dimanche 9 juin 2013

Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal decides against Handshoe to expand the record: Another defeat for the fabled Slabbed legal team

Perusing the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system turned up that on May 31, 2013, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal, now considering a case of first impression under the federal SPEECH Act in enforcing a $427,000 Canadian defamation judgment against Douglas Handshoe, has granted the Plaintiffs' motion to expand the record on appeal, a remarkable move.

The significance of this Order lies in the fact that the new materials now allowed into the evidentiary record on appeal include a total retraction of false allegations appearing in the Concrete Busters lawsuit against River Birch Landfill (now dismissed in its entirety, with prejudice) that Trout Point Lodge was a shell company used in criminal racketeering. Those allegations were dismissed voluntarily, and the Smith & Fawer law firm representing Concrete Busters plaintiffs identified Douglas Handshoe's Slabbed blog as their sole source. The lower court referenced that Concrete Busters lawsuit in its decision, but the dismissal came well after it made its SPEECH Act decision in favor of Handshoe.

Also now in the record is a document filed in the district court by Chief Judge Louis Guirola that makes allegations of possible fraud against Handshoe and his lawyer Bobby Truitt. The lawyer for Trout Point Lodge, Vaughn Perret, and Charles Leary told the 5th Circuit that he can't vouch for or deny those allegations made by attorney Daniel Abel, but the May 31 Order makes it clear that the Court of Appeal will now take up evidence that could be very damaging to Handshoe's case.  

That information about IP addresses is relevant because it would mean that Handshoe knew the district court was looking at Slabbed while deliberating on his $427,000 fate. If intentional acts were done to influence the court, including inserting allegations into the Concrete Busters suit, there could be consequences well beyond loosing the appeal in the Fifth Circuit. If the case is returned to Judge Guirola, it's an open question as to what he would do about the fraud allegation.
Finally, as the Order states, Jack "Bobby" Truitt, Handshoe's lawyer, never filed a response to the motion, even though the Court of Appeal set a deadline for doing so. That's one famed legal team, for sure. Bon sang!

It makes one wonder if Mr. Doug has any legal team left after his disastrous showing in Judge Susie Morgan's courtroom, his loss on attorney's fees & an appeal bond, and now this decision . . . 

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