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Monday, May 20, 2013

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert Vance Jr. Faces Lawsuit Seeking $25 Million In Damages


Robert Vance Jr.
An Alabama judge faces a federal lawsuit that alleges he took a case from another judge and issued unlawful rulings that caused substantial financial harm to a trust organized under Nevada law. The William B. Cashion Nevada Spendthrift Trust and Alabama resident Steven Mark Hayden seek $25 million in damages from Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert Vance Jr.

The complaint, filed by Bessemer attorney Austin Burdick, alleges that lawyers from the Birmingham firm Maynard Cooper & Gale engaged in flagrant forum shopping, taking a number of improper steps to ensure that Vance would handle the underlying case.  (See federal complaint at the end of this post.)

Vance, a Democrat, ran in 2012 for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and lost in the general election to Republican Roy Moore. We adamantly opposed Vance's run for a seat on the state's highest court, and now we have more evidence that he is not fit to serve on any bench, much less in a leadership capacity.

Charges that Vance would unlawfully favor Maynard Cooper & Gale (MCG) and one of its wealthy clients should come as no surprise to the public. I've written a series of articles showing that Vance has a history of unlawfully favoring large, downtown-Birmingham law firms over everyday litigants. (See here, here, and here.)

Vance comes from what might be called "Alabama legal royalty."  His father, Robert Vance Sr., was a federal judge who was killed by a mail bomb in 1989. His wife, Joyce White Vance, is the current U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, appointed by President Barack Obama. Because of his family history, Vance Jr. enjoys a strong reputation among lawyers--but the general public should not be fooled by that. I tend to be supportive in this space of Democrats, but Robert Vance Jr. has proven that his main interest is protecting the interests of his colleagues in the legal establishment.

What about the pending federal lawsuit against Vance Jr. The doctrine of judicial immunity generally protects judges from lawsuits for actions taken on the bench. But Burdick's complaint alleges that Vance usurped the authority of another judge, took a case that was not assigned to him, and repeatedly acted outside his judicial capacity to issue orders that benefited MCG's client.

Burdick filed a Motion for Recusal in an underlying state case on January 9, 2013, but Vance refused to step down. Burdick then filed a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus, asking the Alabama Supreme Court to force Vance to step aside. The petition was denied without briefing, meaning the state's high court did not even address the merits of the claims against Vance.

A federal lawsuit, styled William B. Cashion Nevada Spendthrift Trust and Steven Mark Hayden v. Robert S. Vance Jr., 2:13-CV-0286-SLB, was filed on February 11. The Alabama Attorney General's Office filed a Motion to Dismiss on Vance's behalf, and Burdick filed a response on April 10. U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn initially scheduled a hearing on the Motion to Dismiss, but when one of the parties asked for a continuance due to a scheduling conflict, Blackburn announced that she would rule on the motion based on the pleadings, without oral argument.

It is not known when Blackburn will issue a ruling, but Vance has a hearing set in the underlying state case for Friday, May 31.

At the heart of the controversy is William B. Cashion, an 84-year-old businessman who is co-founder of Bessemer-based Western Steel Inc. (WSI) and a shareholder in several other Alabama corporate entities. In 2007, while in the midst of a divorce, Cashion executed a durable power of attorney, designating his nephew, Dr. Steven Mark Hayden, as his agent and attorney-in-fact.

Cashion remarried in 2008, and his new wife, Frankie B. Cashion, states in court documents that her husband became obsessed with investments in Alabama gold mines that supposedly were to generate large sums of revenue. Mrs. Cashion states in an affidavit that her husband invested almost $7 million in the gold-mining project before she was able to stop him. "He is at risk of selling interest in his fraudulent gold mine to other investors which would be based on fraudulent assays. . . . , " Mrs. Cashion states. "His family, friends, and business are being harmed by his poor judgment."

In 2011, Dr. Steven Hayden used his authority as power of attorney to form the William B. Cashion Nevada Spendthrift Trust (WBC Trust), and all of Cashion's stock in WSI was transferred to the Trust. Angela Rae Hayden, Steven Hayden's wife, serves as trustee of the WBC Trust, and the Haydens live in Wetumpka, Alabama, where he practices family and emergency medicine. Court documents show that Steven Hayden is the current president of Western Steel, Inc., replacing Gene Calhoun, who retired in 2012.

