More on what's going on with Clark's brain in a bit.
When a ship goes down from a torpedo, submerged submarines nearby can hear the death throes of exploding boilers and munitions, steel twisting, the superstructure collapsing on itself. These are the kind of agonizing, gut-wrenching sounds coming from the flaming, smoking wreck of the S.S. Jill Clark...
James Allen Bergstrom is one of the clients whose name appeared here on a "roll call of the damned," a list of Clark clients (and one known Clark employee, Peggy Katch) whose lives are all tangled up with Jill Clark's law practice. These individuals (or at least their cases) now face uncertain futures. James Bergstrom's name was on the list because of a case he filed in state court which appears to still be active, with the whole world lining up against him with amicus briefs.
HOWEVER, it turns out Bergstrom also had a case in United States District Court.
I say "had," past tense, because the case was dismissed on July 6 due to Clark's dithering and inability to move the case forward. Being dismissed "with prejudice," the case can't be revived and brought again even if Bergstrom found a different attorney or wanted to represent himself pro se.
Documents from that case came into my hands last night from a super-helpful source. Nothing speaks to this so well as the raw, unedited order of the court, so here it is, word for word, as follows:
JAMES BERGSTROM, plaintiff,
SGT. MICHELLE FRASCONE, in her
individual capacity; SGT. VICKI BRAMAN,
in her individual capacity; VANESSA REW,
an individual; SGT. STACEY WEBB, in her
individual capacity; COMMANDER KRIS
MIENERT, in her individual capacity; SGT.
SUE MCMAHON, in her individual capacity;
DET. CHRIS DONOHOE, in his individual
capacity; DET. CHRIS PLOYART, in his
Plaintiff James Bergstrom brought this lawsuit against seven members of the Woodbury Police Department and Vanessa Rew (his ex-wife), alleging violations of his constitutional rights and malicious prosecution. The lawsuit arises out of Bergstrom’s allegedly unconstitutional arrest on April 23, 2010.
Bergstrom commenced this action in state court in August 2010, and defendants removed the action to this Court the following month. About 18 months later (in March 2012), defendants
moved to dismiss for lack of prosecution, alleging that Bergstrom’s attorney, Jill Clark, had not answered any written discovery requests and had not made Bergstrom available for deposition, despite defendants’ repeated attempts to accommodate Clark’s work schedule and health problems. In response to defendants’ motion, Clark filed a motion to continue. Clark did not dispute that she had not complied with her discovery obligations, but asked for a short continuance based on her anticipated ability to resume full-time work in the near future.
(Some paragraph breaks inserted by JNS blog for clarity, and some citations removed for easier reading)
The Court was inclined to dismiss this action at that time, but based on Clark’s representations and against its better judgment, the Court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss and ordered the parties to contact Magistrate Judge Jeffrey J. Keyes to schedule a status conference. The purpose of the conference, as the Court explained, was to determine whether Clark was capable of prosecuting this case and, if so, “to amend the scheduling order one final time to impose strict deadlines — deadlines that will not be changed and that Ms. Clark must meet.” If Clark could not continue prosecuting this case, she was to do one of three things: secure substitute counsel, dismiss the case, or notify the Court that her client would be proceeding pro se. The Court explicitly warned Clark that “any future failures to comply with the rules or this Court’s orders will result in the dismissal of this action.”
The Court could not have been clearer: If Clark missed any deadline for any reason, the case would be dismissed.
Judge Keyes held a scheduling conference on May 31, 2012, and based on Clark’sassurances that she was capable of representing Bergstrom and meeting all deadlines, Judge Keyes issued an amended pretrial scheduling order shortly afterward. In the scheduling order, Judge Keyes stated that “[t]his is the final schedule for this case and no delays or continuances will be allowed.” Pursuant to the order, Bergstrom’s responses to pending written discovery, including the production of documents and answers to interrogatories, were due no later than June 15, 2012. Defendants’ discovery requests, it should be
noted, were served in July and September of 2011 — almost a year ago.
