Thursday, September 20, 2018

Was our Missouri eviction conducted for the ulterior purpose of causing us to miss the filing deadline in our federal "Jail Case" -- even though it failed to do so?


Trent and Sharon Cowherd
We recently passed the third anniversary of our unlawful eviction in Springfield, MO -- the event where deputies broke my wife Carol's arm and then brought bogus "assault on a law enforcement officer" charges against her, in an effort to cover for their wrongdoing.

The anniversary is significant for a couple of reasons: (1) It brings us closer to filing a federal civil-right lawsuit, within Missouri's five-year statute of limitations for such actions; (2) It's a good reason to ponder this question: Why were our landlord (Trent Cowherd) and his lawyer (Craig Lowther) so determined to proceed with an eviction that was unlawful on 10-12 grounds, and why was Sheriff Jim Arnott willing to go along with it?

With the passage of time, and the gradual accumulation of evidence via Carol's criminal case, we've developed a theory about what caused the Missouri "eviction gang" to act in such an irrational fashion. In short, we believe it is related to the statute of limitations in our pending federal case on my unlawful arrest and incarceration in Alabama. ("The Jail Case"). If our theory is correct, it points to coordination between bad actors in both Alabama and Missouri.

The question in item No. 2 above has been foremost in  our minds because . . . well, the actions of the "eviction gang" were so senseless, nutty, and contrary to Missouri law. Here, in our view, is what a rational landlord would have done in our situation: We had a lease that was to go month-to-month after one year had expired. Our rent had always been timely paid, and we were quiet, model tenants, so there was no reason to want us gone. In fact, after we received a Notice to Vacate (which was not timely, according to terms of the lease, or under state law), I called the landlord's office, and a woman named Megan admitted they had no grounds to force us out. They claimed we were due to sign a new lease, since my mother was exiting as co-signer, but there was no such provision in the lease, and they didn't try very hard to show one existed -- when it didn't.

When I noted they were breaching our contract, the response was, "I don't have to renew a lease with you, and we're deciding not to renew the lease." That, of course, did not explain their attempt to breach the contract. Regardless, they filed an eviction action.

Now, how easily could this situation have been resolved? Language in the lease called for it to go month-to-month, so why not . . . you know . . . let it go month-to-month. We have timely paid our rent elsewhere for three years, so that history suggests we were a good bet to pay Trent Cowherd -- had we been given a chance.

Here is what I've never understood: If Cowherd had followed his own lease, we definitely could have timely paid for several months. If we had hit a rough patch and were late or failed to pay, Cowherd could have given us a Notice to Vacate then, and we would have taken care of any pending bills and left.  I don't think an eviction would have been necessary, but if it had been, Cowherd could have given us a Notice of Eviction at the proper time, and we would have left, without any grounds to  challenge it. Following through on the eviction would not have been necessary because we would not stick around where we aren't lawfully entitled to be.

So, why did Cowherd and Co. fail to follow the simple, rational, lawful path? Well, let's keep this date in mind: Oct. 23, 2013. That's the date Alabama deputies broke into our home in Birmingham (without showing or stating they had a warrant), beat me up in my own garage, and hauled me to the Shelby County Jail, where I stayed for five months -- probably becoming the first person in history to be arrested for blogging.

Now, the statute of limitations (SOL) on civil-rights lawsuits (under Sec. 1983) is two years, so on the surface, it appears our "Jail Case" had to be filed by Oct. 23, 2015. And, what do you know, our eviction was scheduled for a little more than a month from that date -- Sept. 9, 2015.

It's clear the Alabama bad guys thought Oct. 23, 2015, was the key filing date in our lawsuit because almost all of them cited it in their responses, seeking dismissal because our case was filed -- guess what -- five months later. (Documents re: defendants' claims on the SOL, or our response to their claims, can be viewed here, here, and here.) Why five months later? Because I was incarcerated for five months, and federal law (which governs accrual of Sec. 1983 cases) holds that in cases involving allegations of false arrest and imprisonment, the limitations period begins when the imprisonment ends, which was March 26, 2014.

Alabama bad guys, as it turns out, are ignorant about the law, which seems to be a common affliction with them. We explained the law in a July 2018 post, noting the most concise description of it can be found at Restatement of Torts, a volume on the U.S. common law:

“For false imprisonment, the statute [of limitations] begins to run only when the imprisonment ends, since the period of imprisonment is treated as a unit." Restatement (Second) of Torts § 899, (1979). See Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. at 389,127 S. Ct. 1091 ("The running of the statute of limitations on [common-law] false imprisonment is subject to a distinctive rule—dictated, perhaps, by the reality that the victim may not be able to sue while he is still imprisoned."). The Restatement.

Notice the U.S. Supreme Court finding in Kato. That tends to be controlling law, even in Alabama.

