Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yesterday's Hearing In The "Fatally Defective" Lawsuit Against CRA Chair Donald Bellfield...

Dave Bicking in the rear, middle, photo and
blog post by John Hoff

Today I received a thumbnail summary of yesterday's hearing in the Donald Bellfeild defamation lawsuit, discussed in this previous blog post, click here.

For copies of some of the actual documents, access through this other blog post, click here.

Bellfield is the chair of the Civilian Review Authority, which (to some degree) oversees cases of police discipline and is, therefore, a lightning rod for controversy by loud, angry folks who are "hating on" the police.

Now Bellfield has become frustratingly entangled in a lawsuit which can best be described as "bizarre." Bellfield is being sued for defamation in association with an email sent by his "significant other." (SO) The email was sent in the wake of a graffiti incident in their neighborhood. In the email, Bellfield's SO speculates the graffiti may be some form of retaliation related to Bellfield's work on the CRA.

The email was apparently sent to apologize to neighbors for the presence of the graffiti, to reassure them as to who it was PROBABLY directed at, and--it seems--perhaps to take responsibility for the cost of the cleanup.

Quite notably, Bellfield's SO never specifically named anybody she suspects perpetrated the graffiti, but attorney Jill Clark's clients--Dave Bicking and Michelle Gross--decided the email must be talking about THEM and, furthermore, they'd been (gasp!) DEFAMED!

Again, to emphasize this incredibly bizarre point: the defamation lawsuit concerns emails which NEVER ACTUALLY NAME THE FOLKS SUING FOR DEFAMATION.

In yesterday's hearing on a motion to dismiss, plaintiff attorney Jill Clark...

...reportedly made a verbal motion to amend the proposed amended complaint. What that means is...

1.) There's a complaint. That's the actual lawsuit which was filed.

2.) But the plaintiff attorney, Jill Clark, wants to AMEND that complaint. To amend the complaint, one needs permission from the court. That hasn't happened, yet.

3.) Nothwithstanding Point Number 2, in yesterday's hearing the plaintiff attorney wanted to VERBALLY AMEND the proposed amended complaint.

Commenting on this, an unnamed local attorney said, "This is what she (Jill Clark) does, she goes in and creates major cluster (plural expletive) and pulls you down a darked path where you really aren't going to resolve anything, because there's so much confusion." Compare the "amendments piled on amendments" with the situation described in the Motion for Attorney Fees filed by the JACC defendants, where plaintiffs were also represented by Jill Clark, click here for that document. Again, one sees the confusing pattern of "amendments piled on amendments."

In the case at hand, the verbal amendment involved conceding that Dave Bicking and Michelle Gross are public figures...a very significant admission, because the threshold to defame a public figure is much higher; actual malice must be involved.

How the plaintiffs--both admittedly public figures, as conceded by their attorney at yesterday's heairng--will ever meet that difficult threshold when the two plaintiffs AREN'T EVEN NAMED IN THE EMAILS IN QUESTION is a very pertinent question. And, this whole time, one can't help but be aware of the recent case of an attorney disciplined for filing a baseless defamation lawsuit, click here.

Defense attorney Ferdinand Peters--who has become quite a well-known figure in North Minneapolis legal matters--was given seven days by Judge John McShane to respond to this new layer of amendment-piled-on-amendment.

JNS blog has also been informed that defendant Donald Bellfield has prostate cancer, and that any "leave of absence" Bellfield took as CRA Chair was due to health matters, not some kind of evil conspiracy.

JNS blog carefully inquired about whether the prostate cancer was a publicly known matter and was informed that, yes, it was publicly known. So in the midst of his severe health problems, Bellfield is forced to deal with this additional burden.

It is my editorial position that Donald Bellfield would be serving the decent people of Minneapolis by refusing to settle this matter, and pursuing an ethics complaint with the Board of Professional Responsibility over this cracked, crazy and (I would wager a number of drinks) ultimately ill-fated rag doll of a lawsuit.

(ADDENDUM: This blog post was revised to substitute the term "significant other" (SO) instead of the term "girlfriend," upon receiving additional information about the term used by Bellfield and his SO to describe the relationship.


Anonymous said...

WOW Rack up those loses Jill! Anyone keeping track of her win loss ratio.If she was a quarter horse she would be "put out to pasture."
Anon so I dont get named in baseless law suit.
Hint: Capt. Jack Sparrow

NoMi Passenger said...

We need someone in the law community to give us the Jill Clark trackrecord win-loss count!

Post it here!

How did the stepping on toes lawsuit go anyways?