**********The City of Angels is Everywhere*********

Sunday, April 29, 2007

16 church attorneys at one deposition, no questions answered. Hundreds of documents filed each week, most by church, 20 are notices of new counsel

(City of Angels Lady has to take a break. Will be back as soon as possible. May 2, 2007)
Document diving last week I was stunned at the amount of pleadings, motions, and notices filed by church attorneys. Going down four screens, with about 30 documents per screen, there were motions to strike, motions to question jurisdiction, and in one stream 17 notices of Association of New Counsel. I was document diving in search of orders signed by the judge, and did find a couple, but they were from hearings at least two weeks back. In January a clerk showed me where paper copies of documents were placed and at that date five file cabinets overflowed into piles on a table in the room. By this week the entire room must be consumed by paper, as are likely the judge and plaintiffs’ attorneys. Where is the order from the judge re the April 12th conference that I’ve been looking for now for weeks?

Tony DeMarco says 16 attorneys showed up when they tried to depose Francis Weber and “Defense counsel completely frustrated plaintiffs’ discovery efforts by repeatedly instructing the witness not to answer.” As I document dive, a few motions on screen two are attempts by plaintiffs to get interrogatories from Weber and others.

And 17, count them, 17 notices of association of new counsel in one afternoon, with more sprinkled in other days. The eyes blur as you try to read them. With hundreds of church attorneys already knocking out motions by the dozen stopping only to word process in different plaintiffs’ names, six church attorneys here a half dozen there flying around the country to depose plaintiffs, why do they need more attorneys?

City of Angels visited the site of “Peter J. Godfrey, Jon Tisdale, Vanessa Hubert & Samantha A. Dolginer of the law firm GILBERT, KELLY, CROWLEY & JENNETT, LLP, (who) have associated as co-counsel for Defendant DOE 1 (Archdiocese: Attorneys Hennigan, et al) With respect to the claims asserted by plaintiff (Insert name here)."

At first glance I thought it was good news. “GKC&J” stress “communication” at their website, even include a little cartoon with lawyer humor. I envisioned plaintiffs and the archbishop meeting over pastry to arrange a national foundation for priest rape survivors, research into psychological effects of clergy rape, the church listening to plaintiffs describe the spiritual and sexual confusion that comes from being raped as a child or adolescent by a priest.

You know, communication. I’ll let GKC&J’s words speak for themselves:

“For over 75 years, Gilbert, Kelly, Crowley & Jennett LLP has earned its reputation by taking a different approach to legal matters.

“We think it’s more important to communicate with our clients, not overwhelm them. We believe intelligence, strategy and skill are what win cases. We also focus on communication to streamline cases, rather than on lawsuits that prolong them and create unwarranted bills.

“Now, in applying this approach for over 75 years (sic), we've discovered that what has earned us a reputation and our clients a successful resolution is a mix of brilliance, a bit of humor, and a healthy dose of humanity.”

Oh goody, I can’t wait. Here is what this latest addition of church attorneys tell you about cases they've won so proudly. Under “Where Experience Gets Results” they list cases they've won:

Appeal by Plaintiff of her racial discrimination lawsuit defeated.

Lawsuit by women claiming discrimination because of their national original/race -- dismissed.

Manager’s claims that he was fired for whistle blowing denied.

Real nice people. They specialize in representing the rich and powerful against pesky lawsuits brought by the little people.

City of Angels will try to keep track of documents as they get filed, to see the effects of this new law firm being added to the clergy cases. But It’s so hard. I found this note to myself in my research:

“I’m getting really confused. On Superior Court website they list documents filed. When you go to Room 106 at the courthouse and read the list of documents filed, they are not the same as the ones listed online.

“Or it could be the documents all changed in the time it took me to ride downtown to the courthouse.”


I finally found a pleading signed by the judge, for a case last week where the plaintiff and her attorney didn't even show up.

There is a “Motion of Defendant Doe 2 to compel further responses to standardized request for production of documents.”

I don't get this. Request by defendant for documents and another filed by church attorneys for responses to interrogatories by plaintiff? Both are case BC308065. City of Angels Blog will look into this next week.

FIVE in a row: “Special Demurrer and Motion to Quash and Dismiss by the Roman Catholic Bishop” all filed on April 24.

Ah finally almost at the bottom of the second screen (average 30 documents per screen) a motion filed by plaintiffs.

“Support of plaintiffs’ motion to compel deposition answers from MONSIGNOR FRANCIS J. WEBER and for appointment of a discovery referee. (see April 28 post.)

“This document relates to the following:” Lists 83 plaintiff cases.

Among the exhibits is evidence that Plaintiffs’ counsel attempted to meet and confer on the record with Defendant Archbishop counsel “in order to promptly resolve the issues in dispute.”

DeMarco writes that church attorney objections to questions in Monsignor Weber’s deposition are “Yet another example of discovery abuses committed by defendants. These continuing meritless objections. . .

“frustrate Plaintiffs’ legitimate discovery efforts and result in a waste of judicial resources.”

HERE ARE Excerpts from Weber’s March 13 deposition cited in the Motion to Compel:

Q: Monsignor, you are aware of the doctrine of mental reservation?


DEMARCO: Can you describe that for me?

WOODS: Same objection.

KNEAFSEY: I am going to -- objection -- instruct the witness not to answer on the same grounds.

DEMARCO: It’s harassing the witness?


DEMARCO: Asking him if he understands the Doctrine of Mental Reservation?

KNEAFSEY: It’s a religious doctrine. Judge Fromholz has already ruled that questions of that nature are inappropriate for deposition.

Church Contradicting Itself:


Q: Monsignor Weber, when is the first time you ever became aware that any priest might have had sexual conduct with a minor?

KNEAFSEY: I’m going to object. . . Weber is here today as the Archivist for the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles. The only thing the deposition notice indicated is that he be asked about documents. We are producing Monsignor Weber here today to talk about the documents that were identified in the deposition notice.

DEM: You are basically saying that if we ask Monsignor Q
Weber any questions about any perpetrator here today you are going to object and instruct him not to answer?

KNEAFSEY: No that's not a fair characterization. The order applies to any hierarchy witness of which Monsignor Weber is one.

Is he hierarchy or is he just a lowly archivist?
Declaration of Dale A. Kelley in support of Motion to compel further answers at deposition.

Kelley is a private investigator who identified himself to a Mr. Parsons and:

“before we asked, he volunteered details of Father Henry Vetter’s history of inappropriate sexual conduct with young boys dating back to the 1940s.

“Told me that Father Ray McDonough a passionist priest in Citrus Heights, California, knew father vetter and might have some information about him. I later contacted Father McDonogugh by phone. He agreed to meet with me to talk.

“However, soon after that conversation I received a telephone call from Donald Stteier. He told me he reps the defendant Passionists--" !!!!
What? Donald Steier there too? This guy shows up everywhere.
What are all those other lawyers doing?

Kelly continued: “(Steier) understood that I was going to take Father McDonough’s statement. I confirmed that and he indicated that he had no objection but that he wanted to be present."

How many attorneys are going to show up with Steier at that deposition?
Four more documents filed by church:
“Answers of defendant doe whatever to Plaintiff’s whatever. . .

The people in Room 106 don't like it when you stay on a machine longer than 20 minutes, gotta run.

More to come. . .
. . .

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