Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Andy Schroeder, president of South Central Steel in Harpersville, threatens defamation lawsuit over our reports about his presence on Ashley Madison list

Andy and Monica Johnson Schroeder
(From facebook.com)
The president and owner of a Birmingham-area steel company is threatening to sue Legal Schnauzer and me for our reporting about his presence on the Alabama list of paying customers for the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site. Andy Schroeder, however, has a slight problem: His lawyer seems unable to point to a single piece of information in our report that is false.

In a post dated July 12, 2017, we reported that Schroeder -- a graduate of Briarwood Christian High School and Auburn University, and now president/owner of South Central Steel Inc. (SCS) in Harpersville -- appears on the list of paying customers at Ashley Madison. He is married to Monica Johnson Schroeder, a vice president at Capital One who has held several positions in real-estate finance. The couple has two sons -- Chase, who played football at Briarwood and is president of Mountain Top Events in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Drew, who is a current Briarwood student (class of 2019) and a member of the golf team.

All of that is undeniably true, but attorney Tommy B. Majors -- of the Majors Law Firm in Eagle Point -- fired off a "cease and desist" letter (dated August 7, 2017), instructing me that I was about to face a lawsuit if I did not take corrective action regarding defamatory reports about Andy Schroeder. Did Majors point to any specific information in my reports that was false? Nope, but I was to remove it anyway.

Majors invited me, or my attorney, to direct questions to him. When I took him up on that, he provided one of the strangest replies I've ever seen. Here is a portion of the "cease and desist" letter. (The full letter is embedded at the end of this post.)

Andy Schroeder is an accomplished and respected professional in the community who leads South Central Steel Inc., with integrity and hard work. Mr. Schroeder has spent years in the community building his and the company's reputation.

It has come to our attention that you have engaged in spreading false, damaging, insensitive, and defamatory rumors about Mr. Schroeder on your Legal Schnauzer blog. . . . .

The false and defamatory statements published in your blog post on 12 July 2017 and resulting harm to Mr. Schroeder and his family is a perfect example of defamation under Alabama law. Further, the absolute failure to make any attempt to substantiate or verify your allegations in the published blog post indicates a wanton and reckless disregard in posting such false, damaging statements. Due to the extreme nature of your publication, we demand that you:

Tommy Majors
(From themajorslawfirm.com)
 (1) Immediately remove any and all postings, specifically the posting on 12 July 2017, containing information about Andy Schroeder or South Central Steel Inc.;
(2) Immediately cease and desist your unlawful defamation of Mr. Andy Schroeder; and

(3) Provide us with proper written assurance within three (3) days.

Failure to comply with the cease and desist demand within 3 days shall result in the filing of a complaint against you and any other interested parties. Such a suit shall be seeking equitable relief from your defamation, including permanent injunctive relief and appropriate restraining orders, monetary damages, court costs, and attorney fees.

I recommend that you consult with an attorney regarding this matter. If you or your attorney have any questions, please contact me directly.

When I did contact Majors directly, as instructed, the result was . . . well, peculiar, to say the least.

(To be continued)


Mark Jeffery said...

Any defamation threat that fails to specify the supposed infringing material is approximately 100% likely to be total crap.

Any actual lawsuit is equally likely to be an attempt to silence you through intimidation. Unsurprisingly, Alabama doesn't seem to have an anti-SLAPP law.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for your insight, Mark. I have a followup post coming, with more details about my communications with the lawyer. Pretty strange stuff.

Anonymous said...

This attorney must be a ding dong. Why send a letter like this if can't point to any specific false information in the post? Dumb.

legalschnauzer said...

This is the second time I've had such a letter from a lawyer regarding Ashley Madison coverage. The first letter came before I published the post, and I've continued to do research on the subject's activities at AM, and that post will be published in the near future. But like this attorney, that lawyer could not point to anything false, either.

Anonymous said...