William B. Cashion filed a lawsuit in Clark County, Nevada, claiming the WBC Trust is not valid, and that case was dismissed with prejudice in April 2012. Cashion filed a state action in Alabama, seeking relief similar to that in the Nevada case. Cashion's primary lawyers in Alabama are James P. Naftel II, Jim Goyer, and John D. Bethany Jr., of MCG.

The Alabama case, styled William B. Cashion and Western Steel Inc. v. Steven Mark Hayden, et al, CV-2012-209, was assigned to Jefferson County Circuit Judge Houston Brown. But according to Burdick's federal complaint, Vance unlawfully seized the case and issued four rulings that all were favorable to MCG and its primary client, William B. Cashion.

MCG's first curious move was filing the case in the Birmingham Division of Jefferson County. Burdick claims the proper venue is Elmore County because none of the parties resides in or maintains a principal place of business in the Birmingham Division of Jefferson County.

After filing the state case on February 8, 2012, MCG lawyers filed a motion to transfer the case to the Commercial Litigation Docket, which was created by Jefferson County Circuit Court (Birmingham Division) Administrative Order No. 2009-23. Vance has come to handle most of the cases on the Commercial Litigation Docket.

Court records show the case was assigned to Judge Brown at 2:02 p.m. on February 8, but at 3:30 p.m. on that date, Judge Vance issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) sought by MCG lawyers, on behalf of Cashion and Western Steel.

In the federal complaint, Burdick cites this as the first sign of Vance's improper actions in the state case:


At the time that Vance signed the TRO he did so with knowledge that he did not preside over the case. The electronic case action summary reflects that Judge Vance had available on his computer the notice and assignment of the case to Judge Houston Brown.

Less than 20 minutes after the case had been assigned to Brown, MCG lawyers approached him for an ex parte order that would transfer the case to Vance. Brown entered an order submitting the issue of reassignment to the presiding circuit judge, pursuant to the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration. But Vance jumped the gun, acting repeatedly before the case was assigned to him. From Burdick's federal complaint:


However at that time Judge Brown was not relieved of authority to preside over the case, and Vance was not granted authority or jurisdiction over the case. At that time, the case was not before Judge Vance. Judge Brown in his order made no claim that he had authority to transfer the case to Judge Vance. In fact, Judge Brown at that time did not have authority to transfer or reassign the case as he was not the presiding judge in the circuit. Judge Vance also had no authority to transfer the case to his own docket.

Burdick alleges that neither Cashion nor his MCG lawyers were concerned about following proper procedure. Instead, the federal complaint states, they mainly were concerned about getting the case before a favorable judge, Robert Vance Jr.:


It is clear that Cashion and  his attorneys wanted Judge Vance to preside over their case. Cashion first filed the case in a venue where none of the parties to the action resides or maintains a principal place of business. Cashion filed a motion with his complaint requesting that the matter be transferred to the Commercial Litigation Docket. All cases approved for the Commercial Litigation Docket are assigned to Judge Vance unless he declines them on the basis of docket volume. . . . Cashion went to an improper venue specifically to select Judge Vance. 
Judge Vance not only accommodated this forum shopping, he ventured to rule on the case before the forum shoppers even made it to the checkout aisle.

J. Scott Vowell, who then was presiding judge in Jefferson County, entered an order on March 14, 2012,  transferring the case to Vance. But by then, Vance already had issued four orders in the case--all favorable to MCG and its client, William B. Cashion. From the federal complaint:


Because these orders were rendered in a matter not assigned to Judge Vance, they represent non-judicial acts under the color of law. Vance's acts . . . violate both the substantive and procedural due process rights of the Trust and Hayden.

Did Vance's actions have consequences? The federal complaint answers that question with an emphatic "yes":


Said extra-judicial orders were prejudicial to the Trust in that they prevented the Trust from performing its duties to nurture the trust principal. The Trust suffered the loss of considerable investment returns and interest. The Trust also was deprived of assets valued at more than $20,000,000.00.
The Trust and Hayden also continue to suffer considerable costs and attorneys fees in an effort to overcome Vance's usurpation of judicial authority.

