Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Here's One Way a Corrupt Alabama Judge Will Cheat You

I raised the hackles of a few readers several weeks back when I stated that Alabama state judge Robert Vance Jr. is corrupt.

It pained me to write those words because Vance is a Democrat, who was appointed by former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. And as regular readers know, I have been one of the louder voices in the blogosphere stating that Siegelman was the victim of a political and unlawful prosecution.

Ironically, Vance is in the news these days because of an electronic-bingo case in Walker County. He is scheduled to conduct a hearing on the matter today.

Vance isn't fit to preside over a corner lemonade stand, much less a court case of any substance.

To state that a public official is corrupt is serious business--and I don't use such terms lightly. It's particularly difficult when that official is a Democrat who, theoretically at least, should share my generally progressive views.

Robert Vance Jr., unfortunately, is a phony. Not so much because he acts in decidedly unprogressive ways. But mainly because he acts in unlawful ways, and as a judge, he took an oath to uphold the law.

I wrote about Vance a few weeks back because his wife, Joyce White Vance, was Barack Obama's choice as the new U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. I stated that Joyce White Vance undoubtedly will be an improvement on the abominable Alice Martin, who served under George W. Bush. But I also voiced my concerns that Joyce Vance has ties to the Birmingham legal establishment and noted that her husband is a judge--a bad one.

Let me explain one of the basic ground rules we use here at Legal Schnauzer. We operate under the assumption that if a judge acts unlawfully in one case, he probably has acted unlawfully in others. That's why I paint Robert Vance Jr. with a broad brush. He definitely cheated me, and I find it hard to believe he hasn't cheated other litigants.

How did Vance Jr. cheat me? Let me explain:

It involved a legal malpractice claim I filed against Jesse P. Evans III and Michael B. Odom, the lawyers who originally defended me in the lawsuit filed by my troublesome Shelby County neighbor, Mike McGarity.

At the time, Evans and Odom were with the Birmingham firm of Adams & Reese/Lange Simpson. They since have moved to Haskell Slaughter. Evans is well known as a property lawyer and even has written a textbook on the subject. I sought him out because the lawsuit against me involved real-property issues, and a friend had told me that Evans was an expert in the field. Odom was Evans' assistant and handled most of the actual work on my case.

To be blunt, Evans and Odom cheated me raw. In the Shelby County case, we filed two motions for summary judgment, which were properly executed and supported with affidavits regarding material facts. On the first, McGarity did not respond as required by law, meaning summary judgment had to be granted and the case dismissed. On the second, McGarity did not respond at all--and that's because he had no case and his corrupt lawyer, William E. Swatek, surely knew it. Again, summary judgment had to be granted.

Judge J. Michael Joiner denied both summary judgment motions, contrary to clear, black-letter law. Evans and Odom had to know the judge was cheating me, but they did nothing about it. They even refused to file a counterclaim on my behalf, even though McGarity had built a fence on our property, enclosing about 400 square feet of our yard. It's hard to imagine a more egregious example of trespass.

Evans and Odom, however, did nothing to protect my rights, ensuring that I was on the defensive throughout the proceeding. So I fired them--and then sued them. Acting pro se, I filed the legal-malpractice lawsuit in Jefferson County Circuit Court on September 4, 2003--case number CV03--5627.

My original complaint was 12 pages long and outlined four counts against Evans and Odom--legal malpractice, fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent suppression, and fraudulent deceit. The action was brought pursuant to the Alabama Legal Services Liability Act, sections 6-5-570, et. seq., Code of Alabama. That's the catch-all statute for actions against legal services providers, and my complaint was filed well inside the two-year statute of limitations.

The Birmingham firm of Starnes & Atchison represented Evans and Odom and promptly filed a Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure, claiming that I had failed to state a claim for which relief could be granted.

In an order dated December 5, 2003, Vance granted the Motion to Dismiss. I filed a Motion to Alter, Amend, or Vacate under Rule 59(e), but it was denied on January 5, 2004. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals affirmed Vance's ruling, without an opinion, and the Alabama Supreme Court denied certiorari to hear the case.

Here's the key to understanding how Vance cheated me: When you read in the newspaper about a lawsuit being dismissed, it almost always means that summary judgment has been granted, under Rule 56. (Note: Summary judgment is handled under Rule 56 in federal cases, too.)

Summary judgment means that both parties have had an opportunity to conduct discovery, and one party or the other has shown that, based on the facts and the law presented, there is no reason for the case to go to trial.

