Jurisdiction and the GS-13 Writer

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This is a story about how a failed retired dismissed GS-13 (yes, it’s important to note that him being a GS-13 grade employee bears authority for his opinions) moved around the country, sued a whole lot of people pro-se, and failed because he doesn’t understand the basic concepts of language, much less the law.

Supreme Justice Pro-Se Prosecutor Bill S(chmalfeldt) Preston, esq. has severe chronic butthurt. And it hurts really bad.

Ever since he moved to South Carolina to live in peace with the love of his life (#4), he has decided that people commenting on other blogs not in the State of South Carolina is enough to warrant filing, yet again, a lolsu.. lawsuit in federal court.

In his complaint, he says that “personal jurisdiction” is satisfied because the defendants are TARGETING their websites to South Carolina and potential landlords are reading these alt-right wing nut job websites that have ruined his reputation.

[Ed. note – South Carolina was called for Trump in the 2016 election]

He believes this has denied him acceptance, without evidence, into a luxury living space he applied for.

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Mr. Nettles, the lawyer for the defendants, filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction because Schmalfeldt failed to establish the defendants met the elements for it and provided supporting law:

This Court has set forth the elements of specific jurisdiction in Addy’s Harbor Dodge v. Global Vehicles U.S.A., Inc. (D.S.C., 2014) the Fourth Circuit has explained that

“[a] defendant’s actions that are directed at the forum state in only ‘a random, fortuitous, or attenuated way’ are insufficient to support jurisdiction.” Id. (quoting ESAB Group, Inc. v. Centricut, Inc., 126 F.3d 617, 625 (4th Cir. 1997)). Moreover, with regard to the second prong, the arising out of analysis, the Supreme Court has held that the relationship “must arise out of contacts that the ‘defendant himself” creates with the forum State.” Walden, 134 S. Ct. at 1122 (quoting Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 475 (1985)). Additionally, the “‘minimum contacts’ analysis looks to the defendant’s contact with the forum State itself, not the defendant’s contacts with persons who reside there.” Id. Finally, for the third prong, the constitutional reasonableness analysis, the Fourth Circuit has explained that this “protects a party from ‘litigation so gravely difficult and inconvenient that [the] party unfairly is at a severe disadvantage in comparison to [its] opponent.'” Zurich Ins., 685 F.3d at 392 (quoting Burger King, 471 U.S. at 478) (internal quotation marks omitted).

The Complaint is devoid of any actions by any of these Defendants purposefully targeting South Carolina or any actionable acts occurring while the Plaintiff was resident in South Carolina.

In other words, the plaintiff must demonstrate that defendants have sufficient contacts with the state, not just to the people that live there.  In essence, they must have business in the state.

None of the defendants are residents of South Carolina, and none of them conduct business in the state, much less any tortuous act directed AT the state. Most of the alleged actions claimed by Schmalfeldt happened before he arrived in South Carolina.

Undeterred, Schmalfeldt claims that defendants actions are satisfied under SC Code Ann. § 36-2-803(1)(c), which as he states:

(1) A court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person who acts directly or by an agent to a cause of action arising from the person’s:

(c) commission of a tortious act in whole or in part in this state;

The actual statute, relevant section in full shows this (emphasis added)

SECTION 36-2-803. Personal jurisdiction based upon conduct.

(A) A court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person who acts directly or by an agent as to a cause of action arising from the person’s:

(1) transacting any business in this State;

(2) contracting to supply services or things in the State;

(3) commission of a tortious act in whole or in part in this State;

(4) causing tortious injury or death in this State by an act or omission outside this State if he regularly does or solicits business, or engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed or services rendered in this State;

(5) having an interest in, using, or possessing real property in this State;

(6) contracting to insure any person, property, or risk located within this State at the time of contracting;

(7) entry into a contract to be performed in whole or in part by either party in this State; or

(8) production, manufacture, or distribution of goods with the reasonable expectation that those goods are to be used or consumed in this State and are so used or consumed.

(B) When jurisdiction over a person is based solely upon this section, only a cause of action arising from acts enumerated in this section may be asserted against him.

Plain reading of the statute shows that the tortious action MUST occur in the state, not outside it.  And yet, he says this:

The acts outlined in the complaint, save for Count IV, occurred in South Carolina. The act outlined in Count IV affected the Plaintiff’s life, health, and ability to find permanent lodging in South Carolina.

Except in his complaint, he never shows the dates, times, and places in South Carolina where defendants made their comments.  The act in Count IV is the abuse of process for the No Contact for Stalking order in.. uh.. North.. Carolina.

In fact, for the first three counts in his complaint, where he never makes a specific claim or allegation as it relates to South Carolina, he unilaterally extends the long arm statute to encompass his butthurt.

To support that, he cites precedent that actually supports the defendants’ argument!

[A] State may, consistent with due process, exercise judicial power over a person outside of the State when that person (1) directs electronic activity into the State, (2) with the manifested intent of engaging in business or other interactions within the State, and (3) that activity creates, in a person within the State, a potential cause of action cognizable in the State’s courts.Jd.at714. Because few websites engage in “systematic and continuous” contact with any given state, the Zippo test contemplates an analysis under the doctrine of specific jurisdiction. Zippo Mfg.,Co., 952 F. Supp. at 1122.

“(1) a defendant has made “sufficient ‘minimum contacts’ with the forum state; (2) the claim asserted against the defendant [ ] arise[ s] out of those contacts, and [that] (3) the exercise of jurisdiction [would be] reasonable [under the circumstances].” Id. at 1122-23(citing Mellon Bank (East) PSFS, Nat. Ass’n v. Farino, 960 F.2d 1217, 1221 (3d Cir. 1992)); see World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286,297 (1980) (analyzing whether “the defendant’s conduct and connection with the forum State are such that he should reasonably anticipate being hauled into court there”); see also Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U.S. 186, 187 (1977) (considering the relationship “among the forum [),the defendant, and the litigation”).

