Anyone recognize the metaphorical picture accompying Mr. Populi posting and its significance? Looks like someone from a movie we should recognize but don't.
Clare L. Pieuk
30 December 2009
On the Sixth Day: Manitoba Lawyer Murray Trachtenberg
Room 217, Provincial Law Courts Building - Master A. W. Sharp Presiding!
by Clare L. Pieuk
As originally posted on: CyberSmokeBlog.blogspot.com
May 5, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008 at 9:30 a.m. Co-Defendant Terry Belhumeur (owner, www.CyberSmokeSignals.com) appeared before Master Sharp resplendent in his MMF jacket. Earlier, Counselor Trachtenberg had filed a Notice of Motion compelling him to attend otherwise Mr. Trachtenberg would seek a Court Order to have Mr. Belhumeur's Statement of Defence struck from the record. If granted, this would place the Co-Defendant in default and, therefore, deemed to have lost the lawsuit.
It was a very short proceeding lasting no more than 10 minutes. Counselor Trachtenberg began by noting Terry Belhumeur had failed to attend a previously scheduled Examination for Discovery and on multiple occasions not provided an Affidavit of Documents as requested. The Co-Defendant, according to Mr. Trachtenberg, had also not supplied all his Undertakings (commitments to turn over material extracted during Discovery).
Mr. Belhumeur then handed Murray Trachtenberg an envelope commenting he was unable to find an item for his Affidavit of Documents but would search the internet (www.CyberSmokeBlog.blogspot.com has posted dozens and dozens of Court related documents in this case).
Co-Defendant Belhumeur offered he had consulted with a lawyer but was informed it would cost several thousands of dollars to engage their services. He also explained he was unemployed and, therefore, self-represented. Master Sharp then:
(1) Inquired of the Co-Defendant how much additional time he would require to complete the documentation transfer. It was agreed two weeks was sufficient
(2) Her Honour at one point interrupted Counselor Trachtenberg to politely inform him she was not prepared to entertain his Motion at this time. The Hearing was then adjourned to Monday, May 12, 2008 at 9:30 a.m. Although he said nothing, Murray Trachtenberg did not seem overly pleased with the delay
If Mr. Belhumeur meets the aforementioned obligations, it will be most difficult, if not impossible, for Counselor Trachtenberg to get a Court Order finding the Co-Defendant in default.
It is not the first time this case has come before Master Sharp. Murray Trachtenberg had been attempting to learn the identity of firstname.lastname@example.org (Vanessa Everton) designated Co-ordinator for the allegedly defamatory petition calling for financial reform of the Manitoba Metis Federation's election campaign process.
In the original Statement of Claim she was listed as a Co-Defendant using only her e-mail address. To protect Ms Everton I refused to divulge her name to my then attorney Mr. Jeff Niederhoffer who had secured a sworn Affidavit from Ms Candice Penner (September 12, 2005), a secretary working at the firm where Jeff Niederhoffer was practicing (Law Offices of Peter J. Moss), that she too was unaware who "Metis Mom" was.
Attorney Niederhoffer filed a Notice of Motion (September 15, 2005) seeking:
(i) I be removed as a Co-Defendant
(ii) He be allowed to withdraw as email@example.com's Counsel since he did not know her name and, therefore, was unable to contact his client to give and receive instructions. The Courts dealt with these two Motion requests separately
Subsequently, Counselor Trachtenberg (and Mr. Niederhoffer) eventually learned the third Co-Defendant's name when Counsel for the Plaintiffs issued a Notice of Examination. On January 24, 2006 I was compelled to appear before Murray Trachtenberg in the presence of a Court Recorder and under oath forced to turn over any and all e-mail correspondence between Ms Everton and I (approximately 8-9) which is how solicitor Trachtenberg was able to find out "Metis Mom's" name. Later I was informed by Kim Lavallee, a frequent David Chartrand critic, that the President was somewhat surprised to learn it was not her.
The case file turned over by Mr. Niederhoffer when he ceased representing me (March, 2006) makes for some fascinating reading (not yet posted). Immediately before and after the February 13, 2006 Hearing before Master Sharp there was a surge in correspondence between Messrs. Trachtenberg and Niederhoffer suggesting for the first time Counselor Trachtenberg was dissatisfied with Ms Penner's September 12, 2005 Affidavit and was going to contest Mr. Niederhoffer's request to withdraw as Ms Everton's attorney.
Counselor Trachtenberg's letters are laughably pretentious in the way he announces his opposition. At one point he states his concern for the integrity of the court process and was fed up with the responses he'd been receiving from Jeff Niederhoffer. He was bluntly but more diplomaticly informed if he considered Ms Penner's Affidavit to be stale it was solely because he had held up our September 15, 2005 Motion for so long.
