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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

University of Alabama Is Stonewalling Victims' Families In Lawsuit Over Amy Bishop Shootings

Amy Bishop

Here is a maxim I've learned in roughly 12 years of fighting corruption in our broken justice system: If a party in a lawsuit drags its feet on turning over documents in the discovery process, you can almost bet that party is trying to hide proof of its wrongdoing.

A classic example comes in a recent report that lawyers for the University of Alabama System are not cooperating with discovery requests in a wrongful-death case stemming from the Amy Bishop shootings in February 2010.

Bishop, a Harvard-trained neuroscientist, entered a guilty plea last September of killing three of her fellow faculty members in the biology department at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). The shootings came after Bishop had been denied tenured, and her appeal dismissed.

The families of two of the victims--Dr. Maria Ragland Davis and Dr. Adriel Johnson--sued Bishop, her husband, and UAH Provost Dr. Vistasp Karbhari. The lawsuit alleges that Karbhari knew Bishop was deeply upset about the tenure decision, and he did not follow university procedures for dealing with distraught staff members.

You might think the UA System would have the decency to at least cooperate with victims' families in the Bishop case. But you would be wrong. And that is zero surprise to me.

As regular readers know, I've had the "pleasure" of suing the UA System. That came from my wrongful termination in May 2008 after almost 20 years as an editor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). We've presented indisputable evidence, in the form of a tape-recorded phone conversation with a UAB human-resources official, that I was targeted because of my reporting on this blog about the prosecution of former governor Don Siegelman.

First Amendment violations can't come in a more blatant fashion than that. But did I win my lawsuit on an issue that could be proven beyond a doubt? Nope, and that's because U.S. District Judge William M. Acker Jr., an 84-year-old Reagan appointee, corruptly granted the university summary judgment.

This surely will not make the families of the UAH victims feel any better, but at least they are getting to conduct discovery in their case. That doesn't always happen when you go up against the University of Alabama--and I know from personal experience.

Clear procedural and case law states that summary judgment cannot be considered, much less granted, when the opposing party has not been able to conduct adequate discovery. That simple standard is perhaps best described in a case styled Snook v. Trust Company of Georgia, 859 F. 2d 865 (11th Cir., 1988). Acker ignored the law and granted summary judgment without giving me the chance to conduct any discovery, adequate or otherwise.

Lisa Huggins, one of UA's chief lawyers on the Birmingham campus, has to know that my case was unlawfully dismissed. And she almost certainly knows that's because discovery would have yielded mounds of evidence that I was, in fact, cheated out of my job because certain legal and political elites did not like the content of my blog.

But does Huggins care that my due process rights were trashed beyond comprehension? Is Huggins going to stand up and acknowledge that a judge who probably borders on senility violated his oath to uphold the law? Of course not--and that's because she and her taxpayer-funded client benefited from the bogus rulings.

Anyone who doubts that UA acted with utter disdain for the law in my case, should check out the university's behavior in the Amy Bishop case. And this involves three families who are trying to recover from the violent deaths of loved ones on UA property, under UA "management."

According to a report at al.com, the families had to file a motion to compel, seeking to force UA to turn over discoverable documents. The university responded by claiming the documents would cost millions of dollars to retrieve.

Is there anything out of the ordinary about the families discovery requests? The answer is no, according to these words from reporter Brian Lawson:

The plaintiffs asked Circuit Judge Ruth Ann Hall to order the defendants comply with discovery and subpoena requests in a "reasonable and cost-effective manner." The plaintiffs are seeking phone records for numbers assigned to Karbhari, former UAH President Dr. David Williams and several UAH employees and "security detail information" for Karbhari, Williams and Shelbie King Hall, the UAH administration building. 
They are also seeking "correspondence and communications transmitted by and to Dr. Vistasp Karbhari regarding Amy Bishop via University email accounts."

Phone and e-mail records? That is standard information to seek in a lawsuit. It's exactly what I would have sought if I had been allowed to conduct discovery in my case.

How does UA react to such reasonable and lawful discovery requests? In my case, someone connected to the university commits a federal crime--obstruction of justice--by communicating to a corrupt judge that discovery needs to be short-circuited. (By the way, that's not just a guess on my part; Judge Acker's own words in open court, captured on a transcript, point to such unlawful ex parte communication.)

