Freshwater: One civil suit settled (?: See updates)

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Update 2: There is no settlement yet. The start of the trial was postponed for ongoing settlement talks. My best guess is that it all depends now on the outcome of the hearing on sanctions scheduled for July 29. As I noted here, the sanctions requested by the Doe family would eviscerate Freshwater’s defense in the civil suit, so if the judge grants either of the sanctions (adverse evidentiary inference or defaul judgment) on July 29, Freshwater is in deep trouble in that case and the probability of a settlement will go way up.

Update 1: See this comment below. It’s not clear now that this is a “settlement.”

The Mount Vernon News is reporting that Doe v. Mount Vernon, the federal civil suit in which John Freshwater is the sole remaining defendant, has been settled. The trial was due to start today. No details on the settlement are yet available. I’ll update this post as and when I learn more.

The other federal civil suit, Freshwater v. Mount Vernon BOE, is still proceeding as far as I know now.

26 Comments

Thanks again RBH.

Can’t wait to hear the implications of this settlement, but I’m guessing this lets Freshwater and Hamilton off the hook for their likely perjury regarding the billings and affidavits?

I do hope the settlement includes a public apology from Freshwater. I suppose we’ll find out when freshwater reads the terms at the next BOE meeting.

The sanctiopn hearing is still on right? They’re not canceling all our summer entertainment, are they?

Here is some of the official case info (does not include the settlement..at least not yet). Until then, I’ll just note that this case started June 8, 2008.

Reminds me of one time I was called for jury duty. They loaded what seemed like 100 of us into the courtroom, made us all fill out 50 pages of forms, started interviewing us, we were told to report back the next day for another round of jury duty downselection…and that night the defendent pled. Really? The lawyer didn’t know what was going to happen a month before? You couldn’t decide to plead BEFORE handing out the frakking questionaire? You had to wait that last day for what? Just to cause that extra bit of taxpayer expense?

I may have jumped the gun by using the word “settlement.” I’ve now talked with Pam Schehl, the Mount Vernon News reporter, and she tells me the clerk of court of the federal district court, her source, specifically used the word “agreement,” not “settlement.” She couldn’t elicit what the “agreement” was about. So it’s still in doubt. It’s possible, for example, that the “agreement” was to delay the start of the federal trial until the judge rules on the sanctions requested. The oral hearing on those sanctions is Thursday, July 29.

eric said:

Here is some of the official case info (does not include the settlement..at least not yet). Until then, I’ll just note that this case started June 8, 2008.

All the court docs are also on NCSE’s site.

It always seems to be interminable mud-wrestling with these characters.

It’s the labyrinth of air-tight, insufferable word-gaming all the way. It’s what they do.

Mike Elzinga said:

It always seems to be interminable mud-wrestling with these characters.

It’s the labyrinth of air-tight, insufferable word-gaming all the way. It’s what they do.

Lawyers?

Ntrsvic said:

Mike Elzinga said:

It always seems to be interminable mud-wrestling with these characters.

It’s the labyrinth of air-tight, insufferable word-gaming all the way. It’s what they do.

Lawyers?

LOL!

I’m sure we can all think of some good lawyer jokes; but I was referring to the mess created by Freshwater and Hamilton. (or is it Murkywater?)

MURKYWATER!!! What an excellent idea! The name fits perfectly the whole case, and the main characters.! ;-)

AMB

… but I was referring to the mess created by Freshwater and Hamilton. (or is it Murkywater?)

RBH, this is THE title for your book! It’s perfect:

“Murkywater: Creationism and High Voltage in Ohio”

The 29th? That’s two days away, can they be so cynical as to drag out the ‘letter of the law’ so literally? Oh, of course they can, they’re lying for dog.

My perfect ending to this shannanigans would be jail terms for the Christians, and a fine, for wasting federal taxes on a frivolous defense. The judge noting the ‘breath-taking innanity’ of the Christians, and their obvious duplicity and underhanded tactics: ‘I was directed by an undisclosed source, to a murky spot, to pick up vital material evidence, while carrying a gun, and not informing the coppers,’ indeed!

Jesus! Have they even seen the 10 commandments?

RBH, do you still plan to go to the hearing on Thursday? Just wondering.

Thank you for your tireless work. I am extremely interested in the outcome, if one should ever occur!

ralph said:

RBH, do you still plan to go to the hearing on Thursday? Just wondering.

If I can get my schedule rearranged, yes.

http://www.dispatch.com/live/conten[…]html?sid=101

No details on terms, but The Columbus Dispatch is reporting a settlement now.

I’m checking on it as I type. My information so far is that the situation is as I described above: “The start of the trial was postponed for ongoing settlement talks.” No one will say any more due to the gag order still in force.

