Posts Tagged ‘Jarek Molski’

November 18 roundup

  • Harvard’s Charles Nesson argues that Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999 violates Constitution by letting civil lawyers for RIAA enforce a criminal law [AP/MSNBC, Elefant]
  • In some circles, bitter disappointment at reports that Obama camp probably won’t pursue Bush predecessors as war criminals [Paul Campos, Horton/Harper’s; earlier]
  • Latest on wrangle over “exorbitant” fee: Alice Lawrence’s deposition-skipping before her death could endanger her estate’s claim against Graubard Miller law firm [NYLJ, earlier]
  • One benefit of role as law school mega-donor, as Mark Lanier is with Texas Tech, is that you get to rub (hunting-jacket) elbows with visiting Supreme Court justices [WSJ law blog]
  • Lou Dobbs and Phyllis Schlafly were among those who pushed bizarre theory of secret conspiracy to merge U.S. into “North American Union” with Canada and Mexico [John Hawkins]
  • Senate Dems plan to abolish secret ballot for installing unions in everyone else’s workplace, so how come they insist on one for themselves in deciding how to handle Joe Lieberman? [Dan Riehl via McArdle]
  • Congrats to historian Rick Brookhiser and City Journal editor Myron Magnet, among recipients of 2008 National Humanities Medal [White House release, Brian Anderson, NRO]
  • Jarek Molski, California entrepreneur of disabled-access complaints, loses bid for Supreme Court review of his designation as vexatious litigant [AP, Bashman]

September 17 roundup

August 22 roundup

  • “Law school is not such a leap” for licensed Nevada prostitute’s next career move — hey, we didn’t say that, Robert Ambrogi at did [Legal Blog Watch, Bitter Lawyer]
  • Today’s representative class-action plaintiff: “For five years, her diet consisted almost exclusively of Chicken-of-the-Sea tuna…” [PoL]
  • Prolific California disabled-access filer Jarek Molski ordered to pay fees for “scorched-earth” tactics in one case, but wins a second [Metropolitan News-Enterprise via Bashman]
  • Another sperm donor surprised by legal obligation to pay child support [Santa Fe, N.M. Reporter; earlier]
  • “Lawyer Fees Jumped 50% After Bankruptcy Law Change” [ABA Journal]
  • “Whatever it takes to win a case”, and checking out jurors’ Facebook profiles is the least of it [NLJ]
  • High-profile U.K. attorney Nick Freeman registers his nickname “Mr. Loophole” [Times Online a while back]
  • When can a plaintiff claiming sexual assault sue anonymously? Courts will apply mushy balancing test [NYLJ]
  • Hold on to your hats, looks like Geoffrey Fieger is online [Fieger Time]

Californian vexatious-litigant roundup

It looks as if, barring intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court, serial ADA litigant Jarek Molski and his lawyer Thomas Frankovich, longtime Overlawyered favorites both, won’t be filing any more accessibility lawsuits in California’s populous Central District. The Ninth Circuit’s decision not to disturb an order to that effect by the late Judge Edward Rafeedie, however, came by a surprisingly narrow margin, with nine judges dissenting. Among them, Judge Marsha Berzon said Rafeedie should not have acted unilaterally to bar the two from suing throughout the district, while Alex Kozinski went so far as to maintain that Rafeedie had failed to offer evidence in suggesting “that Molski is a liar and a bit of a thief”. The majority of judges, however — and the Ninth is among the last circuits anyone would accuse of an excessive wish to shut down litigation — disagreed. (Dan Levine, “9th Circuit Judges Blast Order Barring ADA Lawyer”, The Recorder, Apr. 9). One final bit from the account in the Recorder might cause the reader’s jaw to drop open, as it did mine:

Rafeedie died of cancer late last month, but Frankovich still holds a grudge.

“What he did is morally reprehensible,” the attorney said Monday. “Acting morally reprehensible creates bad karma, and sometimes you have to pay the piper for bad karma.”

In other news of vexatious California litigants:

For years, self-described public-interest litigator Burton Wolfe has bragged that he was one of the few people to get off the state’s so-called vexatious litigant list for self-represented plaintiffs who file frivolous lawsuits. Those who are put on the list can file “pro per,” or do-it-yourself, lawsuits only with a judge’s permission. But after enjoying a few years off the blacklist, the 75-year-old Wolfe has sued his way back onto the roster. … [His name was restored to the list after] he sued the San Francisco Food Bank and America’s Second Harvest for setting up what he calls a food “racket” in the privately owned low-income senior-housing Eastern Park Apartments where he lives.

(Lauren Smiley, “Vexatious Litigant Burton Wolfe Fighting Eviction After Threatening More Lawsuits”, San Francisco Weekly, Feb. 20). Perhaps the most celebrated of modern San Francisco’s vexatious litigants is Patricia A. McColm, who has been profiled in a number of news stories including Ken Garcia, “Woman who sues at drop of hat may get hers”, San Francisco Chronicle, June 6, 2000, reprinted at Forensic Psychiatric Associates site. Incidentally, the British court system is thoughtful enough to post its list of vexatious litigants online, an obvious aid to persons who might find themselves the target of threatened suits by persons on the list. But although the California courts have a webpage discussing the fact of their having a list, I could find no sign that they had posted the list itself online. Have any U.S. states (or Canadian provinces, etc.) done so?

