This post primarily concerns the "strange bounce of the legal ping-pong ball" which made Jerry Moore a defendant, once again, in the civil suit filed over the mortgage fraud at 1564 Hillside Ave. N.
Meanwhile, I am appealing a judgment in a defamation lawsuit which involves writing stuff about Moore being "involved" in the mortgage fraud at 1564 Hillside Ave. N., shortly before he lost a job at the University of Minnesota where he (stomp stomp) researched stuff involving MORTGAGES.
Click here for Part One, a neighborhood in turmoil, Moore at the center of the storm.
Click here for Part Two, a tale of two trials deeply rooted in North Minneapolis issues.
So, to continue: Melony Michaels and John Foster, who were the identity theft victims of Larry Maxwell's "imposter Foster," (a crackhead named Kingrussel) filed a lawsuit against a host of individuals and business alleged to be liable for the damages they suffered from having a lifetime of carefully-managed credit torpedoed like the Lusitania.
But the first lawyer they hired (through a prepaid legal plan) did a terrible job...
Robert Anderson (an appraiser) and Jerry Moore (pictured above) managed to get themselves "dismissed without prejudice," meaning they were out of the case but could be brought back in, under the right set of circumstances. Some of us in North Minneapolis who had become friendly and sympathetic to "John and Melony" tried to find or recommend other attorneys, but I don't know if our efforts did any good.
Somehow, though, John and Melony found a new attorney, a Shari L. Lowden of the Lowden Law firm in Minnetonka. This appears to be what's known as a "boutique law firm," very small and focused. The law firm consists of Shari Lowden, Michael W. Lowden, (presumably husband and wife) and a paralegal. Unknown if they specialize in identity theft and/or mortgage fraud victims. Couldn't hurt to ask, if that's your issue.
Strange Bounce Of The Legal Ping-Pong Ball Goes Against Moore
Clearly realizing the previous lawyer had botched what should have been the legal equivalent of warming up a TV dinner, Lowden filed a motion to amend the complaint. The Honorable Judge Mel I. Dickstein partially granted and partially denied the motion to amend in an order dated Friday, April 13.
In the "Friday the 13th" order, Dickstein denied the motion to amend in regard to Moore, J. L. Moore Consulting, and Robert Anderson, writing, "All three of these parties have previously brought Motions to Dismiss; their motions were granted, and all claims against them were dismissed with prejudice. In the case of Jerry Moore and J.L. Moore Consulting, their motion was granted 17 months ago."
The judge felt "it would be prejudicial to these parties to allow Plaintiffs to assert new claims against them, over two years into the proceedings, and nearly a year and a half after they were dismissed from this case with prejudice..."
This blogger can't help but heartily agree with the judge's reasoning, if the defendants had been dismissed WITH PREJUDICE.
But it turns out they were dismissed WITHOUT (I SAY AGAIN, WITHOUT) PREJUDICE.
This three letter distinction became very important when John and Melony's attorney politely asked for reconsideration and (plot spoiler!) the honorable judge allowed Anderson, Moore, and Moore's crappy little "consulting firm" to be lassoed back into the herd of defendants.
(Oh, look at me, I've got STATIONARY that says I'm a CONSULTING firm, and also a Secret Squirrel decoder ring)
"Inside Baseball" Analysis Of "Friday The 13th" Order
Before moving forward to Moore getting roped back into this civil suit (admittedly one of the most pleasant and exciting surprises I've had since Megan Goodmundson sent me a care package in Afghanistan full of chocolate covered coffee beans) I can't help but sift through the delicious morsels of information contained in the "Friday the 13th" order, all about who is representing who, how the proceedings proceeded.
One of the defendants is Halisi Edwards Staten, who (according to the "third amended" complaint) "admitted she failed to supervise Maxwell," who was already on federal probation from a previous real estate crime involving "aiding and abetting" false information. Halisi Staten is a familiar figure in North Minneapolis. Along with her prominent husband, Randy Staten, she was involved in a public scandal back in 1996, click here for an article, and click here for another one, and here's one more.
According to the "Friday the 13th" order, Halisi's attorney is Cyrenthia Shaw. Shaw appears to have a background in children's law, an area in which Staten has also been involved, though it wouldn't be fair to say that's Shaw's ONLY area of expertise.
A lawyer named Jaren Johnson appeared on behalf of Defendant First USA Title, Inc.
Some idea of the "attempted defendant exodus" is revealed in the "Friday the 13th" order. Jerry Moore was the first one to try to escape, with his attorney Jill Clark filing a Motion to Dismiss on August 24, 2010. The Court granted the Motion to dismiss. There was an unsuccessful Motion by Plaintiffs to amend their complaint, no doubt because the first lawyer did such a poor job writing it in the first place.