On June 21, 2012, defendants filed a second motion to dismiss, alleging that Clark failed— without explanation and in violation of Judge Keyes’s amended scheduling order — to meet the June 15 deadline for responding to written discovery. The next day, the Court ordered Bergstrom to show cause why this action should not be dismissed with prejudice for lack of prosecution and as a sanction for failing to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the orders of this Court.
On the day that Bergstrom’s memorandum was due, the Court received a letter from Clark’s attorney, Diana Longrie, explaining that Clark suffered a relapse of her prior medical condition and has been hospitalized since June 21 — six days after the June 15 deadline for responding to defendants’ written discovery requests. On behalf of Bergstrom, Longrie seeks yet another stay of dismissal so that Clark can propose yet another case- management plan.
Consistent with the clear warnings of both the undersigned and Judge Keyes, the Court now denies the request for a stay and dismisses this action with prejudice. As noted above, Bergstrom’s response to defendants’ discovery requests was due on June 15, 2012. Rather than responding to these discovery requests — again, requests that were served on Bergstrom nearly one year earlier — Clark chose to devote considerable time and energy to other matters.
On June 8, 2012, for example, Clark attempted to remove state disciplinary proceedings against her to federal court, filing a notice of removal and nearly one hundred pages of accompanying exhibits. See Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility v. Clark, No. 12-CV-1373 (JRT/AJB).
A few days later, on June 14, Clark filed numerous motions in an apparent attempt to reopen a case that had been closed for over six years. See Robinson, et al. v. City of Minneapolis, et al., No. 03-CV-2897 (DWF/SRN). As her conduct in these two cases demonstrates, Clark was perfectly capable of meeting the June 15 deadline in this case. She simply chose to devote her time and attention to other matters that she viewed as more important.
The Court has been more than patient with Clark. Although it was inclined to dismiss this action in March in response to defendants’ first motion to dismiss, the Court gave Clark one final chance to comply with the Federal Rules and the Court’s orders. Clark was clearly and repeatedly warned that her failure to meet deadlines for any reason would result in dismissal of this action. Rather than taking those warnings seriously and litigating this case, Clark chose to devote her time and energy to other matters, such as trying to reopen a case that had been closed for six years. Clark failed to meet her obligations to her client and to this Court. This action is therefore dismissed.
In light of the foregoing, and based on all of the files, records, and proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. Defendants’ motion to dismiss is GRANTED.
2. Plaintiff’s amended complaint [ECF No. 35] is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE for lack of prosecution, failure to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and failure to comply with the amended pretrial scheduling order dated May 31, 2012.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.
Dated: July 6 , 2012 s/Patrick J. Schiltz
Patrick J. Schiltz
United States District Judge
(JNS blog adds: In a footnote, the judge says the following)
The Court has not considered the fact that, while Clark was failing to meet the deadlines in this case, Clark was also running for public office, as the Court does not know whether Clark devoted any time or attention to her campaign during the relevant time period.
(End of document)
Disturbing Electrical Activity In Clark's Brain
For years, individuals involved in the North Minneapolis neighborhood revitalization movement (against whom Clark appears to be waging an unsuccessful legal crusade) have luridly speculated about how there must be something deeply, disturbingly, insanely, mentally WRONG with Jill Clark.
The "what the hell is wrong with Jill Clark" conversation takes place constantly, in response to each new bats*** crazy thing Clark does, and always covers the same ground (she's an admitted alcoholic, she desperately craves attention, she does impossible legal moves with pathetic, hopeless clients trying to show everybody she's brilliant and can do the impossible, even though, actually, she can't) but seldom leads to a satisfying answer about what is ACTUALLY wrong with Clark.
Also, a couple years back during the "True JACC" court case, some of us clearly and repeatedly observed Clark having what seemed to be involuntary facial tics. Below this paragraph is a contemporaneous YouTube video of this blogger performing a slightly (only slightly) over the top imitation of what the tics looked like.
Yeah, this video is probably 51 percent of the reason Clark sued me on behalf of Jerry Moore, who was involved in the mortgage fraud at 1564 Hillside Ave. N.
