Archive for the California Public Records Act Category

MY DISCOVERY

Posted in And now the snorting starts, Bigotry in America, California Public Records Act, Evil Smiley Face, GOP, Hate Crimes, Occupy Mordor, Small Town America, The Great State of Montana!, the snows of yesteryear, The Wilhelm Scream, USA! USA! USA! on July 12, 2015 by paulboylan

Happy Negroes

A still from Disney’s Song of he South (1946), recognized universally as the most racist film ever produced.

 “That was a total waste of time,” my wife, Lori, told me after reading a conversation I had with someone who calls themselves “BuffaloBillie” and who posted a critique of the decision to remove the Confederate battle flag from the top of the South Carolina Capitol Building.

American Swastika

American Swastika

Here is what Billie posted:

Did no one see Roof burning the AMERICAN FLAG? The Confederacy is just as much a part of our history as the Union Jack! Racism will be the death of our country if the Muslims fail and, that “knife” cuts both ways!

 I was tired when I read that.  I had just returned from a two week trip to Australia

Brisbane

Brisbane

Sydney

Sydney

Melbourne

Melbourne

Capricornia

Capricornia

and, moments after landing in LA, I received an email from my good friend and colleague Terry Francke, the Director of Californians Aware (CalAware).

CalAware copy

Terry referred a request for assistance from Eye on Sacramento (EOS), a local government transparency advocacy group.  EOS wanted to stop the City of Sacramento from deleting the City’s email archive – and the City was going to push the button two days from then.

I agreed to try to help. It turned out to be a gargantuan task, possibly the most difficult case I’ve ever handled on such short notice.

It’s working out okay. But when the hearing was over, and I could sit down and take a break, what I really needed was some mindless entertainment.  When I read Billie’s protest about the decision to remove the Confederate flag from the top of the South Carolina Capitol Dome, I knew I had found the mindless entertainment I was looking for.

For me nothing is more entertaining than engaging a racist, and Billie’s inclusion of Muslims in her short rant indicated that Billie wasn’t only racist, but was very possibly crazy, too – and I love that combination.

I responded as follows, and the conversation began.

But this is not just another typical meaningless conversation between two people with irreconcilable world views.  As the conversation developed, I discovered something.

Let me know if you agree with my revelation about “Billie’s” true nature.

I began by responding –

@BuffaloBillie –  The swastika is a part of German history, too. But it stands for and is very closely associated with hate, murder and racism – and therefore it is offensive to anyone who isn’t a racist.

Desecrated Jewish graves in France

Desecrated Jewish graves in France

The Dachau Gateway

The Dachau Gateway

The Confederate battle flag is a part of American history. But it stands for the right to own slaves and the racism that was created to justify slavery – and is therefore offensive to anyone who isn’t a racist.

KKK-Rebel-Flag-Swastika-2 copy

This guy just loves the Confederate flag.

That’s all there is to it. If you don’t get it, then history will trample you and the Confederate battle flag you’ve wrapped yourself within.

By the way, in Germany – where the swastika is banned – racists and Neo-Nazis fly the Confederate battle flag because it represents the same German racists and Neo-Nazis want to promote – hate, murder, and racism.

They know what the Confederate battle flag stands for. So does every American. Those who think they can display the Stars and Bars to champion the idea of being a “rebel” without also arguing in favor of hate, murder and racism are fooling themselves, but no one else.

To my delight, Billie met my challenge.

 @Paul_Nicholas_Boylan Mr. Boylan, you should avail yourself of a history book on the Civil War which was written BEFORE the liberals took over our education system. You will find that slavery was not the issue but states’ rights and the economy of the South. There were many, many northerners who owned slaves also but it was Lincoln’s attempt to keep the union together, not slaves, that caused the disasterous war. Incidentally, I am NOT a racist.

 @BuffaloBillie Frankly, I don’t know if you are a racist or not. There are lots of kinds of racism. Marilyn Davenport found herself in hot water when she distributed a photo of a family of chimpanzees with President Obama’s face on the baby.

nothing-racist-about-this-at-all

She was shocked when people accused her of being racist.