Why did MCG want the case before Robert Vance Jr.? That brings us to sticky campaign-finance issues--and we will address those in upcoming posts.


(To be continued)




39 comments:

Coyote Lane said...

This is the only way to stop the crime wave. I notice Civil Rights Claim 42, 1983, but of course. And the simplicity is clear, Trial By Jury is our Right and of course the courts immediately Rule that the motions are to be not orally argued.

As Trusts grew in the US for we the commoners, then so did the "law" to protect, but of course.

We have Rodney King to thank for 42 U.S.C., Sec. 1983, Civil Rights' protection. And the DUE PROCESS U.S. Constitution 14th Amendment, stands to this day.

In spite of the 100 years that the Federal Reserve 'Fed' Court Jesters, placed to do evil work to undo all the good law and insert its' rules of color. Law schools have pooped out far too many lawyers for the Fed and ITS' movement has only grown the most foul ideologies. No brains in excreted waste.

Judges can be sued and must. The offshore accounts for all the scumbags during this time that have brought 'globalization' need to be returned to Americans ~

~VANCE and the entire ilk of Southern Crackers, need to restore the reality of justice in paying back the stolen booty.

LS, your writing about how the law works, I'm sure glad that UAB let you free to save the Alabama proletariat good people.

Karl Marx said: World Workers Unite, you have only to loose your chains. Paraphrased.

MARX was 100% opposed to the VANGUARD and 100% in support of the proletariat. Not a communist and not a socialist, no. Marx was a commoner, he wrote of course and of course his writing was changed to fit the agendas.

In today's world in order to understand Marx or any writer of the past, we must read the original language the work was written in and the true version of words.

LS, as it is with genius, just keeps getting more magical.

Wow, love VANCE Et Al getting their 'JUST Deserts'!

Thank you Mr. & Mrs. Schnauzer!

Thank you Roger Shuler!

Anonymous said...

Is Robert Vance Jr. just a little bit arrogant? He thinks he can take a case that hasn't been assigned to him? Good grief! Why doesn't he take a case from Oregon and rule on that? Maybe there is a case in Newfoundland that needs his legal genius.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reporting, LS, on this fascinating case. Any chance a judge actually will be held accountable for acting outside the law? It never seems to happen, but maybe it will in this case.

Anonymous said...

But this judge's last name is Vance. That means he must be pure as snowflakes or cornflakes, or both. How dare you question the nobility of Robert Vance Jr.!

Raymond said...

Not going to hold my breath on this one. But it sure is nice to think this judge might be sweating just a little bit.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, Judge Vance. Your lawyer buddies will pass the plate at the next hunting-club meeting and help pay any judgment against you--although it might take more than one meeting to come up with $25 million.

Redeye said...

Are you talking about THIS Judge Vance?
http://blog.al.com/press-register-commentary/2012/10/meet_judge_bob_vance_candidate.html

Anonymous said...

This lawsuit probably has merit, but I'm afraid it doesn't have a snowball's chance of succeeding. Sharon Lovelace Blackburn will do all sorts of legal contortions to protect Vance. She is every bit as much of the legal establishment as he is.

Lawyers overseeing lawyers usually does not produce justice.

legalschnauzer said...

Redeye:

Yes, that's him. Note the high-fallutin' language in that article. His words and his actions are two very different things.

Anonymous said...

The hell with Judge Vance, I want to know more about these gold mines!

Anonymous said...

Who is Austin Burdick, and what does he think he's doing by suing a sitting judge? That's no way to build a law career. You build a law career by kissing a judge's ass, not by suing his ass.

Anonymous said...

Luther Strange's office is defending Judge Vance? Hah, how's that for irony? Big Luther attacked the judge in Macon County who correctly found lack of probable cause for search and seizure at VictoryLand. But Luther defends a judge in Jefferson County for taking cases that were not assigned to him. What a joke!

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 10:16--

You make an excellent point. And that's not all. Luther Strange also is trying to force Macon County Judge Thomas Young to recuse from the VictoryLand case. Meanwhile, he is defending Judge Robert Vance, who refuses to recuse on a case where he is acting with no legal authority.

