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Monday, March 13, 2017

In light of our discovery about timing of evictions, a Missouri judge and a Show-Me lawyer (my brother, David Shuler) make a run up the "corruption Top 40"


David Shuler
Who is the most corrupt judge we have ever encountered? There is a lot of competition for that "honor," so it's hard to say, but Missouri Circuit Judge Kelly Halford Rose is making a strong push for the top spot. Who is the most corrupt lawyer we've seen? Again, the competition is stiff, but it's sad to say that my brother -- Springfield, Missouri-based David Shuler -- is moving up the charts, with a bullet.

Those are among the conclusions from our recent discovery that eviction proceedings in Missouri cannot start until the tenant is behind on rent by at least one month.

Why do we reach these conclusions, given the huge number of reptilian legal figures we've encountered over roughly 14 years in Alabama? To be sure, Alabama's legal dirt bags hold the lead based on volume of cheat jobs. But this stuff in Missouri, which Rose and David Shuler screwed up (with help from landlord Trent Cowherd and his lawyer, Craig Lowther), is so easy to get right. That they could not get the legal equivalent of 2 + 2 = 4 right, suggests an off-the-charts level of corruptness.

Consider Rose, the judge in our eviction case. The record before her showed that Lowther had filed a rent-and-possession petition on Cowherd's behalf on August 5, 2015. Someone tried to serve a summons on us the next day. When we appeared in court on August 27, the first words out of Rose's mouth, directed to Cowherd's lawyer, should have been, "How much were these folks behind on rent when you filed the petition?"

"Uh, five days, Your Honor."

"You didn't know they have to be late by at least one month before you can seek an eviction?"

"We were sorta hoping you wouldn't notice that."

"Well, I did notice it. And you will notice significant sanctions attached to your fannies if you don't learn to follow the law in this courtroom. Case dismissed."

That's all Rose had to say, but abiding by the law apparently is too much to ask of her. Same thing for David Shuler. My "Brilliant Lawyer Brother" (BLB) knew we were not remotely close to being one month late on rent when the petition was filed. Consider this e-mail he sent to me on 6/2/15:

Hi Roger: 
I hope you and Carol are doing well. Mom asked me to contact you regarding the lease on your duplex. She said she tried to talk to you about it when she recently stopped by to visit, but was unable to do so. She talked to the people at Cowherd Construction and they are willing to extend your lease without a co-signor in that the rent has always been paid in full and on time. The lady suggested that you meet Mom at their office on 6/29 and they would allow you to execute a new lease. This lease would be in your name and would be your responsibility. I do not know if they would require Carol to be on the lease. I would think that they would also want her to sign since she would be living there. I also do not know how they would handle the deposit and pet deposit since those were paid by Mom.

Mom will make the last rent payment on 6/29 which will cover the month of July. You have the option to renew and stay there or of course, you could vacate and pick some place else to live.

Again, I hope you guys are doing well. Mom just wanted me to e-mail this information to you to avoid any confusion.

This all sounds nice and sweet, right? But there is something important my brother failed to mention: There was no provision in the original lease that we had to execute a new lease if the co-signor wanted to back out; it said the original lease simply went month to month -- unless one of the parties gave proper notice that it did not plan to go month to month. Of course, any such decision by either party had to be based on provisions in the lease. If either party tried to act outside the lease -- as Cowherd did -- that becomes a legal issue called breach of contract.

Now, let's examine the ex parte letter my brother wrote to Judge Halford as our case was about to go to trial. The full letter is embedded at the end of this post, and here are the contents:

Dear Judge Halford:

I am writing regarding the above referenced case. Roger Shuler is my brother who has been estranged from my family for approximately 25 years. Recently, a family friend helped him relocate to the Missouri area. Unfortunately, my 85 year old mother made the mistake of agreeing to co-sign a lease for Roger with Trent Cowherd Construction. She agreed to pay his moving expenses and his rent for thirteen months to help him get back on his feet. She never dreamed that Roger Shuler would then refuse to pay his rent and/or vacate the property.

