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Berkeley Blogger's Suit Against Defense Department in Limbo

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In case you might be wondering what is happening with my lawsuit against the DoD, it's currently being tried in both Federal AND State courts. Yikes!

Does anyone know any San Francisco Bay Area attorneys or law schools that might like to help me compose a "Motion to Remand" my case back to small claims court? If so, ple-eeze let me know.

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I started to write about my dilemma, but a reporter from the Daily Californian called me up and asked if she could write some articles on my case as -- and she did a much better job than I could so I'm sending in her article instead of mine:

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Berkeley Blogger's Suit Against Defense Department in Limbo
By Keena Batti, January 9, 2009

Nearly a year after the Defense Department canceled her embed in Iraq, Berkeley blogger Jane Stillwater was left without answers on her lawsuit today when her hearing was delayed for another month and moved to federal court.

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A representative from the Defense Department failed to attend the small claims court today in Berkeley. The case has been rescheduled for Feb. 13, Stillwater said. "I'd like to say, 'Yay, I won,' but basically, they're giving me the run around," she said. "They want to make it so hard for me that I'll give up."

Stillwater, 66, sued the Defense Department in June after her embed was canceled on Feb. 12., the same day that she arrived in Kuwait under the impression that she would be permitted to enter Iraq with a military unit. According to Stillwater, the cost of the damages-a non-refundable airplane ticket, 15 mocha lattes and pain and inconvenience she experienced while waiting at an airport in Kuwait-add up to $1,780.

On Dec. 31, officials from the United States attorney's office filed a notice of removal, which stated that Stillwater's case would be moved from small claims court to federal court. In a document to Stillwater, the Defense Department explained that federal acts cannot be tried in a small claims court, justifying the switch.

Stillwater is seeking a motion to remand in order to move her trial back to the small claims court, where attorneys are not permitted to represent either party. She said she feels she has a better chance of winning in a small claims court because both sides are required to represent themselves. If the case is heard in federal court, the Defense Department may hire lawyers from the Justice Department, which Stillwater says she finds imposing.

Stillwater recently revised her lawsuit and is suing the Defense Department for the highest amount possible for alleged malicious persecution-$7,500.

The Defense Department is now suing Stillwater for all court costs, which Stillwater believes could be anywhere between $50,000 to $100,000.

Stillwater said she will continue with the lawsuit even if she cannot move her case back to a small claims court. "I'd have a hard time raising the kind of money they're asking for," Stillwater said. "What are they going to do, put me in jail? I'd have free room and board for 25 years."

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click here

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Here's the Daily Cal's original article on the subject:

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Stillwater is a freelance writer who hates injustice and corruption in any form but especially injustice and corruption paid for by American taxpayers. She has recently published a book entitled, "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips For Touring (more...)
 

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