Dean Narciso is a good reporter, but he may also have been misled by the “agreement” language used by the court deputy in his comment to Pam Schehl of the Mount Vernon News.

And I’m told that AP has also picked up that story, as has at least one Columbus TV station. The hearing tomorrow morning might turn out to be extra exciting!

This may be yet another instance of lawyers being separated from everyone else by misuse of an uncommon language.

An “agreement to settle” means that the parties have agreed on the principle terms, and in principle to settle. However, it is not a settlement until it is put in writing — with all terms, and in civil rights cases the reach of confidentiality provisions on occasion proves a last-second dealbreaker — and approved by the court. The court has to be certain that the settlement actually covers all of the remaining claims; you’d be shocked how often the first draft doesn’t when there have been several generations of counsel.

So, the short version: The parties have agreed to settle. They will have actually settled when they put signatures on a settlement agreement. The case will be dismissed when Judge Frost is satisfied that the signed agreement disposes of everything. The length of time between the agreement to settle and the dismissal can be anything from a week (like one I’m consulting on right now on the left coast) to three months or more (like most IP-related settlements).

What that means here? Who knows? I don’t rely, as a rule, on these third-hand-at-best statements of what’s actually going on… I’d rather rely on Richard, but it does not appear that either side’s lawyers confided in him. ;-)

I’d rather rely on Richard, but it does not appear that either side’s lawyers confided in him. ;-)

The only thing that anyone–attorneys or principals–will say on the record is my description above:

“The start of the trial was postponed for ongoing settlement talks.” No one will say any more due to the gag order still in force.

And the court deputy didn’t use the phrase “agreement to settle,” he only said that the parties had an agreement, the subject of the agreement not specified. I jumped the gun in my original post above, and I suspect that Dean Narciso, the Dispatch reporter, fell into the same trap.

Jesus! Have they even seen the 10 commandments?

The Charlie Heston version, or the Mel Brooks version?

Henry J said:

Jesus! Have they even seen the 10 commandments?

The Charlie Heston version, or the Mel Brooks version?

For creationists I think it is the 3 minute cartoon version, narrated by Fred Flintstone.

rossum

Seems to me, and this is just me spit-balling here, that Team Freshwater circulated this little rumor. It would only serve in their favor, people thinking it’s over and they wouldn’t pay attention to the sanctions hearing.

But prior tactics would prove this to be too brilliant for the combined efforts of Hamilton, Freshwater and Matolyak.

RBH has called it. There is no settlement yet. This is the latest from the local paper.

http://www.mountvernonnews.com/loca[…]l-not-signed

The settlement has not been signed and the sanctions hearing scheduled for today is still expected to take place.

So the boys still may face real penalties!

I heard a report on the new segment on the local Christian radio station that a settlement had been reached. This was about three hours ago. They could be wrong, of course, and based on what’s been posted already they probably are. But it was exciting to hear about it from somewhere other than here!

Any news yet on how the hearing went today?

H.H. said:

Any news yet on how the hearing went today?

I went to it. There was no new news and no decision on sanctions–that’ll come after the judge reviews the testimony today and the documents. I’ll write it up tomorrow sometime–I worked 6 hours of Humane Society bingo tonight after spending all day down in Columbus in the federal court, and I’m too tired to write anything coherent.

The people close to the case who will say anything at all are still denying that any settlement has been reached. The reason that story is circulating more widely is that Associated Press picked up the Columbus Dispatch story that said there was a settlement based on what the federal court deputy told the reporter. I talked with the reporter (Dean Narciso) this afternoon and he’s sticking to it in spite of the denials of some of the principals.

RBH said:

H.H. said:

Any news yet on how the hearing went today?

I went to it. There was no new news and no decision on sanctions–that’ll come after the judge reviews the testimony today and the documents. I’ll write it up tomorrow sometime–I worked 6 hours of Humane Society bingo tonight after spending all day down in Columbus in the federal court, and I’m too tired to write anything coherent.

Understandable. Thanks for the update.

The people close to the case who will say anything at all are still denying that any settlement has been reached. The reason that story is circulating more widely is that Associated Press picked up the Columbus Dispatch story that said there was a settlement based on what the federal court deputy told the reporter. I talked with the reporter (Dean Narciso) this afternoon and he’s sticking to it in spite of the denials of some of the principals.

Hmm. Did Freshwater or his lawyer do any grandstanding? Maybe they wanted the public forum but plan to settle just before the judge releases his decision. That way they don’t have to say they lost, even though that looks probable at this point.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on July 26, 2010 1:04 PM.

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