We are left with these question: Did the Alabama Gang, thinking Oct. 23, 2015, was the drop-dead filing date for our "Jail Case," persuade the Missouri Gang to proceed with an unlawful eviction -- under the theory that throwing us out in the streets and wreaking havoc in our lives would cause us to miss the deadline for our federal lawsuit. And to make matters even "better " for us, did they intentionally rough up Carol and break her arm -- more or less incapacitating her for five months, which included eight hours of trauma surgery and months of extensive physical therapy?

Our guess is that the answer to both questions is yes. If we are right about that, it's another sign that we've been dealing with a truly perverse, evil group of individuals.

We do find a slight note of comedy in the notion that the actual drop-dead deadline for our filing was March 26, 2016 -- and we made it with room to spare. I kind of like the idea of the bad guys concocting a scheme that was based on a false premise -- or more accurately, a bad reading of the law -- all along.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Roger:

Read Kato again. The court rejected your Restatement argument in its holding. Quit lying to your readers. You missed your deadline.

legalschnauzer said...

@7:05 --

Contact me via email or phone, and I would be glad to discuss. Of course, we both know you don't have the balls or the knowledge of the law to do that.

You're the one trying to lie to my readers, and you aren't getting away with it.If you can prove your point by discussing it directly with me, that might change. But we both know you can't do it.

Anonymous said...

I've had renters over the years, and the situation you describe is exactly what a normal landlord would do. Landlords generally don't want to evict people if it can be avoided, especially if their rent is paid and there is no behavioral reason to evict them. The process for eviction is a pain in the butt, and if you get a reputation for being quick on the eviction trigger, it's not good for business. Cowherd, your landlord, either is not very bright or he was operating on someone's agenda, which is not a good idea.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:24 --

I've heard from a number of individuals who've lived in Cowherd properties, and the pattern seems to be that the company is incompetent and bullyish. The duplex apartment we had was filthy, especially the flooring, from the moment we moved in. We weren't in a position to do research on the company, but knowing what I know now, I would encourage others to go elsewhere, anywhere. Cowherd stands for "bad news" in the Ozarks.

Anonymous said...

I assume @7:05 is someone who claims the law you cited doesn't mean what it says?

legalschnauzer said...

@8:30 --

You nailed it. I get con artists like that quite frequently. In this instance, it's probably someone involved with the Jail Case, on the other side. And as usual, they are too big a coward to ID themselves. The following, from Restatement of Torts (the definitive text on the U.S. common law, citing the U.S. Supreme Court) can't seriously be debated:


"“For false imprisonment, the statute [of limitations] begins to run only when the imprisonment ends, since the period of imprisonment is treated as a unit." Restatement (Second) of Torts § 899, (1979). See Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. at 389,127 S. Ct. 1091 ("The running of the statute of limitations on [common-law] false imprisonment is subject to a distinctive rule—dictated, perhaps, by the reality that the victim may not be able to sue while he is still imprisoned."). The Restatement."

Anonymous said...

God Sharon Cowherd is a shale. She's got the shoulders of an NFL defensive tackle.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:30 --

This issue already has been decided in the Northern District of Alabama. From a case styled Antonio James v. City of Birmingham (ND of AL, 2012):

"As to Count Two, alleging false imprisonment, the “running of the statute of limitations on false imprisonment is subject to a distinctive rule-dictated, perhaps, by the reality that the victim may not be able to sue while he is still imprisoned: "Limitations begin to run against an action for false imprisonment when the alleged false imprisonment ends.’” Wallace, 549 U.S. at 389 (quoting 2 H. Wood, Limitation of Actions § 187d (4), p. 878 (rev. 4th ed. 1916)."

Again, this issue can't be seriously debated, but @7:05 isn't serious; he's a poorly disguised fraud.

legalschnauzer said...

For those who are interested, here is the URL to Antonio James v. City of Birmingham:


https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-alnd-2_10-cv-02082/pdf/USCOURTS-alnd-2_10-cv-02082-0.pdf

Anonymous said...

Pretty sad when federal judges not only can't get the law right, they can't even agree with each other on what the law says. How is the public supposed to have any confidence in these rubes?

legalschnauzer said...

@8:30 --

I invited @7:05 to contact me via phone or email, and I would be glad to discuss. Will be interesting to see if that happens. I'm not holding my breath.

Steve said...

Why have you not yet sued Cowherd? What ever caused them to procede with an illegal eviction is not relevent. The simple and unarguable fact is that their action was illegal and caused you great financial and property loss. You are due significant damages from them alone. You probably have a case against those who put them up to the action as well but that could be a seperate action. The case against Cowherd alone is a slam dunk!

Anonymous said...

Really disturbing to think they might have broken Carol's arm on purpose. Bastards!

Anonymous said...

