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

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Church Attorneys request more psychiatry records, more discovery, and use other stall tactics; most motions denied, tension high at hearings June 27.

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A Mad Tea Party in LA Superior Court, (see below)

By Kay Ebeling
I started out the day stunned to read about the Vermont clergy case mistrial as a result of a Church Attorney grilling a plaintiff on the stand about his psychiatric records. Then in LA Superior Court Wednesday morning there were rancorous hearings, with Church Attorneys pushing for more access to plaintiffs’ psychiatric records in the Hagenbach cases. Even though discovery has been going on for years, all of a sudden the archdiocese needs more addresses, more names, dates. In the Miani case hearing, the Church Attorney acted like she had no idea there was more than one perpetrator in the Salesians, and now that she knew, the cases had to be severed.

Two hearings Wednesday could have resulted in trials slipping to later dates if the archdiocese had its way. Instead, the judge muddled through obstructionist motions filed by the church and served up compromises. The truth is, Church Attorneys keep delivering lines and logic right out of Alice in Wonderland.

It’s getting nasty. I find myself glaring darts at Sean Kneafsey, for the defendant archdiocese, when my mouth isn’t hanging opened astonished. Today’s debate was a blatant stall tactic, the church demanding backwards steps in six Hagenbach cases (Jury trial July 9th), because plaintiffs in interrogatories couldn't say for sure if they’d need psychiatric care in the future. This hearing has been on calendar several times since June 16th and over and over again the judge has ordered attorneys to meet and confer and resolve the issue.

Throughout the pursuit of more psychiatric records, I couldn't help thinking there’s a connection between the mistrial in Vermont yesterday and the hearing this morning about psychiatrist notes about Hagenbach victims two weeks before trial. However, plaintiff attorneys I spoke to later said no it’s just more of the same archdiocese stall tactics.

Defense Astounded and Immobilized at Learning There’s More Than One Perpetrator in the Salesians
See Below

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Church Attorney Acts Shocked at “New Information” that Plaintiff Was Raped by More than One Priest.

Hearings this morning began with an attorney for the Salesians trying to convince the judge to restructure the Miani cases which are now set for trial in late September. It seems she just found out the plaintiff claims he was raped by more than one priest at John Bosco High School.

That one plaintiff’s case in the Miani trials needs to be severed from the rest, now says the church, as this new information changes everything.

Tony DeMarco, his face beating red, tried to steer the argument to sanity: “There may have been some new statements recently,” he said, “but they've had his questionnaire for years where he identified other perpetrators.”

“Making us try this case twice outweighs any weight on the defendants,” DeMarco said, his entire head now beaming red. “The fact is there were a slew of perpetrators at Bosco High School at that time.”

No one else could speak as he continued: “As a pattern and practice the institution sheltered and aided and abetted pedophiles, that is the substance for notice.”

CHURCH ATTORNEY: Well the original claim did list three perpetrators--

(THEN WHY ARE WE EVEN HAVING THIS HEARING?????)

--but now we need information about the plaintiff’s background, employment, witnesses, he alleges [STAMMER-STAMMER] he said someone made comments which showed they knew that he was being abused…. (Her voice trails off.)

(The LA Times guy behind me sighs and shifts in his seat. He isn't taking notes.)

CHURCH ATTORNEY: There’s a significant amount of discovery that needs to be done in two months.

DEMARCO: Like in every other case we have trial dates. We aren’t going to continue every single trial date.

JUDGE FROMHOLZ: These cases have been around for a very long time so the tentative is the order.

Hearings over,
AN ATTORNEY BURST OUT OF THE JURY ROOM
MORE ATTORNEYS APPEARED FROM THE HALL.

They all plodded into the jury room, because the judge had ordered yet another meet and confer; re church’s motion to compel answers to interrogatories from plaintiffs
More after this:

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Plaintiff and defendant attorneys went into the jury room to try once again to hash out discovery problems the church brought up in the Hagenbach cases two weeks before trial.

Anger Management was just Yesterday
So why am I Shaking like this???
As the attorneys met and conferred, the LA Times guy and I talked. He insisted the Times puts “a great deal of resources” into this story and when something newsworthy happens it’ll make page one.

I wanted to make him see the total picture in the few minutes I had. “You know, Southern California was rural, in the 1950s and even ‘70s so it follows that same pattern as nationwide. The church dumped their problem priests in our canyons, deserts and beach towns.”

But it’s so hard to talk about this topic in polite society. My hands started to shake and I got shrill and loud. “It was an epidemic,” I continued. The clerk asked me to lower my voice. I swallowed and looked down. There were white bumps bursting out on my arms.

I was trying to get it across to the Times guy, this is a Pulitzer level story, and local newspaper is barely there. But I think I may have been foaming at the mouth or something. Spano backed away from me, holding his reporter’s notebook in front of him as if to defend himself. He excused himself and backed away while I was spewing out more and more about one of the many conspiracies….

He got out of there as fast as he could. I have this effect on people. . . .