That is very different from a Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). Such a motion, if granted, cuts off a case before it even gets started. It claims that the plaintiff's complaint, on its face, is insufficient--and the case should be dismissed without any discovery being conducted.

Most honest Alabama lawyers will tell you that filing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is a waste of their time--and their client's money--because the motion almost never can be granted under the law.

Why? Federal courts and most state courts, including Alabama, operate under a "notice pleading" rule. What does that mean? Here is one definition:

[The] Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,” in order to “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests."

To overcome a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, I only needed to give Evans and Odom notice of what the claim was and the grounds for supporting it. I met that burden with this one sentence in my complaint, under "Count One--Legal Malpractice":

13. The actions and inactions of Defendants, as set forth in paragraphs 1 through 11 above, fall below that level of such reasonable care, skill and diligence that other similarly situated legal services providers in the same general line of practice as Defendants and in the same general locality ordinarily have and exercise in like cases.

That one sentence, noting that I had set forth 11 paragraphs of facts to support my claim, was sufficient to overcome Evans and Odom's Motion to Dismiss. In all, I provided 12 pages worth of facts and law--when only one sentence was sufficient. And Vance still could not get it right!

Jerome Hoffman, a professor at the University of Alabama School of Law, has written a book called Alabama Civil Procedure, and he probably is the foremost authority on that topic. What does he say about a Motion to Dismiss?

Courts do not favor motions to dismiss. As a Rule of thumb, Rule 12(b)(6) motions will almost never be granted by trial courts, and those that are will almost always be reversed by appellate courts.

Couldn't be more simple, could it? I've got a stump in my backyard that could have gotten it right on Starnes & Atchison's Motion to Dismiss--by denying it. But Robert Vance Jr. could not get the simplest of rulings correct under the law.

Hoffman makes it clear that this is not just his opinion of the law. He cites numerous Alabama cases, including Strain v. Hinkle, 457 So. 2d 394 (Ala., 1984); Sanders v. Judson College, 514 So. 2d 890 (Ala., 1987); and Butts v. Weiss, 346 So. 2d 422 (Ala. 1977).

For good measure, Hoffman gives examples of the rare instances where a Rule 12(b)(6) motion might properly be granted:

* When the complaint cites a grievance that is not covered under substantive law. Hoffman cites the example of a lawsuit brought because of a social snub.

* When certain affirmative defenses--such as statute of limitation, absolute immunity from suit, and qualified immunity from suit--are raised. For example, what if my complaint had stated that Evans and Odom had committed legal malpractice while representing me from January to June 1998, but my lawsuit was filed in 2003? On its face, my complaint would have missed the statute of limitations by a longshot and would properly be dismissed on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion.

That, however, was not the situation with my case. Evans and Odom did not even argue that I missed the statute of limitations (SOL). They did not argue any other affirmative defense. And they certainly did not argue that legal malpractice is not a legitimate cause of action.

I should note that many legal-malpractice cases get dismissed on statute of limitations grounds. The SOL in Alabama used to be six years. But 20 years ago or so, the Alabama Legislature (which is controlled by lawyers) changed the SOL to two years. That made it much more difficult to sue corrupt lawyers. Because legal malpractice often does not become apparent to the client until long after it has been committed, many cases get kicked on SOL grounds.

But even those are almost always dismissed on summary judgment, not on a Rule 12(b)(6). That's because discovery often is needed to determine when the statute of limitations clock lawfully began to tick.

Why did Evans and Odom, Starnes & Atchison--and Vance--want my case covered up at the Motion to Dismiss stage? Because discovery--interrogatories, depositions, production of documents, etc.--would have shown that Evans and Odom indeed committed legal malpractice against me. It also would have shown that they defrauded me. And the only way to keep that under wraps was to dismiss my lawsuit before it even got started, denying me fundamental rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Want to know a sign that a judge might be cheating you? He issues an order without citing any law. Or he makes some vague statement regarding the law, without providing any specifics. Consider this statement from Vance's order granting the Motion to Dismiss:

For the reasons stated in the defendants' motions, the plaintiff's complaint, as amended, fails to state a cause of action for which relief may be granted. Accordingly, the defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint, as amended, is hereby GRANTED.

For the reasons stated in the defendants' motions? Doesn't sound like Vance even looked at my complaint, does it? That's because he probably didn't. Sounds like he pretty much took his marching orders from Starnes & Atchison, doesn't it? That's because he probably did.

