Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thank you!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post, "Manitoba Small Claims File Number....."


Another interesting thing I have discovered while Googling . . . I was searching "Manitoba Metis Federation" to see results, and what did I chance to find instead - special government pages disclosing project-specific grants to the MMF. Several very interesting ones (try doing a Google for "disclosure grants contributions Manitoba Metis Federation") but a few which jumped out at me:

Disclosure of Grant and Contribution Awards Over $25,000

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Date: 2007-01-23
Value: $41,000.00
Type: Contribution
Purpose: The purpose of this project is to develop community-based alternatives for court proceedings, reduce reliance on the current court system, and provide culturally appropriate services for Métis people involved with the Criminal Justice System.
Comments: PROJECT AMENDED Original Project Amount: $30,000
Approved Date: 2006/10/25
Fiscal Year: 2006-2007
Quarter: 3 Amendment #1 Amount: $ 11,000
Approved Date: 2007/01/23

Disclosure of Grants and Contributions
Overview FAQ Quarter Listing

Recipient Name: Manitoba Metis Federation (Thompson Region) Inc.
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Date: 2006-03-17
Value: $200,000
Type: Non-Repayable Amount
Purpose: Purchase Elk's Hall as a replacement office for regional and local staff
Project Number: 000006286-1

Comments: Disclosure of Grant and Contribution Awards over $25,000
Overview Quarter Listing

Recipient Name: Manitoba Metis Federation
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Date: 04/10/2008
Value: $121,066
Type: Contribution
Purpose: The objectives of the project are to build surveillance knowledge and skills within the Manitoba Métis Federation; develop plans for data linkage studies with the cancer registry and administrative databases; and develop plans for knowledge translation in the regions.
Dear Anonymous:

Thank you very much for the heads up. I'm sure the information you've provided will help our readers. Now they can go directly online to find basic information about MMF Grants and Contributions using it to raise questions where appropriate.

Clare L. Pieuk

Sad but true!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post, "Manitoba Small Claims File Number ....."

Dear Anonymous:

Thank you for writing. Sadly must agree especially after a lawyer of unquestioned integrity who'd put extra pro bono hours into representing Mr. Belhumeur had to take him to Small Claims Court to force payment. This could have been avoided had he shown goodwill by at least making a minimum contribution. The coup de grace occurred when Mr. Belhumeur tried to deny the contract he'd previously signed in full knowledge (read in my presence without questions) was valid. Nice try!

Clare L. Pieuk

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

$1,077.75 - Yikes! You jest of course?

Murray Norman Trachtenberg
Tansi/Good Day Readers:
Was surfing the internet recently looking for "postables" we could scavenge and found this on one of our favourite sites, Truth To Power ( operated anonymously by a Canadian lawyer. It's an article about old friend MMF lawyer Murray Norman Trachtenberg.
Clare L. Pieuk
You be the judge Canadian taxpayers - good use of your hard earned dollars?
by Clare L. Pieuk
As originally posted on:
August 29, 2007
Tansi/Good Day Folks:
Mr. Murray Norman ($Happy$) Trachtenberg invoices the MMF at the rate of at least $250/hour. How much do you figure this letter cost to produce? From where in the Federation's budget are the funds being taken? Which of YOUR programs, Manitoba Metis, are suffering as a result?
Fellow Blogger Derryl Sanderson ( recently asked the Manitoba Metis Federation for $330 to help cover the cost of his young son's upcoming football season. Well, guess what? Surprise he was turned down - wonder why?
Maybe the MMF has run out of taxpayer dollars for those activities which really matter.
To date how much of your hard earned taxpayer dollars has the MMF been billed on this file?
An educated guess - over $100,000! For what?
So what say you Readers should this Blog pay Murray Norman (Billable) Trachtenberg at least $1,077.25 to get copies of all those documents so they can be posted on the internet for the world to see?
Clare L. Pieuk
Distribution List: (Canadian Taxpayers Federation)
Allan Fineblit, B.A., LL.B., Q.C.
Chief Executive Officer
Law Society of Manitoba
219 Kennedy Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C1S8
Telephone: (204) 942-5571
Facsimile: (204) 956-0624
Barristers, Solicitors & Notaries Public
710-491 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E4
Gerald S. Posner Manitoba & Ontario Bars
Murray N. Trachtenberg B.A., LL.B.
Direct Line: (204) 940-9602
August 28, 2007
Mr. Clare L. Pieuk
2 - 371 Des Meurons Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2H 2N6
Dear Mr. Pieuk:
I acknowledge receipt of your email dated August 26, 2007 requesting that I provide you with copies of all documents referred to in Schedule A of my client's affidavit of documents being 1-118 inclusive.
Before embarking on any photocopying in accordance with your request, satisfactory arrangements will have to be made to secure the photocopying costs to which my client is entitled to be paid by you. As you are well aware, the amount of photocopying you have requested is very substantial and the cost for same will also be substantial.
Copies of the documents you have requested will be provided at the rate of $.25 per page. This rate is the same as that charged by other legal firms in the city for photocopying.
With respect to your request, I respond in detail as follows:
1. The majority of documents listed in Schedule A indicate how many pages each document is. The total of those so indicated is 498 x $.25 = $124.50 plus tax.
2. Documents no. 115 is the pleadings. I expect that you are already in possession of most if not all of these as you and/or your former counsel Mr. Niederhoffer were served with all affidavits, motion briefs and other documents filed on behalf of the plaintiffs. I enclose a Manitoba Courts "File Details" listing dated August 27, 2007 itemizing the 105 entries to date. If there is something on this list that you do not have, you may obtain same from the Court of Queen's Bench. Alternatively, once you identify the specific item/items that you are requesting, I will be in a position to advise you as to the estimated cost of complying with your request.
3. Document no. 116 is "routine correspondence with defendants." I have sent to you and all responses you have sent to me. I will not photocopy these documents unless you advise me of a specific item you are looking for that you do not have.
4. Document no. 117 is "routine correspondence between counsel." All correspondence I had with your pervious counsel Mr. Niederhoffer will be in the file he maintained on your behalf while he represented you. You should make arrangements with him. If you have not already done so, to obtain that file.
5. Document no 118 is a "box of documents containing bundles of documents produced by Mr. Pieuk in May, 2006." These are the documents you provided to me following the issuance of the order of Justice McCawley. According to your website posting of May 13, 2006, three deliveries of documents to this office was described as "To date, that makes 1,545 pages carefully indexed and catelogued for future reference." Assuming your count is accurate, the cost of photocopying production no. 118 would be $386.25 plus tax.
6. Document no. 114 is a letter from Mr. Hannon dated June 21, 2007 and enclosures. Mr. Hannon retunned to me the documents that you had provided to Manitoba Aboriginal and Northern Affairs. Production no 114 consists of 424 pages and the cost of photocopying same would be $106.00 plus tax.
7. Document no. 110 is a letter from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada and enclosures. There are doucments that you provided to the Office of the Auditor Genreal of Manitoba and which were then provided to the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. At present. we have not determeined the exact number of pages for document on. 110. It would appear that document no. 110 has at least as many pages as does document no. 118 or perhaps more. For ther purpose of this letter, I will set the estimated cost of photocopying at $400.00 plus tax.
Please provide me with either a band draft, money order or certified cheque in the amount of $1,077.75 to be applied towards the cost of photocopying the documents you have requested.
Please understand that this is an estimate only. It does not include copying any part of document no. 115. I expect that the acutual page count, once the task has been completed, will result in an additional charge being submitted to you for payment.
I look forward to receipt of payment and your response with regard to Document no. 115.
Yours truly,
Editorial Comment: Sure Murray Trachtenberg, how would you like it in $10 and $20's?

