Monday, August 03, 2009

"Sue this losers I dare you."

Good Day Folks:

A special thank you to attorney Jeff Niederhoffer for arranging to have his letter posted on Truth To Power (

Since many of you reading this will be unfamiliar with the case and, given a picture is worth a thousand words, we thought the best way to tell our story would be to display the photographs of those cited in Mr. Niederhoffer's letter. Bob Cox is President of the Media Bloggers Association and Editor of He writes about legal issues facing bloggers, as well as, his work with the MBA. He received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business. He is based in New Rochelle, New York.

Lionel R. Chartrand was formerly employed by Manitoba Legal Aid. In July of 2008 he became a Crown Prosecutor in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. He has let his license to practice here lapse.

Co-Defendant Terry Belhumeur is owner/operator of Absolutely Canadian Outfitters (formerly T.B. Outfitters) and was the registered owner of the now defunct He claims to be distantly related to Metis icon Louis Riel.

Murray Norman Trachtenberg of the Winnipeg law firm Posner & Trachtenberg ( has been a lawyer for the Manitoba Metis Federation since at least 1999. In 2007 former MMF President and Canada's first Metis Lieutenant Government Yvon Dumont was sued by the Metis National Council, the Metis National Council Secretariat and its President Clement Chartier. Mr. Trachtenberg represented the Plaintiffs in the case. After losing at trial, on appeal his clients were awarded $1 and had to pay his legal fees.

Introducing The Plaintiffs, Former Plaintiffs And Non Plaintiff

Plaintiff David Noble Chartrand has been President of the Manitoba Metis Federation since 1997. According to the MMF's constitution the next general election must be called no later than September 2010. Plaintiff Anita Campbell is the MMF's Provincial Board of Director for the Thompson, Manitoba Region. She also: Chairs the Manitoba Hydro/Environment Committee; is a Member for the Provincial HDR Committee; and a Member of the Executive Policy Committee.

Plaintiff Elbert Chartrand is Plaintiff David Chartrand's brother and Vice President of the NorthWest Region. He is: Chair, Finance and Human Resources Commities; Ex-Officio, Provincial HRD Committee; Alternate & Ex Officio, Provincial Management Board; Committe Member, Executive Policy.

Plaintiff Rita Cullen ceased being a Provincial Board of Director of the MMF's as of the June 29, 2006 election. In 1999 she was sued by Ron Erickson for alleged defamation and was represented by Richard Beamish of Scurfield Tapper Cuddy.

Former Plaintiff Richard Delaronde signed a Notice of Discontinuance in January 2006 removing himself as a litigant.
Former Plaintiff Darrel DesLauriers signed a Notice of Discontinuance in April 2008 removing himself as a litigant after he was terminated from the Provincial Board of Directors by Plaintiff David Chartrand.
Plaintiff Jean Desrosiers is a Board of Director for the MMF's SouthWest Regional Office in Grand Marais, Manitoba. He is also Chair and Co-Chair respectfully of the Agriculture and Provincial HDR Committees. Plaintiff William Flett ceased being an MMF Provincial Director on June 29, 2006.

Plaintiff John Fleury is a Board of Director for the MMF's SouthWest Regional Office and: Chairs the MHRDA Committee; Co-Chairs the Heritage, Sports & Youth Committee; is Ex Officio, Provincial Management Board; a Committee Member, Manitoba Metis Community Investments Inc.; Committee Member, Provincial HRD Committee; and Committee member, Executive Policy. Plaintiff Laura Hyrich is on the Board of Director of the Federation's The Pas Regional Office. She is Chair and Co-Chair respectively of the Committees for Pemmican Publications and Provincial Education/Lousi Riel Institute.

Plaintiff Julyda Lagimodiere is Vice President of the Thompson Region and Chairs the Federation's Justice Committee. Plaintiff Joyce Langan ceased being an MMF Director on June 29, 2006.

Plaintiff Leah LaPlante is Vice President of the SouthWest Region in Brandon, Manitoba. She: Chairs the Provincial Education/Louis Riel Institute Committee; Co-Chairs the Tripartite Self-Government Negotiations (Education & Training) Committee; is Ex Officio, Provincial Management Board; and is on the Board of Directors of the "so-called" arms-length MMF affiliate the Louis Riel Capital Corporation. Plaintiff Judy Mayer is Vice President of the Pas Regional Office. She is also Chair, Child and Family Committee, as well as, Co-Chair, Provincial Government Negotiations (Children Youth & Families).Former Plaintiff Bonnie McIntyre signed a Notice of Discontinuance in January 2008 removing herself as a Litigant. She is a on the Board of Directors for the MMF's NorthWest Regional Office and Co-Chairs the Health Committee and Mechif Languages/Residential Schools.