Did the defendant's motion make any reference to the actual law regarding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Of course not. That's because the lawyers from the esteemed Starnes & Atchison almost certainly knew the fix was in.

Want to know why our justice system is so screwed up? Under rules of the bar, the lawyers for Starnes & Atchison--not to mention Evans & Odom--were required to report a judge that they had to know was violating the law. The law is a self-regulating profession, so the rules required Evans & Odom (and their lawyers) to report a judge who was cheating.

But the judge was cheating in their favor. So what were the chances that they were going to uphold their responsibility under the law and report him? You know what they say about a snowball in hell.

Moral of the story? Corruption is not limited to Republican judges. And just because a judge has the word "Democrat" by his name, do not assume that he is going to be interested in the cause of regular people--or even the law. He might be mainly interested in protecting the interests of the legal profession--even its most corrupt practitioners.

Robert Vance Jr., sadly, is exactly that kind of judge.


Anonymous said...

I am hesitant to comment, but I feel compelled to say that you are simply wrong in calling Judge Vance corrupt. He is perhaps the most respected judge in the County and one of the best and brightest in the State. The fact that he ruled against you, even at the dismissal stage, was obviously disappointing to you personally, but hardly surprising, and it is certainly not evidence of any corrupt motive. Even if you are correct that his decision was legally wrong, that only means that he ruled incorrectly, not that he is corrupt. It is telling that you quote and rely on Prof. Hoffman's statement that 12(b)(6) dismissals "will almost always be reversed by appellate courts," then note that both the Alabama Court of Appeals and the Alabama Supreme Court declined to reverse Judge Vance's dismissal of your case. Your use of the word corrupt in this context undermines your claims of actual corruption in other matters about which you write.

legalschnauzer said...

If Vance is so respected, and one of the best and brightest in the state, how could he get such a simple matter wrong? That's like a baseball umpire knowingly calling a batter out after two strikes.

You sound like a lawyer, and if you are--and you read the post--you know he was wrong. It's about as simple as law gets.

The fact that he cited no law to support his decision and he cut off discovery to protect his lawyer buddies points to corrupt motive.

I don't care who Vance's father was or who is wife is or who appointed him--and I'm a supporter of Don Siegelman. Vance is a bad, corrupt judge.

The fact that Alabama appellate courts failed to overturn him only indicates that they, too, are corrupt--not surprising considering that they are filled with GOP hacks.

Are you saying that Vance is incompetent, not corrupt? Is that supposed to make parties who go before him feel better?

If you are a member of the legal community, you obviously like it that Vance protects people in your profession. Try being on the receiving end of his corrupt rulings. It's not much fun.

If you try actually reading the facts and law presented on my blog--and if you are honest with yourself (a big if)--you will know I'm right on other issues, too.

One suggestion: You sound like a well read, intelligent guy. Why don't you tell us who you are? If you are so confident of your views, reveal your identity. You are welcome to right me at my personal e-mail, which is on the blog, or call me on the phone, which is in the book.

Otherwise, what you write doesn't mean much. I put my name on everything I write. That's why I was cheated out of my job at UAB, a situation Vance helped create.

Anonymous said...

Your primary argument here is simplistic to the point of laughability: "I did not win. Therefore, my old attorneys *must* have sold me out, and now opposing counsel are colluding are with the corrupt judge. The 'fix is in.'" Sad. But I suppose even paranoids have enemies.

Innuendo, at which you obviously excel, is not fact. And you do not present a single fact - not one - tending to indicate that Judge Vance is incompetent, much less corrupt. Perhaps Judge Vance made the wrong decision in your case. Unlikely, given the fact that he was affirmed per curiam, indicating that his decision was so clearly correct that no discussion was needed. But possible.

And even if he did make a mistake, so what? Is he therefore incompetent and unfit to be a judge? Preposterous. Judge Vance is human, just like anywone else, and humans make mistakes all the time. Which is why there is an appeals process. But oh, I almost forgot: all the judges and justices on the Court of Civil Appeals and the Ala. Supreme Court - they're all part of the conspiracy, too. Sure thing.

Anyway, your pseudo-legal argument - that paragraph 13 of your complaint, alone, warranted denying the motion - is superficial, serving only to emphasize your failure to grasp some fairly basic legal concepts. Notice pleading requires a short and plain statement of the claim - including at least some allegation of *facts* which, if true, would tend to support the relief requested.