Manitoba Small Claims File Number .....

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post, "Did he or didn't he?"

Of course the ..... kept it, have you ever know Terry Belhumeur to give back free money ?
Dear Anonymous:

Thank you for writing again. Suffice it to say (for now) a Mr. Terrance Paul Belhumeur is no stranger to Small Claims Court. Once told me when he went fishing with his First Nations wife if happened upon by a game warden, of course, she caught all the fish. Ditto if she was with him when a moose was shot.

Clare L. Pieuk

P.S. Like his smiling picture?

Did he or didn't he?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post, "Sausage making!"
And the other thing following my latest comment on Mr. Terry Belhumeur. Did he return that travel cash to the MMF? He said he was going to and he said he would provide everyone proof, but where is it? I haven't seen it. I just bet he kept it.
That's just like the man to hit his enemies over the head while collecting money from them.
Dear Anonymous:
Thank you for writing. Unfortunately, we don't know. You could try Murray Trachtenberg but he'd likely lawyer up or Terry Belhumeur. If either would like to send us proof we'll post it.
Clare L. Pieuk

If only you knew how close you are to the truth!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Sausage making!"

I just love those comments over at Sanderson's site ( about CyberSmokeSignals being taken off the air. No one seems to know what's happened but I do. Terry Belhumeur was just too lazy, and he STILL DOES NOT GET IT - THESE PEOPLE ARE PLAYING FOR KEEPS. Everytime I see a picture of him with that stupid grin, he looks like a stupid man who just does not GET IT. He is clueless about what's going on.

Clare, I disagree with a lot of the .... you've put on your site but I'll give you this, at least you've got guts and you know you have to fight them. Terry does not get it and he likely will have to be dragged into a courthouse before he does. He is a loser and a quitter

Dear Anonymous:

Thank you for writing. If only you knew how close to the truth you really are. And by the way, most of it has been good .... .

Lost all trust, confidence and respect for Mr. Belhumeur early February 2006 when he arbitrarily and unilaterally changed the user name and password for CyberSmokeSignals. Had to telephone to find out what had happened. The only explanation he could offer was his wife Darlene (Derryl Sanderson's sister) had been putting pressure on him. According to past comments he made she was not supportive of his MMF criticism.

At the time, lawyer Jeff Niederhoffer represented both of us so his actions impacted on him as well. Never gave us a chance to discuss and formulate alternative defence strategies. You may recall after the lockout one of his first moves was to publish a rambling, disjointed 7 page letter to the MMF in which he couldn't apologize all over himself fast enough. was averaging about 250 daily hits. Didn't get him dropped from the lawsuit did it?

Our experience was Mr. Belhumeur would be first in line to partake of any small victories we won but had an aversion to doing any of the heavy lifting required. Case in point. Early in the proceedings Federation Executive Director Oliver Boulette filed an Affidavit containing several holes, therefore, making it challengable. Mr. Niederhoffer tried to get Terry Belhumeur being Metis to argue against it but Mr. Belhumeur had to be e-mailed a replacement because he'd misplaced the original document. Then he couldn't think of any questions to ask. We even offered to supply him with these as well.

Finally, some time later he confessed in an e-mail (to me) he was afraid Murray Trachtenberg would have "eaten him for breakfast" had he gone forward. Maybe so but at least make sure you stuck in Counselor Trachtenberg's craw choking him on the way down. You may have lost but your opponent would know they were in a fight.

Twice in my presence while on his cellular telephone playing big time entrepreneur, he'd go on and on about how well his website was doing. In fact, he was contributing virtually nothing.

Observing him around Murray Trachtenberg as recently as the series of Pre-Trial Conferences currently underway, it's as though he defers to him thinking somehow he's a respected friend. What he's forgetting is the Counselor works for the MMF. His top priority is to protect a continuous cashflow of billable hours. Do you really think he cares about Mr. Belhumeur?

Imagine what CyberSmokeSignals would be today had Terry Belhumeur not let it wilt on the vine. In essence, he handed the Manitoba Metis Federation his best bargaining chip without so much as a fight all because it required time, work and effort. As previously noted, you're a lot closer to the truth than you realize.

Clare L. Pieuk

P.S. Hoped you liked the picture.

Sausage making!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post, "Senate reform in Canada!"

It is necessarily a difficult process, as it would require constitutional ratification through the provinces. Also, an unpredictable one, involving much bargaining and negotiation and "logrolling" (favour for a favour) as each province seeks to look after its own interests, especially vis-a-vis would-be electoral boundaries for the new elected Senate.

Other than that, have no idea about the specific steps involved. All I can suggest is Google "constitutional amendment Canada" or some such and see what happens.