Former Plaintiff Rosemarie McPherson signed a Notice of Discontinuance in January 2009. In late 2008 she was replaced by Plaintiff Anita Campbell as Metis Women of Manitoba Representative.

Plaintiff Darryl Montgomery ceased being a Director and Vice President of the MMF on June 29, 2006.

Plaintiff Marilee Nault is a Board of Director for the SouthEast Region. She is Chair of the Health Committee and Co-Chairs the Manitoba Metis Community Investments Inc. Committees.

Plaintiff Jack Park is a Board of Director for the Interlake Region in St. Laurent, Manitoba. He Chairs the Manitoba Metis Community Investments Inc and Co-Chairs the Tripartite Self-Government Negotiations (Economic Development).

Plaintiff Claire Riddle is a Board of Director for the Winnipeg Region. She Chairs the Metis Rights/Metis Nation Agenda Committee; Co-Chairs the Constitution Committee; and is a Member of the Executive Policy Committee.

Plaintiff Denise Thomas is Vice President for the SouthEast Region. She Chairs the Tripartite Self-Government Negotiations Committee; Co-Chairs the Land Claims Committee; and is a Member, Executive Policy Committee.

Non Plaintiff Ron Chartrand was the only Provincial MMF Board Member with the presence of mind from the beginning not to sign on as a Plaintiff. He is Vice President of the Winnipeg Region; Chairs the Heritage, Sports & Youth Committee; and Co-Chairs the MHRDA (YAR) Committee.

Clare L. Pieuk
03 August 2009
Alberta Provincial Crown Prosecutor / Former Manitoba Lawyer Lionel Chartrand and "the MMF Plaintiffs"

At the request of Mr. Niederhoffer, the following email has been edited in terms of its content.

Date Sun, 18 May 2008 10:25:34 -0300

To Robert Cox


Subject MMF et al v. Pieuk et al


I have finally been able to clear some time from my schedule to prepare and send the kind of email I wanted to prepare and send originally.

To reprise a bit of quick background, I represented Clare Pieuk between roughly June 2005 to March 2006 in a defamation suit brought by the Manitoba Metis Federation (or MMF, a sort of combination of a lobby group and service provider for individuals of Metis descent) as well as most (though not all) of its Directors and its President and CEO, David Chartrand. At the very beginning of this suit, Clare long ago waived solicitor-client privilege and confidentiality, and has on numerous occasions explicitly authorized me to discuss this case where, in public-relations and/or legal terms, it would serve the twin goals of advancing his interests and advancing public knowledge of this lawsuit. Based partly on my knowledge of this lawsuit, its plaintiffs and their counsel that I acquired through the course of our professional relationship, and based partly on the friendship and fellowship that has developed between Clare and myself since March 2006, Clare has also granted me broad discretion in making the determination as to when and to whom I may divulge confidential information relating to this case. For the purposes of this correspondence, I have determined that there remains at least a marginal opportunity to encourage the Media Bloggers Association (MBA) to assist in this suit in whatever fashion it is willing and able, and it is on this basis I make the determination that it advances Clare's interests to discuss this case and its surrounding issues with you. I do so only on the understanding that what I have to say will remain confidential, not to be divulged under any circumstances outside of your correspondence with Mr. Pieuk or myself without the prior approval of Mr. Pieuk.

In reviewing your emails between Clare and yourself, I am consistently struck by how the two of you, as I've indicated previously, seem to be speaking different languages. Part of this reality, as I see it, is likely due to the fact that the both of you have radically different goals, and that is because you come from radically different backgrounds and have radically different points of reference. As I interpret your emails, coloured in no small degree by what I know of your background, your focus is on bloggers and their rights per se. I submit you are looking at this lawsuit solely through the prism of your own background and experience, with the aim of determining how it ultimately serves or detracts from the objectives of the MBA. There is of course nothing wrong with this approach, and indeed I would contend that, as MBA President, you would be acting unethically if you did not act in this way when considering new projects. My point in saying this, however, is that in so doing, you are apparently neglecting to consider Clare's own unique focus.