In the Bishop case, the university wants victims' families to shell out millions of dollars for information to which they clearly are entitled under the law.

Why are UA lawyers behaving in such an unconscionable fashion? I think the answer is simple. In fact, I pretty much predicted the current discovery impasse in a post titled "Lawsuits Are Piling Up Over Mass Shooting In Alabama," dated February 17, 2011:

Playing legal hardball with families who have seen loved ones killed or injured on UA property could turn into a public-relations nightmare. 
Worse for the university, perhaps, is the thought that any of the lawsuits could advance to the discovery stage. If that happens, the public could wind up finding out what happened with Amy Bishop's tenure process in the weeks and months leading up to the shooting. As we reported previously, evidence strongly suggests that Bishop, while she had a prickly personality, met the criteria for tenure: 
"Reports about Bishop's teaching ability are a mixed bag. Some students rated her highly, finding her to be insightful, effective, and caring. Others complained, saying she lectured mostly from the textbook, gave unfair tests, and had a distant manner. 
But Bishop's record as a researcher, alone, indicates that she probably met the criteria for tenure. UAH recently received an Area Research Enhancement Award (AREA) from the National Institues of Health, a grant designed to promote research at universities that have not traditionally received much NIH support. Who brought home that major grant? Amy Bishop."

Our review of the public record leaves little doubt that Amy Bishop met the criteria for tenure, but her bid was denied because certain individuals did not like her--or perhaps were jealous of her. An anonymous colleague reportedly deemed Bishop "crazy" during the tenure-review process, even though the faculty member apparently had no expertise in mental-health issues. From our post titled "What Role Did 'Crazy' Comment Play in Shootings at UAH?"

If the anonymous professor had legitimate grounds for thinking Amy Bishop might be a threat to herself or others, there were other avenues to take. He could have contacted human resources, the legal office, campus police--the list goes on. 
My understanding about the tenure process, and I worked in higher education for a long time, is that it's supposed to be about a junior faculty member's capabilities in three areas--teaching, research, and service. In many instances, I'm told, service carries almost no weight, teaching carries some weight, and research carries a whole lot of weight. Research, which is particularly important in the sciences, was Amy Bishop's strong suit--and that leads us to believe that she almost certainly met the criteria for tenure. 
I've seen no indication that the tenure process is supposed to be an opportunity for uninformed and unqualified individuals to question a candidate's mental health. And it certainly is not a time for administrators to allow such individuals to sway life-changing decisions.

So why is UA now stonewalling on discovery in a wrongful-death lawsuit? As someone who worked in the UA System for almost 20 years and has seen how the university conducts itself in litigation, I have no doubt about the answer: Amy Bishop should have been granted tenure, but her application was denied for improper reasons--and discovery would show that Provost Vistasp Karbhari hardly was alone in handling the process badly.

My guess is that at least a dozen administrators and faculty members played key roles in botching the Bishop tenure-review process and should be held accountable in the wrongful-death lawsuits.

UA is withholding discovery documents in an effort to provide cover for those individuals--and to ensure that the public never learns what really happened with the Amy Bishop shootings in Huntsville.

37 comments:

jeffrey spruill said...

To ensure that the public never learns what really happened with the Amy Bishop shootings in Huntsville.

*

That's the crux of what UAH is trying to accomplish.

I know because the pathetic FBI went groveling to a federal judge to circumvent the 5th amendment grand jury clause:

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Fifth+Amendment

That's why this bumbling idiot looks so lost is because they are lost:

http://hamptonroads.com/node/189481

Anonymous said...

I do not understand why she has to go to trial or sit in prison for the next 40 to 50 years. Take her outside, let one of the sharp shooters take care of her and we do not have to pay for her to be in prison, medical care, food, and get another degree. If we started executing the folks on the spot maybe some of this would stop. It gripes me to have to know that she is going to sit in prison for the rest of her life and those folks she killed do not have a chance of living.

Anonymous said...

There is a smell at the University of Alabama and it is very foul indeed, would say you opened a can of dead fish and stink, Wu Wei.

Not to be disrespectful of the dead in this case. Problem is, the mind controlled killers are being seen for what controls US, all.