It was an arcane and extremely technical argument on which Counselor Trachtenberg based his opposition to Jeff Niederhoffer withdrawing as Ms Everton's attorney. Essentially he claimed Candice Penner's Affidavit by the time it was Heard before Master Sharp was obsolete and must be supplanted by a revised one. His position was totally bogus! When Ms Penner's Affidavit was filed the supporting arguments were entirely true - neither Mr. Niederhoffer nor Candice Penner knew "Metis Mom's" identity. It was Counselor Trachtenberg's own titanic efforts to hold up the Motion - not only by opposing Mr. Niederhoffer's removal as the attorney representing Vanessa Evertion but also his earlier strange, strange scheme to cross-examine Jim Smith's (a lawyer with Peter J. Moss) Assistant Candice Penner to see if she knew who "Metis Mom" was that resulted in her September 12, 2005 Affidavit eventually becoming stale.
Jeffrey Niederhoffer would have likely won had the matter gone to a Contested Hearing and received court costs against Murray Trachtenberg. However, this too was overtaken by events when Ms Everton signed the Intention to Appear in Person Notice before Master Sharp (September 13, 2006).
When you think about it, what a deliberately vexatious (and ultimately futile) tactic that was on Counselor Trachtenberg's part. In a way, it's too bad the February 13, 2006 Hearing before Master Sharp didn't go to the contested list. If you think Master Sharp was giving Murray Trachtenberg strange looks for opposing Mr. Niederhoffer's request to withdraw from representing Vanessa Everton, that would have been nothing compared to the reception he would have received had he actually gone ahead and opposeed Jeff Niederhoffer's Motion.
When we appeared before Senior Master Lee (March 2, 2006) for a Contested Hearing to have me deleted as a Co-Defendant (furiously opposed by Mr. Trachtenberg), if you can believe this, Counselor Trachtenberg mentioned he wanted additional court costs assessed against me because the Plaintiffs had expended resources and filed Affidavits to "contest" Mr. Niederhoffer's original Motion to withdraw. As I recall, Senior Master Lee gave Murray Trachtenberg a look of sheer befuddlement and as I remember he had to ask Counselor Trachtenberg to repeat himself as he thought he'd mis-heard.
The Senior Master's befuddlement was completely understandable because:
(i) The issue of the Plaintiffs threatening to contest Jeff Niederhoffer's previous Motion to withdraw was not argued during the Hearing, in fact, it had never even been mentioned
(ii) You could tell the Senior Master found it odd Murray Trachtenberg would contest something as basic as a lawyer's withdrawal Motion - it's simply not done
Three events stood out during the February 13, 2006 Motion Hearing before Master Sharp:
(1) Shortly after proceedings got underway, Ms Everton began sobbing stating as a single parent she could not afford legal representation. Her Honour asked if she'd like a recess to which "Metis Mom" agreed
(2) During the recess, Ms Everton verbally berated me for allegedly not advising her of the lawsuit even though countless pages of legal documentation about it had appeared on www.CyberSmokeSignals.com. Vanessa Everton claimed after Murray Trachtenberg's defamation warning letter had been sent (February 9, 2004) she:
(i) Severed all ties to the MMF
(ii) Had no further contact with any of her Federation friends or associates
(iii) Stopped reading CyberSmokeSignals
and, therefore, was unaware of the lawsuit. However, a recent detailed search of several hundred e-mail messages uncovered these two letters (November 18, 2005 and November 22, 2005) which seriously cast doubt on her assertion during the recess she was unaware of the litigation:
From: Vanessa Everton
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 9:10 AM
Subject: Hello! It's been a long time...
It's been a while, but I have to contact you to tell you of the information passed to me recently!
I've been busy working and avoiding the controversy at the MMF - it exhausted me!
But, I've heard a rumour and would like to do some "research" to see what's happening. A past student from the Metis Chile & Family course told me that someone is auditing their class. Apparently, rumour has it that the MMF reported more stuedents then actually attended, and someone is looking into it. What I'd like to know is if anyone knows if this is true, and if so, who is it that's auditing them? They should be looking at all the MMF's books!
Please don't print my name - remember, I'm Metis Mom!
Thanks, hope you're keeping well.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Vanessa Everton" firstname.lastname@example.org
To: "Clare Pieuk" email@example.com
Sent: November 22, 2005 11:23 AM
Subject: Hello! It's been a long time...
Thanks for the posting. I will be interesting to see what comes of it.
Am I a fugitive from Justice? Is someone looking for me? Uh on, I better be careful... don't want to be caught and "hanged."
Hopefully you are keeping well... keep in touch!
Clare L. Pieuk