By way of background, Clare is a community activist who over the past eight years has participated in various projects and activities to publicize longstanding issues within the Manitoba Metis Federation vis-a-vis corporate governance and accountability for their expenditures of taxpayer monies. The two websites (CSS) and (CSB) are the two websites with which Clare has been involved as webmaster over the past seven to eight years. Part of Clare's focus has been to bring these efforts and issues to the attention of the two levels of government in Canada (provincial and federal) that provide the funding which comprises the majority of the MMF's revenue. Almost all of the publicity campaigns devised by Clare during the time I have known him, as his lawyer and later as a friend, confidante and sometime CSB contributor, have been undertaken with the purpose of alerting the Manitoba provincial government and the Canadian federal government as to the existence of serious financial and accountability issues in relation to the MMF (and, to a lesser extent, with the national parent organization of which the MMF is a member, referred to as the Metis National Council, or MNC). He has done this by way of website and blog posts, community petitions, press releases and mass emails, almost all of which Clare has taken the time to forward directly to individual members of all three branches of government, including the judiciary.

With respect to his efforts, Clare, when he has been attempting to reach audiences in the "outside world" in terms of this lawsuit, has had as a primary focus the MMF's funders, and secondarily the general public. Clare personally is one of the least publicity-hungry people I have ever met, and neither is he interested in publicly "smearing" the MMF per se. He does care about the rights of bloggers and the assault on freedom of speech represented by this lawsuit, but I would suggest that Clare's efforts have been primarily directed to educating and encouraging awareness among the government funders, secondarily "society" as a whole. In one of your emails, you stated that you did not feel that, in public-relations terms, the lawsuit was intrinsically related to internet issues. In this comment, looking at the lawsuit from Clare's vantage point, you are correct. As Clare sees it, and has been attempting to explain it to you, this suit is about accountability, corporate malfeasance and the wasteful use of taxpayers' dollars to squelch public dissent. From your standpoint, these issues may not be easily marketable in PR terms, but those are the issues as Clare sees them, and as he has been earnestly attempting to explain them to you. These issues form his frame of reference, the prism through which he views this lawsuit, which explains why you have apparently developed the mistaken impression that Clare has been evading your questions. From his standpoint, he has directly answered your questions, at least in the best way he knows how. The issue serving as a roadblock to effective communication between Clare and yourself is that you both have radically different priorities and foci (as well as, evidentally, personalities), which in your email correspondence has resulted in inadvertant miscommunication.This is another, equally significant part of the mutual misunderstanding between Clare and yourself: miscommunication. As you note in one of your emails, Clare may not have been initially clear as to what he envisioned as the ideal role for the MBA to play in terms of its involvement in this matter. (In my opinion, he has since cured any initial confusion by very clearly stating in a recent email what useful services he would envision for the MBA - essentially, providing an 'in-the-news' style bulletin or notice to its members alerted them to the existence of the MMF suit.) The reason for this is likely due to Clare's unfamiliarity with the MBA and the extent of the services it could offer. I would submit, though, that you are also at least partly responsible for the mutual miscommunication and misunderstanding that seem to have arisen between Clare and yourself. I have reviewed your emails a number of times, and to this date I remain unclear as to what particular services the MBA offers and, specifically, what it would be willing to do to assist in this suit if it were to become involved. From your emails, it is my assumption that, in a best case scenario, the MBA would be willing to subsidize the full cost of legal and public-relations representation to simultaneously assist in engaging in settlement discussions with MMF Counsel; defend the lawsuit if necessary; and to publicize the lawsuit and the plaintiffs. The key word in the previous sentence is "assumption." To be fair, you have in none of your emails indicated what services you would concretely be in a position to offer Clare, and this in turn has likely made it difficult for him to to select which information to provide you or to communicate it in a way which is relevant and meaningful to your purposes.

In other words, bluntly, I submit that part of the frustration you seem to be reflecting in your discussions with Clare is at least partly your fault. Throughout your emails, you are assuming Clare has knowledge which, as he is a practitioner neither in law or public relations, he does not possess. You are assuming Clare has information at his disposal, about public relations and about your organization, that he could not reasonably have.

Consistently throughout your emails, I note that you also, and increasingly casually in the later emails, assume facts not in evidence.

In one email, you make mention of the allegation in the Statement of Claim that Clare (whatever the precise wording) "refused" to remove the petition and issue an apology and retraction after receiving the defamation warning letter from Murray Trachtenberg, the MMF and MMF plaintiffs' counsel. This is misleading. By way of background, it is crucial to note that the allegedly defamatory petition was actually drafted and authorized for publication by the lawyer who agreed to serve pro bono as legal advisor to Clare and his colleague Terry Belhumeur, the domain name owner of CSS ( I confirm I have personally seen the numerous emails between Clare and Lionel Chartrand, and without any doubt in my own mind, they establish that:

(i) Lionel conceived the idea for the petition;

(ii) he drafted the petition, forwarded it to Clare via email and, despite some prescient concerns about having his name attached to it in terms of authorship, strongly encouraged Clare to post it;

(iii) Clare posted it, with proper attribution to Lionel, and Lionel never objected to its posting or requested it be removed.

