Documents that recently became available on the PACER federal court website, and were kindly forwarded to me, tell a dramatic story of attorney Jill Clark's purported health issues and yet another attempt (almost certainly hopeless and futile) to remove her lawyer disciplinary case from state court to federal court.
According to a document filed by the Honorable Judge Gerald R. Seibel, who is the judicial referee in Clark's disciplinary proceedings, a telephonic conference was scheduled for June 21 to deal with preliminary matters before a contested hearing on June 25. The Honorable Judge must have been a little surprised when, instead of Jill Clark on the telephone line, instead he found himself talking to Jeffrey M. Roth, Clark's husband...
Spouse And NOT Drinking Buddy
Little is known about Clark's husband except he's also listed on the property where Clark has her law office in Golden Valley, convenient to North Minneapolis for her meddling. He receives unnamed mention in the highly informative "Two Jills of a kind" article in the Star Tribune, click here, where it says, "She is married to a man she met via a personals ad a few years ago. She said they were brought together by their mutual recovery from alcoholism."
To which this blogger says:
ALLEGED recovery from alcoholism.
So Jeffrey Roth was on the phone instead of Jill, and Jill was also being represented "on a limited basis" by attorney Diana Longrie, according to Siebel. What "limited basis" means is not explained, however, Clark is now known to have retained attorney Ben Myers, who she has also represented as a client in the "True JACC" Jordan Neighborhood lawsuit, which Clark recently lost at the State Court of Appeals level in a spectacular fashion, click here for a story with a live link to the ruling. It may be that Longrie's representation of Clark was temporary, though Longrie appears to have taken Clark's case involving the "baby mama drama" lawsuit filed by Eric Yzaguirre.
Clark Has Mental Melt Down
What Clark's husband told the referee is best stated word-for-word from the filing.
(...) The Referee was advised by Respondent's husband, who appeared without counsel and instead of Respondent, that he had convinced the Respondent to voluntarily admit herself to the hospital earlier on June 21st and that she was unable to attend the telephone conference. Mr. Roth indicated that Respondent had not slept in seven days and that he was concerned for her physical and emotional well being.
He further advised that he had locked her out of her email accounts and computers and had restricted her business telephone access so that she would not be able to deal with clients in her present condition. He finally indicated that he was asking to postpone the upcoming hearing on June 25 because his wife was unable to properly prepare or participate in the hearing due to her condition.
The referee indicated the hearing would still take place on June 25 and information about Clark's "inability to appear could be discussed at that time."
The Dog Ate My Brain
On June 25, the hearing took place and "it was represented that (Clark) was still hospitalized." Like the character Epstein in the television show Welcome Back Kotter, Jill Clark had some kind of purported excuse note. The way the referee described it, trying but not succeeding to keep an incredulous tone out of his writing:
A note was presented to the Referee on HealthEast Care System stationary "signed" by "Her HealthEast Care Team" which read as follows:
To: Whom it may concern.
Jill Clark has been hospitalized within the HealthEast Care System since 6/21/12. She is currently under the care of her physician. Please excuse her from any scheduled appearances and related work until further notice. Please see the enclosed signed work excuse prescription note.
Attached to this note was a prescription note with an indecipherable signature asking to excuse Jill Clark from work on June 25.
Oh, wait, it gets better. The referee tried to ask Clark's husband more specifics about what was happening.
His response was non-specific, indicating that he did not have full information. He indicated that her doctors were unable to provide any diagnosis or recommended treatment at this time and that they would be unable to do so until they completed a number of tests. He indicated that these tests could not be completed until the end of the current week at the earliest and that it might even take into the next week.
Just how much the Referee is "buying" any of this is probably indicated by the next few paragraphs.
When questioned by the Referee whether the focus of the concern over Ms. Clark was physical, emotional, or both, Respondent's husband indicated that it could be either or both. He further indicated that Respondent had experienced similar episodes in September 2011 and January of 2012 and she had attempted to obtain a medical leave of absence but was not allowed to do so.
It should be noted that September of 2011 corresponds with the early stages of the current disciplinary investigation and January 2012 corresponds with the issuance of the Probable Cause Order in the disciplinary proceedings. Respondent's husband posited that the fact that Respondent was unable or not allowed to take medical leave at those times may have caused her current situation to be exacerbated. Both Respondent's husband and her counsel indicated that due to her current condition she is unable, at least for a few weeks, to assist in the defense of this disciplinary proceeding.