Dear Anonymous:

Thank you for writing. Sounds like the deal breaker is getting the Provinces and Territories to agree on anything. However, this may be academic if "Mr. Huff-and-Puff" (Minister of State for Democratic Reform, Steven Fletcher) is going to blow it down.


Clare L. Pieuk

Monday, December 29, 2008

Please contact us again!

Susan has left a new comment on your post, "Mr. Hug-a-Thug is back this time as Mr. Huff-and-Puff!"

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading it. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Dear Susan,

Thank you for writing. You did just fine - please contact us again.

Clare L. Pieuk

Reforming Canada's Senate!

Good Day Readers:

The recent appointment of 18 new Senators has rekindled the debate on reform - an elected Upper Chamber? Fact is, it's nothing new and almost as old as the country itself. We highly recommend
The series of articles listed below chronicles recent attempts at reform. They're well written and worth the read. Mapleleafweb is a project of the University of Lethbridge's Department of Political Science.
Clare L. Pieuk
Senate Reform in Canada
Feature by
Jay Makarenko
Government & Institutions
October 1, 2006
Canada has a long and diverse history of Senate reform proposals, dating back to 1874, when the House of Commons heard, and rejected, a proposal to allow each province to select its own Senators. This article provides an overview and analysis of this history of Senate reform. It focuses strictly on the period between 1970 and 2007, and describes and compares individual reform proposals, as well as general trends during this period.
Giving the Provinces a Greater Voice in the Senate
Senate reform proposals in the 1970s
Democratic Legitimacy & the Triple-E Senate
Senate reform proposals in the 1980s
Meech Lake, Charlottetown & Senate Reform
Senate reform proposals in the 1990s
Non-constitutional Change & Senate Reform
2006 Conservative Senate reform proposal
Sources & Links for Further Information
Article sources & links for more information on this topic

Mr. Hug-a-Thug is back this time as Mr. Huff-and-Puff!

Good Day Readers:

We first became aware of Mr. Hug-a-Thug's (also known as, Steven Fletcher, Conservative Charleswood-St. James- Assiniboia, Winnipeg) penchant for one liners from an article (below) posted on the excellent Blog Truth To Power ( hosted anonymously by a Canadian lawyer.

Now that he has cleaned up our streets of the criminal element looks like as Minister of State for Democratic Reform he's going to blow down the Canadian Senate. What a metamorphosis from Mr. Hug-a-Thug to Mr. Huff-and-Puff!

Clare L. Pieuk
Canadian Federal Member of Parliament/Democratic Reform Minster Steven Fletcher and the Harper Conservatives (

I’ll Huff And I’ll Puff And I’ll Blow This Senate Down
by Jeff Jedras
As originally posted on: A BCer in Toronto
December 21, 2008

From the hot air department: If the Conservative government can't get its planned reforms to the Canadian Senate passed as soon as possible it will simply move to abolish the Chamber altogether, says Steven Fletcher, the Minister of State for Democratic Reform.

Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and call BS on that one.

I’ve argued before that the Conservative commitment to Senate reform has been truly half-assed at best, nibbling away around the edges in a way that will actually only create a worse situation: an elected Senate, unafraid of using its power, but with the regional inequities entrenched. The only real way to reform the Senate is through constitutional reform with the provinces. That’s a process the Conservatives have shown absolutely no appetite for.

Now, Stephen Fletcher is threatening to abolish the Senate if his nibbling, possibly unconstitutional “reforms” aren’t passed? Please. Does he think he can just abolish the Senate by fiat? Actually, given the understanding the Conservatives have demonstrated for our democratic process, maybe he does. But no, abolishing the Senate would require constitutional reform and amendment in negotiation with the provinces.

Do the Conservatives seriously expect us to believe they have the appetite for entering constitutional negotiations with the provinces to abolish the Senate when they have been unwilling to use this process to usher in the meaningful sort of Senate reform they CLAIM to stand for? Please.

Keep huffing and puffing, gentlemen.

And in the mean time, the Conservatives will demonstrate their commitment to Senate reform tomorrow by sending one of their top fundraisers to patronage heaven. Why, Reformers? Because the Liberals do it too. Preston must be so proud.

Jeff Jedras operates the very interesting looking blog A BCer ( based in Scarborough, Ontario.

"Mr. Hug-a-Thug!"

Cutting House Arrest A Costly Proposition: Lawyer

September 26, 2008

The Conservatives' campaign promise to get rid of conditional house arrest sentences for about 30 crimes would be expensive, a group of Manitoba defence lawyers says.

If the Tories are re-elected October 14, leader Stephen Harper says they will end the use of house arrest sentences for property crimes, weapons offences, serious vehicular crimes, as well as drug trafficking, kidnapping and trafficking in people.

But house arrest is for low risk offenders and it saves the government millions of dollars, said Mark Wasyliw, spokesman for the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association.

If the 771 people currently serving conditional house arrest sentences in Manitoba were sent to jail, it would cost the government $110,000 per day or about $40 million a year, Wasyliw said.

Finding room for more prisoners in jails that are already overcrowded would also be a problem, he said.

Low risk offenders also hold jobs, pay taxes, support families and become rehabilitated in the community, he said."We're talking about huge sums of money for somebody who works and pays taxes," he said. "You're going to take that tax money out of the system and you're going to have to pay money for welfare for their families."But Manitoba Conservative candidate Steve Fletcher defends the party's campaign promise, saying the public wants the government to get tougher on criminals."

I hear this at the door all the time — that people are sick and tired of these revolving doors in the justice system and the hug-a-thug mentality of some of the other politicians," said the incumbent in the Charleswood-St. James Assiniboia riding of Winnipeg.

Harper has said the cost of sending more people to jail would be "small and manageable."

Told you so ..... eh?

Tansi/Good Day Readers:

This arrived within 2 minutes after the posting had been e-mailed to Mr. Bruinooge and Ms Glover.

Clare L. Pieuk
Dear Constituent,

Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I value constituent feedback as it helps me to better represent Winnipeg South. My staff and I read every email to ensure we are aware of constituent concerns. If you need assistance with an issue of federal jurisdiction or have a question related to government affairs, please call my office at 984-6787. We are here to help!