Stating a claim: "My attorney failed to file the complaint within the statute of limitations and therefore committed malpractice."

Not stating a claim (you): "My attorney committed malpractice."

See the difference? Your paragraph 13 is a conclusion. No facts. And conclusions, in the absence of facts, cannot support a claim.

Don't waste your time with Hoffman. He writes books, but hasn't practiced law - if ever - in 30 years. Yes, Rule 12(b)(6) motions are rarely granted without leave to amend, and even more rarely upheld on appeal. But they are, sometimes.

That Judge Vance was upheld - twice, in effect - tells me everything I need to know.

legalschnauzer said...

It's pointless discussing this with you because you are so desperate to defend Judge Vance that you apparently refuse to absorb the post. But I'll try anyway:

* I never said my attorneys "sold me out" because I "didn't win." I said they refused to take lawful and appropriate steps in reaction to a judge's unlawful ruling (in Shelby County). When a party presents a properly supported and executed motion for summary judgment and the opposing party fails to respond at all, summary judgment must be granted. That's fact, simple law. If you are a lawyer, you know that. If you are not a lawyer, you need to educate yourself. I can't wait to hear you try to defend Mike Joiner next. I suppose you think he's "one of the best judges in this part of the country." Those were Jesse Evans' words to me. If that's the case, it probably explains why the South is in such sorry shape.

* It's not a matter of "perhaps" Vance made the wrong decision; he made the wrong decision. And the matter is so basic . . . it would be like someone claiming to be a mathematician who cannot get 2 + 2 correct. That's pure incompetence or corruption. Take your pick. Either way, even you can't defend it.

* I can always tell when someone has no leg to stand on. They start calling you names (paranoid) and applying bogus labels to your work (innuendo). Weak, very weak.

* My post presents fact after fact. It cites the case law on Rule 12(b)(6) and even gives examples of when a motion to dismiss is appropriate. Just because you choose to ignore the facts, doesn't mean they aren't there.

* You might go back and read my statement regarding paragraph 13. It begins with the statement that I had presented 11 paragraphs worth of facts. Better yet, why don't you go to the courthouse and check out the complaint or call it up on AlaCourt. It will save you from looking clueless.

* Talk about laughable. Your comments on Hoffman are a scream. First, if you've read his book, you know it is heavily footnoted, with cases cited to back up everything he writes. And you admit he's correct about Rule 12(b)(6), but say such motions sometimes are granted. You are simply agreeing with what Hoffman and I have written. In the facts of my case, the motion could only be granted when the judge is corrupt or incompetent--like Vance. Again, look it up. It's public record.

You sound like you must be from Starnes & Atchison--defender of the status quo. No wonder you love Vance. He lets you win your cases when you do a lousy job. And Starnes & Atchison did a horrible job representing Evans & Odom. Heck, I was pro se, and I kicked your ass all over the courtroom. Must make you feel like a big manly lawyer when you win because the judge is a corrupt boob--getting by on his daddy's reputation. I guess I would love Vance too if I were you. Must be nice to win your cases, even when you suck as a lawyer.

By the way, I notice you continue to hide behind the cloak of anonymity. I notice you didn't contact me personally, as I invited you to do. Makes me think you know you have no case, but you are too big a coward to admit it.

Why don't you invite Judge Vance to contact me. Or he can explain his ruling--citing actual law--and I will run it word for word on my blog. I will be holding my breath while he--or you--search for the law that supports his ruling.

Oh, I forgot . . . we are a nation of "king" judges. They can do whatever they want--the law itself means nothing. And if they get it wrong, they are still "respected." They can just say, "Whoops, my bad. Sorry I ruined your life, but you'll get over it. Next case."

By the way, how much money has Starnes & Atchison paid to help put Vance in office? Dial me up when you have the figure.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, these two comments came from separate people. I made the first comment but declined your invitation to contact you personally. Given your response to the second comment, I am secure in the wisdom of that decision.

Anonymous said...

Post your complaint, the motion to dismiss it, and your response. If something is so obvious, you shouldn't have a problem posting it for the world to see. Otherwise, we're stuck having to take your word for it, and Occam's razor tells me that it's more likely that your're wrong than it is that the entire bench of the state of Alabama is corrupt.

legalschnauzer said...

All of that already is available for the world to see. It's a matter of public record, and the court file is available to anyone who wants to see it--including you.