Anonymous said...

- 2001: Baucus becomes chairman of Senate Finance Committee.

- 2001: Baucus supports President George W. Bush's tax cuts.

- 2002: Baucus votes in favor of invading Iraq but said later his vote was a mistake based on faulty intelligence.

- 2009-2010: Baucus helps write President Barack Obama's health care reform law, which is widely panned in Montana.

- 2009: Baucus nominates his girlfriend and state office director, Melodee Hanes, as U.S. Attorney for Montana, then Hanes withdrew amid criticism. Baucus and Hanes marry two years later.

- 2010-2012: Baucus advocates for energy companies to retire their leases in the land bordering Glacier National Park

- 2011: Baucus is named to 12-member congressional "supercommittee" that failed to reach a deficit-reduction deal.

- 2011: Baucus sponsors a bill to expand wilderness and recreation are on the Rocky Mountain Front.

- April 2013: Baucus says Obama's health care law is headed for a "train wreck" because of bumbling implementation.

- April 2013: Baucus is one of five Democrats to vote against beefing up background checks for gun purchases.

Here we are. IRS is a money laundering operation for the Fed.

The Senate Finance Committee with Max and Orin are definitely into the offshore booty hidden, but hey wait, the Tea 'Baggers' aren't about to be stopped.

HYPER LIBS + CONSERVE CRACKERS

Do the corporations pay taxes? No, they take as much digital credit as they can get and do as much bad as can be done: Monsanto case in point, Goldman Sachs, and name a Transnational, Multinational, Global wrecking crew of our US Constitution that pays such a notion, taxes.

VANCE THE VANGUARD does what he is told, trouble is, there is an awakening and Legal Schnauzer's Murphy Blog is one of the keys that has unlocked the door to walk through into our future.

Transparency has the Roaches In Robes skittering to be sure.

Get 'em Murphy LS!

Spasmoda said...

Gee, do you think Maynard Cooper & Gale might have provided financial support to Robert Vance Jr.'s run for the Alabama Supreme Court?

legalschnauzer said...

Spas:

You win the prize for outstanding question of the day. And we will be addressing that question in upcoming posts.

Gerry with a G said...

When is Scott Vowell going to file a JIC complaint against Judge Vance like the one he filed against Dorothea Batiste?

At least Judge Batiste was ruling on cases that had been assigned to her.

legalschnauzer said...

Gerry:

You are tied with Spas for outstanding question of the day.

And your answer goes something like this: When hell freezes over.

Robert Vance is a certified member of the mostly white, male, elitist club (with quite a few female members who go along to get along) that runs Alabama courts. Judge Batiste is in trouble because she is not a member of that club.

Spasmoda said...

Something tells me that your future posts are going to provide more evidence that our judges are up for sale.

Anonymous said...

If Maynard Cooper & Gale has a strong case, why does it matter who is the judge? All judges take an oath to uphold the law, so why should it matter which judge gets the case?

Anonymous said...

Most people would fight against the evil that murdered their father but not Vance Jr. He chose the dark side. So weird! Or is he just a scaredy cat.

Anonymous said...

Hey, everybody knows Walter Leroy Moody was responsible for murdering Robert Vance Sr. And he did it all by his little self.

Vance Jr. probably believes that. Or at least, he tells himself to believe it.

Anonymous said...

Who is more worthless, Robert Vance Jr. or his wife, the U.S. attorney? That's a neck-and-neck race for ya.

Anonymous said...

At Coyote, Marx certainly was a communist. A revolutionist against capitalism who sat on his ass while mooching off his "partner" Engel and wife. His philosophy was from the perspective of a lazy boy who felt entitled to be dead weight to his wife and children and his actions kept them in constant mobility. He didn't even have the experience to speak from.

Its just confusing to hear you speak against the evils of New World Order but then you appear to advocate for Marx. Enlighten please?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Sherry Rollins should call this attorney to sue Crowson.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Legal Schnauzer Exposed hasn't posted in over two months. You've been the subject of numerous executive sessions of various state & county agencies. They still don't know what to do about your posts or my comments. They can't sue because they are true. So, they opt for indirect attacks by helping the bottom feeder debt collectors.