Marilyn Davenport.  Huge racist.

To her a racist is an evil person motivated by hate. Since her desire to depict a black man as an ape wasn’t motivated by hate or evil she felt she could not possibly be a racist.

She was, of course, wrong. Racism is like cancer. There is both malignant racism (the product of hate) and benign racism (the product of culture and ignorance).

Bill, I suspect you are a benign racist. You demonize my viewpoint as ‘liberal.” For the record, I am a life-long registered Republican.

You try to justify slavery as a “states rights” issue and point out that prominent historical figures owned slaves. I am sorry, Bill (I really am) but that is the classic argumentative tactic of a benign racist. States don’t have the right to perpetrate evil. And the sorry fact that some good men may have participated in an evil thing doesn’t magically transform it into a good and righteous thing.

Listen up:

(1) Slavery was and is evil.

africa

Overseer Artayou Carrier whipped me.  I was two months in bed sore from the whipping.  My master come after I was whipped; he discharged the overseer.  The very words of poor Peter, taken as he sat for his picture.  Baton Rouge, La., April 2, 1863.  (War Dept.) NARA FILE #:  165-JT-230 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #:  109

Baton Rouge, La., April 2, 1863. (War Dept.)

black-slaves

(2) The Confederate States rebelled against the United States for the sole purpose of having the right and power to base their economy on slave labor.

slavead

slaves-in-field
d47d0eccc6c7872dfd4e31527ee75e99

(3) the South Carolina Battle Flag (the basis for what is known as the “Stars and Bars”) was created to symbolize the false and evil right of men to own other men. It was created for no other reason and symbolizes nothing else.

The+House+with+Closed+Shutters+-+1910+-+Sister+sews+Confederate+flag

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Birmingham, Alabama: Students wave confederate flags and carry anti-integration signs as they stage demonstration near West End High School, 9/11/63. It is the second day of integrated classes in Birmingham City Schools, 9/11/63.

Birmingham, Alabama: Students wave confederate flags and carry anti-integration signs as they stage demonstration near West End High School, 9/11/63. It is the second day of integrated classes in Birmingham City Schools, 9/11/63.

Montgomery, Alabama, USA --- A group of white men protest the integration of Montgomery high schools waving confederate flags and anti-Semitic signs. --- Image by © Flip Schulke/CORBIS

Montgomery, Alabama, USA — A group of white men protest the integration of Montgomery high schools waving confederate flags and anti-Semitic signs. — Image by © Flip Schulke/CORBIS

m198803970001

Women screaming at black children attending public school in Charleston, South Carolina

So tell me again why the Bars and Stars should keep waving.

 

 @Paul_Nicholas_Boylan Who ever was that woman you describe, she definitely is an ignorant racist.

Marilyn Davenport, who forwarded an email depicting President Obama as a chimpanzee, issues an apology for those who found the work offensive but refuses to resign her position as an elected member of the Orange County Republican Central Committee, at a news conference outside her home in Fullerton, Calif., Wednesday, April 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Marilyn Davenport, who forwarded an email depicting President Obama as a chimpanzee, issues an apology for those who found the work offensive but refuses to resign her position as an elected member of the Orange County Republican Central Committee, at a news conference outside her home in Fullerton, Calif., Wednesday, April 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

My brothers and I were raised by a wonderful black woman and her husband, Johnnie Mae and James, and they were my very best friends.

temple

It did not matter to me that their skin was black. They were the sweetest, kindest people in the world, aside from my grandparents. I have absolutely no ill will toward black people except those who constantly complain about slavery as though they experienced it themselves. There is not a single person alive today who was a slave, so those youngsters should stand up and be counted as Americans, not as a hyphenated American. The United States has done far more for people of color than their own countries in Africa will EVER do for them.

voting_start_04

I’ve lived in Africa and know that for a fact, first-hand. Americans have always taken care of black people because, as slaves, they were needed as workers and since then as our house-keepers and nannies.

negro_domestic_servant1

They were NOT abused, they were protected because they were valued and loved.

Evil too extreme to believe

Loved and valued to death.