This is what I call a "letterhead threat." The content of the letter means nothing. The lawyer is hoping you will see his letterhead -- Dear God, it's from a lawyer! -- and be frightened into doing what he wants.

legalschnauzer said...

@9:26 --

Hah! I'm going to have to remember that term "letterhead threat." I like that.

Anonymous said...

Just bc you correctly listed this gentleman's name, address, occupation, children's names (only meant to provoke/offend, btw)----this alone doesn't meet the standards for accuracy germane to the title of the blog post.

where is the proof he was on this website? What year did he join? How much did he pay? Did he use a credit card? What address did he use for his membership?

Do you really know he was on there or are you relying on someone else's Excel list??

legalschnauzer said...

Both posts -- this one and the original -- say Mr. Schroeder's name appears on the list of paying Ashley Madison customers. That's true, and the attorney seems to know it's true, when pressed about it. As for the other information, I will be happy to produce that.

Beevis said...

So this guy's in the erection business?

Heh-heh! You get it?


legalschnauzer said...

You said "erection." Heh-heh!

Anonymous said...

Not sure i see the reason for putting the kids names, jobs, schools, and extra curricular activities in there. Seems like you are punishing the sons for the sins of the father and it kinda creepy that you are so interested in people's kids.

Anonymous said...

I hope he didn't pay for that letter to be written. If he did, that might be where he has a claim.

legalschnauzer said...

@2:22 --

Not sure I understand. How would paying for that letter give Schroeder a claim. What kind of claim? Against whom?

legalschnauzer said...

@1:57 --

I don't think it's real complicated. When you sign up for an extramarital-affair Web site, it is a sign of disrespect for your whole family. Therefore, it's material that the AM customer has a family. I'm in the journalism business, the information business, not the punishment business. Part of this story is, "Yes, Mr. Schroeder has children, and here's who they are." If you think journalism is "creepy," that's your own peculiar issue, and maybe you need help with it.

e.a.f. said...

omg that is funny. he wants to sue you for libel. guess his lawyers will enjoy receiving the cheques.

When this blog posts about a person who listed with A.M. I consider it a public service. First, to the spousal unit. Why? Because if they are not aware their spouse is conducting affairs they might not know they are being exposed to HIV, AID, HEP C and assorted other forms of HEP., genital warts, V.D. and a whole host of other sexually transmitted diseases. Personally would want to know if for no other reason that my health could be protected.

Second, if you are doing business with some one "outed" on this blog, you might want to consider they do not have good/sound judgement. If they are handling your business affairs, etc. you might want that person to have good sound judgement. If they will cheat on their spouse, what else would they cheat about? Having all the information regarding people you do business with is important.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

A comment and a question.

The question: didn't you report last year that some car dealership owner threatened litigation? What ever happened with that? You decided not to expose him?

The comment: regardless of whether your reporting is factually accurate, you are intruding into these peoples' lives. This guy did not invite you into his life. You chose to invite yourself into his problems, making them way worse by taking a private indiscretion and making it very public -- much more public than the hackers themselves did when they dumped the data. This guy did nothing to you, but you just butt-fucked him anyway. Given this situation, I can understand why he would consider legal action even if he ultimately turns out not to have a good case. The more people you report on, eventually someone is going to lawyer up. Something tells me you would welcome the additional content for your blog that would generate. The smart thing for this guy to do, despite his anger at you, is to just move on without filing a lawsuit that will probably fail.

legalschnauzer said...

@1:30 --

The car dealership story is coming -- soon.

I would suggest you study up on relevant law and journalism because you are wrong on every point. Congrats for your consistency. The notion that a subject has to invite a journalist into his life for there to be reporting . . . it sounds like your knowledge of a free press ended at about 2nd-grade level. You admit the hackers made the information public, so under the law, I'm free to report on it. And dozens of journalists have done just that. Your notion that a subject has to do something to me to merit reporting . . . again, that sounds like a 2nd grader on the school yard. And knowingly filing a bogus lawsuit just because you're angry that your stupidity was unmasked . . . that will leave Mr. Schroeder with more problems than he's got already. You are on target with your last sentence. But other than that, your comment displays a blinding degree of ignorance.

