|Hugo Black U.S. Courthouse|
These are just some of several oddities that strongly suggest someone is manipulating the judicial process in a case styled Carol Shuler v. Infinity Property & Casualty et al (2:11-cv-03443-TMP). These machinations probably amount to obstruction of justice and possibly other federal crimes. (Pertinent segments of the April 10 docket report can be viewed at the end of this post.)
Mrs. Schnauzer (MS) appeared on April 10 for a scheduling conference that U.S. Magistrate T. Michael Putnam had set 10 days earlier. MS never received notice of the conference via U.S. mail--and as a pro se litigant, that is her only means of getting court documents--but she learned of it by checking the court docket in person at the Hugo Black U.S. Courthouse on April 5. That caused her to show up for the hearing and apparently foiled someone's plan to concoct grounds for dismissing her case.
How ugly is this scenario? A document rescheduling the conference for 10 a.m. today--and MS did receive notice of that in the mail--gives an idea. (The rescheduling order can be viewed at the end of this post.)
My wife and I appeared for the April 10 conference at about 9:52 a.m., roughly eight minutes early. We arrived to find an empty courtroom, and judicial clerk David Waters appeared at about 10 to tell us that Judge Putnam was not there that day.
That's peculiar because the rescheduling order shows it was filed at 9:54 a.m. on April 10--and it was signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge T. Michael Putnam. What does that tell us? It tells me that someone probably was on the lookout for MS that morning, with instructions to file a rescheduling order if she appeared at the courthouse door. It also tells me that Putnam was there that morning, and Waters was told to lie to us on the judge's behalf.
Is this the only sign of underhanded actions in my wife's lawsuit? Not at all. Consider these:
A Premature Conference
The hearing that was reset for today is billed as a scheduling conference under Rule 16(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). That's strange because such a hearing normally does not take place until the parties have conferred to develop a discovery plan, under Rule 26(f) FRCP. Why is Putnam, in a classic case of "putting the cart before the horse," trying to set a schedule when the parties have not conferred about a discovery plan? In my view, it's probably a sign the judge and the defendants want to skip the discovery process altogether.
Plaintiff's Motions Put On Hold
MS filed three motions on March 25--all opposition or objections to various documents that had been filed by the court or defendants. The court docket shows that all three of her motions were not entered into the record until April 1, one week after they had been filed. A check of the full docket shows that almost all other documents were entered either the day they were filed or the next day. Why did that not happen on MS's motions? Well, the record shows the delay allowed U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon to file an order on March 29--it also was entered on March 29--that dismissed a number of individual defendants from the case. These dismissals were one of the primary points to which MS objected, but it appears that her motions intentionally were kept out of the record until after Kallon had issued his order.
The Disappearing Documents On Certified Mail
Gregory Kees is a central defendant in MS's case. He was her boss at Infinity, the guy who fired her for allegedly being tardy after he had told her to change her start time from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in order to assist with the company's large client base in California. Not long after MS filed her lawsuit, she received word from Infinity that Kees no longer worked there and could not be served at his work location. A lawyer for Infinity stated that she would ensure Kees was notified of the case and assist with service on him--but that never happened. MS had not been able to find a home address or new work location for Kees, so he was dismissed without prejudice due to lack of service. MS, however, discovered Kees' home address and filed documents to have him served via certified mail on March 25. The filing of those service documents should be entered in the docket--such documents are noted for all other defendants--but there is no mention of them for Gregory Kees. Why? Greg Kees, more than anyone else at Infinity, probably knows who was behind my wife's unlawful termination--and that's why someone does not want him as part of the case. (The documents related to service of Gregory Kees via certified mail can be viewed at the end of this post.)
Over the 12-plus years that MS and I have been fighting court corruption, we've seen judges and lawyers repeatedly act as if we are too stupid to read documents and understand how we are being cheated. That trend clearly is continuing in my wife's employment case.