Here is a comment “Law Dude” posted yesterday afternoon that I thought was worthy of a full post.
Law Dude said...
Mr. Vance, In all my years practicing law, I can't say as I've ever seen a case where a plaintiff published a written notice claiming they'd withdrawn their lawsuit when they hadn't even drawn up the motion to withdraw it, let alone submit the motion to the court. To see a Christian ministry engaging in this sort of dishonest behavior is scandalous.
I'm sure you are on top of this case but I just wanted to let you know that I just got off the phone with one of the judge's clerks. She confirmed that as of 4:30 today Ligonier still hasn't filed anything with the court to have the case dismissed. If others would like to verify it for themselves, it's all public information. Anyone can call the clerk and ask.
Case No. 06-CA-1669-16-K
Court Clerk's Phone: 407-665-4378
In my professional opinion I don't think Ligonier ever had any intention of withdrawing the case. I think what they were hoping to accomplish is to con you into believing that they withdrew the case so that you wouldn't pay attention to their continuing motions and ex parte hearings in court. The fact that just last Thursday they had another ex parte hearing with the judge to figure out how to legally effect service is rather strong evidence that they're not planning on dropping this case. It appears that they're still lying to the judge and claiming that there's no way of contacting you.
More than likely here's what Ligonier and their lawyers were hoping to pull off. Eventually, if you didn't respond. then they'd perhaps be able to get a default judgment against you. With that default judgment, then they could get your blog shut down and there goes your public forum and you'd have a hard time issuing a public statement on the deceptive way they went about getting a legal judgment against you. Very slick but also very unethical.
I'm going to make a point of calling the court every day until I know that the case has actually been dismissed. I also think it's important that this case be dismissed with prejudice. With prejudice means that it can't ever be brought again. I'd like to also suggest that your readers call Ligonier every day and ask why they still haven't filed anything with the court to withdrawn the lawsuit they publicly said they'd already withdrawn last week. Why is a donor funded Christian ministry publicly lying?
Jen here: I just called at 10 a.m. again today and the suit is still pending, still open. It has NOT been dropped, nor has a motion to drop it been filed. I happened to check Mapquest today to find out why it is taking so long for the papers to get from Ligonier’s attorneys’ office at 390 N. Orange Ave. in Orlando to the courthouse at 301 N. Park Ave. in Sanford. It is a distance of 23.9 miles, or 30 minutes as Mapquest predicts.
Let me see now. Ligonier wrote two statements on September 20, 2006, saying that “the complaint was withdrawn” (past tense), meaning that on or before September 20, 2006, Ligonier withdrew the legal complaint (which they still have not admitted was a lawsuit!). To be fair, they didn’t actually send out those statements until just after close of business Friday afternoon, September 22. Today is September 27, and there is STILL no motion filed to drop the suit.
This particular court opens the mail and processes walk-in papers by opening ALL mail each day as soon as it arrives and enters it as “received” in the computer on the day that they receive the paperwork. As of today, September 27, they still have not received anything from Ligonier’s attorneys.
Just how long does it take to go 23.9 miles, I wonder? Eight days and counting!
Update: Yes, it did take a full 8 days to go that 23.9 miles!