What part of this is vague?

“We hold that the statute of limitations upon a § 1983 claim seeking damages for a false arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment, where the arrest is followed by criminal proceedings, begins to run at the time the claimant becomes detained pursuant to legal process. Since in the present case this occurred (with appropriate tolling for the plaintiff's minority) more than two years before the complaint was filed, the suit was out of time. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.“

That’s the holding in Wallace v. Kato. That’s the actual ruling. The petitioner raised your argument in that case and the Supreme Court rejected your argument in that very case.

Also, you refused to publish my comment. Who’s the coward?

legalschnauzer said...

Steve:

We will be suing Cowherd and others very shortly. As stated in the post, Missouri has a five-year statute of limitations, so we have plenty of time to move on that. Also, the bogus criminal charges against Carol slowed us down in Missouri, but that no longer is a factor.

Meanwhile, we have two cases in Alabama, with only a two-year statute of limitations, so those had to take priority.

One of the peculiarities of the law is that filing deadlines (SOLs) can vary widely from state to state , and you have to deal first with the ones where time is the tightest.

I agree that damages re: Cowherd and others should be substantial, but nothing ever is a slam dunk in U.S. courts, which are riddled with corruption. Carol and I both filed employment cases that were slam dunks, but federal judges cheated both of us.

legalschnauzer said...

Steve:

As a followup, we would like to have an attorney for the Missouri matter, but we haven't been able to find one. We already have evidence that the state bar in Alabama has kept us from hiring a lawyer, and we wouldn't be surprised if the same thing is happening in Missouri.

There is law that says a federal court can stay a case where an underlying criminal state-court matter remains open. That probably is a No. 1 reason bogus criminal charges were brought against Carol. Had we filed a federal civil rights case while the criminal matter was going on -- and it dragged on forever because of the public defender and a crooked judge -- it almost certainly would have been stayed, and we'd be in the same spot we are now, maybe worse.

It's also possible (likely) we would have gotten an even worse result in Carol's criminal case if our federal lawsuit against Cowherd and others was on the table. The prosecutor/judge thugs probably would have thrown Carol in jail in retaliation for our lawsuit. Is that horrific? Yes, it is. But you have to see the corruption here to believe it. They would have had no qualms about throwing Carol in jail if we'd had a lawsuit on the table. It's a miracle she avoided jail time, and that probably only happened because we played hard ball with the public defender and didn't fall for her con game.

You probably realize Carol got punished with a $10 fine? That's a miracle in a system as corrupt as this.

The criminal matter against Carol was a stalling tactic -- and as I've reported -- an effort to block our civil rights claim due to a legal theory called res judicata. By law, that shouldn't work and shouldn't block anything, but it's not a slam dunk because nobody holds US judges accountable and makes them follow the law.

Again, the No. 1 reason the Missouri civil matter has been delayed is that I was dealing with two cases in Alabama, both of which had much tighter SOLs. But, in retrospect, not filing the civil matter while the Missouri criminal matter was ongoing probably was a blessing. They might have thrown Carol in jail for a year if we had already sued.

legalschnauzer said...

Steve:

Another follow-up, from a post on 11/27/27:


"My wife, Carol, is being prosecuted in Missouri under a law that has been repealed. She faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine for allegedly violating a law that no longer exists. No joke."


That's what Carol was looking at for something she did not remotely do -- one year in jail and $1,000 fine. Instead, she got no jail and a $10 fine. That' a miracle, and it didn't happen by accident. It happened because Carol and I, together, played tough and did not fall for the court's con game.

One Missouri lawyer we did consult, a guy from Kansas City, said he knew of a woman who brought a civil rights lawsuit right out of the gate, and cops brought a criminal charge against her after she brought it, in retaliation. I don't think that's lawful, but they did it anyway. The U.S. has no rule of law anymore, it's a banana republic.

Has our Cowherd etc. case been slower getting off the ground than we liked? Yes. But for more than a year, Carol and I were consumed with trying to keep her out of jail. And we managed to do that, while lawfully setting the stage for the Cowherd case, and we had zero legal help from a "professional," and we didn't have to spend one dime on a lawyer.

Bottom line: I know what jail is like, and I desperately did not want Carol to be in that environment. The U.S. is a country where people can be thrown in jail without even coming close to committing a crime. That almost happened to Carol. That it didn't is a miracle.

legalschnauzer said...

@1:30 --

I didn't run your first comment because you're wrong. I did run the second one because it shows you are stupid, and I enjoy seeing that on display.

What about this from Kato is vague? "The running of the statute of limitations on false imprisonment is subject to a distinctive 1096*1096 rule — dictated, perhaps, by the reality that the victim may not be able to sue while he is still imprisoned: "Limitations begin to run against an action for false imprisonment when the alleged false imprisonment ends." 2 H. Wood, Limitation of Actions § 187d(4), p. 878 (rev. 4th ed.1916); see also 4 Restatement (Second) of Torts § 899, Comment c (1977); A. Underhill, Principles of Law of Torts 202 (1881)."