(On top of this, in an earlier discussion about defamation law, Lionel apparently gave Clare erroneous advice to the effect that only blatant misstatements were actionable for defamation.) When MMF's counsel sent defamation warning letters to Terry Belhumeur and Lionel Chartrand, Lionel immediately posted an apology, not on CSS, but strangely did so on a competing website, Metis Voices (, now defunct). My recollection is that, immediately upon learning of the petition being posted on Metis Voices, Clare spoke to Lionel, who only then advised Clare to post the apology on CSS and to remove the petition, which Clare did. Since it has been over two years since I've been involved in the suit, I'm admittedly foggy on the chronology and some of the details, but Clare can correct me if/where I'm wrong. The point here is that Clare relied, to his extreme and continuing detriment, on the legal advice of someone who he thought he could trust and considered an expert in defamation law. Irony on top of irony, not only was Lionel not actioned as part of the suit, but subsequent to the events in question, Lionel was offered and accepted a consulting contract with the MMF! I subsequently assisted Clare in authoring and filing a complaint against Lionel with the Law Society of Manitoba, but oddly - considering the large amount of documentation available - the Law Society copped out on us.

In another email, you make unwarranted assumptions about the evidence which Clare has (or, rather, had) in his possession concerning financial improprieties within the MMF and, based on speculation, make adverse inferences in relation to the kind and quality of evidence Clare once possessed, and, again with no knowledge of Clare's actions, further condemn Clare for not attempting to provide said evidence to the police/authorities. [. . . .] For a period spanning several months, Clare personally was in contact with the Commercial Crimes Division of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and, during the period of my representation, also with the provincial and federal Offices of the Auditor General. Clare provided copies of all of the internal MMF documents in his possession to all these authorities. I personally accompanied Clare in a meeting with the provincial Auditor General's oiffce, and twice subsequently spoke on the telephone with one of the provincial Auditor's General representatives. On top of this, Clare shared with me all email correspondence between him and both Auditor's General offices. [. . . .] In the case of the provincial Auditor's Office, the middle-management bureaucract with whom I spoke confirmed that, since they provided a relatively small share of the MMF's overall funding relative to the Canadian federal government, they were concerned about the appearance that they would be 'singling out' the MMF for harassment. In other words, in response to your comments, Clare has made every effort to bring his evidence to the attention of the proper authorities and [. . .] no one was interested in pursuing an investigation, in at least one case for purely political reasons. There is no basis whatever for your claim that Clare did not do the necessary legwork to bring his evidence to the attention to the authorities. He did and, in my submission, ran up against the institutional inertia of a white bureaucratic establishment that is afraid to be seen as 'taking on' the Metis. In my opinion, Clare had more than ample evidence to minimally justify an investigation and forensic audit of the MMF by either or both levels of government.