 

@BuffaloBillie  Again you seem to misunderstand the difference between malignant racism and benign racism. You say ” I have absolutely no ill will toward black people.” I don’t doubt that. What you – and Marilyn Davenport – don’t seem to understand is that you can be a racist without hating. And I am afraid that all that you’ve said in this discussion seems to point to the conclusion that you are, indeed, racist.

I do not question your claims that you were raised by black people. But the your comments after that claim really seem to indicate that it didn’t make you a more open minded person. For example, you say:

“There is not a single person alive today who was a slave, so those youngsters should stand up and be counted as Americans, not as a hyphenated American.”

The bottom line here is that you love black people who are silent, but you admit ill will towards black people who complain about the lingering and potent effects of slavery. That, my friend, makes you a racist.

How do you feel about Jews who didn’t survive a concentration camp who refuse to forget about the Holocaust (if, of course, you believe the Holocaust happened. I’m guessing you might doubt that it did)? I bet you just love Jews that don’t complain, too, but harbor ill will towards those who do.

You also say:

“The United States has done far more for people of color than their own countries in Africa will EVER do for them.”

I really hate to point this out again, but that, too, is a favorite argument of the benign racist. You are basically arguing that black people shouldn’t complaint about the injustices they experience or the inequalities inherent in our system because they are better off here than they than they would have been if their ancestors had stayed in Africa.

You probably have no idea how repugnant that argument is. And I’ve heard it before from the mouths of elected representatives from the former Confederacy. And I’ve read the same argument made by slave owners to justify owning slaves: “We treat them as slaves better off than they would have been free in that awful Africa.”

Sorry, Billie, but that is simply disgusting. But you clearly believe it. And you claim you aren’t a racist because you were raised by black people who I suspect were domestic servant.

Finally, you actually state that black slaves were not abused but were

“protected because they were valued and loved.”

Again, even if that is true (which it most certainly is not) it is utterly irrelevant. The harm inflicted upon slaves is the evil of slavery itself. A human being is harmed irrevocably just by being a slave. It doesn’t matter how much a slave master loves their slaves, the mere fact of ownership of a human being injures both the slave owner and the slave.

You are an apologist – if no an advocate – for the evil institution of slavery, and you harbor ill will towards black people who complain about the lasting effects of slavery.

I am very sorry, but you’ve proven you are a racist. You can be nothing else.

May God have mercy upon your soul.

 Billie didn’t respond.  A few days later I wrote:

 @BuffaloBillie Your decision not to continue the discussion is impressive. I mean that sincerely and without any intended sarcasm. I am hoping it means you my prior points made an impact and that you are thinking about what I said.

And that means it is time to provide you with something else to think about that will bring this conversation full circle back to the Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina State Capitol Dome.

First I need to correct a mistake I made above in prior comments: this flag was first flown as the battle flag for the Army of North Virginia – it was not known as the South Carolina Battle Flag as I referred to it above. I apologize for the error.

After the Civil War ended, the flag was used by the Ku Klux Klan as its emblem. This use, of course, was intended to symbolize race hatred – not “states rights.”

The decision to fly that flag over that particular state capitol dome is somewhat recent. It first happened in 1962 – one hundred years after the start of the Civil War – and that decision was made as part of South Carolina’s open hostile opposition to the Civil Rights Movement.

The decision to fly that flag over that particular state capitol dome is somewhat recent. It first happened in 1962 – one hundred years after the start of the Civil War – and that decision was made as part of South Carolina’s open hostile opposition to the Civil Rights Movement.

This history confirms that the Confederate Flag being flown over the South Carolina State Capitol Dome was always a symbol of race hate and was put there by racists in defiance of black people attempting to obtain the same rights that free white people enjoyed since the founding of the United States.

There are those who do not know any of this. For them, the flag represents the spirit of individualism, the spirit of rebellion against tyranny – very much like the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag of the American Revolution.

So the ultimate question here is whether or not people can legitimately claim to be offended by that flag. You argue that black people who have never been slaves cannot.