Anonymous said...

"dozens of journalists..." wrong. other bloggers have listed names (2+ years ago) but *NO ONE* has listed children's names and spouse's names and extemporaneously made sexual jokes like "total steel package." You aren't a journalist anymore----in spite of how you may fancy yourself. And I agree with the above comment----you welcome a lawsuit---you are so transparent. You're in the paradoxical position of being un-suable (due to being worth less than zero, monetarily).

and by the way, Mr. Schroeder from Alabama doesn't show up in the "publicly available data" the way some of your other subjects have. Oh sure; there's an "Andrew Schroeder" so I guess it's true that "his name appears."

legalschnauzer said...

@8:42 --

You probably don't recognize the inconsistency in your own statements. For example, you seem worked up over Mr. Schroeder's privacy, but you hint that you have access to my financial records. If you've gained unauthorized access to my bank records, that's a crime, and you could get yourself reported to the FBI. You don't care about that, but you care about Mr. Schroeder's data, which is publicly available on the Web. Info about children/spouses etc., in the Schroeder case, is publicly available on Facebook.

You are 100 percent wrong in your last paragraph. The account is tied to an address in Greystone, a piece of property Mr. Schroeder used to own. There are other connectors in the data to THE Andrew Schroeder, and I plan to report on those down the road.

You are a con artist who doesn't know what he's talking about, much like Schroeder's lawyer. In upcoming posts, you will see he can't point to a single false statement in my post. That's because it's accurate, 100 percent. That's how journalists do their work.

Anonymous said...

@4:07. Against his counsel for a crappy letter is what I meant. Pitiful letter, like something you would hand off to someone who called you a bad name in 3rd grade, just typed instead of scribbled with a #2 pencil. LOL.

Dee said...

When one chooses the behavior, they chose the consequence. Before ANY involvement with an A.M. "employee" this man entered his personal information on an Internet site. A.M. was hacked, sue A.M. for insufficient data security.

legalschnauzer said...

Dee --

Praise the Lord for you and your on-target comment. You nailed it. In fact, as we reported here, there was a recent settlement of a class-action lawsuit in St. Louis involving Ashley Madison and customers. I'm not sure about the process for getting a cut of the $11-million settlement, but Mr. Schroeder needs to check into it. His problem lies with Ashley Madison, which failed to secure his data, and that's where he should turn. Also, his lawyer should know that and focus in that direction, rather than dashing off baseless letters to me.

legalschnauzer said...

@9:22 --

Thanks for that clarification. Yes, the lawyer makes his own client look bad.

Anonymous said...

Why would they bother with the suit? It's not like they are going to see any money. You dont have any assets and already owe Garrison $3.5 million. Seems pointless to me.

legalschnauzer said...

I don't owe Garrison a penny. Her judgment is void and has been void from the moment it was written because she failed in her duty to notify me of her default application and her hearing. I've explained this in multiple posts here, and under the law, I have an unlimited amount of time to get it voided -- which I will do at first opportunity.

Garrison and Luther might both wind up in federal prison over the Superfund scandal, so she's probably worried about more than her bogus judgment against me.

That Garrison and Bill Baxley don't acknowledge their "judgment" is void only tells you they are sorry, stupid (and probably drunken, in one case) lawyers. You must be ignorant of the law, too.

It's probably not an accident that Garrison is out at Balch Bingham, has no presence on social media, and probably couldn't find a decent legal job if her life depended on it.

As for Schroeder, he would be wise not to bother with a suit because he has no case -- and his lawyer knows he has no case, as I will show in our upcoming post.

Anonymous said...

