs and nearby countryside is Jerry Springer done right.

This is the film that dares to ask, "What do you think of Hitler?" It was either a popular pick up line in the early 1960's or a code phrase used to activate post-war Austrian agents to attempt to bring Britain to its knees one more time.
There are worse things than syphilis or Hitler, and this film is not one of them. But if you wondered why Wargames' "Professor Falken" (John Wood) gave up on humanity, you'll soon find out, since it was apparently among his early jobs to hand out "You've got the clap!" greeting cards for British youth to send to their loved ones and not-so-loved ones.

The main causes of syphilis appear to be creepy ad executives, jazz, nuclear disarmament, and upper glass girls who won't have sex with their boyfriends. But wait, how does not having sex lead to syphilis, you ask? Simple. Because if girls who don't have VD refuse to have sex with their boyfriends, then their boyfriends will have sex with girls who do have VD, so that when you find out and have sex with him to get him back... you'll get syphilis. You'll also get pregnant. Which leads to the signature catchphrase of the film - "I’ve never been to the doctor to tell them I’m an unmarried mother and the man who got me pregnant has VD!” Well, there's a first time for everything, and vice versa.

Unlike US films of this genre, in which everyone goes blind, mad, and disgraced, this film proceeds to a happy ending - the other kind - with a bit of the British stiff upper lip and assorted other organs. By the end, you'll be rushing out to make sure you have enough postage stamps to support an active sex life.

Of interest is that many people do not know the origin of the "peace" symbol as the stylized acronymic logo of the UK Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Among the many little surprises in this film, aside from the primary one, we are treated to a look at the goings on of the CND of the time.
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