I have also noted that, in your emails, you have repeatedly placed a high premium on whether Clare has made efforts to settle this suit, and you even go so far as to speculate that, were the MBA to become involved, it may constructively facilitate settlement discussions. With due respect, in placing such a high importance on settlement discussions, you have already assumed a good faith among the plaintiffs that does not exist. To answer your earlier inquiries, Clare (whether through myself as his counsel or on his own) has made numerous efforts to settle this case. In the first four months I represented Clare, and after seeking Clare's authorization, I made two settlement offers to the plaintiffs. I can no longer recall the concrete particulars of the first offer, but in the second offer, again following Clare's instructions, I offered an apology from Clare in principle, specifics to be determined, and I also offered to agree to submit to Judicially Assisted Dispute Resolution (JADR) as a way to broker a settlement. Despite having verbally conveyed the terms of the second offer to plaintiffs' counsel and having received a moderately encouraging response, I received no response to either offer for two or three months. I finally had no choice but to write plaintiffs' counsel to determine his clients' position, and a week later received a one-sentence reply rebuffing any attempts at settlement. A few months after I ceased representing Clare, Clare drafted his own formal settlement offer in which he offered to provide a nominal monetary settlement and to publish on CSB the apology earlier posted by Lionel Chartrand on Metis Voices. To date, which he has confirmed in his recent email to you, Clare has not received the benefit of any response.[. . . .][. . . Y]ou have failed to appreciate that, in this suit, we are dealing with almost pathologically unreasonable personalities who will fail to respond to anything but, viewed in terms of your carrot-and-stick metaphor, the stick. I am well aware of the traditional maxim among lawyers that the worst settlement is better than the best outcome at trial, but based on my experience, it does not hold true in this case. The only thing that will work against the plaintiffs is counterforce. As I represented Clare, it became clear in consultation with various people-in-the-know in the Metis community that, while the plaintiffs did not fear us in court, they were alarmed by the amount of attention and "guerrilla PR" this case was beginning to attract on the internet - sites such as and and, later, a myriad of others. Because the force of negative publicity had the potential to intimidate the plaintiffs, I advised Clare to consider a more aggressive PR strategy and to begin contacting newspapers and local media. One of the major components of this strategy became the semi-regular email distribution of press releases, all but two of which I authored, which we both submitted directly to assorted websites and local Manitoba media as well as through free-press-release services. The press releases we distributed are now situated higgledy-piggledy across miscellenous websites and press-release sites (; ). Clare's and my efforts to alert newspapers as to the existence of the suit did eventually result in a small news story in the Winnipeg Free Press (reproduced in part on; I no longer have a full copy of the WFP article), some publicity on a few Canadian and American websites, and in some scattered local television and media coverage during the last MMF election, when [Yvon] Dumont used the CyberSmokeSignals lawsuit explicitly as a campaign issue against Chartrand. Although the results in terms of publicity were less than what Clare and I hoped, it was enough that it began to have a noticeable impact on the MMF plaintiffs' willingness and energy to fight this case. It is highly notable that, around the time of the WFP article, two individual plaintiff Directors - Bonnie McIntyre and Richard Delaronde - withdrew as individual parties from the suit. It is also notable that, recently, in the wake of a battery of CSB posts threatening to cross-examine plaintiffs on their criminal and civil records if this suit did proceed to trial, a third former Director - Darrel Deslauriers - not only made it clear he was planning to withdraw from the suit, but specially contacted Clare and provided him copies of the email correspondence between he (Deslauriers) and the MMF lawyer. Although I note in your emails you are casually dismissive of the results of Clare's publicity efforts, I would make the following point: Publicity is important only in terms of what it does and who it reaches. The reporters and assorted media folk in your Rolodex may have never heard of Clare or this lawsuit, but the fact that Clare's suit has achieved the local publicity it has, including coverage on several websites regularly accessed by Metis in Manitoba, has for years been a matter of demonstrable concern to the MMF plaintiffs. In early 2006, negative internet publicity had become such a thorn in the MMF plaintiffs' side that they issued their own official "Report", published on the MMF website ( and since taken down, in which they responded, defensively, to many of our press releases. Clare's publicity efforts unquestionably have affected the course of this suit to his advantage because these Metis politicians and their "constituents" receive their news, not from USA Today, but from Metis-affairs blogs such as,, and, yes, Clare's blog. For Clare, making the most of guerrilla internet PR has been the most cost-effective option - and the best option in both relative and absolute terms of achieving the coverage he has been able to receive - as he does not have the resources or Rolodex of a PR specialist.

The other component of "the stick" will, ultimately, be to force this to trial. In my experience, the plaintiffs will not respect settlement offers because it is not their money they are spending on the suit. More to the point, as Clare perceptively noted to me early in the suit, it appears that many of the individual Directors do not realize or fully appreciate that, once this matter is taken to trial, they will be savaged on cross-examination. It remains a fact that many of the Directors currently on the board have criminal records and other highly embarassing problems with the "reputations in the community" they claim in the Statement of Claim to currently enjoy. [. . . .] However, I submit it is precisely because Clare is self-represented and does not have the deep pockets of the MMF to retain a litigation lawyer to conduct aggressive discoveries and dare the plaintiffs to take this to trial. So far [. . .] Clare has done his best to take advantage of our rules of court to request specific financial disclosure and to force the plaintiffs to answer written interrogatories, but for the most part, it remains a sad fact that the MMF lawyer Trachtenberg has consistently [. . .] den[ied Clare] full disclosure. You state in one of your emails that, by virtue of discoveries, Clare by this stage in the action should have reams of financial statements and receipts. In theory, he should, and for the purposes of having a protective paper trial for the purposes of a trial, if necessary, I did advise Clare to make a formal and early request for such disclosure from the plaintiffs. You would think, as I did and do, that such disclosure would be necessarily relevant considering the nature of the allegations made in the online petition.