LS Is it legally voided (i only ask this because you are more familiar than i am with this, i have never been sued)? Doesn't the court have to vacate it before it's officially voided. I mean, legally its still considered a valid judgement until further hearings, correct?

legalschnauzer said...

@1:52 --

I've written probably a half dozen posts on this subject, and here is one that explains the law well, I think:


From the post, re: a controlling Alabama case called Abernathy v. Green Tree:

"Rule 55(b)(2) relegates the entry of the default judgment to the court in all other cases. This portion of the rule provides for three days notice prior to entry of default judgment, when the defendant has once appeared." (Emphasis added.) The failure to provide the notice of the application for a default judgment as required by Rule 55(b)(2) renders the default judgment "void, and not merely voidable," Bracknell v. S.E. Belcher, Inc., 517 So. 2d 588, 591 (Ala. 1987), and "requires a vacation of the default judgment," Southworth v. University of South Alabama Med. Ctr., 637 So. 2d 896, 898 (Ala. Civ. App. 1994).:

That says, as I read it, that Garrison's judgment (a default judgment, by the way, not earned on merit) is "void, not merely voidable." Plus, it "requires a vacation of the default judgment," which the court must do.

So, I believe it's a two-part answer to your question:

(1) Garrison's judgment, right now, is void. That means it is a "nullity," having "no effect."

(2) The court will be required, upon my motion, to vacate;

As I've reported here several times, Alabama law allows an unlimited amount of time to challenge a void default judgment, so there is no statute of limitations that I have to meet. Here is one post where I've covered that subject:


This is from the post at URL above:

"On paper, at least, Alabama courts take due process and fair play seriously. How seriously? Consider this from a case styled McConico v. Patterson (Ala. Court of Civil Appeals 2016). It addresses post-judgment motions, which normally are subject to time constraints. That is not the case when the motion seeks to overturn a void default judgment:

"[A]s a nullity, a void judgment has no effect and is subject to attack at any time. . . . [A] motion for relief from a void judgment is not governed by the reasonable-time requirement of Rule 60(b)[, Ala. R. Civ. P.]."

Sorry to get wordy, but this subject is serious stuff to me. Short answer: Yes, her default judgment is void. No, it has not been vacated, but I have an unlimited amount of time to seek vacation. As a void judgment, it is a "nullity," having no effect. It means nothing, and there is nothing she can do with it. So, as I've said, I don't owe her a penny, and she has no grounds to seek enforcement of a void judgment.

Anonymous said...

reading between the lines, it seems you have no intentions of paying the judgement which a sitting court has found against you.

are you an Anarchist?

legalschnauzer said...

@2:59 --

You don't have to read between the lines; I've said it as directly as I can say it: I will never pay a default judgment that is void -- a nullity, of "no effect." Can you not read? I just finished explaining in the comment at 2:13, that Garrison's judgment is void, as a matter of law. Would you pay something that is void? Never mind, you probably are too stupid or dishonest to answer.

For the record, I'm the opposite of an anarchist. which can be defined as one who supports lawlessness. I support the rule of law, and I've been doing that for 10-plus years on this blog.

You probably don't even know what anarchist means, but that's what you appear to be.

Robert Morrow said...

Roger Shuler is a damn fine journalist. He is just being factually correct and telling it like it is. I wish other journalists would report this way.

Anonymous said...

LS- you have proven that the judicial system has done you no favors in the past and in fact has really screwed you over. Let's assume that continues and you can't get the Garrison judgement vacated. Will you then pay it, or just file for bankruptcy?

legalschnauzer said...

@7:28 --

As I note above, it's void right this minute, and I'm not paying a void judgment. This goes back to the question, "Are we a nation of laws or a nation of men." A corrupt "man" in a robe (Don Blankenship) might rule contrary to law -- as he's done several times before, but my obligation is to follow the law. And that's what I will do. Aside from the phony judgment, Garrison has never come close to proving that my reporting was false and defamatory. In fact, as a matter of law, the case proved just the opposite. That's part of the reason I was thrown in jail and we had our house stolen: It made it impossible for me to defend myself in Garrison's suit, and neither she nor Luther could handle the scrutiny of discovery. -- being deposed, turning over e-mail and text records and other docs.

