"Ma'am, there is no food or drink allowed in the court room." the security guard said.
"Yeah, I know, I was planning on leaving it here and eating it during the first recess."
"I'm going to need you to take a sip of the liquid in that bottle."
"Really? Its an unopened mountain dew...?"
Courthouse Security was a lot tighter than it had been in January. It was also a lot more reluctant to hold onto my stuff. In the end I got to keep my breakfast, including the mountain dew, but was warned against opening it in the court room.
"Where are you going today?"
"Judge O'Kelley's courtroom."
“Elevator is to your right. Judge O'Kelley's court room is on the third floor.”
Yup, I went there. I came, I saw, and now I'm back.
Matrons, Patrons, and Gender Neutrons: This is Part One of your Patel Hearing Report.
The bullet point: Oh, Dear God.
Today's hearing began at 10:00am and lasted until 3:15 with a lunch break in the middle. With so much happening its impossible to explain in detail. Instead I will summarize and then take questions on specific points in the comments.
Requiem for a Dream
As it happened I was not the last one to enter the court room. That honor goes to Paul Duffy who was ten minutes late (I was on-time). This did not go unnoticed.
"Normally,” Judge O'Kelley intoned in a deep Georgian accent, “when someone is late to one of my hearings, I will count the number of people sitting the court room and assign a reasonable hourly rate to each of them1. The late party is then sanctioned for their time. I have done this for 45 years, but we have too much else to go over, so I won't today."
Perhaps if the Judge had known that Duffy had filed a 13 page response to O'Kelley's original OSC document at 10:05am he might have felt differently.2 A girl can dream.
Georgia On My Mind...but maybe not quite enough.
O'Kelley then proceeded to request an outline of what Blair, Duffy, and Nazaire were going to cover, the number of witnesses they were going to call, and the amount of time he expected this to take. Blair said that he had one witness and would need 30 minutes. Duffy said he had no witnesses or plans to make a presentation. Nazaire also had a witness and quite a lot on his mind.
Blair, as the first movant, had first dibs at the podium. He held it for two (often agonizing) hours.
As his first witness, Chintella called Jacques Nazaire, himself. Blair then proceeded to quiz him on his work for Prenda. Who contacted him? (Karl Singlepery[sp?]) When? How? What did he do to confirm their identity? How many cases did he handle on their behalf? Had he collaborate with either Gibbs or Duffy on his filings?3
The judge had questions of his own. Did Nazaire handle settlements? (No). Had he conducted any sort of investigation of his own to ensure that that the people he was filing suits against really had committed these crime? (No, he wasn't required to and he didn't have the expertise). Had he seen the original copyright? (No, he had only looked it up online, which is all the law required4). Had he, Jacques Nazaire, made any attempt to settle the case before Blair Chintella came on the scene? (No.)
As for the copyright? Nope, they didn't bring the original, and they made no effort to explain why.
Despite these moments of productive interrogation, overall it felt as though Chintella was using Nazaire as a proxy for getting documents admitted into evidence and since most of that evidence had to do with other cases, Judge O'Kelley was neither impressed nor interested. The point of the OSC, he said repeatedly, was for him to determine the amount of attorney fees and/or sanctions that should be awarded IN THIS CASE, and if Blair would kindly stay on point that would be very much appreciated. :-)
Sadly the OCD was strong in Blair and despite repeated requests to stay on topic,5 he just couldn't stop himself from talking about the various illegal and unethical activities that Prenda had propagated nationwide. To be fair, whenever O'Kelly asked Blair what he was trying to prove (this happened every five minutes or so), Blair would tie it back to something mentioned in the Order to Show Cause order, but after two hours, two witnesses6 and with no end in sight, Judge O'Kelley had had enough and called a lunch break.
Across from the court house, on the corner of Spring Street there is a little mini-mall type place. Inside, on the left, is an eatery. Although their potato salad leaves something to be desired their meatloaf sandwich is to die for, and I have it on good authority that the Reuben is quite tasty as well.
1CYA time: I realize that email notifications can be delayed or go unnoticed for a period of time. However, I did a Pacer Check at 9am and document 132 did not exist. Therefore, sometime between 9am and 10am when he SHOULD have been getting ready to appear in court, Mr. Duffy was working an 11th (12th?) hour filing.
2 How this hourly rate was determined was never explained.
3 On this point Nazaire was admanant, almost indigent that he and only he was responsible for the filings. Yes there was a boilerplate provided by Paul Duffy, but he, Jacques Nazaire was fully responsible for the content within.
4To which Judge O'Kelley responded, “I will tell you what the law requires when I make my ruling.”
5 Perhaps the most painful moment in the hearing was when Judge O'Kelley told Blair was that he had been interested in interested in what Prenda was doing nation wide until it became clear that Blair didn't know what he was doing. This was in open court, and in front of Blair's own witness.
6 More on Witness #2 in part 2.