UAB does not want this to be in the open sunlight and so, is there a new practice in the State of Alabama since Rove took over?

NOPE the DOPE continues to hide the usual suspects.

UAB is one of the many "higher learning institutions" in the U.S. of A. that was to do what was done to you, Roger. You were and are just too American and you know your rights' ~ punishment you learned is via a creditor, the FED that pretends to be our own "bank."

The Israelis get scholarships to come to America and learn, after being in the Mossad or CIA or name a killing these shadow government workers don't enjoy.

Wondering whether the shooter here was her or CIA.

Anonymous said...

I agree that UAH is hiding something. Amy Bishop committed a heinous act, but the university is stonewalling for a reason.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 8:59am

There is a man who has sat in prison for 25 years, on death row, in Oregon State. Why? Because the prosecution was so dead set on the death penalty that was NOT legal or lawful when the man was sentenced.

Cost to taxpayers? TENS OF MILLIONS and this abomination did not have to be. Why? RETRYING THE CASE OVER AND OVER AND AFTER 25 YEARS, still wrong.

The man plead already to life without parole. He was a kid who took too much meth and had no idea whatsoever he murdered the woman who took a knife to him while he was hitchhiking. They shared the meth and therefore, both were brain dead at the time of the "incident," in essence.

We need to shoot the "INJustice" that is NOT anything but, the criminally insane running the operation "New World Order," because this is where we got stuck and it was in the time of NIXON and his ilk, Henry Fucking Kissinger the demonic Rove's boss, too.

Our first "Black President" is a drug addict and a very bad druggie. He needs to be put into a padded cell and HOPE he can kick the bad stuff. Meanwhile the shadow gov needs to be shot alright, all. Then we would not have so many "lone killers."

Does it not pique a few minds here, how do so many killers get past such a large body of killer government public servants?

Anonymous said...

@8:59--

I could not disagree with you more. Amy Bishop had made significant contributions to society before this tragedy occurred. She helped create a mobile cell incubator that stands to advance science and make a lot of money for UAH. She obviously is headed to prison for the rest of her life, but we should put her talents to work in a useful way.

Sharon said...

Such a tragedy. Makes you want to cry for all involved.

I had missed this story about discovery issues in the case. Makes me wonder about UA's motives. A new angle on a sad, sad story. Thanks for sharing, LS.

legalschnauzer said...

From a Sept. 2012 story about money to be made from Amy Bishop's research. Somebody will be making big bucks:


"Dick Reeves, an InQ Biosciences director and its former chairman, said the first cell incubator will be delivered to a paying customer next month. It is expected to retail at about $50,000 per unit, he said. Bishop and her husband developed the unit while she was working at UAH. UAH gave InQ the opportunity to develop the product, but the terms of the agreement have not been disclosed."

Anonymous said...

I think you've let your own hatred for UAB cloud your judgment on the UAH tragedy. Amy Bishop is a monster, and she is the one responsible. I don't see how the university should be held responsible here.

Spasmoda said...

UAH is a taxpayer-funded institution. All records related to the Amy Bishop case should be made public, including information about her tenure review. We all have an interest in learning what happened here.

Anonymous said...

It's official: Mr. Schnauzer has lost it.

TLR said...

I think Spasmoda makes a great point. Those records should be made available to the public, not just to the plaintiffs' attorneys in this case. Those records were kept with taxpayer money, both state and federal, so taxpayers should have access to them.

Anonymous said...

@9:47--

Love a good knee-jerk reaction. Thanks for providing one.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant and relevant as usual!

Anonymous said...

Why are you making this so complicated? Amy Bishop shot and killed three people and should be headed to the gas chamber. End of story!

Anonymous said...

Why should the plaintiffs have to pay for the defense's discovery expenses? That's a new one on me.

Seems like just another way to discourage victims from seeking justice.

Anonymous said...

Legal Schnauzer:

I think pursuing Mrs. Bishop's story would be so enlightening to your readers and the general public. I am sure there is a story there that we know nothing of. I am sure Mrs. Bishop must have been abused in some fashion by the university that she would go to such dire means to kill at a meeting there. She was certainly getting her point across. I say there is much more there that happened other than her going crazy and killing at a meeting. There must be some history to be uncovered. Please write more regarding this subject. Wish you could interview her at some point and write a book about her plight.

