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More argument on Jordan v. Reed appeal costs

Normally a birther lawsuit is gobbledygook, legal nonsense, crazy logic, and worthy of universal condemnation; this includes those from a certain birther attorney. It was also the case with Linda Jordan’s pro se complaint and appeal in the case of Jordan v. Reed. The court rightly dismissed the suit, upheld on appeal, and the Washington Secretary of State rightly requested and was granted costs for defending a frivolous appeal, costs of nearly $13,000.

However, the amount awarded the State was not the actual cost of the defense but rather a market rate times the number of hours. The award was about 3 times the actual expense. Some think this is a windfall for the State. True or not, there is another windfall in this story and that is the intervention of a real lawyer, a former Supreme Court of Washington justice Richard B. Sanders, arguing that the costs awarded by the court were excessive.

The argument is whether the costs are punitive or compensatory, and what the standard is for computing the costs. My article on the State’s brief is “Washington AG makes strong case for sanctions.” I am not a lawyer, so I won’t give an opinion, but here’s something better than you’ve probably ever seen in a birther lawsuit:

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Jordan docked $12,675 for filing frivolous appeal

How is it frivolous? Let me count the ways.

Washington State birther and litigant Linda Jordan has been assessed fees of nearly $13,000 for filling a frivolous appeal to a prior loss in court, where she alleged Obama was using a stolen social-security number. Jordan v. Reed was dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and Judge Robertson suggested Jordan should have known better and that the case was brought for improper purposes:

… all the so-called evidence offered by plaintiff has been in the blogosphere for years, in one form or another, so too has all the law rejecting plaintiffs allegations. I can conceive of no reason why this lawsuit was brought, except to join the chorus of noise in that blogosphere. The case is dismissed.

Secretary of State Sam Reed submitted a Cost Bill for “statutory costs” to the Court in the amount of $200. That could have been the end of it, but…

The Court’s warning ignored, Jordan pressed on, filing notice of an appeal with the Washington State Supreme Court. The Secretary of State warned Jordan in a letter that if this frivolous appeal were not withdrawn by September 6, the Secretary of State would demand penalties provided by law. I love the quote from the letter: “This letter does not attempt to catalog all the ways in which your appeal is frivolous.” The Court subsequently denied the appeal and awarded costs to the State. The Washington State Attorney General filed particulars with the Court documenting expenses of $12,675.

The birther web sites are obscuring the details, leaving readers to believe that these costs were awarded against Jordan for bringing suit against Reed, when in fact they are for the appeal, not the initial suit, and after she had been duly warned.

According to the Linda Jordan Defense Fund web site, she has raised $435 towards her expense. Jordan is lucky that she hasn’t been prosecuted for illegal access to a federal database when she attempted to use E-Verify on President Obama’s social-security number.

The cost of birtherism–Part 3

The punishment phase

United States District Judge S. Thomas Anderson in Tennessee has awarded Defendants $10,565.23 in the case of Liberty Legal Foundation v. Democratic National Committee of the USA. This is less than half of what the Defense asked for. Judge Anderson spent 17 pages explaining his decision.

This order goes against the Plaintiffs’ counsel, Van R. Irion, for needlessly multiplying proceedings, pursuant to 28 USC §1927.

It seems to me that with all of the significant birther lawsuits winding down, we’re seeing the Courts trying to make some defendants whole by assessing the costs of defending frivolous lawsuits to the birthers who brought them. Taitz was required to pay $20,000 as a punishment and $4,000 in costs in birther cases. This plus some small court costs bring the total to over $30,500. The threat of §1927 sanctions against Orly Taitz in Mississippi of much larger magnitude is looming. If we get a few more, I’ll do a table of them.

Read the order:

LLF-TN – ECF 53 – 2012-12-04 – OrDER Granting in Part Motion for Attorn

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