Rod Bruinooge, MP


Je vous remercie d'avoir pris le temps de communiquer avec moi. Mon personnel et moi-même lisons tous les courriels que nous recevons afin de nous assurer de bien comprendre les préoccupations de la population. Si vous avez besoin d'assistance au regard d'une question relevant de la compétence du gouvernement fédéral, n'hésitez pas à appeler mon bureau au 984-6787. Nous sommes là pour vous aider!

Rod Bruinooge,
Député de Winnipeg-Sud

What would they do if .....?

Tansi/Good Day Readers:

We flagged this article because it raises a number of contentious issues. Unlike Mr. Bruinooge we lived through the Henry Morgentaler era. One of the first that jumped out was why has the existence of a parliamentary anti-abortion caucus remained largely secretive on a matter of this importance?

Rod Bruinooge is correct in his assessment Stephen Harper would prefer the abortion debate not be re-opened. Because it can quickly become so politically charged few elected leaders do. Given the Prime Minister's track record to date with Members of Parliament who stray from the Party line, he is also probably correct in stating there could be ramifications for him.

When an individual takes a stand such as this, we can't help but wonder what if, God forbid, a person very close to them such as a wife or girlfriend received news their fetus if taken to birth would be horribly deformed with a very limited life expectancy. The ultimate test - then what? Abortion should never be viewed as a form of birth control, therefore, checks and balances must be in place.

An issue Mr. Bruinooge has missed and might wish to consider is the difference between how Canadian and United States legislators view the death of a pregnant woman by criminal means and the resulting death of a fetus. Here it's one murder there two.

On a similar note, what about human embryonic stem cell research that results in the destruction of the embryo but has the potential to significantly assist Parkinson and Alzheimer patients? Isn't the option offering individuals the greatest choice and flexibility, within reasonable limits of course, the one to be preferred?

Although not a constituent we've previously e-mailed several postings from this site to Mr. Bruinooge's Consistuency Office in his capacity as Parliamentary Secretary to Chuck Strahl Minister responsible for Indian Affairs and Northern Development, as well as, Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians. We've always received a quick automated "Dear Constituent" reply stressing the importance of our issue(s), how busy staff are and, of course, the obligatory comment about getting in touch shortly. Problem is, there is never any follow up.

Then there's our newly elected St. Boniface, Manitoba Member of Parliament Shelly Glover who at last count still owes us two e-mail replies from weeks gone by. Wonder if she'll telephone us again on the next federal election day telling us how important we are to what she'd like to accomplish and asking for out vote? How quickly they forget!

We are sending a copy of this posting to Mr. Bruinooge at his Consistuency Office since Parliament is prorogued. We will display any response he may provide unless he requests otherwise in which case we'll advise you.

Clare L. Pieuk

MP Wants To Reopen Abortion Debate
December 28, 2008

WINNIPEG — The abortion debate is about to enter a “new era” of advocacy for the rights of the unborn, says a Conservative MP who recently took over the chairmanship of a secretive, parliamentary anti-abortion caucus.

The all-party caucus will publicize what it views as inadequate abotion regulation, and push for legislation to restrict abortions, Winnipeg MP Rod Bruinooge said in an interview.

“I was born in the post-Morgentaler era, and I think I come to this debate under a different context,” Mr. Bruinooge said last night. “I believe that having open debate on important topics like this is essential for any democratic movement. It's a democracy, and we are putting our ideas out for debate.”

Mr. Bruinooge declined to provide details about the membership of the caucus – which he described as “sizable” – on the basis that MPs from other parties fear internal repercussions if their activism is known.

However, Mr. Bruinooge said that his party leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is well aware that he is involved in a campaign to advocate for precisely what Mr. Harper does not want to see – the reopening of the abortion debate.

“I'm under no illusions that this is going to be an easy course,” Mr. Bruinooge said. “There are some parties that suppress pro-life thinking. There could be consequences for those MPs in other parties. I know there have been some political parties that have chosen to remove their members for having a certain philosophical viewpoint.”

Mr. Bruinooge said that an inordinate number of Canadians are unaware that there has effectively been no abortion law since the father of the pro-choice movement, Henry Morgentaler, persuaded the Supreme Court of Canada in 1988 to strike down the existing law.

As a result of the government's failure to fill the legislative void created by that ruling, he said, laws governing organ transplants are tougher than those that pertain to abortion. For instance, Mr. Bruinooge said that it is illegal for an individual to have a kidney removed and auction it off on eBay.

“The bottom line is that people like myself are not going to stop until, at the very least, unborn children have more value than a Canadian kidney,” he said.

“Your kidneys have more protection than an unborn child until the moment it is out of the woman,” Mr. Bruinooge said. “I challenge anyone to debate me on that point, because I don't think you can. It is very true. There is no legal value to an unborn child in Canada. I just don't see that as a good bioethical position for anyone to have, let alone a country.”

Joyce Arthur, co-ordinator of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, noted that since a majority of the Conservative caucus are “publicly anti-choice,” it is not surprising that many are prepared to lobby against a woman's right to choose.

“It's something that the Conservative Party is out of touch with, because Canadians don't want to go back to the abortion debate,” Ms. Arthur said. “People are happy with the status quo. It's working well.”

With a report from The Canadian Press

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It was only a pair of pants and cellular telephone - losers indeed!

Tansi/Good Day Readers:

We're always scanning Truth To Power ( written anonymously by a Canadian lawyer. It has excellent links to judicially focused sites throughout North America. This comes from "Blogmastered" by New England based Stephen G. Erickson.

At Winnipeg's Law Courts Building visitors are allowed to enter courtrooms with electronic recording devices but not use them. If caught a Sheriff will kindly show you the door. The one exception is accredited media which may use small recorders to ensure the accuracy of their stories.

This article attests to the lunacy of some American judiciary. We're still trying to fathom the case of the Chungs. Thank goodness our system is a lot "saner."