September 13 roundup

Ninth Circuit: Molski “Plainly lied”

We’ve been covering the exploits of professional ADA plaintiff Jarek Molski and his lawyer Thomas Frankovich for a long time now (See Aug. 3, Mar. 23, many others). When last we checked, Molski/Frankovich were appealing a federal judge’s finding in Molski v. Evergreen Dynasty Corp. that they were vexatious litigants; the designation meant that they couldn’t file any more ADA lawsuits in the Central District of California without first getting permission from the court.

Last week, the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion (PDF) which upheld the finding in its entirety. The only quirky part of the case was that it was likely that many of the establishments sued by Molski/Frankovich at least technically probably had violated the ADA by not complying with its vague, onerous requirements. But the Ninth Circuit had no problem getting beyond that:

Frivolous litigation is not limited to cases in which a legal claim is entirely without merit. It is also frivolous for a claimant who has some measure of a legitimate claim to make false factual assertions. Just as bringing a completely baseless claim is frivolous, so too a person with a measured legitimate claim may cross the line into frivolous litigation by asserting facts that are grossly exaggerated or totally false.

And for some reason, neither the District Court nor the Ninth Circuit were impressed with Molski’s factual assertions:

However, it is very unlikely that Molski suffered the same injuries, often multiple times in one day, performing the same activities—transferring himself from his wheelchair to the toilet or negotiating accessibility obstacles. Common sense dictates that Molski would have figured out some way to avoid repetitive injury-causing activity; even a young child who touches a hot stove quickly learns to avoid pain by not repeating the conduct.

The Ninth Circuit was not any more complimentary towards Frankovich:

When a client stumbles so far off the trail, we naturally should wonder whether the attorney for the client gave inadequate or improper advice.

The court also found significant that Frankovich may well have broken legal ethics rules by trying to intimidate defendants into settling without hiring lawyers and giving them (bad) legal advice.

This isn’t necessarily the end for Molski/Frankovich. The vexatious litigant order applies only to the federal courts — in fact, only the federal courts in the Central District of California — and does not prevent them from filing suit; it only requires them to seek permission of the court first.

Read On…

California ADA lawsuit mills: “Wheelchairs of fortune”

Serial ADA litigant (and Overlawyered repeat offender) Thomas Frankovich was profiled recently in SF Weekly. Overlawyered readers will be familiar with just about everything in there, from Frankovich’s extortionate tactics to his collaboration with professional plaintiffs like Jarek Molski, to his use of front groups in an attempt to make his litigiousness seem like a public service. (Frankovich, incidentally, does not work in a wheelchair accessible office.)

Matthew Hirsch of LegalPad reports that Frankovich is attempting to rehabilitate his image before the Ninth Circuit rules on whether he, and his fellow traveler Molski, are vexatious litigants:

Starting this month, Frankovich and a major client are offering defendants a deal: “You make your [entrance] doorway accessible, and we will waive any and all claims — including money damages,” he said.

Yes, but Frankovich is a lawyer, so be sure to read the fine print:

Frankovich said his clients who are affiliated with DREES will offer the front door deal if they are visiting only to check out the entrance. But if they spot a door that wheelchair users can’t open, then they go inside to shop and notice more problems, “that becomes something different,” Frankovich said, and the deal is off.

April 24 roundup

A week in the life of Jarek Molski

As Ted reported Mar. 23, a Ninth Circuit panel lately took an indulgent line toward notorious ADA mass filer Jarek Molski, reversing a ruling by Judge Tevrizian of the district court. (More on that ruling from “Army Lawyer” in the comments at Patterico (via Coyote) passes along this classic bit of Molskiana (from the earlier round of litigation before federal judge Rafeedie):

Although this complaint appears credible standing alone, its validity is undermined when viewed alongside Molski’s other complaints. In Molski v. Casa De Fruta, L.P., Case No. C04-1981 (N.D. Cal. 2004), Molski alleges that he sustained nearly identical injuries on the exact same day, May 20, 2003. In Casa de Fruta, Molski alleges that he and significant other, Brygida Molski, patronized Casa de Fruta for the purpose of wine tasting….

It would be highly unusual — to say the least — for anyone to sustain two injuries, let alone three, in a single day, each of which necessitated a separate federal lawsuit. But in Molski’s case, May 20, 2003, was simply business as usual. Molski filed 13 separate complaints for essentially identical injuries sustained between May 19, 2003 and May 23, 2003. The Court simply does not believe that Molski suffered 13 nearly identical injuries, generally to the same part of his body, in the course of performing the same activity, over a five-day period. This is to say nothing of the hundreds of other lawsuits Molski has filed over the last four years, many of which make nearly identical allegations.