I have to disagree. You were raised by black people, but quite possibly they were domestics. Your viewpoint is from the cultural vantage point of class and race superiority. I wasn’t raised by them, but I am married to a black woman and, by force of American attitudes, my son is considered black. I’ve watched first hand the discrimination they face every single day and I’ve counseled my son that, when he is stopped b the police (not if, but when) that he must do whatever they ask, no matter how unjust, no matter how pretextual. If they want to search his car, I’ve instructed him to let them – even though it violates his constitutional rights of search and seizure.

I give my son these instructions, and more, because I don’t want to see him killed.

If my son was white I wouldn’t have to worry about any of this.

We live in a racist society. It is real. It is active. And it results in active and subtle discrimination.

And, to my family and to ever single black person I’ve ever known, the Confederate Flag represents all of that, and the fact they have to see it proudly displayed by white people not only offends them, it angers them. It is the sign of blatant and malignant disrespect that is at the heart of racism. It is a manifestation of hate.

It is time to take down the American version of the Nazi Swastika and place it in museums where it belongs.

 @Paul_Nicholas_Boylan Mr. Boylan, just now is the first time I’ve seen your last three epistles as I have a business to attend to. You are the person who does not understand how I feel because you’ve never lived a life like mine. Therefore, you should not try to intimidate me for my feelings. I loved the boys who chopped cotton on our farm, who worked for us at our store and the wonderful couple who were there for me and my brothers at home.

The flag does represent individualism and is what has made America the amazing country it still is. We are individuals, not “sheep”.

Individualism on parade.

Individualism on parade.

Stars Bars and the KKK

Not sheep. But it is likely they’ve known a ewe or two.

Today’s black people would rather – it seems to me – blame slavery for all their problems when it is, in fact, the failure of the family unit which has caused our prisons to be overwhelmed by young black men. There appears to be no male, father figure, at most homes to impress on them that an education and a good-paying job is the way to success and away from prison. This also is the problem with a high number of white families – men who have abandoned their duties as more than just “sperm-donors”.

It is apparent to me that you have a finite amount of time to debate this, however, I do not. So, this will be my final response to your comments.

34990757

@BuffaloBillie No need for you to respond. Saying

“I loved the boys who chopped cotton on our farm”

says it all. And what it says is that I am wrong: you are not a racist after all. You are a subtle and brilliant internet performance artist.

What you wrote is so awful, so obviously racist – but written as if you really believe it.

“I loved the boys who chopped cotton on our farm”

Laughing Man

Brilliantly offensive!

You called them “boys” like it is natural for you, as if you are completely unaware how offensive it is to black men to be called “boy.”

laughing

F**king brilliant! So amazingly offensive, but with a subtle twist, using simple and often grammatically incorrect language to provide just a hint that you actually believe what you are saying.

Oh God! And look at this that you wrote:

“Today’s black people would rather – it seems to me – blame slavery for all their problems when it is, in fact, the failure of the family unit which has caused our prisons to be overwhelmed by young black men. There appears to be no male, father figure, at most homes to impress on them that an education and a good-paying job is the way to success and away from prison.”

Bhushan Vellala, of Lakewood, during Laughter Yoga class in Lakewood Monday, May 19, 2008   (Chris Stephens/The Plain Dealer)

Brilliant, Sir! That completely ignores the settled academic conclusion that it was the institution of slavery itself that destroyed black families. You implicitly recognize the problem, and the cause, and then blame black people for the problem slavery caused. Incredible! Brilliant!!

brilliant copy

Now that I understand what you are really all about I am going to reread everything you posted above with new eyes. I salute you, Sir.

You laid a clever trap – pretending to be a brain-dead, yahoo racist. And I fell for it. I’m not ashamed for doing so. I feel privileged.

Thank you. And I really mean that.

 @BuffaloBillie I read it all again. All of it.

laughing-at-computer

You are simply hilarious. You are pretending to be an idiot but you are, in reality, a comic genius. I’m not sure if I have ever encountered this kind of comedy, this kind of social satire, before. Elegant deception en par with Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal.

a modest proposal

You draw your audience in and then – bam – the depth and scope of the joke becomes apparent, and the joke is on your audience.

