Speaking of sanctions, Aaron Walker’s attorney Dan Backer has filed an (Amended) Motion for Sanctions Against Defendant Kimberlin in the Virginia Walker v. Kimberlin, et al. lawsuit. This is the motion originally filed on 11 October which TDPK claims in a filing in the federal Walker v. Kimberlin, et al. case was denied on 5 October. If that doesn’t seem to make sense, Gentle Reader, it may be because you’re assuming that TDPK is making rational claims in his various court filings. <mockery>In TDPK’s alternate universe, it is perfectly reasonable for the judge to have ruled on a motion that hasn’t yet been filed if he is ruling in TDPK’s favor.</mockery>
Here’s the amended motion:
What this motion does is add the multiple breaches of seal on discovery documents to TDPK’s other shenanigans as a reason why he should be sanctioned. The sanction sought for this misbehavior is a finding that TDPK is in contempt of court. The exhibits for the motion are the notices of breach (1 through 5) filed earlier.
Here’s what is scheduled for the massive hearing on 4 December:
A motion on behalf of the Prince William County Police to quash a subpoena duces tecum from TDPK for information about their ongoing investigation of the SWATting of Aaron Walker. That should be a slam dunk for the cops.
A default motion against First Mate Neal Rauhauser. If the judge finds in Aaron Walker’s favor, that will foreclose FMNR’s ability to argue either the law or the facts in his own defense. The judge could go ahead and award monetary damages on the spot, but it’s more likely that he will schedule an award hearing at a later date.
A default motion against Crew Member Ron Brayneart. Substitute CMRB of FMNR in the paragraph above, an you’ve got the description for this.
A sanctions motion against TDPK. If the judge finds against Mr. Kimberlin, at the very least he will be subject to some severe limitation on the kinds of defenses he can raise at trial because of his lack of cooperation with discovery. The judge could find TDPK guilty of civil contempt and assess a penalty of up to $250 and/or 10 days in jail. He could charge TDPK with criminal contempt and impanel a jury. A criminal contempt conviction could carry serious jail time. However, it is unlikely that the judge would lock someone up for contempt as this stage of a lawsuit. Of course, if TDPK keeps acting out … Also, and this is a very long shot, the judge could render a default judgment against TDPK with the possible consequences discussed above. Finally, the judge could also refer TDPK’s unlicensed practice of law to the Commonwealth Attorney for possible prosecution.
A motion from TDPK seeking a protective order from discovery. This is paired with a motion from Aaron Walker to deny. Mr. Walker should have the edge based on procedural grounds.
A motion to dismiss the suit from TDPK. Again, this motion is likely to fail on procedural grounds.
With all this to slog through, it’s easy to see why Judge Potter got tired of seeing the parties every couple of weeks for the court’s Friday motions session and ordered everything consolidated into a single day’s hearing.
I plan to be there to report the outcome. Get your popcorn ready and stay tuned.
Tick, tock, tick, tock, …
Oh, one more thing. Dan Backer is the lead attorney on these cases, and he is working pro bono. However, he’s not the only lawyer on the job. One spends about 90% of his time on this and the federal case. Another two spend between 25 to 50% of their time. Those folks need to be paid, and there are other expenses as well. If you’d like to support this effort on behalf of bloggers’ First Amendment rights, go to the Bloggers Defense Team site and click on the Donate button.
UPDATE—I neglected to mention another possible outcome from the sanctions motion against TDPK. The judge could award attorney’s fees to Mr. Backer.
Also, it appears that TDPK has withdrawn his subpoena duces tecum to the Police. If so, that will be one less item on the docket next week.