The section of Kato you cite involves arrests followed by "criminal proceedings" and "legal process" (being bound over by a magistrate, etc.) There were no criminal proceedings or allegations that caused my arrest, and there was no evidence of legal process related to my arrest and Rob Riley's lawsuit. In other words, it was a kidnapping, sanctioned by the state of Alabama. That's not a factor in Kato.

Are you saying we should trust your word -- the guy who is afraid to give his name -- over the publishers of Restatement of Torts?

What a joke!

legalschnauzer said...

For those interested, here is URL to case I referenced in answering Steve's question, noting law that allows for stay of federal civil case where a criminal matter is pending. The case is Williamson v. City of New Madrid: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-moed-1_09-cv-00013/pdf/USCOURTS-moed-1_09-cv-00013-5.pdf

From the case:

"Plaintiff filed the instant action while his underlying criminal cases were still pending in the state courts. See State v. Williamson, Nos. 08MI-CR00530, 08MI-CR00531 (33rd Jud. Cir., Mississippi County, State of Mo.). Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment in this matter on September 8, 2009, addressing plaintiff’s claims. On February 5, 2010, pursuant to the holding in Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384 (2007), the Court entered an order staying the proceedings in this case pending final resolution of the criminal cases then pending against plaintiff and any appeals therefrom. [Doc. 33]. Plaintiff was ordered to notify the Court in writing within thirty (30) days of the final resolution of his criminal appeals."

Anonymous said...

@11:30 --

Hey, dumb ass, what part of the following is vague? It's from James v. City of Birmingham, and it's from right there in the Northern District of Alabama. This issue already has been decided in the Northern District, citing U.S. Supreme Court and a leading treatise on torts. How stupid are you?


"As to Count Two, alleging false imprisonment, the “running of the statute of limitations on false imprisonment is subject to a distinctive rule-dictated, perhaps, by the reality that the victim may not be able to sue while he is still imprisoned: "Limitations begin to run against an action for false imprisonment when the alleged false imprisonment ends.’” Wallace, 549 U.S. at 389 (quoting 2 H. Wood, Limitation of Actions § 187d (4), p. 878 (rev. 4th ed. 1916)."

legalschnauzer said...

Note:

I went ahead and published the smart-ass (and wrong) comment at 7;05. This clown claims the Kato court rejected the Restatement finding that I cited. Hell, the Kato court cited the Restatement and based its opinion largely on that.

Quoting from Scalia in Kato: "Thus, to determine the beginning of the limitations period IN THIS CASE, we must determine when petitioner's false imprisonment came to an end."

Notice the words "in this case." Kato is a limited finding, relating only to cases with similar circumstances to Kato. The court finds the limitations period accrues when there was "legal process" and the arrest is "followed by criminal proceedings."

I was "arrested for blogging" due to an unlawful TRO and prelim injunction related to a defamation claim from Rob Riley and Liberty Duke. I was arrested under a prior restraint that has been unlawful for 230 years -- a 100 percent civil matter.

My matter involved no criminal proceedings and -- since I was never summoned to court and never was lawfully served -- there was no legal process. My false imprisonment ended when I was let out of prison, and that's when the SOL accrued -- per both the relevant portion of Kato and Restatement of Torts and other volumes.

Sorry, 7:05, but that's the law, you are wrong, and you either know you're wrong, or you are too stupid to read the law. No wonder you don't want to ID yourself.

Anonymous said...

@7:05 --

Are you aware of any "criminal proceedings" or "legal process" that followed Mr. Schnauzer's arrest? You haven't cited any.

How could he have any criminal proceedings when he wasn't arrested for a crime?

Maybe you are being a tad disingenuous, intentionally misreading and misapplying Kato?

Unknown said...

***IM NOT FAMILIAR ON HOW TO PROPERLY BLOG BUT IM REACHING OUT TO THE PERSON WHOS BLOG THIS IS***>>>Please email me sir as I have some serious questions due to some names mentioned in the Missouri issue. I’m very aware of the court system civil and all not following the law and landlords taking advantage of many ppl due to them not knowing their rights or any legality information to protect themselves when needed. I’ve recently leased a house and haven’t moved in the lease doesn’t actually commence until oct1st, 2018, but we did pay almost $3000 in advance rent and then our dep. We were not told nor was their any mention of Trent coward but another individual u named that would be close to him on rental/real estate matters is the one that was basically portrayed as the owner so desperately would like to talk to you and I have a civil case schedule for end Of oct for pain and suffering resulting from a retaliatory/wrongful eviction.