Clare L. Pieuk
Pearson v. Chung

Pearson v. Chung is a civil case filed in 2005 by Roy L. Pearson, Jr., a former administrative law judge in the District of Columbia in the United States, following a dispute with a dry cleaning company over a lost pair of trousers. Pearson filed suit against Soo Chung, Jin Nam Chung and Ki Y. Chung, the owners of Custom Cleaners in Washington, D.C. initially demanding $67 million for inconvenience, mental anguish and attorney's fees for representing himself, as a result of their failure, in Pearson's opinion, to live up to a "satisfaction guaranteed" sign that was displayed in the store. The case drew international attention when it went to trial in 2007 and has been held up as an example of frivolous litigation and the need for tort reform in the United States.


Pearson sued a D.C. dry cleaning establishment, Custom Cleaners, for over $67 million for the loss of a pair of pants. The pants were from one of several suits that Pearson had brought to Custom Cleaners to be cleaned in May 2005. When Pearson requested the suit two days later, the pants were missing. Pearson then asked to be refunded for the full price of the suit, $1,000. The cleaners refused and later asserted that they had found the pants a week later. Pearson claimed the pants were not his, stating, "I haven't worn pants with cuffs since the 1970s," providing a photograph of all his (cuffless) pairs of pants as evidence.

Pearson rejected a later offer to settle the case for $12,000. D.C. Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz stated that, "the court has significant concerns that the plaintiff is acting in bad faith." The judge resolved some of the issues in the Chungs' favor in response to their motion for summary judgment, which was filed at the close of discovery, but could not dismiss the case because some facts were in dispute.

The owners of the business, South Korean immigrants Jin Nam Chung, Soo Chung and their son, Ki Chung, were reportedly considering moving back to South Korea. After an outpouring of support for the Chungs from members of the public, a website was set up to accept donations for the Chungs' legal defense.

On May 30, 2007, Pearson reduced his demands to $54 million in damages rather than $67 million. Among his requests were $500,000 in attorney's fees, $2 million for "discomfort, inconvenience, and mental distress," and $15,000, which he claimed would be the cost to rent a car every weekend to drive to another dry cleaning service. The remaining $51.5 million would be used to help similarly dissatisfied D.C. consumers sue businesses. Pearson also re-focused his lawsuit from the missing pants to the removal of window signs for "Satisfaction Guaranteed" and "Same Day Service". Pearson claimed the signs represented fraud on the part of the Chungs.

The Chungs' lawyer, Christopher Manning, alleged that the signs could only be considered fraud if a reasonable person would be misled by them, and that a reasonable person would not see the signs as an unconditional promise. The Chungs' lawyer portrayed Pearson as a bitter, financially insolvent man; under questioning, Pearson admitted that, at the start of the court case, he had only $1,000-2,000 in the bank due to divorce proceedings, and was collecting unemployment.


June 12, 2007, the trial began. Pearson broke down in tears during an explanation about his frustration after losing his pants, and a short recess had to be declared.


On June 25, 2007, the trial ended with District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Judith Bartnoff ruling in favor of the dry cleaners, and awarding them court costs pursuant to a motion which the Chungs later withdrew. The court took judicial notice of Pearson's divorce proceedings, where he was sanctioned $12,000 by the trial court for "creating unnecessary litigation and threatening both [Rhonda] VanLowe and her lawyer with disbarment."

Post-Trial Motions And Appeal

On July 11, 2007, Pearson made a motion to reconsider in the trial court, stating that he felt the judge had "committed a fundamental legal error" and had failed to address his legal claims. Pearson stated that he believed the court had imposed its own conditional interpretation of 'satisfaction guaranteed' rather than what Pearson believes is an offer of unconditional and unambiguous satisfaction. The court denied the motion.

The Chungs' moved to recover $83,000 in attorneys' fees and impose sanctions, but withdrew the motion after recovering their costs through fund-raising; the Chungs stated that they did so in the hopes of persuading Pearson to stop litigating. But on August 14, 2007, Pearson filed a notice of appeal.

On August 2, 2007 it was revealed that a panel recommended not to give Pearson a ten year term as an Administrative Law Judge, after his initial two year term expired mid-2007, in part because his suit against Mr Chung demonstrated a lack of "judicial temperament." Pearson was appointed in 2005 and will lose his $100,512 salary if a hearing upholds that decision.

On October 22, a D.C. commission voted against reappointing Pearson, a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Law, to the bench of the Office of Administrative Hearings. On November 14, it was confirmed that Pearson had lost his job by not being affirmed for an extension.

On September 10, 2008, an appellate court agreed to hear Pearson's appeal, scheduled for October 22, 2008. Manning is representing the Chungs on the appeal pro bono.

On December 18, 2008, the three-judge D.C. Court of Appeals panel that heard Pearson's appeal announced that they were rejecting it. According to the Washington Post, "Pearson has two remaining avenues of appeal left: He could ask the entire nine-judge appellate court to review the case, or ask the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in."

Cultural impact

The unusual circumstances of this case led the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and dozens of bloggers to refer to it as "The Great American Pants Suit," and to Pearson as "Judge Fancy Pants." The case has garnered considerable international attention. BBC News quoted Chris Manning, attorney for the Chung family, as saying that the experience for the Chungs has become the "American nightmare"--an ironic reference to the American Dream. Fortune magazine listed the case at #37 in its "101 Dumbest Moments in Business" of 2007.

On July 24, 2007, the American Tort Reform Association and the Institute for Legal Reform of the United States Chamber of Commerce hosted a fundraiser for the Chungs to help pay their attorneys fees that reported having raised up to $64,000. The Chungs say they have received close to $100,000 from supporters to cover their attorneys' fees and lost business.

Citing a loss of revenue and emotional strain from the lawsuit, the Chungs announced, on September 19, 2007, that they have closed and sold the dry cleaning shop involved in the dispute. The Chungs still own one additional dry cleaning shop and have stated they will be focusing their attention and resources on their remaining shop.

The plot of the Law and Order episode "Bottomless", first broadcast on 16 January 2008, was partially inspired by the Pearson case.

On May 2, 2008 Roy Pearson filed suit against Washington DC, claiming that he had been wrongfully dismissed for exposing corruption within the Office of Administrative Hearings. Pearson sought $1 million in compensation for lost wages and punitive damages as well as his job back.