As you should know, court documents often are voluminous. And these were filed in the days before electronic filing was common. I have them in a hard-copy format, and it probably would cost me $40 or more to scan them--and I'm not going to do it. Robert Vance already has cheated me out of enough money.

You are welcome to copy them at the courthouse and scan them and post them all you'd like. You can even e-mail them to me, and I will post them. I'd love to post them, but I'm not going to pay the expenses. This stuff ain't free.

I've already cited the pertinent sections and the law that show Vance got it wrong. Even his anonymous defenders who have responded to this post seem to admit that he got it wrong. They just quibble with my use of the term "corrupt" regarding the fine judge.

Let me know if you want to pay the copying and scanning costs. Then, I would be glad to post it.

Or better yet, forget the copying. I've already got the documents. I will be happy to meet you at the OfficeMax on 280, and they can scan them for us--you pick up the tab.

Is that a deal? I look forward to meeting you. Always fun to meet my anonymous critics in person.

Anonymous said...

I think you should draw a distinction between someone who asks for evidence and "a critic."

And I think it is hilarious that you think that I should take your word that a judge is corrupt, but, if I want the proof, I need to come and pay for the proof. If you will call a judge corrupt but won't pay $40 to copy the papers, I am left to conclude that your allegation isn't worth $40.

It's your argument. Until you post the whole thing, I will conclude that you are withholding the parts that hurt your argument and are cherrypicking what helps. It's your burden to carry, and forgive me for concluding that you've not made your case.

legalschnauzer said...

I don't care what you conclude or what you find hilarious.

I've offered to meet you in a public place, let you scan documents until your heart's content, and I will post them on my blog.

But I'm not going to pay to satisfy your curiosity. You're the only person asking for the full documents, and you can get the answers for yourself by checking the court file, for free.

What kind of baby are you? You want me to put the food in your mouth and chew it for you, too?

If you don't have guts enough to meet me in public, I'm not going to waste my time and money on you.

Hell, call Vance and ask him to cite law that supports his ruling. That's free, and you seem to love him so much, he should be glad to do it.

There's only one problem. No such law exists.

The evidence you ask for is already out there. I've given you the case number, and you can look it up for free. You don't want to put forth any effort and you don't want to pay anything.

You're lazy and cheap, too. As Dean Wormer famously said in "Animal House," "Son, that's no way to go through life."

Let me know when you are ready to shed your coward's clothes, and your words might begin to carry a little weight.

Right now, you are nothing but a coward--and I don't care what cowards have to say.

Anonymous said...

How many names did you just call me? Do you really mean all that stuff you say about me? A baby? Lazy? Cheap? A coward?

Do you generally believe an article that says "you can find the stuff that will convince you I'm right if you go look for it" but refuses to actually produce the evidence?

And where exactly did I defend Judge Vance?

I'm giving you a chance to substantiate a serious allegation. You are the one who has alleged that an elected judge is corrupt. I have no idea if you're right or wrong, but I am generally enough of a sceptic about anything to rely on evidence instead of allegation.

That seems like something you would be all over. Why not now? I understand that this may be personal to you, but is it really not worth the effort? And does it really make sense to attack the character of someone who asks pretty basic questions?

legalschnauzer said...

Sorry if you don't like the language I used, but that's how you come across to me.

I offered to meet you in a public place and provide you the documents you asked for. I promised to run them on my blog once they are scanned. I simply asked you to pay for the scanning.

That wasn't good enough for you, so I'm afraid I can't help you.

In case you didn't know, political powers that be in our state cheated me out of my job at UAB. If you read my blog regularly, you should know that.

Anyway, $40 (which might be a conservative amount for scanning these documents) means a lot to me right now.

As one of many unemployed people in the Bush recession, I have bigger concerns than whether you are satisfied with evidence presented on my blog.

If you are truly interested, and you are gainfully employed and can afford the scanning costs, I don't see why it would be a problem for you.

As for defending Judge Vance, you won't give me your name, so I can't tell you from other anonymous commenters. Until I know who you are, I have no way of knowing where you are coming from.

You clearly don't want to identify yourself, so that's where we are.

Sorry if I hurt your feelings, but you started the conversation and turned down a good-faith offer on my part.

I'm more than happy to meet people halfway, but you seem to want a free ride. I've told you where you can find the documents for free, so have it. Or we can meet, you pay for the scanning, and I'll run the scans. Your choice.