Robby Scott Hill said...

When my college professor, former FBI Agent & Alabama Lawyer Robert Thetford angrily made reference to the "People who Killed Judge Vance," in class, that's when I knew that Walter Leroy Moody didn't do it. My academic adviser Louis Harris was Thetford's boss at the Selma Office of the FBI. Their hands were tied and Moody went to prison for a crime he didn't commit when Louis Freeh accepted the role of Special Prosecutor & cut a deal with the devil to become a federal judge & later FBI Director.

Coyote Lane said...

Anonymous said...

At Coyote, Marx certainly was a communist. A revolutionist against capitalism who sat on his ass while mooching off his "partner" Engel and wife. His philosophy was from the perspective of a lazy boy who felt entitled to be dead weight to his wife and children and his actions kept them in constant mobility. He didn't even have the experience to speak from.

Its just confusing to hear you speak against the evils of New World Order but then you appear to advocate for Marx. Enlighten please?

May 20, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Did you read your words written here in German?

I have to ask that question because Marx wasn't the father of communism and he wasn't a Jew, either.

Not a leader of socialism, I argue with these people too, all the time. All the isms, he said don't do 'em.

Simply a man who philosophized people should not worship capitalism as a God to save humanity. He said it would, as is always proven in history: enslave every man, woman and child to the "International 'Bankers'"!

His family lineage said: interesting how the cult is being used -- 'jew'.

Gilad Atzmon confirmed Zionist was the recapping of the cult which was called "Jew", however, there were only tribes of this cult that continue to mutilate their men, and for eons mutilated their women and children, too. The Middle Eastern 'kingdom' never found them to do other than practice violations of nature against their own. The Egyptians and the 'Persian Empire' as well as Rome, shunned the so called "Jews" and worse, wiped out the tribe after Moses' followers degraded into human filth.

Gilad writes about the blood sacrifice in his book, btw.

Karl Marx died of pulmonary failure and this was because he was so poor that he could not afford much of anything for himself and family? The family of Marx isn't rich, other than the funny ones that are still making people laugh to this day.

Groucho Marx and his brother.

He lived his talk, Karl, which wasn't other than to tell people how to all be free. The BIG BOOK taken into China, please the publishers of writers back in the 1700 and 1800s were about the same then as today - too bad Marx didn't have the internet, then he could have exonerated his good name.

Read German first and then understand how the history books get written by the most vile evil of empire builders and nothing is more delicious than to take a free speaker and make them a demigod of the tongue wagging liars of global gulags forever.

Coyote Lane said...

Anon at 11:34AM, I don't intend to be rude and/or cop an attitude.

I've been called a "self hating Jew" and I only use Biloxi Marx to go after the Anti Defamation League and the other so called "Israeli Lobbyists" as well, the Supreme Court and of course the Pelosi Culture of Vulgarity and Frankenstein and her daughter the wannabe AG of California.

I was raised strict Christian and then found the Tao, mystical Christian and I love this practice. Taoism is a new age word and there was no such ideology, an ism.

The Tao. That which can be spoken is not the Tao.

Very demanding in free thought.

Let me see, what else do I use that big name for - to butt heads with all the heads global that are fearful of the true words of Marx.

Could have used the name, when I graduated from art school and wanted to not be the name that was changed in my father's lineage from 'native' to an English sounding something.

I choose my mother's maiden name from her paternal lineage because I like the Irish.

No real mystical in my name. My art demands I get out of my own way and the energy is a free form of mostly, I carve animals in stone and cast the wonderful life forms of our fauna and flora, as a very minimalistic artist, bronze and whatever medium I can get my hands on, clay, etc.

e.a.f. said...

There is something seriously wrong with a judicial system which allows such "games" to be played with the Justice system. Appointments of family members is just a tad beyond the pale. This might be a good time for there to be conflict of interest regulations put in place.

Some of the issues maybe the result of "voted" in judges. On the other hand the appointment of federal judges seems to be as much of a problem. It is not unreasonable to conclude judges and lawyers need some sort of supervision, some courses in ethics, time limits on their tenure. The issue you have outlined in this article have more in common with countries such as China, Russia, etc.

