Sunday, November 14, 2010

JNS BLOG EDITORIAL: Fear, Loathing And Toe Stepping In Federal Court--Alfred Flowers Vs. Don Samuels

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

It was the best of trials: Mayor of Crazy Town Al Flowers, who is notoriously lawsuit happy, lost his litigation bragging rights in an ill-advised judicial rematch against Council Member Don Samuels. So much for that paper-thin victory of a $3 judgment, click here for details.

It was the worst of trials: The costs of this trial were ridiculous. Approximately 40 jurors and potential jurors had their (presumably) sane and productive lives interrupted to be summoned to federal court and hear how Al Flowers doesn't have toenails on both his precious, oh-so-sensitive big toes.


The last day of the trail took place on a federal holiday and was, apparently, the ONLY trial in the entire federal courthouse which was otherwise shut down for Veterans Day. But somebody still needed to... up and run the metal detectors so a handful of individuals could attend the Al Flowers trial.

I'm guessing working on a federal holiday as a federal employee means getting paid, what? Double time? Never mind the cost of hiring a highly skilled city attorney to take this case to conclusion. Those were many, many billable hours but what was the alternative? Open up the checkbook and pay off a guy who files ridiculous lawsuits? If you keep giving the Somali pirates ransoms, they will keep hijacking your shipping. I'm just saying. The city made the right choice to fight rather than settle.

However, if Al Flowers didn't get his toes stepped upon (and a jury says he did not) then shouldn't assault charges be filed for the videotaped shoving incident with City Councilman Don Samuels? It might be oh-so-convenient for the city to forget the whole incident, sure...convenient until the next time Al Flowers shoves a city official and then files a frivolous lawsuit because he's learned he can get away with it. The November 11 jury verdict was only a small victory for civility. The city needs to take this victory to its ultimate conclusion and make sure that civility doesn't just rule one day, but all the days after.

The issues at trial strained not just the heights of incredulity, but the surprisingly thin veil of reality itself. Al Flowers shoved a city councilman in front of numerous witnesses, plus two video cameras. Then, instead of apologizing, a few days later Al Flowers filed a lawsuit against the man he shoved, trying to claim a cunning, backwards-walking, toe-stepping Pearl Harbor style sneak attack on his feet which, in fact, may have been some kind of CONSPIRACY or SET UP.

And this madness took TWO YEARS of delay and two days in court for a jury of sane, normal people to decide the issues in about four hours...with a lunch break included.

Make no mistake, this was indeed a jury of peers. Assuming by "peers" one means SANE PEOPLE.

Most paranoid utterance of the whole trial, by plaintiff attorney Jill Clark: "He (Don Samuels) could have kicked backwards, elbowed, slugged...ANYTHING!"

Second most paranoid utterance of the whole trial, again by plaintiff attorney Jill Clark: "Was the cue when Samuels starts to walk over, turn on the video cameras?"

This editorial is a desperate plea from the Northside to our city officials:

Don't just breathe a sigh of relief over beating this frivolous lawsuit. Take firm, decisive steps to make sure this same plaintiff and this same attorney don't do the same thing tomorrow. The very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. Anybody who watches the "Jordan Livability" tape of Al Flowers at the JACC meeting (especially at the 5 minute mark, where Flowers seems like an agitated geriatric dementia patient) has to realize this man has a screw loose.

Al Flowers will frivolously, expensively sue the City of Minneapolis again if there are no harsh, meaningful consequences for assaulting a city council member in front of witnesses and videotape. Don't make me write an editorial with the headline "City of Minneapolis: I virtually told you so, but you wouldn't listen."

Addendum: This editorial was drafted on November 12. Before I could hit the "publish" button, word came of a new lawsuit filed against the City of Minneapolis by Jill Clark.


Patrick said...

You tell'em John, thanks for your fantastic coverage throughout this entire ordeal.

Anonymous said...

Also, Al Flowers should be charge criminally for resisting arrest. If you're gonna charge him, then charge him for the whole thing.