I'm the one doing the heavy lifting here. I write the blog, I researched the law, I wrote the documents. You don't seem to want to lift a finger.

Anonymous said...

Schnauzer, I understand that there is a cost associated with scanning the documents other readers have requested. However, you make some pretty strong allegations based on these documents. Your readers' requests are not unreasonable. You accuse Judge Vance of taking marching orders from Starnes & Atchison. You state that Starnes did not cite any law regarding Rule 12(b)(6) because "they almost certainly knew the fix was in." These are mighty big leaps in logic. Did Starnes cite any law in support of its motion? If so, why don't you list those cites here so we can go look them up. That won't cost you a nickel. Schnauzer, you are a much better journalist than the product you have put in this post. Surely you can substantiate your claims with more real proof than you have done so far. (And, yes, I know that last statement will elicit an Airplane! quotation from you.)

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for mentioning Airplane! You surely know how much that reference means to me.

As for Vance taking his marching orders from Starnes & Atchison, his own order says, "Pursuant to the authorities cited in the defendant's motions . . . "

That's a pretty clear indication he took their brief as gospel and ignored mine--even though mine contained the controlling law.

The cases I cited in the post from Hoffman show that this was a very easy issue to decide. And my brief cited three key cases regarding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. These have to do with the standard of review for such a motion, something Starnes did not mention in its brief. The key elements in such a review:

* "This court must accept the allegations of the complaint as true." Creola Land Dev. Inc. v. Bentbrooke Housing LLC 825 So. 2d 285.

* The court does not consider whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail, but only whether he may possibly prevail. Nance v. Matthews, 622 So. 2d 297.

* We construe all doubts regarding the sufficiency of the complaint in favor of the plaintiff. Ex parte Haralson, Lexis 11.

Vance botched it on all three standards. Didn't get anything right.

Starnes cited several cases in its brief, and they would have been appropriate for a motion for summary judgment. But that's not what this was.

Of course, if it had been an MSJ, Starnes would have had to support it with evidence from their clients (Evans & Odom), which they clearly did not want to do because the evidence would not have been favorable.

Evans and Odom cheated me, and I'm sure they know it. I simply asked for my money back from them, and they are such greaseballs that they refused.

What if you went to a mechanic and asked him to repair your engine? You get home, look under the hood and realize nothing has been done. You return to the garage and demand that the mechanic either do the work or refund your money. He refuses to do either. Would you be ticked? Well, that's essentially what Evans and Odom did to me. And Vance let them get away with it.

How would you feel about Vance--not to mention Evans and Odom and their defenders from Starnes & Atchison? Bet you wouldn't be too happy.

Vance unlawfully shut down the case in order to protect his lawyer buddies.

The only relevant law was the standard of review for a motion to dismiss. And as I note through Hoffman above, I only needed to meet Alabama's notice pleading standard.

The Starnes brief is available in the case file at the courthouse, and you are welcome to check it out. But I'm not going to cite it here because the cases were not relevant to the standard of review for a motion to dismiss.

Their cases would have been relevant on a motion for summary judgment. But the case did not get that far--Vance made sure of it.

I cited the relevant law in my brief, and I've repeated them for you here. Vance isn't stupid; he knew the law.

He chose to protect the legal profession and cheat a citizen who had been wronged by lawyers--simple as that.

If Alabama Democrats had a spine, they would boot Vance out of their party. And Don Siegelman should be ashamed that he ever appointed the guy.

In my case, Vance's ultimate message was: "Let's steal from the little guy and give to the rich. Let's protect the wealthy, and screw regular folks."

What a guy!

Vance is a disgrace to any notion of progressive ideals--and to his father's memory.

Anonymous said...

I realize I am posting this quite a bit late after the smoke has cleared. But just in case anyone cares to read my little footnote, here goes. I hope it helps someone, in some small way.

I have handled a case pro se in court. (So, I am obviously not a lawyer.) In my experience I have found that the law is very intricate and ambiguous. What one may think is straight forward and clear is not.

In reviewing the previous blogs of the Complainant who was dissatisfied with the performance of his attorneys and the judge's decision, I am inclined to believe that there may have been some lax representation on behalf of the lawyers representing the complainant who complained about his neighbor's trespass on his property. It seems pretty easy to establish property trespass with just proof of the property boundaries and the fact that the neighbor has a fence there. HOwever there are instances of "squatter's rights" which would defeat the homeowner's claim of trespass. (Something I suggest the complainant look into.)

