LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
More complaints about courtroom lies
I am writing in response to Kate Neiswender’s article in November’s CITATIONS. Ms. Neiswender’s article comes in after I had just made this very complaint in my office. Another colleague came into my office, and asked, “When did it become common for attorneys to so boldly lie to the court, and without any consequences?”
Ms. Neiswender, you are not “just getting old and grouchy,” and a lot of us can feel your pain.
I had an attorney completely ignore my discovery request. Notwithstanding that no meet and confer is required to file a motion, I sent several meet and confer letters, and spoke to counsel and his assistant many times asking for the information. More than 60 days after it was due, what I finally received were cut and paste objections to each and every request. More attempts to meet and confer were fruitless.
I filed my motion, and my motion was denied outright, and no sanctions. I filed a writ, and that was likewise denied.
Opposing counsel managed to get a trial set quickly, leaving me with no information to effectively try my case. Moreover, he has now been encouraged to continue to lie about the facts, and refuses to provide any information. It is frustrating, because I absolutely refuse to stoop to the same level. This leaves me and my client at a substantial unfair disadvantage because the other side has all the information they need, and I have none. This was not the first time.
I also had an attorney be so bold as to send a proposed order after hearing; we spent months discussing what was actually ordered. Then, when I would not agree to his demands, he threatened to send the proposed order and tell the court that I had not responded. He made good on his threat. I received a copy of his declaration to the court, under penalty of perjury, claiming that I had never responded to his proposed order. I received the declaration on a Saturday.
I faxed a letter to the court asking the court not to consider it until I could file my declaration with a copy to opposing counsel. In court, the correct order was decided, but the court never addressed the attorney’s perjurious behavior; it was as if it was just a matter of course. The attorney was not even reprimanded. When did it become acceptable for attorneys to deliberately deceive the court without so much as a cross look from the bench? I know it is not all judges in all courtrooms. However, when deceptive behavior is not challenged by the court, it encourages more of the same.
Laurie Peters, Esq.
Taking a stand
Please pass along to VCBA President Joel Mark that I am impressed and pleased by his President’s message this month. I am glad to see leaders in Ventura voicing concern over issues beyond our profession and our county. It’s important that we as attorneys apply our skills of analysis, judgment and communication to broader issues and hopefully help our community, our country, to identify where we can improve and develop solutions together. Finally, all too often our Bar feels a bit insular, and taking a “political” stand seems to risk severe criticism. I am proud that President Mark stood up and spoke.
Vanessa Frank, Esq.