Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dismissed (and Dissed) - The ALA Lawsuit

For two and a half years, the ALA dragged the City of Alachua through a lawsuit. That lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice. The excuse being used today by ALA supporters is that lawsuit was never heard on its merits, but was dismissed by the judge because of a technical error by a sick attorney.

The dismissal documents and that the suit was dismissed with prejudice suggests otherwise. In his dismissal documents, Judge Roundtree took the plantiffs and their attorney to task for baseless and willful delay. In the summary of his decision (item 17), the judge said:

17. Throughout this litigation, Plaintiffs and their counsel have shown no regard for the rules of civil procedure, orders of this court or the impact their actions have on the litigants or the judicial administration of this case and the other cases this court is required to administer. Plaintiffs have engaged in a pattern of delay, obstruction, and disregard for orders of the court. This case has already exceeded the Supreme Court time guidelines and there is not yet a good complaint filed. This court is convinced that if Defendants had not filed their joint motion to dismiss because Plaintiffs failed to timely file a fourth amended complaint, Plaintiffs would not have filed it in an effort to further delay this litigation.

The ALA then appealed the case. The appeals court upheld Judge Roundtree's decision.

The entire PDF dismissal document can be found by clicking here. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view it.

Posted by SJ


At Wed Jun 14, 05:07:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

All of this of course begs the question:

The MERITS of the case were never heard. That is a fact.

Yes we all know the case was dismissed.
Yes we all know Judge Roundtree's opinion on the matter regarding what he may have deemed the plaintif's actions or motives.

But what none of us know is what the legal/factual MERITS of the case were/are.

Perhaps these cases will be RE-FILED (they can be - just not be these same people) and then the MERITS can be adjudicated.

As of this moment - there remain allegations. And there has been no proof or legal decision refuting them.

At Wed Jun 14, 07:07:00 PM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

Once again, Charlie, the dismissal documents don't quite tell the story as you interpret it, but you are entitled to your opinion.

By your way of interpreting it, I can make baseless allegations against you, and if a judge throws them out (with prejudice) because no valid complaints were put forth, I can still claim that the allegations exist and pursue the matter until I find a judge that gives me the answer that I want.

At Wed Jun 14, 07:25:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Stafford - EXACTLY where is there ANY discussion of ANY of the allegations in that lawsuit?

At what point did Roundtree HEAR any evidence on any of the points raised in the lawsuit?

You keep wanting to claim that because he dismissed the lawsuit - he FOUND that there was no validity to the allegations.

He does NOT say that.

At Wed Jun 14, 07:27:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

The burdon of proof in a trial is on the plantiff to present facts supporting their allegations. The ALA never took any depositions or presented any facts. The defendent's burdon is to disprove the plantiffs evidence. Since no facts were presented then the ALA failed to present any case ON MERITS. They stalled and amended for two years. If they failed to file on time repeatedly during that time it was their fault. They had a reputable attorney at the beginning. He dropped out. Why? If Russ was so sick, why didn't they get another attorney. They had two years. If the case was never heard on it's merits it was the ALA's fault.

Bottom line it cost the taxpayers over $100,000 for the City to defend itself from this frivolous lawsuit.

At Wed Jun 14, 07:45:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

I have a copy of a public record which is a letter dated 2/13/2006 from David Russ to the City offering to settle the lawsuit "in a spirit of cooperation and compromise". It looks like they were willing to give up arguing any merits in their suit.

At Wed Jun 14, 07:46:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

I type too fast. That's burden and plaintiff

At Thu Jun 15, 12:39:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...


Your own words betray you.

As you say - "in a trial" - the burden of proof, etc., etc., etc.


This case did not go to trial. It was dismissed WITHOUT having the merits of the case heard - based upon criteria OTHER THAN the merits of the case.

Once again you keep wishing for something that isn't (or wishing for your listeners to believe what isn't is). You cannot tout the dismissal of this lawsuit as a dismissal ON THE MERITS.

It simply was not.

At Thu Jun 15, 06:14:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Just what do you call a civil lawsuit heard before two judges who would rule on the accusations presented? Had the ALA presented any proof to their accusations and the judge gave a ruling would it suddenly have become a trial? Do you think this would have gone on to a jury????

At Thu Jun 15, 10:13:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

In any legal case there are multiple stages.

In this situation the case was dismissed BEFORE any of the substantive allegations were heard, evidence provided, cross examination of witnesses allowed, etc.

Its as simple as that. Yes - the suit was dismissed. No - the merits were not heard and ruled on. So you cannot keep on misinforming the public on this matter.

If a new plaintiff filed the SAME allegations tomorrow - they COULD and WOULD be heard. If the merits of the case were ruled on - this would not be the case.

At Thu Jun 15, 11:04:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

What you fail to grasp is the fact that it was the ALA's responsibility to bring all that forward. They failed to do that for two years. Why is that? I feel that they never had any merits and only wanted to stall the proceeding as long as they could hoping Wal Mart would give up. I am not alone in those feelings. I believe that their first lawyer saw what was happening and the fact that there were no merits and split. Two judges also believed that and they deal with lawsuits every day. You can't fool these people. Roundtree expressed this as well as Chance. Now we know you think Roundtree is "an idiot" but Chance agreed. It was a trial in which only one party showed up. The fault lies 100% on the ALA.


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