My purpose in writing this letter is to let you know that I intend to appear on behalf of my mother. Gondolyn Shuler intends to cooperate with the Petitioner (Trent Cowherd) in the matter and assist in any way to help them regain possession of the rental property currently occupied by Mr. Shuler.

You will notice that this is the unvarnished David Shuler, with all the phony sweetness and light removed. He says our mother made a mistake by trying to help Carol and me, as if that's a decision for him to make. Has our mother (and our father, when he was living) provided financial assistance to David and his family when they encountered rocky waters? I strongly suspect the answer is yes. But to help Carol and me? What a dreadful thought.

David then falsely claims I had refused to pay the rent or vacate the property. David's letter was dated August 21, 2015, meaning Cowherd still was at least 10 days short of being able to initiate eviction proceedings, much less have a court date. David Shuler conveniently ignores this little matter of law.

The second paragraph is so crooked that is makes the mind swim. From one side of his mouth, David claims to be representing our mother. From the other side, he admits that he (and our mother) are working on behalf of Trent Cowherd, trying to make sure Cowherd regained property that he was not entitled to regain because he untimely filed his rent-and-possession case.

"Fraud on the court" is a legal term that is more complex than most lay folks realize. I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, but this probably comes pretty close to a "fraud on the court." David Shuler admits he was representing one person when his real interest was in assisting another -- and he even roped our elderly mother in on such a crooked act.

I used to think Alabama was home to a special breed of corrupt legal animal. But I've discovered you can find the same sort of animals in Missouri and probably many other states -- they have no problem crossing state lines.

Despite multiple requests, David never served the below letter on me -- as he is required by law to do. I guess David wasn't so proud of his handiwork once he knew it had seen the light of day. Isn't that how cockroaches behave, constantly trying to avoid the light?





31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your brother must be the most two-faced SOB I've ever heard about. Hate to say it, but he exhibits signs of being a sociopath.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:59 --

It doesn't bother me for you to say it. Experience has taught me that the legal profession has an unusually high percentage of sociopaths, or at least individuals with sociopathic tendencies.

To be clear, people tend to think of sociopaths as mass-murderer types, like Ted Bundy. But that's not the case. They are people without empathy, without a functioning conscience.

legalschnauzer said...

For those interested in the subject of sociopaths in the professional environment, here is a book worth checking out:

"Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work"

After my last six months or so of work at UAB, I feel like I have a graduate degree in this subject:

http://www.snakesinsuits.com/

Fat Tony said...

Ex Parte with the judge?

All I got to say is WHAT THE FUCK?

Anonymous said...

That letter from your brother is pure arrogance and nastiness. I'm not an expert on legal ethics, but seems to me he should be sanctioned for that. After reading it, the judge should have immediately recused.

legalschnauzer said...

Just got two more comments from Craig Lowther. They will not be published, but the guy is so unhinged that he's in the 35-40 comment range over the past two blogging days. Never seen anything like it.

Anonymous said...

So your brother claims the landlord was willing to execute a new lease for you. Was this before or after his letter to the judge?

legalschnauzer said...

It was about 2 1/2 months before. He conveniently leaves out that we already had a lease that was due to go month to month, and there was nothing in that lease that said we were due to have a new lease.

I don't know if this is even true. The tone of his letter, written 2 1/2 months later, makes it clear that he and Cowherd were colluding against us. So anything he might say regarding a lease probably was not stated in good faith.

legalschnauzer said...

The problem here is a landlord who makes stuff up as he goes along, and thinks he can get away with it. No telling how many landlords like that are around the country. Read your leases, folks, because there is a good chance someone will try to take advantage of you if you don't.

In this case, Cowherd only needed to have language such as this in the lease: "If co-signor opts out at any point during the 13th-month term of the lease, tenant must qualify on his own and execute a new lease. If tenant fails to qualify and sign new lease, tenant must vacate premises within 30 days after notice of such failure."

That's real simple, but there was no such language in our lease. Cowherd tried to impose such language after the fact -- and of course, that's not how it works; it's breach of contract.

Anonymous said...

Your mother fulfilled her duty under the lease, so the fact Cowherd sued her tells me they are an unbelievably sleazy outfit. What a disgrace, and your brother did nothing about it.

legalschnauzer said...

