Monday, November 16, 2015

National Lawyers Association might want to think twice before including Jessica Medeiros Garrison on a panel about defamation law in the digital age

Jessica Medeiros Garrison
An organization that claims to be dedicated to improving the legal profession and the nation's justice system reportedly has invited Alabama Republican operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison to participate in a panel discussion about defamation law in the Internet age.

The National Lawyers Association (NLA), however, might want to think twice about allowing Garrison to speak on the subject. If Garrison plans to discuss her defamation lawsuit against me and Legal Schnauzer, she would be wise to think real hard about whether or not that's a good idea.

How do we know that Garrison might speak before the NLA? She revealed that little nugget in an interview with Rob Holbert, publisher of Lagniappe Mobile. Here is how Holbert put it:

As more and more bloggers fill the web with "journalism" that displays wildly varying degrees of ethical standards, accountability and verification, it seems likely the subject is going to be more widely discussed. Garrison said the National Lawyers Association will soon be conducting a panel on the matter, and she has been asked to join the discussion.
Does it make sense to include Garrison on such a panel? Not one bit.

We've already presented evidence that suggests Garrison knows virtually nothing about First Amendment law--and cares not one iota about the rule of law. Those two characteristics alone would make her a poor choice to participate in a panel about communications in the digital environment.

But issues with Garrison go way beyond that. In an as-told-to article at women's fashion site, Garrison attacked my reporting about her extramarital affair with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. She even crowed that she had "won" a $3.5-million default judgment against me.

But there were a number of facts Garrison either lied about or neglected to tell her audience:

* Garrison said there was a trial in the case, but there was nothing even approaching a trial; in fact, there was no adversarial proceeding of any kind.

* Longstanding First Amendment law holds that defamation cases must go to trial, that a judge cannot act as a one-man censor on an issue so central to our democracy as a free press. Did Garrison tell her audience this? Nope.

* First Amendment law also holds that defamation cases must be decided by juries. Again, the thinking is that these issues are too important to leave in the hands of a judge who could act as a solo censorship board. No jury ever was present for Garrison's case, and she did not even ask for a jury trial in her initial filings; she only did so after I asked for a jury trial in my answer.

* Garrison only received a default judgment because, the record shows, I neither received nor was sent notification of the default-judgment hearing. That means, by law, the judgment is void, and I've seen no written document in the record that counters that.

* Overpowering evidence suggests that Garrison lied under oath in the hearing--and that, if proven, would amount to a crime called perjury. It also is possible that Strange testified falsely under oath, meaning, in essence, that Garrison's $3.5-million judgment is built on a mountain of fraud.

Does the National Lawyers Association mean well? The "About" page on its Web site includes this statement:

The National Lawyers Association (NLA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(6) membership organization devoted to advancing the legal issues that concern our members. Without regard for politics or prevailing fashion, we dedicate our work to the belief that there is a national imperative to improve the legal profession and the justice system of the nation. There's never been a more important time to be a member of the NLA.

That sounds good, but if the NLA thinks Jessica Medeiros Garrison is going to help further that noble cause, it is sadly mistaken.

Garrison touts herself as a victim of defamation. But there is nothing in any court file to support that claim. There is no finding at trial, or any form of adversarial proceeding, that my reporting was false or defamatory. There is no jury finding, as required by law, that my reporting was false or defamatory.

Does the NLA really want a non-victim, one who has shown little to zero knowledge of First Amendment law, to pontificate on defamation in the digital age? If so, the NLA could be headed down a treacherous slope.


Anonymous said...

I hope Jessica gets to speak at this panel discussion. Should be a hoot.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't the NLA find a few winos under a bridge to help fill out their panel?

Anonymous said...

A judge found that you defamed her, right?

legalschnauzer said...

Wrong. There was no trial, and the law requires that defamation cases be determined at trial. Also, there was no jury, and law requires that defamation cases be determined by a jury--not by a judge, potentially acting as one-man censor.

The judge was Don Blankenship, who I once thought was a cut above many of his corrupt colleagues. But the Garrison case proves that Blankenship can be pressured or paid or influenced--just like so many judges in Alabama.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if you had done what you were supposed to do, there would have been a trial. You often talk about what other should have done, but you failed to update your address when you moved. You didn't show up in court, except while you were in jail, so the problem is there can be no trial if the defendant refuses to show up. A default judgement is the same as winning. How is the motion to get a new trial going?

Anonymous said...

You responded to the complaint. The onus was on you, not her or the court, to find you after that; you were supposed to report any change of address.

e.a.f. said...

I would suggest Jessica is trying to find herself a new career, hence the dreams of appearing on panels

Anonymous said...

Good. Hopefully by her speaking there they can start cracking down on idiots like you Roger. Worry about your own pathetic life and stop trying to destroy others. It says a lot about someone when their own family turns against them.

legalschnauzer said...

Who is "they" that is going to start cracking down on me, 9:09? Are you talking about the NLA, like it has some enforcement power. As for your last sentence, it might say more about my family than it says about me.

legalschnauzer said...

You make an interesting point, e.a.f. Jessica can't seem to decide what she wants to be when she grows up. She's a lawyer, but it seems she practices very little law--and it appears she knows very little about the law. She wants to be a mother, it seems, but she can't figure out a way to stay married. She wants to be a political operative, but she continually aligns herself with Neanderthals like Bill Pryor, Jeff Sessions, and Luther Strange. Probably more than anything, she wants respect--but she continues to behave in a way that does not bring respect.

legalschnauzer said...