Anonymous said...

L.S.: You have hit the proverbial nail on the head with the news that she developed something that the university stood to make money from. This has to be the reason she was not given tenure. It was a "firing" of sorts for her as she stood to control a very large money making venture for the university of alabama.

I would personally be seeking out her husband, her sisters, her family to find out the details. There is at least a short story, book, and documentary to be written on Mrs. Bishops mental condition at the time and what led her to be in that condition. That is my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Legal Schnauzer you tapped into a root of very vile, the comments to kill Amy Bishop and/or whatever can be done to someone who has not actually been proven guilty first ~ well, well, well Rove's Alabamy EVIL still reins supreme ~ THE FREAKS ARE SATANIC:

"... The Sandy Hook Tragedy: An Inquisitive Visit to Newtown, Connecticut ~

*Text and Photos by Scott DeLarm

*Edited by Prof. James F. Tracy

.. My partner and I became fed up with the mainstream media’s depiction of what took place in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012.

.. So on January 20 we traveled there from our home in Ottawa, Canada in an effort to visit the sites and respectfully approach the locals.

.. Before we even got off the highway there was a display of dozens of American flags on the shoulder. There is a large tented memorial located just off the freeway. The tent had a sign on the outside, “Sandy Hook Memorial Never Forgotten.”

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-sandy-hook-tragedy-an-inquisitive-visit-to-newtown-connecticut/5320784

As above, so below?

The OBAMA [what a fraud], rather the Barry Soetero cultists do not want the truth told.

STICK IT TO ALL THE TROLLS HERE, LS, the fear also smells as much as the UAB cover-up.

GOD BLESS YOU AND MRS. SCHNAUZER AND MAY NO MORE UAB DEVIL WORSHIPING CAUSE YOU HARM.

CIA-MOSSAD ARE EVERYWHERE LYING, CHEATING, STEALING, KILLING.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 11:14--

I very much would like to interview Amy Bishop someday. A lot of academics who might seem difficult or strident or even "crazy" receive tenure every day. I've always found it troubling that UAH apparently gave strong weight to this one comment from a faculty member. I know from first-hand experience how highly research ability is valued in the academic world, and that was Ms. Bishop's strength. On that alone, I suspect, she had earned tenure--and it probably wasn't even a close call on the merits.

Someone was gunning for her, in my opinion, and these discovery materials would show that. That's why they are being held back.

Anonymous said...

I thought being seen as a little "crazy" was a good thing on a college campus.

Heck, didn't somebody write a movie called "The Nutty Professor"?

legalschnauzer said...

For those who enjoy a good conspiracy theory, here is a thread where someone posits the notion that Amy Bishop was set up by Big Pharma:

http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=215441.0;wap2

Anonymous said...

It costs multiple millions of dollars for the University of Alabama to retrieve e-mails and voice messages?

Good God, are these people serious? What sort of technology are they using down there?

Anonymous said...

1) US Government Hostage to Israel ­ 10 min 5 sec VIDEO

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apSkhUKw4W0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

2) If only all Senators spoke like this Senator - 9min 39sec VIDEO

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reXClTNWoy8&list=FLvB3solmhqtgDeLpD-yTtfg

3) Rense & Emord - 2nd Amendment perfectly explained

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL5-tCrKTHY&feature=youtu.be

4) Gun Owners go ‘Gandhi in New York with plans for mass civil disobedience over Cuomo’s tyrannical gun grab

http://www.naturalnews.com/038843_New_York_gun_owners_civil_disobedience.html

Gerry With A G said...

This is a very sad story, but I couldn't help but smile a little at "The Nutty Professor" reference.

That's almost become a stereotype in our society. We call them "eggheads" because we expect them to be different, right?

Anonymous said...

thanks for the thread, LS, wonderful to read some truth.

Ruth Lilly, the daughter who inherited the BIG PHARMA Corp., donated over one hundred million dollars to "American Arts." Where did this money disappear to?

Hmmmm ~

Ruth was in a wheelchair in her end days and unable to talk.

Before that, she was clear about NOT supporting the industry that had become nothing but killing poisons.