Former Judge (Thank Goodness!) Robert Restaino

November 28, 2007
Cell Phone 'Lunacy' Prompts N.Y. Judge's removal
Posted by
Anne Broache

It was a normal enough morning in a Niagara Falls courtroom, with Judge Robert Restaino plodding through his routine batch of domestic violence arraignments. That is, until a ringing cell phone pierced the air.

What followed was "two hours of inexplicable madness," including the jailing of 46 people, according to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct. In a scathing report Tuesday, that panel recommended the city court judge be removed.
"Now, whoever owns the instrument that is ringing, bring it to me now or everybody could take a week in jail and please don't tell me I'm the only one that heard that," Restaino said on that fateful morning of March 11, 2005, according to the commission's report.
"Everyone is going to jail; every single person is going to jail in this courtroom unless I get that instrument now," he went on. "If anybody believes I'm kidding, ask some of the folks that have been here for a while. You are all going."
When no one fessed up, the judge, who was set to deal with 70 cases that morning, called back the 11 defendants he had already released on their own recognizance and set extra bail.
All told, he ordered that 46 defendants be held in custody, according to the commission report. They were ultimately placed in crowded "holding" cells at the county jail, and some weren't released for a couple of hours.
Although Restaino "chastised" at length the defendants who claimed ignorance about the ringing phone's owner and accused the culprit of being "self-absorbed" for not coming forward, he never questioned "any of the prosecutors, defense attorneys, court personnel, program representatives or others who were present in the courtroom," the report found.
The commission concluded Restaino, who conceded he had no legal right to take the defendents into custody, had committed "an egregious and unprecedented abuse of judicial power." One panel member, however, said he was more inclined to pursue a penalty somewhere in between censure and complete removal, suggesting the episode was a fluke ("two hours of viral lunacy out of a person's entire professional life").
Restaino, for his part, attributed his behavior to "certain stresses in his personal life," according to the report.
Restaino plans to appeal the ruling and seek reinstatement to the post, which paid $113,900 per year, according to the Associated Press.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jeez, what a revelation!

Good Day Readers:
Wonder how much money the U.S. government paid for such an earth shattering discovery?
According to our calculations 350 joints a week is 50/day. Assuming 16 hours of consciousness (Well sort of!) that's 3 every 60 minutes which doesn't include time for eating, doing your morning ablutions or going to the bathroom - equivalent to about a 2 pack a day habit. Smoke 50 a day of anything and watch what happens?
Clare L. Pieuk
STOP! ..... now or else

Why are UK butchers -- and inspectors -- apparently so lousy?
Posted May 8, 2008 by
Doug Powell

This isn't about the Butcher of Wales, or the Butcher of Scotland. This time, it's the Butcher of Leeds, The Yorkshire Post reports today that a butcher's shop at the centre of one of Yorkshire's most serious food poisoning outbreaks was found to be "filthy" by inspectors two years before it was shut down.

About 60 people were struck down by E-coli O157 during an outbreak in Leeds in 2006 that led to an investigation into Todd's Pork and Beef Butchers in Armley and its stall at Kirkgate Market.

Papers released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that Todd's was warned several times about poor hygiene standards and practices.Hilary Cobley, whose late husband Neil was struck down by poisoning as he was due to undergo chemotherapy, was quoted as saying the outbreak was "no accident," adding, "I don't think this happened overnight. When they shut the shop you could see the muck on the floor. It is a shame that they can't make them pay the fine."

Marijuana May Up Heart Attack, Stroke Risk
Will Dunham, Reuters (2008)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Heavy marijuana use can boost blood levels of a particular protein, perhaps raising a person's risk of a heart attack or stroke, U.S. government researchers said on Tuesday.

Dr. Jean Lud Cadet of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, said the findings point to another example of long-term harm from marijuana. But marijuana activists expressed doubt about the findings.
Cadet said a lot of previous research has focused on the effects of marijuana on the brain. His team looked elsewhere in the body, measuring blood protein levels in 18 long-term, heavy marijuana users and 24 other people who did not use the drug.
Levels of a protein called apolipoprotein C-III were found to be 30 percent higher in the marijuana users compared to the others. This protein is involved in the body's metabolism of triglycerides -- a type of fat found in the blood -- and higher levels cause increased levels of triglycerides, Cadet added.
High levels of triglycerides can contribute to hardening of the arteries or thickening of the artery walls, raising the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease.
The study did not look at whether the heavy marijuana users actually had heart disease.
"Chronic marijuana use is not only causing people to get high, it's actually causing long-term adverse effects in patients who use too much of the drug," Cadet, whose study is in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, said in a telephone interview. "Chronic marijuana abuse is not so benign."
The marijuana users in the study averaged smoking 78 to 350 marijuana cigarettes per week, based on self-reported drug history, the researchers said.
The researchers said the active ingredient in marijuana, known as THC, seems to overstimulate marijuana receptors in the liver, leading to overproduction of the protein.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I am sending out a quick email to everyone that has signed up at
First off - I wanted to thank everyone. We already have over 900 blogs approved in over 500 different cities! For those wondering, the most popular cities are New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Chicago. Early next month we hope to have a statistics page up to show these and more interesting stats.
We are also keeping our eye on expansion. We should be launching the UK section on Monday this week, and hope to do Australia and New Zealand soon after that. Early next month we are targeting other European countries - Germany, France, Italy and more.
But first! The reason I am emailing you is for feedback. What more would you like to see from Right now we are working on feed auto-discovery - so that we can list your RSS feed (and latest posts), therefore, people will have more ways to find your blog. But what else would you like to see? We also have business listings for both US and Canada - and would love to find a way for bloggers to connect their content into those listings.
So - if you have any suggestions or ideas, email me back - we would love to know more on what *you* want to see do.
And I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday - I know I did!
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Remember that fall down drunk picture you posted of yourself on the internet years ago? Well .....