I know it's tough for you to deal in facts or law, @6:58, but I will suggest you read the following:

Specifically, I suggest you read an Alabama case called Abernathy v. Green Tree Servicing:

In an effort to make this as easy as possible for you, I will quote from Abernathy:

"Abernathy contends, among other things, that Green Tree did not provide her with appropriate notice of its November 12, 2009, application for a default judgment and that, as a result, the trial court erred when it entered the November 13, 2009, default judgment. Specifically, she argues that Rule 55(b)(2), Ala. R. Civ. P., required that her attorney be given three days' written notice before the entry of the November 13, 2009, default judgment and that the failure to provide such notice constitutes reversible error. We agree. . . .

"If the party against whom judgment by default is sought has appeared in the action, the party (or, if appearing by representative, the party's representative) shall be served with written notice of the application for judgment at least three (3) days prior to the hearing on such application."

Perhaps you need me to translate that for you. The "onus" (to borrow your word) is on the party seeking default (Garrison) to serve written notice of the application three days prior to the hearing. That didn't happen in the Garrison case, which means her judgment is void.

Hope you feel at least a little educated. You are welcome.

legalschnauzer said...

I would suggest, @6:41, that you read my response above. Again, maybe you will find yourself enlightened. Then again, maybe not, because that might not be possible. Either way, I've at least tried to inform you of the law.

Anonymous said...

If you're so sure of your stance, why have you let the default judgement stand? Why not appeal to higher court? Just curious.

legalschnauzer said...

You aren't aware of the corruption in Alabama's appellate courts? I've written about it many times, and I would suggest you read at least one of those posts:

Filing an appeal in Alabama often is a waste of time and money and effort. It's an expensive, unwieldy process that often results in an "affirmed, no opinion" ruling.

There are other ways to fight the Garrison default judgment, and I intend to pursue those avenues. The judgment is void, and that is a nondiscretionary ruling. If Garrison were an ethical attorney, which she apparently is not, she would admit the judgment is void and ask the court to order discovery and a jury trial. Let's all hold our breath while we wait for her to do that.

Anonymous said...

The appellate courts may be corrupt, but a default judgement could be easily overturned, even in Alabama, if you had sufficient evidence to do so. You are cowering behind your epithets against the court systems and Jessica Medeiros Garrison. All your posts reflect more about you than about her, sorry to tell you.

Anonymous said...

Even your own lawyer admitted had a duty to notify the clerk of court of any address changes. He offered excuses on your behalf, but none of them are circumstances extraordinary enough to excuse the failure.

legalschnauzer said...

I guess you refuse to read, @11:13? It's not a matter of evidence. Under the law, the judgment is void. Check the docket and see if Garrison filed anything to the contrary. She did not. She knows it's void--although her legal knowledge is limited--but she would rather crow to the imbeciles at than stand up for the rule of law.

By the way, would you care to offer any evidence to counter my showing that Garrison (and probably Strange) lied under oath at the default-judgment hearing? Perjury doesn't bother you?

legalschnauzer said...

My own lawyer also argued, correctly, that the law requires the party seeking default to give at least three days written notice of the hearing and application. The docket shows that didn't happen. Jessica Garrison and Bill Baxley both know that didn't happen, but they don't care about the rule of law, as we have already shown.

If you refuse to read Abernathy v. Green Tree Servicing, that's your business. But this blog is my business, and if you continue to submit stupid comments not based on the law, they will be deleted.

Either read and comprehend Abernathy or find something else to occupy your time.

I'm always glad to discuss issues with readers, but I'm through discussing this issue with a reader who refuses to learn, who seems to enjoy being stupid.

Anonymous said...

Abernathy also doesn't deal with someone absconding. Abernathy was easily served notice and, had you provided an address, you would have received notice too. Sorry, but you failed on your part to stay active in the case.

legalschnauzer said...

If you refuse to read Abernathy or are incapable of comprehending what it says, you need more help than I can provide. Here are the basics, being spoonfed to you:

"In the present case, it is undisputed that Abernathy made
an appearance by virtue of her postjudgment motion seeking
relief from the July 24, 2009, default judgment. As a result,
Green Tree was required to give three days' written notice to
her representative of its November 12, 2009, application for
a default judgment. It is undisputed that Green Tree failed
to do so. As a result, Green Tree violated the notice
provision of Rule 55(b)(2), and the trial court erred when it
entered the November 13, 2009, default judgment."

Anonymous said...

LS, you obviously have some people very worried, in Alabama and Missouri. It's almost comical to read these commenters' attempts to change the narrative in their favor. Experience tells me that someone who goes to that much trouble to lie and cheat, has big-time worries.

Anonymous said...

You can't resist the continued references to the "extramarital affair".

Has someone in your immediate family been involved in one? Mid 1990's, perhaps?

You may need to consider that question with great care.

legalschnauzer said...

I have no idea, @11:38. By my "immediate family," who are you talking about?

I don't keep up much with certain members of what could be called my immediate family. Of the ones I do keep up with, I know there have been no extramarital affairs. If you care to present evidence to the contrary, ID yourself and we can arrange a time for you to share your information. I can't wait to see or hear it.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Schnauzer, are you worried about a member of your immediate family being outed for having an extramarital affair in the mid '90s?

legalschnauzer said...

Heck no, @11:00, I'm looking forward to the "breaking news" on that. I know who it isn't, so I can't wait to learn who it is.