Robert Anderson, a licensed real estate appraiser, was the next to successfully escape, filing a motion on November 9, 2010. The court did give Plaintiffs permission to amend their complaint but the brain dead lawyer who was at the controls "never filed or served the Second Amended Complaint." (I will eventually write about this lawyer in more detail, but at the moment he's a side issue. A bad but probably well-intentioned lawyer isn't as important as alleged bad actors in a mortgage fraud, particularly one who is suing me for defamation because I dared write about his "involvement") (Oh, and I might add, "bad actors" could simply be "negligent" actors)
On June 23, 2011, Halisi Edwards Staten intentionally or unwittingly followed the successful examples of Jerry Moore and Robert Anderson, filing a Motion to Dismiss. The Motion was set to be heard July 21 but before that could happen, Plaintiff's lawyer withdrew. (It's my understanding the attorney was FIRED, but even a fired attorney would have to inform the court he/she was "withdrawing.") Plaintiff's requested more time and the judge granted it. The date to argue over whether Staten should be dismissed kept getting bumped forward.
September 12. December 22. January 4. The Plaintiff's appeared without a lawyer. Melony Michaels, who transformed herself into a private investigator to break the mortgage fraud wide open and send Larry Maxwell to prison, now transformed herself into an attorney. Melony (I assume it was Melony) argued the court shouldn't dismiss the negligence claim because Staten owed a duty to supervise Maxwell, a real estate salesperson. She cited the appropriate Minnesota statute. She pointed out Staten hadn't even been living in MINNESOTA, so how much supervision could Staten provide? (I assume the part about Maxwell being ON PROBATION might have come up, too, though it's not mentioned in the Order)
The judge granted Staten's request to dismiss, but gave Plaintiff's until February 13 to "plead a claim against Staten for negligent breach of her statutory duty."
God knows how "Melony and John" did it, but in early February they found an attorney. A "place holder" complaint was filed to avoid missing the judge's deadline. On March 16, Plaintiffs sought to (as the court phrased it) "completely retool their Complaint, pleading an entirely new set of ten claims, as well as an expanded factual background." Staten's attorney filed written objections. The attorney for First USA Title made an oral argument that it was "far too late" to be amending things.
The court looked at the claims in the proposed lawsuit and summarized them into 10 categories, as follows: Two instances of Civil Theft by Swindle pertaining to the two separate properties. This blog tends to focus on 1564 Hillside Ave. N., but there was a "12th Avenue" property involved in the swindle, too. Moore is not alleged to have been involved in the 12th Avenue property swindle.
Conspiracy. Receiving stolen property. Violating some Minnesota statute. Unjust enrichment. Two different negligence claims. And, in what I find to be a bit of a curve ball, INVASION OF PRIVACY for the theft of Foster's identity.
So the "Friday the 13th Order" looked like good news for Moore and Anderson. This was, however, a temporary reprieve.
May It Please The Court, Do Over
Unlike the previous attorney, whose i's were left undotted, whose t's were left uncrossed, whose lawsuit on behalf of "John and Melony" was like a neglected little child sent off to school with shoes untied, pants unzipped, hair uncombed...this attorney was careful, prudent, and then careful again. Sure, the judge had said, quite firmly, that Moore, Moore's "consulting firm" (eye roll) and Robert Anderson were out of the lawsuit. But the judge had made that decision based upon the assumption this had been a dismissal WITH PREJUDICE. But it hadn't been. It had been WITHOUT. And the whole point of WITHOUT is the suit MIGHT be brought over again.
So, perhaps in an attempt to document her own carefulness more than anything else, Lowden sent correspondence to the judge and asked for reconsideration "based on Court’s finding that each of those three former defendants were dismissed previously with prejudice; when in fact the Order’s dismissing those three defendants were without prejudice."
I wonder if the attorney had a certain degree of confidence or if, when the response came back, she thought something along the lines of, "Great googly moogly, it actually WORKED!" The court issued an amended order. And suddenly Robert Anderson, (who had been trying to garnish Foster for attorney fees) Jerry Moore, and Moore's consulting firm were defendants again.
What in interesting little bounce of the legal ping-pong ball. He's in, he's out, no wait he's in again.
Imagine feeling so much relief (I'm out! I'm not being sued anymore!) and then having the relief snatched away. (What!? They're suing me again?)
But there's an even WORSE feeling, of course.
Seeing it all blogged about in detail, by the guy you sued for defamation.
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART FOUR AFTER SOME INFO ABOUT MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND ARRESTS.