Where Everybody Knows Your Teenaged Musings - The first generation that grew up with the Web finds having adolescent dramas posted online is not cool, especially in a job hunt
Digital Tattoo: "I was hoping to gloss over that little episode of my life, and there it is on the internet!
Globe and Mail
December 23, 2008
Seth Tee got his first Hotmail account in Grade 4. By high school he was posting content on the Web. Now, at the sober age of 22, the University of British Columbia student realizes his teenage musings are just “a Google search away” for the rest of the world, and there is not much he can do to take them back.
“I used to think it would be fun to write things and put them online and I could look back five years down the line, 10 years down the line and see what I was thinking,” he says. “Now I realize it's not just me that is looking back at this time capsule.”
He's far from alone. The generation that is now entering adulthood is the first to document its adolescent ups and downs on the Web, the kind of content that used to be confined to the back of yearbooks and dust-covered journals hidden under the bed. Now high-school dramas that once were chronicled on bathroom walls are finding their way onto websites and into Facebook groups where they can last decades longer than any cutting comment scrawled with a felt-tipped pen.
The outcome is not always ideal, especially when it comes time to begin a career.

UBC student Elizabeth Walker and Sheryl Adam of the Koerner Library at UBC December 3, 2008.
A new UBC initiative is trying to drive that message home, warning students that what they say and post online will stay with them for years to come. The project, called “digital tattoo,” centres on an interactive website by the same name – – that provides a practical guide for protecting privacy online.
“Stopping and thinking is not big with this demographic,” says Sheryl Adam, a UBC reference librarian and one of the creators of the project. “I think the students think they will move on and it will disappear, and of course it doesn't.”
Increasingly, Ms. Adam says, employers and even universities themselves are scanning the Internet to get the lowdown on individuals. The pictures, statements and videos they find there can have a life of their own.
Elizabeth Walker, a UBC graduate student who also worked on the project, knows exactly what that feels like. A five-minute search on a digital archive turned up a review she had written for a student paper that caused some embarrassment at the time. “I was hoping to gloss over that little episode of my life, and there it is on the Internet,” she said. “Stuff like that is remarkably easy to find.”
Ms. Walker, who worked as a primary-school teacher before going to graduate school, says she has always been cautious about the content she puts on the Web, but at 28 she figures her desire to protect her privacy also has something to do with age. “When you are 15, you know, what is going to hurt you?”
That attitude is something the UBC project is trying to address. Ms. Adam says past attempts to educate students about Internet privacy with workshops received little interest. The group behind digital tattoo developed the website to give students information that wouldn't sound like a lecture on bad behaviour. Students, including Ms. Walker, researched and developed the content, and Mr. Tee created the graphics and did the programming as part of a co-op placement.
Student Liana Popa, who also worked on the site, said the experience actually led her to increase her presence on the Web to give employers an idea of what she had accomplished.
“You might as well use it to your advantage,” she said. “If you think employers are going to use it for research – put something out there for them to see.”
Ms. Adam said the approach taken by the digital tattoo site is especially important in reaching a university audience. “We never say you should do this. We say, you should know this,” she explains. “‘Required' will get you nowhere fast.”
Mr. Tee figures the fact that he and his peers grew up using technology might be part of the problem.
“This generation that we think is so tech savvy and so competent with this material, we might actually be the most susceptible because we trust it so much,” he ventures.
Since working on the website, he says he has changed his behaviour and taken steps to better guard his privacy. “I really hadn't thought about it before,” he said.

Frivolous, vexatious, malicious lawsuits in Canada!

(Activate Audio Control)

"When I heard $67 million, I said to myself, 'Nonsense'... How could he claim this much over a pair of pants?"

Jin and Soo Chung - Custom Cleaners Washington, D.C.

Jin and Soo Chung came to the United States in search of the American dream. What they experienced was the nightmare of American lawsuit abuse.

While the Chungs may not be household names, most Americans are aware of the $54 million lawsuit over pants they temporarily misplaced. That lawsuit, which was laughable on its face, has had a very unfunny impact on their business and their lives, forcing them to close two of their three dry cleaning stores and causing years of anxiety and sleepless nights.

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

The Chungs moved to Washington, D.C. from South Korea, where Mr. Chung worked in a charcoal factory, in 1992. Like many immigrants, they were drawn to America by the opportunities available to those willing to work hard and the promise of a good education and a better life for their children.

And work hard they did, opening one dry cleaning store which was soon followed by a second and a third. The stores were a family business, owned and operated by the Chungs along with their son Ki.

But then came the day Judge Roy Pearson complained they'd lost his pants. The Chungs tried to settle with him, eventually offering up to $12,000 (as well as his pants), but Pearson insisted on dragging them to court in a ridiculous claim for $54 million.

After more than two years, Pearson lost his initial lawsuit, but it unfortunately didn't end there. Losses at their Custom Cleaners store were too great to overcome, and the Chungs had to close it last October. In the meantime, despite magnanimously dropping their countersuit against Pearson for legal fees, he pressed on with his appeal and today the case remains alive in the District of Columbia court system.

Today the Chungs operate their first cleaning location, Happy Cleaners in downtown Washington, D.C. ''They're out a lot of money, but more importantly, they're incredibly disenchanted with the system,'' said Chris Manning, their attorney. ''This has destroyed their lives.''


Tansi/Good Day Folks:

The other day quite by accident we came upon a fascinating project by the U.S. Chamber Institute of Legal Reform. It's a compilation of 13 short videos, much like the one featured above, plus written examples of other cases. We've featured the Chungs because they've become the poster child for the movement.

The site invites readers to contact it with examples of other frivolous, vexatious, malicious lawsuits for possible posting. We believe the taxpayer funded litigation by the Metis National Council Secretariat, Metis National Council and President Clement Chartier against The Honourable W. Yvon Dumont Canada and Manitoba's first Metis Lieutenant Governor is a prime candidate. Afterall, the Plaintiffs must now pay MMF lawyer Murray Trachtenberg thousands and thousands and thousands of public dollars in legal fees. In return the Plaintiffs were awarded a loonie.

Then there's the Canadian taxpayer funded Manitoba Metis Federation's defamation SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) involving the now defunct also being prosecuted by Murray Norman Trachtenberg. CyberSmokeBlog will willingly participate in the production of a video for publication if requested by Faces of Lawsuit Abuse. We notice they already have a write up of a case from the Nova Scotia Chronicle-Herald. Shortly we will be contacting FLA about a reciprocal link.