If Americans can not rely on their judicial system, there will be increased societal problems. White collar crime is always difficult to deal with given the people involved. However, if white collar crime is not dealt with in a very meaningful manner, they the "stick up" types of crime should be entitled to the same pass.

e.a.f. said...

To Anonymous, 11:34 a.m. please lets not have Coyote "enlighten" us. Coyote's writings are difficult to follow. Sort of like you don't know where Coyote is coming from, but I'd like to tell him where to go.

It might be best if all commentors stayed on topic.

Coyote Lane said...

e.a.f.

Did the ADL and AIPAC and other Jewish IMPOTENCY sharing cause your 'blood ritual' to rear an ugly head?

On topic, eh eaf?!

You are saying judges and then the federal, et al need supervision, etc.

But, you don't appear to know what you're talking about, however you take a good shot at it, except you don't like Coyote and want to howl at the canine as though you are a fixed primate brain.

Let us talk topic reality here.

There are fixed primate brains and their are canine brains.

You fix your brain like a primate and thus, you're done.

Primates can't get out of the thicket, unfortunately, when the poachers shoot.

The canine brain? Well we get to find a way out cause we're not stuck, not fixed in the thinking stuff.

Ask Murphy Schnauzer, from the Eagles to the Prison.

Nice balance to see the whole spectrum of how we are.

Biloxi Marx now gets to do you, too, e.a.f. TROLL

Go TROLL on a blog that thinks you have something important to share.

Here, it's about the canine brain, how do we get ourselves FREE FREE FREE from all you obvious stuck in the fixed primate brain jungle of no mind.

Coyote Lane said...

eaf,

I had to come back here and reread your 'stuff' ~

... something seriously wrong ...

please the system is broken and has been since the CITIZENS' LAWYER was not honored in our U.S. Constitution, 1779.

Clearly you 'aven't a reality clue, or you're deeply invested in the crime RICO, too.

jeffrey spruill said...

Judge Vance received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1982 and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1985.[2]

jeffrey spruill said...

Does the University of Virginia School of Law only turn out criminals or do they only have criminals teaching law?


A part of Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson's bio:

His clerkship was followed by five years as an Associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, and three years working as an editor for Norfolk's The Virginian-Pilot. His clerkship was followed by five years as an Associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, and three years working as an editor for Norfolk's The Virginian-Pilot.

e.a.f. said...

Coyote, please explain what you mean with all those letters and blood sharing? sounds a tad silly to me. Given the rest of your drivel about monkey and dog brains, I think it not unreasonable to conclude you are either under the influence or off your meds.

i haven't a reality clue or am invested in the crime RICO,..... Ah, I may live in B.C. but am not involved in anything covered by the American Rico statute. As to not having a clue, gee perhaps. Its just you may be the only person who thinks I "don't have a reality clue".

I understand the RICO statute even if we don't have it in Canada. We Canadians are a clever lot, we even understand French and American law. Some of us are fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese and Spanish. We may be big on growing mary jane but we just call it horticulture with an MBA in organized crime.

The world is not one big conspiracy theory. The world is made up of a lot of individuals, some of whom are only interested in their own gains, not in helping people live a fullfilling life. When individuals behave badly society needs to deal with them. If they don't they will only see more of it. When I refer to "deal with it", I don't mean just write about it, do something about it. For some like the author of this blog, writing is doing something about it. Those of us who comment need to do something.

Anonymous said...

Coyote I think eaf craves knowledge and enlightenment. Just that when those that haven't yet pieced the puzzle together yet speak, they a, either sound naive or b, like part of the problem. Anger and denial is a good sign. That means they are close to awakening. Keep at it eaf! Getting close!!!

Anonymous said...

At e.a.f, you are correct in that the world isn't one big conspiracy theory. A theory is not fact, just theory. The world "global" although IS a conspiracy in fact. Someone seriously needs to write a NWO handbook.

Anonymous said...

Coyote I'm familiar with the evil doings of "Frankenstein's" spawn. Any chance you might share some of what you know of Kathleen the crook? Might this have to do with her business affairs as a family court judge?

Anon @ 11:34