However, given that he has limited money and time, Clare has no way to enforce his entitlement to disclosure, and [. . .] the MMF lawyer Trachtenberg has simply refused to produce it. I have advised him to raise this in a preliminary motion if this matter ever goes to trial, but he has no practical way to enforce his rights prior to trial[.]

In one of your emails, you imply Clare is making a mistake proceeding to defend himself as an unrepresented defendant and that he has made mistakes in conducting his defence, and both of these comments are likely true. You have also reiterated that Clare has made mistakes in terms of his publicity efforts. Subject to my above comments regarding publicity, this statement is also certainly true in the sense that Clare has been forced to conduct low-level guerrilla PR limited to a highly specialized audience. I submit, however, that your comments in this regard reflect more on you, and your own preconceptions, than they do on Clare. Your emails to me indicate that your considerable experience in this field has led you to forget what it is like to be an ordinary person, with no specialized training in PR or marketing. Like all of us, Clare has to work for a living, pay bills and balance his checkbook, take care of a home and run errands. When you consider these constraints, in conjunction with the large amount of blogging he does on CSB that has nothing to do with this suit, you begin to realize that what he has achieved in terms of media coverage and in terms of his legal successes in this lawsuit - singlehandedly over the past two years, grinding the progress of this suit to a near-complete halt - is nothing short of exemplary.

Clare not only has nothing to be ashamed of; he could teach a course to unrepresented defendants on how to face down asset-rich but publicity-shy corporate plaintiffs.

As indicated at the beginning of this email, I have written to you because, despite the breakdown in communication between Clare and yourself, I submit there is still opportunity here for both parties. There is no doubt in my mind that Clare exemplifies the kind of blogger who most needs the help of the MBA. If the MBA was created for anyone, it was Clare. [. . . .] From a situation that really was not of his own making but of his then lawyer's (Lionel Chartrand), Clare has persevered despite the fact that he has little money to pay a lawyer or PR specialist, and little time to show up for court appearances. He is defending himself, and publicizing himself and this case, in the only way he knows how. Ultimately, once you realize the pathologically combative nature of the plaintiffs in this suit I think the MBA and Clare could become as compatible as a glove to a hand. The constructive role I believe the MBA could play here is, after it satisfies itself on due diligence grounds in terms of Clare's own background (with Clare's permission, I will be happy to assist in answering these inquiries), to combine its PR resources with legal assistance.

As I am a lawyer and fundamentally concerned with the legal process of this lawsuit, that tends to be my natural focus, but I also personally think it's in the legal arena that a lawyer financed by the MBA could make the most difference. An MBA-financed lawyer would be a genuine force to be reckoned with, would be the source of much discontent at MMF headquarters, and I think after a de facto "probationary period," where Trachtenberg and the MMF eventually become convinced this lawyer is aggressive and will not stop or quit (as I, sadly, had to), there is even a chance the MMF could walk away from this one. Part of me still thinks that, once they are made to realize that a trial would involve some incredibly embarassing cross-examinations and some incredibly dirty laundry being aired in terms of Metis politics and personalities, the pressure to halt this lawsuit may become irresistible. In the interim, a lawyer with the backing of the MBA could do the things that should have been done a long time ago in this suit: include Lionel Chartrand in a third party claim; conduct actual examinations for discovery of each and every individual plaintiff, asking the questions that to this day they think they will not have to answer; and, if necessary, prepare for a bloody, contentious trial that, realistically, will take several months to conduct and conclude.

As any good lawyer, I would not rule out the possibility of settlement discussions, but any lawyer who agrees to take your retainer must be prepared to litigate, and must understand that the only thing these plaintiffs understand, above anything else, is the stick. I know how awful and closed-mind that sounds, but I have discovered the fundamental truth of this harsh criticism[.] In this lawsuit, the MMF is counting on not having to deal with defence lawyers[.] A large part of the reason, I suspect, why they brought this suit in the first place was the indirect control it would give them in relation to Clare (especially if he had made no effort to file a Statement of Defence, which, fortunately, he did). They have not succeeded as completely as they would like, but that is not to say they have failed either. In closing, I suppose I would say that, if you ever wanted a lawsuit where the MBA could make a tangible difference, perhaps relatively quickly, it would be this one; if you wanted a blogger who you could tangibly benefit through your intervention, it would be Clare Pieuk.

Jeff Niederhoffer


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