Anonymous said...

Date on Social Security Death Record for Adam Lanza Is December 13, 2012, One Day Before the Sandy Hook Massacre

Infowars.com , cryptogon.com
Jan 29, 2013

The main Sandy Hook thread is here.

Geneologybank.com pulls the data directly from the Social Security Administration:

Adam P. Lanza: Social Security Death Index (SSDI) Death Record
Name: Adam P. Lanza
State of Issue: New Hampshire
Date of Birth: Wednesday April 22, 1992
Date of Death: Thursday December 13, 2012
Est. Age at Death: 20 years, 7 months, 21 days
Confirmation: Proven

Screenshot:

NOT A CONSPIRACY THEORY WHEN THE FACTS PROVE THE 'THEORY'

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't her invention in regard to tenure be considered service seeing as when you work for the government, they own what you invent? Or rather couldn't UAH claim such?

legalschnauzer said...

I think service, in this context, usually means community service--working with K-12 students, speaking to various organizations, serving on panels, etc. Pretty sure Ms. Bishop's invention would come under the heading of research because that is what produced it.

Either way, such an invention by a junior faculty member should have been a major selling point for her tenure application.

Anonymous said...

Some folks don't seem to understand that this post is about a civil case, not the Bishop criminal case. The shootings happened on university property, and on premises liability alone, the UA System has exposure. It also sounds like the plaintiffs are claiming negligence, so they certainly are entitled to e-mail and phone records, under the rules of discovery, that might prove their case. I have no idea how the lawsuit will play out, but this sort of pettiness from the University of Alabama makes it look very bad, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

I'm betting that UA eventually will throw enough money at the families to make the case go away.

Anonymous said...

Like one of the earlier commenters, I've never heard of a rule that allows the defense to charge plaintiffs for discovery expenses. That seems to defeat the whole purpose of filing a lawsuit. Is this allowed in other states or is just something found in right-wing wastelands like Alabama?

TLR said...

Why doesn't Nick Saban step forward and pay these expenses on behalf of the victims' families? It would be a great gesture on his part, and he certainly can afford it.

Anonymous said...

No one here is concerned about what happened with Bishop's brother? It certainly is a concern to me, and I'm glad she is locked up.

legalschnauzer said...

Not sure if you are addressing that to me, but I will give my thoughts. It never has been clear to me what happened with Bishop and her brother. First she was more or less cleared, and then many years later--after the UAH shooting--the case is reopened and charges were filed. Seems odd that the MA case would get stronger with age; that's generally not the way it works. Also, I've never understood any motive for why she would shoot her brother. Seems to me it either was an accident or she was being abused by someone in the house and acted in a defensive manner. People in general--and women, in particular--generally don't up and shoot someone (especially a family member) for no reason. And I've seen no reason given, at least one that makes sense, for the MA shooting.

One other point: As another commenter noted, you seem to be raising concerns about the criminal side of this story, and that is understandable. But this post is about the civil side; it is more about UA's actions in litigation, not Amy Bishop's actions either in MA or AL.

Anonymous said...

AS IS with every case in the U.S. of A. these days, there isn't one point or authority than can be ignored.

Civil or Criminal, the U.S. of A. is in violation of both of these in every regard.

First, Amy Bishop worked for the "government" so the investigation proves. Yet, second, she was an independent scientist and therefore, committed to what this means in the world of "inventions" or the higher PhDs et al, simply purchasing a patent on another "work" that gets produced from one or more genius minds.

Intellectual property is of course the point in this case.

Criminal charges have been brought and UAB is RICO, so a criminal charge should be also filed by Amy Bishop's family against UAB.

Just as the CRIMINAL RICO of the mass destruction weapons CDOs, or REMICS, is also civil.

But, we're not civilized in America, no we are overcapacity with lawyers that cannot seem to find the guilty party/ies and set our course back into a democratic or call it a PUBLIC for the people, by the people and of the people ~ ask Amy Bishop WHICH RIGHTS' she has been found standing in, during an alleged criminal and civil matter.

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope this subject receives all the research a certain schnauzer can muster.

University of Alabama needs to be exposed for the corporat, capitalist, controlled "public" institution it has become. It somehow compares to these corporate owned prisons in our midst.