But now there appears to be some kind of actual, tangible clue to the "what is wrong with Clark's brain" conundrum. The clue is contained in a letter by Clark's attorney, Diana Longrie. It is unknown if Longrie is still representing Clark and there is quite a bit to say about Longrie, who she is, and how she's connected to Clark but in the meantime, here is what I'm calling the "Problem With Clark's Brain Epistle," word for word.
July 3, 2012
The Honorable Patrick J. Schiltz
US District Courthouse
300 S. 4th Avenue
In Re: Bergstrom v. Frascone (10-CV-3932 (PJS/JJK))
(JNS inserts: Fascinating use of a double parenthetical! I mean, how often do you see that? Almost never! OK, admittedly, only one half of one percent of my readers have the same level of intense interest in this punctuation phenomenon but I just had to call it out)
Dear Judge Schiltz,
I understand that today, July 3, 2012, is the deadline for the submission of plaintiff counsel's response to this Court's order to show cause in the above referenced matter. I understand that a non-lawyer representative of Ms. Clark's firm requested an extension of time to respond but that the deadline did not change. I believe this letter will explain why I am responding and not Ms. Clark.
I represent Ms. Clark in the pending state law license review process pertaining to her newly diagnosed medical condition. This review shall determine when Ms. Clark is able to represent clients or herself in legal proceedings.
Although at the May 31, 2012 appearance in this case Ms. Clark believed that she was on the upswing and getting better, she could not have then known what was around the corner for her.
For the Court's information, approximately 7 to 10 days prior to Ms. Clark's hospitalization on June 21, 2012, she manifested extreme symptoms including electrical brain activity that she thought at the time were migraines. In the hospital, Ms. Clark underwent numerous tests, including an MRI of her brain, and an EEG. It was the EEG results that provided the crucial information to produce a diagnosis.
This neurological crisis resulted in two things.
1.) The initiation of the review process, from June 21st onward, to determine whether, or for how long, Ms. Clark's state law license should be under disability-suspended status.
2.) The diagnosis of partial complex seizures. The EEG indicated that a previously undiagnosed, untreated seizure disorder was the cause of chronic and acute symptoms Ms. Clark had been experiencing for a number of months.
It is unfortunate that Ms. Clark's condition remained undiagnosed until now, but it is now diagnosed. Ms. Clark began medication immediately, and is currently acclimating to that medication.
It is my understanding that the present state proceedings pertaining to Ms. Clark's medical disability are currently sealed. However, with this said, if there is any information or assurances the Court requires, I, on behalf of Ms. Clark will do my best to provide the same.
I want to assure the Court that we understand this Court's concerns. And, of course, defendants are not responsible for these occurrences in any way. Nonetheless Ms. Clark's condition and diagnosis must be dealt with at this time.
While Ms. Clark's license is still technically in "good standing" at this time, I have advised her that until the MN Supreme Court has made its determination regarding her disability status, that she should not represent clients or herself.
Further, the law offices of Jill Clark LLC is in the process of developing a management plan for all of the open cases. This case has top priority in the management plan process. I ask for the Court's indulgence in granting the firm of Jill Clark, LLC and Jill Clark's client, James Bergstrom, 30 days to develop a management plan and secure substitution of counsel.
Who Is Diana Longrie?
This name is not a familiar fixture in North Minneapolis politics, but Longerie has quite a controversial history. She was the mayor of Maplewood, Minnesota elected with a reformist message. As for what happened, well, a City Pages article characterized the town as the Twin Cities' "Most Dysfunctional Suburb."
Longrie, who is no longer the mayor of the town but has taken up suing the city over tax grievances, has a connection to Clark through a case involving Patricia Gearin and Wipers Recyling. It appears both Clark and Longrie have represented Gearin. Longrie represented Gearin from May to November of 2007 in a case that some other business brought against Gearin and Wipers. Clark's representation of the two entities was afterward and involved suing the city of Maplewood in federal court. There was quite a little suburban teapot tempest over Longrie representing Gearin in the previous case and not making that matter known to city officials while, oh my word, sitting in on closed door meetings about the case. The Maplewood City Attorney's report makes it sound as though some kind of complaint would be filed against Longrie with "appropriate state agencies for further investigation." Unknown what, if anything, came of that.
