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Thursday, June 7, 2007

More Orders Re Mahony’s Testimony Coming Monday; Kreutzer Jury Trial Continued to August 6th, PLUS, Hundreds of Documents Disappear from Public Access

By City of Angels Lady

Judge Haley Fromholz cleared a hurdle for Cardinal Roger Mahony’s testimony in upcoming civil trials in LA, by denying the church’s Motion for Order Quashing Civil Subpoena filed for a Kreutzer case. Then half hour later, Fromholz granted the church’s request to postpone the first jury trial where Mahony is to testify, from June 11th to August 6th. The judge emphasized this is not the first ruling regarding the archbishop.

JUDGE: My rulings here were all tentative. I intend to rule on them, uh, un-tentatively on Monday. (leans forward and asserts) I will rule with fervor and authority on Monday on particular documents, questions to be asked, whether a proffer is needed.

Steven J. Brady, Plaintiff Attorney from San Francisco who subpoenaed the archbishop sat at the table while three church attorneys Phil Baker, Bob Baker, and Michael Hennigan, stood for the defendants at his left. Brady’s voice emitted surprising authority:

BRADY: I still expect him to appear at trial.

The three church attorneys each shift weight on their feet. Two of them button their suitcoats.

At the hearing re rescheduling the first trial, even though Brady argued: “There are no new claims that need to be defended in the second amended complaint. It’s simply prepare for punitive damages,” the judge went along with the church’s argument:

CHURCH ATTORNEY PHILLIP BAKER: Their second amended complaint filed yesterday now needs to be responded to. They're raising issues like vicarious responsibility.

Vicarious Responsibility??? -

To me, the church is acting like this is the first they've heard of Sister Frances Catherine.

(I really don’t get this. I’ve read about Sister Frances Catherine in numerous documents regarding the Paul Kreutzer cases. Still the judge granted the continuance.)

BAKER Cont’d: There was no allegation against Sister Frances. Now there’s this new brief they've filed “willy nilly” on Monday. And we have to respond to them, whether or not they can seek discovery about what Sister Frances Catherine did. It’ll affect jury selection. When did she engage with Ms. Buser? This will have to be briefed to you.

JUDGE: I’m inclined to grant a short continuance.

Now the first Kreutzer case is August 6th, and the first jury trial in LA Clergy Cases 2007 is July 9th, the Hagenbach cases.


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Continued. . .

Steven Brady the plaintiff attorney from San Francisco seemed a bit taken aback Wednesday, first as Judge Fromholz postponed a definitive order regarding Mahony and then later when he agreed to delay the Kreutzer case jury trial:

JUDGE FROMHOLZ: Mr. Brady, when you make a motion to add punitive damages there are sometimes consequences. I think it’s in everybody’s interest not to be inclined to do something here that will plant a time bomb and basis for appeal. An order declining a continuance at the beginning of a case can be an issue.

JUDGE: Cont’d: So that's what I’m inclined to do but it will be a short continuance.

BRADY: Let me just tell you this whole issue of which damages are recoverable was raised by defendants at settlement conference --

JUDGE: I asked you earlier if you had anything to bring up. You can’t bring it up now.

Lead Church Attorney Hennigan suggests that since the other Kreutzer cases, with the same plaintiff attorney, are on calendar for jury trial in November, maybe we could combine them all then?

TONY DEMARCO: More than a year ago it was defense counsel that selected a portion of the Kreutzer cases for earlier trial. That was with the contemplation that these first cases would go forward.

BRADY: I don't think the continuance is appropriate. There are no new issues for the defense. It allows them to test waters in other matters. They've filed this Hail Mary Motion on the eve of trial. I mean in this case it takes the heat off the defense.

Judge Fromholz gets out his calendar and the Kreutzer case jury trial, five days before it’s scheduled to begin, slips to August 6th.


“300 plus screens, pages and pages.” There it is in my April 3rd notes. So. . .

On April 3rd there were more than 300 screens of document names that link you to view the document, in the LA civil cases against the Catholic Church. Thursday a woman from the Court’s Public Information Office straightened me out on the “non-access to documents” problem.

“You just go forward starting from Document One, which won’t take that long,” she said.

I argued, No there are like 30,000 screens.

She went forward 10 screens at a time and there at screen 172 she was at a document filed June 4, 2007. I was humbled, apologized. I was sure there had been more screens than that.



What happened to more than half the Clergy Case Documents?

In my notes April 3rd I remark that I’m on Screen 300 something. I estimated about 30 document names per screen, average. Okay 30,000 screens was a little off, but there are now less than half as many screens linking to documents as there were in April, and hundreds of documents have been filed in the 550 cases since last April.

There were more than 300 screens of documents in April. Now there are 172.


Someone has removed more than half the documents from public access in the Clergy Cases.

Someone, maybe from both the church and plaintiffs sides, maybe even the judge, has removed more than half the documents that used to be available for the public to read in the ArcScanWeb network which maintains the Clergy Case files for LA Superior Court. (Private outsourced software contractor. . . .) (Who is paying attention to them?)

This comes directly after the “upgrade” by a private software firm on the Clergy Case JCCP documents section of the LA Superior Court network on May 31, last Thursday.

As of June 6th there are now only 172 screens. At least half the documents in the LA Clergy Cases 2007 have disappeared from the public access screens, both at the website and in Room 106 of Superior Court.


The other hearings Wednesday covered a motion for protective order filed by a plaintiff (Denied) and a Motion to Compel a Non-Party to Comply with Deposition filed by Plaintiff (Granted). Next post will be a report on those two hearings. Both concern Hagenbach cases, now scheduled for jury trial July 9th.

More to come. . .


Spring said...

keep up the great work! thank you for your excellent work.
r. brooks

Spring said...

i am one of the cases released for trial this year. your coverage is priceless. right on.