==========
They Met and Conferred and Could Not Get to Resolution

When the attorneys emerged from the jury room, they were all beaming red. There would have to be a hearing before the judge. This is what transpired:

(The LA Times guy didn't come back.. . . )

CHURCH ATTORNEY SEAN KNEAFSEY: Plaintiffs are refusing to provide records that are in plaintiffs custody. In some cases from treatment in the past year.

JUDGE: The Issue is treatment records?

DEMARCO: One of many issues. In some cases they want medical providers who have nothing to do with abuse. And, Your Honor, we do not have these records in our custody.

DeMarco is mad and it shows every time he speaks:

“Plus we've filed motions to compel every time we need a document, and there is no level of cooperation from defendants.”

JUDGE: This is a waste of time. This fighting over procedures. There doesn't seem to be any question the moving party is entitled and we're just fighting over procedure. I’m surprised you gentlemen think we have time for this.

DEMARCO: We don’t. These plaintiffs have all been deposed. The information has been given. These motions are knee jerk.

(KNEAFSEY’s HEAD jerks to the right and he glares at DeMarco.)
HERE IS WHERE THE MAD TEA PARTY BEGINS
Following this:
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A Mad Tea Party in LA Superior Court

CHURCH ATTORNEY: The argument is plain as day. The plaintiffs cannot tell us today if they will need to see a psychiatrist sometime in the future as a result of this issue or perhaps for some other issue

And a very merry un-birthday to you to you

We asked plaintiffs over and over again and then over and over again again whether they would need to see a psychiatrist in the future and do you know what one of them answered?

“I don't know the exact nature of what was recommended.”

NoW I tell you, Your Honor, and please, no mustard, let’s not get carried away.

Shall I continuuuuuuuu?????

How are we to know from these complicated words: “I don't know the exact nature of what was recommended” whether the plaintiff knows or does not know? Does he know he is going to know, or worse yet, does someone else --
A PSYCHIATRIST!!!!
-- know that in the future the plaintiff will or will not need to see--
A PSYCHIATRIST!!!!
Oh and have another cup of mad tea!!!
A Very Merry Un-Birthday To YouUUUUUUUUU
=========
I’m thinking the plaintiffs sure will need shrinking after going through these trials.


HERE IS WHAT REALLY HAPPENED:

KNEAFSEY: Uh, uh, the third issue is future treatment. In interrogatories 46 - 50 we asked plaintiffs if they need future treatment.

DEMARCO: Each of the witnesses have answered these questions in deposition. How is “I don't know” an insufficient response? If they don’t know now, they won’t know at the time of trial. If they suddenly have a flash of light on the stand and say now I know I’ll need it three times a week, then Defendants can question them about it then. . .

What is this question that Plaintiffs didn't answer clearly enough for the Church Attorneys?
Read it after this:

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In interrogatories and depositions, when asked “Did a therapist recommend or suggest you might need future psychiatric treatment,” many plaintiffs answered

"I don't know."

And if that wasn’t bad enough, one plaintiff had the nerve to say:

“I don't know the exact nature of what was recommended.”

For this, Defendant Archdiocese wants plaintiffs now to take trips across the country and track down names and addresses of every therapist they've seen since 1963.

For this plaintiffs risked another looooong delay in justice as the Hagenbach cases toppled on the precipice of falling into delay, to a new date for the trial. Because if the defendants are denied the answer:
Will plaintiffs need a psychiatrist in the future?
They'll have to conduct all their depositions all over again and maybe we could just reschedule this trial to sometime next year?

The scary thing is Fromholz was considering the church’s motion. DeMarco had to keep jumping in with one reason after another why the church attorneys’ demands were unreasonable. “These people have been deposed,” he said repeatedly. They've been deposed over and over again. If they don’t know, then the true answer is ‘I don't know.’”

DeMarco fumed and also repeated several times, “This is a knee jerk motion. This is a knee jerk motion.” The first time he said it Sean Kneafsey jerked a few inches in the air in surprise. Maybe it was his knee.

Anything other than Yes or No Means I don't know.

In keeping with the Mad Hatter Tea Party tone, Judge Fromholz, ever the civil mediator, proclaimed his order:

“Anything other than yes or no will be construed to mean, ‘I don't know.’” So the Hagenbach cases trial is still set for July 9th, in spite of another attempt by Church Attorneys to slip a trial date, as you know the next thing they’d ask if they’d been granted this motion was for a delay in the trial so they could “gather needed discovery.”

At one point the judge said to both plaintiff and defendant attorneys, “I know you people have been working on this a long, and my first thought was,

WHEN DID KNEAFSEY TOSTADO SIGN ON TO THESE CASES????
If I remember right they were added as counsel just recently
I go downstairs to find the Notice of Adding New Counsel.

I go to open the document and
It’s a blank white page
ArcScanWeb the private sector contractor that manages the database for JCCP cases, i.e., the Clergy Cases,
Is down again

I watch everyone else in Room 106 access their civil cases documents and decide to try another day.

More to Come.

1 comment:

Spring said...

Good Work Kay! I am case # BC308395 and your coverage is critical to me. Thx webmaster@springbrooke.zzn.com