I can get you a theatrical agent – if you don’t already have one. But if you don’t, then I can get you one. I’m no kidding. I would waive my usual commission just for the pleasure of knowing I was instrumental to bringing your talent to the world.

I see endless possibilities. Stand up comedy. Writing of all kinds. The sky’s the limit.

Let me know and I’ll send you my contact info so we can begin a more in-depth discussion about those possibilities.

“There is not a single person alive today who was a slave, so those youngsters should stand up and be counted as Americans, not as a hyphenated American.”

Could you be any funnier? Beyond brilliant. Way beyond brilliant.

 @Paul_Nicholas_Boylan Yes, Mr. Boylan, I know I’m funny. However, I am also 80 years old and a woman and have had a wonderful, exciting life filled with everything that is worth living for!

hqdefault

Those boys were just that, kids about 16 or 17 years old. Chopping cotton was a back-breaking job which an older man could not have lasted at, especially in the summer heat.

picking cotton


o-LAUGHTER-HEALTH-facebookThey also picked cotton for us and that too, is a back-breaking job as well as destroying your hands because of the bolls. When I was 5 and weighed 25 pounds, I PICKED 25 pounds one day. Work is good for the soul.

Also, for your information, I’ve lived in Africa in the ’70s – on the economy – and a lot of our “African” Americans would never make it over there because if you don’t work, you don’t eat. ‘Nuff said!

really funny

 

 

B51KZ6eCMAAr2_1

@BuffaloBillie Claiming to be an 80 year old Southerner does ad verisimilitude to the racist impression you are trying to make. It taps right into the common stereotype that old Southern white women are extremely racist.

angry-old-lady

And the whole “I picked cotton in the summer heat” element does the same thing.

But then you ruined the illusion by going just a touch too far when you indirectly advanced the simply awful racial stereotype that black people are “lazy” and living off of Welfare (i.e., they don’t work, but do eat, and why? Because they are on Welfare….”).

Attempting to qualify your statement with “a lot” would be a master stroke to supporting the illusion of believing what you’ve written, but, as I said, I’m on to you now.

And, as I’ve said, I’ve reread your posts above with a new appreciation for you and your performance art. One my second reread I noticed something really special, and I want to run it past you to see if I’m right.

Your genius is combining racist arguments so as to reveal their absurdity. I think this is a good example. You first say you were raised by a black man names James; and then you complain about the lack of black fathers at home to be a good example for their kids. But James was home to be a good example for his kids because he was busy at your home raising you.

As I said, genius.

I won’t fall for your depiction of yourself as an astonishingly racist old white woman. Even your constant clearly erroneous attempts to compare life in Africa with the black American experience won’t help you pull the wool over my eyes again.

But I salute you for the attempt – especially now that I fully appreciate what you are trying to accomplish with your racist facade.

 @Paul_Nicholas_Boylan Johnnie Mae was our housekeeper and nannie for my little brothers. Her husband, James, worked as a laborer. He was a HUGE, kind man. She was a small woman and they had never had children. They lived in the servants’ quarters in the back of the property.

MittLaugh-300x212

I do not “complain” about the lack of black fathers as it is an absolute fact – sad, but true.
young-woman-laughing-covering-face-gettyimages

 

What I’ve said in this sequence of comments is the absolute truth. There are no lies in any of it. You may choose to believe what you wish, but it is a true, actual story.

What I’ve said in this sequence of comments is the absolute truth. There are no lies in any of it. You may choose to believe what you wish, but it is a true, actual story.

@BuffaloBillie  Look, you’ve proven you are good at masquerading as a stereotypical racist.

3176232855_197668e265_m

You’re the best.

winner3

6

And the evolution of your personae into an elderly white woman raised by domestic servants in the pre WWII south is simply brilliant.

“…they had never had children.”
laughing

Of course they never had children’; they were too busy working for your family and raising you and your brothers for slave wages – or maybe they did it just for room and board. Black folk working their lives away slaving away for rich white cotton farmers.

U.S. President Barack Obama laughs at the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner in Washington April 28, 2012.  REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA) ORG XMIT: WAS335

Brilliant! That is EXACTLY what the unsuspecting reader would expect to hear from an 80 year old white lady Southern racist. Brilliant!!