There is a lot more on Longrie, not all of it negative. She's sort of an iconoclast, like Clark imagines herself to be, only Longrie seems somewhat more successful and quite a bit less kooky, but that's as compared to Clark, so it's like watching a three-legged dog racing a two-legged dog and saying, "Wow, Triplicate is really FAST." After a heady taste of political power as mayor of Maplewood, Longrie seems to be settling nicely into the role of perennial also ran and uncompensated cranky gadfly on various issues.
God knows Clark needs an advocate and Longrie took the difficult job, but note how Longrie didn't exactly offer to be Bergstrom's attorney in his doomed federal court case, even while writing to the Court for an extension. Longrie might be trying to help the desperate passengers who were aboard the ill-fated S.S. Jill Clark, but Longrie isn't going to get sucked down in the vortex when Clark (and most of her clients) sink beneath the waves.
What Of Clark's Other Cases? How Is The Drowning Going?
The Bergstrom decision mentions Clark trying to file something in the long dead Robinson versus City of Minneapolis case.
Actually, the full and quite informative caption (title) of the case is as follows:
Darryl Robinson, Natalya Strange, Bobby Hawkins, Justin Fenney, and Herman White, Plaintiffs, v. City of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Chief of Police, as the Chief Policymaker; Toscano, Police Officer (in his official and individual Capacities); John Does 1-5, Matthew Hobbs; John Staufenberg; Mark Suchta; Calvin Cook; Eric Hagel; Chad Fuchs; and Geoffrey Toscano, Defendants
Note Clark's usual crazy, conspiratorial habit of naming various John Does as co-conspirators. The stock value of John Does has plunged precipitously since Clark has sought disability inactive status. Turns out she'd cornered and artificially inflated the market, and now you can't GIVE them away, not even to CORONERS, who say they don't actually WANT John Does, no matter how many they actually POSSESS.
In any case, here's what United States District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank wrote about Clark's attempt to reopen the case:
While counsel fails to identify with any specificity how her motions relate to the above-captioned case, it appears to the Court that the pleadings pertain to alleged conduct by the media and individuals other than the named Defendants that occurred in 2012—no doubt more recently than the 2001 incident that was the subject of this case. Having reviewed the record and the submissions of counsel, the Court concludes that such motions are not properly the subject of this case, which was previouslydismissed by the Court.
Should Plaintiffs, Intervenors, or others choose to initiate suit for any acts or conduct not the subject of this dispute (commenced in 2003), they shall be required to pay the filing fee and to re-file and serve their documents in separate proceedings.
That line about something the "media" did in 2012 catches my eye but what does it matter? The case is dead, Clark's brain is hooked to sensors like a "John Does" hauled out of icy water, and there are live cases which may be dramatically transforming into dead cases.
Of course, even drowning takes time. The hearings in most of these cases are months away. So far the only evidence of Clark's cases unraveling, besides the humiliating Bergstrom order, is in the case of North Minneapolis "Also Ran" Troy Parker, who is suing a plethora of defendants in a case that seems to be about a motor vehicle. Parker had a motion hearing scheduled for July 11 but it rescheduled to August 16 for "attorney unavailable."
Oh, yeah, like Jill Clark's ailing brain will all be wrapped up and tied in a pretty bow by August 16 and Clark will be right there ready to move Parker's case forward. More likely Parker will need to find new counsel or represent himself. As for which lawyer would take Parker's case...well, don't go asking Longrie. She might be smart enough to realize there's an inherent conflict of interest between Clark versus Clark's disappointed clients, and Longrie has already chosen to represent Clark.
Furthermore, Longrie just doesn't seem like the criminal law type. But her involvement in Clark's disciplinary hearing is a new and exciting wrinkle.
This blog will have more on the dramatic, terrible sinking of the S.S. Clark as it develops.