Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
We explained in a post last week how U.S. District Judge William M. Acker Jr. cheated me in a federal lawsuit over my unlawful termination at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). But you don't have to take my word for it; Acker's own words prove the point. Acker is an 84-year-old Ronald Reagan appointee, and this episode provides considerable insight into the kind of corrupt federal judges "The Gipper" gave us. Acker granted summary judgment for the University of Alabama Board of Trustees and various individual UAB defendants, even though he had allowed no discovery. I showed that Acker's ruling could not be made under the law because a non-moving party (me, in this case) must be given an opportunity to collect evidence through the discovery process in order to counter the summary-judgment motion. A transcript of a hearing in the case shows that Acker said he was going to treat a UAB motion as one for summary judgment and that he would have to give me an opportunity to conduct discovery before making any ruling. That hearing was on December 10, 2010, but less than two months later--on January 28, 2011--Acker granted summary judgment, effectively dismissing my case. An appeal is pending before the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, and Acker's finding will have to be overturned on multiple grounds--assuming the actual law is applied. But for now, the stunning point is this: We have a public document that proves a federal judge knowingly ruled contrary to law in a case before him. It involves federal issues (free speech, age/gender discrimination), plus a state-law issue (defamation)--not to mention the fact that my livelihood is on the line. Even if you don't give a rip about my well being, these are matters of profound importance--and everyone's tax dollars support a federal court that is supposed to ensure that fundamental constitutional rights are protected. And yet, we have proof that a federal judge is treating the entire proceeding as an exercise in theater of the absurd.How do we know that? Well, you can follow along with me on a brief road trip through a 29-page transcript that should shock the conscience of anyone who believes in democratic principles. (The full transcript can be read at the end of this post.) The transcript is filled with inanities from beginning to end, showing that the 84-year-old Acker isn't fit to manage a corner lemonade stand, much less a federal courtroom. But we will focus on just a few items. On pages 15 and 16, Acker addresses UAB attorney Lisa Huggins:- Advertisement -
So we've established--through Acker's words, not mine--there was no scheduling order and no discovery of any sort. Why did Acker have to treat UAB's motion as a motion for summary judgment? Huggins answers that herself, on page 22 and 23:- Advertisement -
THE COURT: So you're, in effect, joining me in converting that into a summary judgment motion?
Huggins tried to back herself out of that corner, but even a judge as bad as Acker knew that couldn't fly. After all, he already had stated the issue clearly on page 19, addressing points I had raised:
By referring to my ability to "poke around into your people," Acker is referring to discovery--that I could issue interrogatories, conduct depositions, request production of documents, etc. What used to be Rule 56(f) in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is now Rule 56(d). In conjunction with Eleventh Circuit case law styled Snook v. Trust Company of Georgia, 859 F. 2d 865 (11th Cir., 1988), 56(d) holds that a non-moving party merely needs to alert the court that discovery is outstanding, and summary judgment cannot be addressed until the party has had an adequate opportunity for discovery.
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