The lawsuit against my mother, in my view, is a sign of collusion between Cowherd and my brother. The only reason for that lawsuit was to allow David to keep his nose in our business. That he didn't do anything about it -- file a counterclaim or a motion to dismiss -- tells me the claim against my mother was bogus, and David and Cowherd probably cooked that whole deal up together. David then had the audacity, at some point, to send me an e-mail stating it was my fault our mother had been sued. In fact, the evidence suggests he helped arrange it.

Anonymous said...

If your brother's words are true, and the landlord was willing for you to stay, why did they then start trying to kick you out? This seems like clear evidence that they were fine with you staying there.

legalschnauzer said...

Real good question, @11:39. It does seem clear that in June, 2015, landlord was fine with us staying there. What changed in two months?

BTW, Carol and I never refused to sign a new lease. If I remember correctly, I didn't respond to David's e-mail because I already had serious concerns about his motives. And we just didn't go to the alleged meeting. I figured, the landlord could contact us directly if they wanted such a meeting. I saw no reason for David to be involved with it.

The landlord never raised the issue of a new lease with us -- again, that's my memory; I haven't gone through records -- and promptly went into eviction mode. Heck, I imagine the landlord could have sent a new lease, with explanatory letter, in the mail (or attached it to our door), but they never did that. That still would have been a violation of the lease, but it would have maintained a little good will.

Again, this was a sign that David and Cowherd were in cahoots, and I was not going to get ensnared in that.

Anonymous said...

LS: You might look up the term "retaliatory eviction" or "eviction and retaliation."

I'm pretty sure there is such a concept under the law, and your case sounds like an example of it. As I understand it, they wanted you to qualify on your own and sign a new lease -- even though your original lease contained no such language. You balked at such a requirement that was outside the contract, and they retaliated by having you evicted for no reason.

Not sure if this is a crime, but pretty sure it's a civil wrong, and it's pretty serious when you are talking about the roof over someone's head.

legalschnauzer said...

"Fat Tony"

You make a fascinating point. I assume you are a layperson. If so, you know this ex parte letter was wrong, improper. And yet, my brother wrote it and filed it anyway. And he has a law degree and a bar card, even though he apparently ignores anything he ever learned about law.

To me, this is a sign of how corrupt the system is here in SW Missouri, perhaps the whole state. Anyone with an ounce of integrity simply does not do this. It tells me David Shuler is in the middle of corrupt legal machinery in this area.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me the landlord is admitting you were an excellent tenant. Whether you paid it or your mother paid it, David says the rent always was paid in full and on time. I've seen no suggestions that you were a troublesome tenant -- messing up the place, causing problems for neighbors, etc. So, why did they want to kick you out?

legalschnauzer said...

@12:06 --

I think @11:52 nailed it. They kicked us out for standing up for our rights, as spelled out in the original lease. It was retaliation. We already had a lease that was due to go month to month, and there was nothing in it about needing a new lease if the co-signor wanted out.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again: Cowherd's own representative admitted in court there was no provision in the lease calling for us to be qualified on our own. We already were qualified, and if they wanted to cover the possibility of a co-signor stepping back, they should have put that language in there.

If my memory is correct, my mother stated when we signed the lease that she intended to co-sign only for 13 months. They could have put language (maybe an addendum) into the lease at that point to cover such a situation. They didn't do it.

legalschnauzer said...

@11:52 --

Thanks for raising the issue of retaliatory eviction. Here is one article I found on the subject:

https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-a-retaliatory-eviction-2125266


"A retaliatory eviction occurs when a landlord attempts to evict a tenant after the tenant has taken an action that bothers the landlord in some way.


"The tenant may have complained about maintenance issues or even attempted to organize the other tenants in the property. Even though the tenant was within their legal right, the landlord did not like what the tenant did, so the landlord files an eviction in retaliation for the tenant’s behavior. This is a retaliatory eviction."

legalschnauzer said...

@11:52 --

Thanks for raising the issue of retaliatory eviction. Here is one article I found on the subject:

https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-a-retaliatory-eviction-2125266


"A retaliatory eviction occurs when a landlord attempts to evict a tenant after the tenant has taken an action that bothers the landlord in some way.