In our view, two situations must happen to stop such texbook misuse of the law to intimidate, threaten, bully and harass private citizens in Canada:

(1) A Defendant wins a SLAPP case then successfully countersues the Plaintiff(s) for malicious prosecution

(2) The Canadian legal system adopt standards for SLAPP cases. If the criteria are satisfied Plaintiffs who lose would automatically be assessed double damages. In the Yvon Dumont case the MNCS, MNC and its President would be required to pay all his legal costs with interest

Thank goodness the Canadian judiciary is a lot "saner" than its American counterparts.

Clare L. Pieuk

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Is 34 too young to be appointed a senator for life?

Tansi/Good Day Readers:

Years ago when Liberal Sharon Carstairs was Official Opposition Leader in the Manitoba Legislature she would run on at great length to anyone who'd listen about how Canada needed an elected Triple E Senate, that is, until Jean Chretien appointed her to the Upper Chamber. When subsequently asked by a reporter it became, "I can now work from within to change the system."

Well, here it is several years later and we still don't have one. What's so difficult about electing senators we do it for Members of Parliament. Since they're appointed, to whom are they accountable?

Clare L. Pieuk


Young Senator Qualifies For Pension That Is 'Ticket To The Good Life' - Red Chamber Benefits

Daniel Leblanc, Globe and Mail

December 24, 2008 (Page A4)

As the youngest of Canada's 18 new senators, 34-year-old Patrick Brazeau will be eligible for pension benefits that most Canadians can only dream of, as soon as he hits 55.

If the current National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples remains in the Red Chamber until 2029, he will walk away with a pension worth 63 per cent of his indexed annual salaray which currently stands at $130,400. In today's dollars that's an annual pension of $82,000 - indexed for life - starting in his middle age.

"That's a ticket to the good life," said Kevin Gaudet of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. "If he lives to be 100, he'll be able to be on the Senate pension twice as long as he was a senator. That's the generosity of these plans especially when young people are appointed."

If Mr. Brazeau wants to earn the maximum pension - worth 75 per cent of his salary - he will have to wait an extra four years until he turns 59.

But even if he retires earlier, Mr. Brazeau, like all senators, will be eligible for a monthly pension after only six years in Parliament, earning annual payments worth 3 per cent of his annual salary for every year of service starting at age 55.

In an interview, Mr. Brazeau said he will work in the Senate on abroiginal issues and the promotion of Canadian unity, as well as, on Senate reform. He said he has not yet looked at the benefits package and has not decided on a retirement date.

"My personal intention is not to be there for the next 40 or 41 years," he said, referring to the mandatory retirement age of 75.

On average, when Parliament is in session, the Senate and various committees sit from Monday afternoon to Thursday afternoon. Friday sittings are an exception and summers are usually off.

The issue of pensions is important in relation to this week's controversial batch of Senate appointments, given that the average age of the 18 new Conservative representatives is relatively young at 57.

Of the 18 appointees, 13 are in their 50s or 60s and will already be eligible for a pension for life if they stay in their positions for six years.

The four youngest new senators are Mr. Brazeau, Conservative fundraiser Leo Housakos, 40, former Conservative candidate Yonah Martin, 43, and former Conservative MP Fabian Manning, 44. The four will be in line to receive pension benefits starting at the age of 55.

Only one of the new apointees, 71-year-old lawyer Fred Dickson, has four years of service and will be forced to retire without a pension.

In a news release two days ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the new senators have agreed to vote in favour of eight-year term limits. However, they were not asked to promise to resign in 2016, to prevent the creation of two classes of senators.

The NDP has said that the new Senate appointees will cost taxpayers a total of $6-million a year in salaaries, benefits and expenses.

The Conservatives yesterday issued a news release denouncing the "opposition hypocracy" (sic) on the Senate appointments.

"In fact, [Leader Jack] Layton and the NDP were strangely silent when [Green Party Leader] Elizabeth May announced that the Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition was considering appointing her to the senate," the Conservative Party said.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

If called better go!

Man Jailed After Snubbing Jury Duty
By: Mike McIntyre
December 24, 2008
HE snubbed his nose at his civic duty -- and spent a weekend in jail as a result.
A Winnipeg man landed himself in legal hot water earlier this month after refusing to show up in court for jury selection. Although nearly 300 other people who received notices in the mail were present, Jason Drobot couldn't be bothered.
Queen's Bench Justice Glenn Joyal issued an arrest warrant and city police quickly picked Drobot up and brought him to court.
Drobot claimed he wanted to appeal for an exemption of jury duty. Joyal explained it was too late, that the jury had already been picked and Drobot hadn't gone through proper channels.
"That's bogus. You might want to talk to my lawyers," said Drobot, who later admitted he didn't have a lawyer.
Joyal was not impressed, warning Drobot he was walking a fine line and could be found in contempt. The judge even took a five-minute break to let Drobot think about whether he wished to offer a suitable explanation and/or apology to court.
Drobot just kept digging a deeper hole for himself. He questioned Joyal's claim that 300 people had showed up with their jury summons.
"You don't have seating capacity in here for 300 people. Maybe 75, tops. You're a liar, judge," said Drobot.
Drobot was clearly unaware jury selection is done in a different courtroom with the proper seating capacity. He even took aim at the water being offered in court, asking a sheriff's officer "How long has that been sitting in that pitcher? It looks putrid."
Joyal had heard enough. He said Drobot would be cited for contempt and have to appear before the Chief Justice following the weekend.
Drobot fired back, insisting he wouldn't be coming to court.
"Why should I even be here? You're just wasting my time. I have better things to do," Drobot continued. Joyal then ordered sheriff's officers to take Drobot into custody, saying it was the only way to ensure his appearance.
Drobot was held for three nights at the downtown Remand Centre. He was much more contrite when he appeared Monday before Justice Marc Monnin.
Monnin agreed to release him but said a charge of failing to appear in court would likely be laid against him at a future date. He could face up to a $500 fine or another 30 days behind bars as a result.
Editor's Note: Mr. Drobot is very lucky indeed he didn't get 30 days for calling Justice Joyal "a liar."