The referee then brought up the possibility of "disability inactive" status for Clark, and Clark's lawyer concurred this was a good idea. The referee gave the parties until 12 noon to provide further information and argument.
But then Clark herself jumped into the fray. According to the Referee, at 5:08 PM on June 26, the Referee's law clerk received an email from "Clark's apparently re-opened e-mail account."
(JNS notes: the use of a hyphen in the word "email" is consistent legal writing practice but really needs to go the way of the brontosaurus)
The email indicated Clark was discharged from the hospital "last evening," that attorney Longrie was with Clark at that moment, and they had new information the referee should consider before transferring Clark to inactive disability status or operating on Clark's dog to retrieve her missing homework. (That last part of the sentence was obviously my sense of humor)
The referee scheduled another telephone conference and received some written submissions which asserted Clark was having "a number of ongoing symptoms due to two motor vehicle accidents which occurred in 2011." Clark claimed to be having symptoms which included seizures, memory difficulties, problems multi-tasking, and "other affects to her brain centers."
Clark's attorney at that proceeding, Longrie, conceded the stress of the proceedings, combined with these symptoms, "may have contributed to (Clark) submitting on June 20th what counsel agreed were rather bizarre witness and exhibit lists for these proceedings." The Referee said the "upshot" of the Respondent's argument was she had "previously undiagnosed seizures for which a treatment regimen has been established" and Clark can now return to work and participate in the proceedings "less than 48 hours after she was discharged from the hospital."
Blogger B.S. Detector Breaks From Extreme Pressure Of Highly Concentrated Crap
Now comes the customary point in a Johnny Northside blog post where I can't help but interject a heavy dose of opinion and contrasting facts. Numerous witnesses saw Clark having what appeared to be "facial twitches" THREE YEARS AGO. In a YouTube video that may have been less than kind, and a bit exaggerated, but it somehow ends up being documentation of a highly-relevant set of facts, I imitated Clark's facial twitches I observed in court.
See YouTube embed, below.
So this notion that Clark had an undiagnosed seizure disorder and this disorder stemmed from two motor vehicle accidents in 2011 strikes me as a pure and concentrated form of bull twaddle. Oh, Clark certainly has some kind of tics or seizures. I have seen the facial tics and I doubt anybody, even Clark, would dare lie about doctors documenting seizures.
But here's the deal. It's my hypothesis Clark knew all along about some kind of seizure disorder that has afflicted her FOR AT LEAST THE LAST THREE YEARS. Now, like a man with a back injury from horseplay who fortuitously finds himself in a minor car accident the following week, Clark is trying to use a pre-existing condition to her advantage...at least that's my opinion.
Referee Has Similar B.S. Detecting Equipment
Judge Seibel, the Referee, said he wanted Clark on disability inactive status "until everything has been sorted out" and, in a line that was quoted by the blog MinnLawyer blog, noted Despite some rather strange filings and arguments recently presented by Respondent which has resulted in the delay of these proceedings, the Referee is not in a position to state that Respondent has deliberately perpetrated a fraud upon the tribunal.
Here's another telling line.
Moreover, in light of the apparent facts that despite prior recommended treatment, Respondent's true condition was undiagnosed over several months and manifested itself in several symptoms which call into question her ability to fully represent clients, any assertion that all of these symptoms have been alleviated in 48 hours might be premature and overly optimistic.
The referee suggests "one course of action" is to have the Supreme Court delay proceedings while Clark's medical and emotional state is "investigated." This is what the referee seems to recommend, along with disability inactive status for the time being. The Referee notes Clark's symptoms could have an impact on her representation of clients, particularly in light of filing things conceded to be "bizarre or unrealistic." The Referee notes Clark could face "significant liability concerns if her advice, judgment or performance is or has been negatively impacted by her condition." Transferring Clark to disability status "appears to be the only way to protect Ms. Clark and the public from possible harm."
To which the blogger says, "Better late than never."
There will be a follow up post involving Clark retaining Ben Myers as her attorney and trying to get her case into federal court AGAIN, despite being previously laughed out of federal court.