341x450px-ll-bdec5f1b_guy-laughing-at-you-thumb1094641

But you can stop now.

gif-211

You’ve proven your hilarious.

KKK Confederate Flag_zpsjwlw1uqv

Let’s move on. Have you thought about allowing me to get you an agent?

 pnb-avatar-32-e1303056261191

Within a month I can get you a gig at the Comedy Store on Sunset.

9E6FCBCF-005B-4D11-552996A78157095F

I’m serious. I can do it. Let me do that for you. I want to be able to say that you are my discovery

 @BuffaloBillie I just got this great idea. I realize I am being presumptuous providing you with suggestions on how to appear even more racist than you already appear. But hear me out.

Or+maybe+just+hear+me+out+people+like+you+are+_46aebb00d187195e57969bb9dadd2e96

I’ve learned that it is possible to revise comments appearing in this forum. If I can arrange that, it would be really perfect if you could insert a comment saying that the negro boys who worked for your family cutting cotton sang negro work songs while they were in the cotton fields. And that they worked in rhythm to the music. And that the two adult black people who worked for your family providing child care to you and your two brothers, could you describe them as singing, too, and being so happy all the time and smiling.

And if you could just add a couple of sentences explaining how it is true that black people can’t swim and that science has proven that they are mentally inferior to the white race.

white race

white race too

You just have to include using the term “white race” whenever you can.

31314whiterally

Southern Pride

And finally if you could include something about the “White Homeland” in the Pacific Northwest or a reference to the “Northwest Front.”

Northwest Front

That’s Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

white army

These are only suggestions. The character you crafted – a deeply racist 80 old lady Southerner – is so over the top perfect, and believable. I realize that yours is a subtle art, and it is so very easy to go too far and tip off your reader too soon that they are debating a phantom construct.

But if you add in the stuff I’ve suggested, you will have it on every single ultra right wing racist statement Dylann Roof made in his manifesto Roof posted on the internet to explain why he killed all those black people in that Church in Charleston.

Every single one. I confirmed that it isn’t a coincidence. Roof’s rant matches yours -except for these few last suggestions.

Brilliant.

people of earth

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/crime/article/The-Latest-South-Carolina-House-remembers-church-6372868.php

 

 

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MOVING ON WITH NO REGRETS

Posted in And now the snorting starts, Attorney fees, California Public Records Act, Grim Fairy Tales, public outrage over the waste of public money, Research and Development, Small Town America, The Wrath of God, خنده on May 27, 2012 by paulboylan

Two events prompt this blog entry:

The first event is my need to travel to France – not to teach as I have done every year since 2005, but to withdraw my Euros from my Credit Lyonnais bank account, close the account (which I must do personally) and fly home.  These Euros were deposited into that account by the University of Poitiers  to compensate me for serving as an adjunct professor of law at University.

[I used this account to transact all of my business in Europe. Why pay the cost of converting Dollars to Euros?]

The second event involves an interesting and very unusual pattern of sudden Internet activity.  Since May 24th someone has been feverishly searching for websites using the following search terms:

Paul Nicholas Boylan Poitiers

“Paul Nicholas Boylan” Poitiers

Most, if not all, of these search attempts lead the person investigating me here,5here,/here,, heref(page 16),  here,/here,/here1and here.y

I cannot, of course, be 100% sure why there is this sudden interest in my professorship, but I have a fairly good idea.  On May 24th I filed and served a motion for an award of attorney’s fees and costs in Mecum v. City of Lindsay,Tulare County Superior Court Case No. 11-243461. In that case, I represented Steven Mecum, a guy who is concerned that the City of Lindsay – a small town in Central California where Steven lives – is spending public money improperly. 

In summary, here is what happened:  Steven asked for access to records dealing with areas of City spending he wanted to examine.  The City gave him some of these records, but not all of them. So he sued to get what was being withheld.