Yet, when the case was defeated in trial court, there appears to have been some legal mishap which could have been remedied had the attorneys been willing to dig deeper and apply more effort.

The judge's decision is not untouchable. I think your appeal may not have been properly pleaded, which could lead to the upholding of an unjust trial court decision based on something as simple as not properly formatting an appeal; not stating the facts succinctly (according to legal jargon), or some other thing which we would deem trivial but the courts consider a major factor.

A lot of people lose cases because they are simply not pleaded properly. I get what the "anonymous" blogger was saying about not properly stating a claim upon which relief can be granted. An improperly stated claim equals an unstated claim. That's could be why a motion to dismiss was granted. Simply telling your story doesn't always mean you have stated your claim properly. Lawyers are keen on this and usually look to have a pro se party dismissed on some technicality rule, rather than on the merits of the case; especially if they know the pleader could win on the merits if the case proceeds to trial. So, most attorneys go skipping to court ready to plead for dismissal or summary judgment on technicality alone. Well, I guess they figure, the law allows it, and it means less work for them and they get paid still.

You seem to be a saavy person (kcomplainant) but Sadly, it looks like a more savvy lawyer took advabntage of your inexperience.

Speaking of judges however, it is possible to file a complaint with the Judicial Inquiry Commission against a judge whom you believe has abused his discretion in court in some manner or violated judicial ethics. Few people take advantage of this option to disclose judicial misconduct and the judge continues sitting on the bench committing his indiscretions with a clean unblemished record because no one files a complaint against him.

Also, the same procedure is available for filing a complaint with the Alabama Bar Association, against unscrupulous lawyers, who skate by with unblemished records when they have done thier indiscretions.

So, don't just blog here about your troubles file a complaint with the proper authorities and do some damage and let them know you don't appreciate their unethical behavior. They have damaged your "precious" case, now hit them back where it hurts... in thier "precious" reputation which is a decision maker for deep pocket clients who check their records before they hire their services. An attorney or judge with a truck load of complaints filed against them won't be around for long.
So, my friend, you have 2 years after the commission of the act to file your complaint. I hope you haven't waited too long.
I wish you the best.

Anonymous said...

I think I speak for all my fellow attorneys when I say this:

This blog confirms the gospel truth that, when everything seems bleak and the sky is gray, it never takes more than the hilarity of a pro se Matlock to put a smile back on your face.

When a judge grants a 12(b)6) motion, and then it is upheld by any appellate body, you can sleep well knowing that your complaint was passed around at lunch time multiple times with the introduction, "You'll get a kick out of this..."

legalschnauzer said...


You've seen the complaint in question? If so, then please explain on what grounds a motion to dismiss could be granted.

Also, why don't you try addressing some of the points actually raised in the post? Or is that too much effort for you.

Here's one thing you can sleep well at night knowing: You and your attorney friends will always stand up for a corrupt judge. Never fails. And attorneys will always do it with the kind of smart-aleck remark you just made.

Let's see you try it using the facts and the law. I can't wait to read that.

Here's a challenge: Go get the complaint--it's public record--and then explain how it fails to meet the standard for overcoming a motion to dismiss. I'll be waiting.

Anonymous said...

I find it curious that you post pleadings from your case against the debt collectors, but won't do the same for documents from your cases against your neighbor and your lawyers.

legalschnauzer said...

There's nothing curious about it. The debt collection case is a current case, and electronic filing now is common in most courts. I have those documents in an electronic format, ready to post. The other cases are older and were done on paper. I don't have a scanner, and that's why I haven't run those documents. But this blog isn't about running a bunch of legal documents. I've only run a small sampling of the documents from the debt-collection case--ones that dovetail with the subject matter in a post. I might get a scanner someday, but they cost money and you might have noticed that I'm out of a job. Want to buy a scanner for me?

If I do get a scanner, I'm not going to run reams of legal documents. That doesn't make for a very interesting blog.

In the meantime, you are welcome to go to the appropriate courthouse and examine those other files to your heart's content. They are public information.

RodRodBoBod said...

Was it dismissed "with prejudice" (can't re-file) or "without prejudice" (can fix it up and file again)?

I, too, would like to see the other 11 paragraphs; but it's not like I'm in a position to do anything about it if I agree you're right. I don't even live in Alabama.

RodRodBoBod said...

You COULD type the 11 paragraphs instead of scanning.

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