"The tenant may have complained about maintenance issues or even attempted to organize the other tenants in the property. Even though the tenant was within their legal right, the landlord did not like what the tenant did, so the landlord files an eviction in retaliation for the tenant’s behavior. This is a retaliatory eviction."

Anonymous said...

Looks to me like the landlord did not want you to go month to month, even though the lease called for it to go month to month. By trying to force you to sign a new lease, they wanted to lock you in for another year. I wonder why.

legalschnauzer said...

You nailed it, @12:58. And I, too, wonder why they didn't want us to go month to month. Perhaps someone wanted to make sure we didn't move back to Alabama?

legalschnauzer said...

Just got two more comments from Craig Lowther. He's closing in on 40. Doesn't this guy have work to do?

Fat Tony said...

You just thought you deleted my comment.
Last time I looked it was still there.


Anyway I gotta coupla suggestions for you.

First thing is the next time you need a lawyer you could do worse than my friend Vinny Gambini!
He won a famous case against a buncha clueless backscratching backwoods crackers. Maybe you heard of that one?

Second thing is find out who tha fuck has been whacking away at your brother's hair and chinmuff so you can STAY WAY THE FUCK AWAY from that barber shop! If he's been getting them at home DIY bowl jobs, then let me know. The guys down at the social club won't hardly believe that shit! Most of them already think something might be wrong in them Missouri hills and hollers for sure. All but Slow Joey, 'cause he thinks that Missouri hillbilly stuff is just fake reality tv, like them preppies got rich with Duck Dynasty and Silver Dollar City.



Anyway, back to bad haircuts, why I'm asking for the details is we got some misbehaving yutes in our neighborhood been disturbing the peace and what need a good whack in the kiester or likewise. Giving them a haircut like that bowl job or whatever the fuck it is would probably be like dipping them in a drum full of dead skunks as far as temporarily ruining their social life. Kind of like a self reversing dose of saltpeter!

legalschnauzer said...

You're a hoot, Fat Tony. Love it!

In fairness to my brother -- and I don't know why I would be fair to him -- he isn't nearly as ugly as he is in that picture. Horrible picture. You'd think a guy who lives in a planned community could afford a decent haircut and a razor.

Hope you will continue to comment. You've got an "unusual" perspective on things.

Fat Tony said...

He lives in a planned community? Like the kind of planned community John McCain tells jokes about? That might explain something.

The only other thing I have time to tell you right now is you be sure to look up my cousin Vinnie!

Do it today!



Anonymous said...

God, I thought my brother was a shit ass. He's like Gandhi compared to yours.

Anonymous said...

Hey, is Fat Tony that character on "The Simpsons"?

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, Fat Tony even has his own Wikipedia page. He is, indeed, a special guest here at LS:


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_Tony_(The_Simpsons)

legalschnauzer said...

Just got another comment from Craig Lowther. It's just as ill-informed as the other 39 or so unpublished comments he's sent in past couple of blogging days. The guy just pulls stuff out of his ass, never makes a citation to actual law. I assume that's because the actual law doesn't say what he wants it to say. Not sure if Lowther is more stupid or more arrogant. He's a lot of both.

Anonymous said...

Lowther is doing what students are taught in law school:

If the facts are on your side, pound on the facts; if the law is on your side, pound on the law; if neither is on your side, pound on the table

Lowther is pounding on the table. I haven't seen all of his unpublished comments, but you might have grounds to bring a harassing communications claim against you.

Anonymous said...

Did you use the words "Craig Lowther" and "arrogant" in the same sentence? If so, that surely is the Craig Lowther those of us in the Springfield legal community "know and love." Ole Craig seems to think he created the law, like Moses on the mountain top, with a tablet. Ole Craig doesn't bother to cite law because he doesn't think the creator of law should have to.

It's a hoot to see that a little old blogger has the Mighty Craig Lowther all shook up, in a way that Elvis never could have dreamed. Keep up the good work, Mr. Schnauzer. If you bring Lowther down, you will have a bunch of us in your cheering section.