Ordinarily, these sorts of disputes get resolved very, very fast. Usually, opposing counsel work together and come to an agreement as to what can be released and what should remain confidential.  The reason for this cooperation is because the California Public Records Act (CPRA) is a “fee shifting” statute.  The CPRA states that, if a judge orders a governmental agency to turn over records or information the agency is withholding, then the agency must pay the petitioner’s attorney’s fees and costs.

So an agency faces a bigger and bigger potential liability for fees and costs the longer a dispute lasts, and it is this risk that prompts most agencies to work to resolve CPRA disputes as fast as possible.

That didn’t happen in Mecum v. City of Lindsay.  The City, through its attorney, deployed what is known as ae“scorched-earth”/defense strategy, which means the City refused to so much as discuss an amicable resolution and fought tooth and nail to win.

So instead of a fast resolution, this case was a long, slow slog ending in a hearing where the trial judge ordered the City to turn over documents and information to the petitioner, Steven Mecum. And this meant that the City must pay me what I would have charged Steven if I were billing him on an hourly basis.

As these things go, the arguments are fairly straight forward:  Steven asked for records; the City said no; Steven sued to get them; the Court agreed with Steven and ordered the City to give Steven more records; this makes Steven the prevailing party; and Steven now asks the Court to pay his fees and costs to me.

So what does all of this have to do with my professorship?  Everything.  In addition to my “base fee” (hours multiplied by my hourly rate) I am asking for what is known as a “multiplier.”  As the Memorandum shows,  although the Court has no discretion to deny the motion, under some circumstances, the Court has the discretion to increase the fee award by multiplying the base fee by whatever number the Court feels is just.  One of the factors justifying a multiplier is harsh litigation tactics that caused the case to be needlessly complex, time consuming and expensive.

That’s what happened here.  Defense counsel was very, very aggressive – so aggressive that I was forced to choose between teaching in France and staying home just in case defense counsel attempted to manipulate my unavailability against my client.

Here is what happened:  I notified defense counsel that I would be unavailable during the entire month of March 2012 because I was scheduled to teach in France during that time.  Knowing this, defense counsel arranged for a briefing schedule that would require me to respond to her arguments against my client’s petition while I was away from my office in France teaching.  I decided to withdraw from my teaching commitment that year and stay home to be ready for whatever happened in the case rather than be far away and less able to respond to actions opposing counsel might take knowing I was overseas and less able to respond.

It turned out to be a good idea.  Although I had arrangements for opposing counsel to serve papers on me via email, she nevertheless served her Opposition Brief on me via ordinary mail service, which meant that if I was teaching  I would not have received that brief until I returned from France, which would have provide me only a few days to respond.

But because I stayed home (and didn’t tell her) my client’s position wasn’t disadvantaged by my absence and I was able to draft one of the best Reply Briefs I’ve ever drafted in a CPRA case and, because of it, the Court agreed with Steven’s position and ordered the City to give  him access to what amounted to approximately 7,100 pages of records.

But staying home also meant I lost my professorship. And I told this to the Court as part of my argument justifying application of a multiplier, hopefully increasing the eventual fee award.

And this is why someone is frantically investigating my teaching history. Someone is looking for anything that might contradict my story, throw question on my claims, and hopefully minimize my client’s claim for fees and costs.

It isn’t going to work, but they are welcomed to try. 

I am very sad.  I loved teaching those kids, and the University provided me with students from all over the world. I had a chance to influence future policy makers. I had the chance to make a real difference.

I don’t blame the University. And, even though I cherished my teaching position, I have few regrets.  When confronted with a choice between my duties as an attorney and my desires to travel and teach, I chose my client over my personal desires. I did what I had to do to best serve the interests of my client.  That’s my job as an attorney. 

And what the hell, really?  I can still call myself “professor” and I am now free to seek out a position with another university if I really want to do that.

But I sure will miss those kids.  So bright.  So eager to learn what little I had to teach.

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Au revoir, mes amis. Tu vas me manquer.


Now it is time to go to France and close out my bank account, certainly before the Euro drops any further in relation to its value compared to the US dollar.

And to you out there researching my history – take your time; do it right; find out exactly who I am and what I can do.  What you find will not reassure you.

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