The $3.5 million is just a meaningless figure designed to terrorize Carol and me and con the public. The more important matter: There has been no adversarial proceeding of any kind to prove there was any wrongdoing on my part toward Garrison. In fact, the case's outcome proves that my reporting stands as accurate and on target.

The whole point of this blog, from its beginning in 2007, has been to show that many lawyers and judges have zero respect for the rule of law. It's happened to Carol and me over and over, it's happened to Sherry Rollins, Linda Upton, and many others I've written about. The Garrison case is just another classic example.

At some point, this whole corrupt house of cards is going to cave in on these con artists. Perhaps the Trump investigation, with Jeff Sessions at its center, will help hasten that happy day.

Anonymous said...

you are like the crazy loons who fly their own flags and refuse to pay taxes by saying America has no right to tax them.

You live in the United States and a valid court in this country has found against you. You do in fact owe this 3.5 million dollars. Whether you disagree with the judge and believe it to be a poor judgement is of no consequence. There is no court of Roger Shuler in the United States.

Own it. Grow up. Act like a responsible adult.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:33 --

You are calling me a crazy loon? Boy, that's rich.

You are telling me to "grow up" and act like a "responsible adult"? Boy, that's rich, too.

On the off chance that you are capable of learning, check out the 8/23 post at 2:13 p.m. It provides a succinct summary of Alabama law, for those who can read. Here is the key portion:

From the post, re: a controlling Alabama case called Abernathy v. Green Tree:

"Rule 55(b)(2) relegates the entry of the default judgment to the court in all other cases. This portion of the rule provides for three days notice prior to entry of default judgment, when the defendant has once appeared." (Emphasis added.) The failure to provide the notice of the application for a default judgment as required by Rule 55(b)(2) renders the default judgment "void, and not merely voidable," Bracknell v. S.E. Belcher, Inc., 517 So. 2d 588, 591 (Ala. 1987), and "requires a vacation of the default judgment," Southworth v. University of South Alabama Med. Ctr., 637 So. 2d 896, 898 (Ala. Civ. App. 1994).:

Garrison's default judgment is "void." I assume you know what that means. Here is another key provision of law, from McConico v. Patterson:

"[A]s a nullity, a void judgment has no effect and is subject to attack at any time. . . . [A] motion for relief from a void judgment is not governed by the reasonable-time requirement of Rule 60(b)[, Ala. R. Civ. P.]."

Garrison's judgment is a "nullity." Do you know what that means?

Lady, you are swimming in the deep end of the pool without a life preserver. I'd suggest you exit before your drown your silly self.

A final point that perhaps you can understand: Jessica Garrison never has attempted to collect her "judgment" because even she knows it's void and a nullity. She's tried to publicize it, but she's never tried to collect. There is a reason for that. See if you can figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Maybe she's never tried to collect because you have nothing of value to collect? She probably decided not to waste any more money on her part since her return is going to be zero. Seems kind of smart to me.

legalschnauzer said...

@11:01 --

Maybe so. Why don't you call and ask her -- if you can find her since she's gone underground on social media. Why would she go incognito, and leave Balch Bingham, when Luther Strange was tied to Superfund scandal? Why don't you ask her that, while you're at it. What might Mueller's investigation of Trump/Sessions turn up about her and Luther?

Why don't you ask her why she didn't seek a trial -- with discovery, etc. -- in her defamation case and why she didn't want to tell her story to a jury, while being cross-examined? Why did she and Luther supposedly take the stand only after I'd had my house stolen and forced to move, ensuring I would not be able to defend myself? Ask her all of those. Answers should be verrrry interesting.