Where intentional torts are concerned, however, jurisdiction is proper in the absence of purposeful availment so long as the defendant “expressly aimed” its tortious behavior towards the forum state. See Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783, 789-90 {1984) (discussing how petitioners’ intentional and tortious actions were “expressly aimed” at the state); see also Martin H Redish, Of New Wine and Old Bottles: Personal Jurisdiction, the Internet, and the Nature of Constitutional Evolution, 38 JURIMETRICS J 575, 596-600 (1998) (discussing the impact of the Calder decision).

I would imagine a judge reading this would say, “Did you read all this before you copy and pasted it from wherever you found it?”

I’m guessing..

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21 thoughts on “Jurisdiction and the GS-13 Writer

  1. With all due respect to those in South Carolina, neither Hoge, Johnson, Palmer, Grady nor any of the Does have targeted a South Carolina individual or audience. The plaintiff has only recently moved to South Carolina, and still lives in what most people would consider transient housing. (A nice extended stay hotel, I think.) He has recently noted in court papers that one option for him would be to move to a state which also is the home of one of his adversaries, and then sue again there. So, no,

    Liked by 8 people

    • If he moves just so he can sue, he’s not exactly trying to live in peace.

      Also, he says he’s being harassed because people are writing lies about him, even though he has to go look for them. He just doesn’t want people talking about him so this is a SLAPP suit.

      Liked by 7 people

  2. OT

    just saw a 11 year old boy named bishop who is trying to invent a device to save baby’s lives if left in the back seat of a car

    his passion and creativity is breathtaking

    11 years old…

    Liked by 7 people

  3. My guess is that Witless Willy does not bring up his brief tenure as a GS-13 flack in a futile attempt to establish himself as an authority. My guess is that he brings it up as the best he can do to show that he is an upstanding, responsible contributer to society with a reputation that can be damaged.

    That is a sensible tactic at this stage of his lawsuit. Of course, that brings his reputation and any damage that has been done to it into the very center of the case. I doubt whether most jurors will be at all impressed by his brief career as a flack after additional evidence relevant to his reputation is presented.

    Liked by 7 people

    • I have to say, while he has fairly recently introduced the transcripts to his “comedy” “skits” in court docs (hey, self authenticating! Awesome!) he has also, back in one of the MD state court suits,

      IIRC, they read worse, as in making your skin crawl, than the actual “skits” themselves. Of course Bill will never see that, since he is clueless as to how actual humans view his “humor.” But, assuming for laughs that this trial sees a jury: He’s suing Howard for calling these things porn. Fine. Howard says he thinks this is porn. Then he has Bill read the transcripts of the skits to the Jury, or just plays back the audio. Then he has Bill read the court filing he placed in MD describing, in loving, sick detail, how these are not porn, let alone kiddie porn.

      Then sit back and watch a South Carolina jury ponder this. You might get a judge to have to explain that this is a civil suit, the death penalty is off the table! And we don’t usually do that to the Plaintiff, anyway…

      Liked by 4 people

    • There are three different issues involved.

      First, Witless is not suing for violation of any federal law. Rather he has chosen to sue for state torts in federal court, a constitional right because he is resident in a state different from those where the defendants reside. The general rule in such cases is that suit must be brought in the federal court convenient for the defendant.

      Second, an exception to that general rule is cases subject to a state’s long-arm statute. The basic intent behind these laws is to make sure that a customer of General Motors in South Carolina does not have to sue in Michigan when General Motors is busy selling cars to residents of South Carolina every day. Consequently, these statutes are written very broadly, but they are subject to a general federal limitation that they not be interpreted so as to interfere with substantive “due process,” an apparent contradiction in terms that is best explained by a specialist in constitutional law. The interplay between the states’ long-arm statutes and the federal constitutional guarantee of due process has given rise to an intricate, fact dependent body of law. I used to work with a guy who handled nothing but cases involving this issue. I greatly doubt that Witless has worked very hard even trying to get his head around it.

      Third, the Internet is so new in terms of binding judicial decisions that there is still some legal confusion about where publication occurs and so what states are involved in accusations of electronic defamation. Needless to say, Witless is very unlikely to write the brief that will settle this issue. Moreover, he is arguing against the general tenor of the decided cases, namely that publication occurs in the state where electronically entered unless specifically targeted to readers in a different state. That is, if I live in North Carolina, write something in North Carolina, and hit send in North Carolina, what I wrote was published in North Carolina rather than South Carolina absent an intent to address readers primarily resident in South Carolina.

      My personal opinion is that the court in South Carolina will conclude that there is no evidence that the defendants have sufficient connection to South Carolina to warrant applying South Carolina’s long-arm statute and so will boot the case. That is exactly what happened in Wisconsin even though Witless had a much better set of facts there (at least with respect to BPO).

      Liked by 5 people

        • Exactly, and Nettles gave the judge in South Carolina a template for dismissing the case by making the Wisconsin decision an exhibit.

          By the way, to preclude any misunderstanding, I did not mean to imply that: (1) BPO did anything wrongful, or (2) BPO’s contacts with Wisconsin meant it comported with due process for him to be sued in that state. All I meant was that the facts alleged in Wisconsin about BPO indicted more contacts with Wisconsin than anything alleged in South Carolina.

          Liked by 6 people

        • Agree. IMO, BPO did no wrong.

          Interestingly, Schmalfeldt has changed that narrative about his Wisconsin residency. At first, he claimed the management loved him and he was in no danger of being thrown out.

          However, in his SAC, he makes the charge for the first time that Johnson mounted an almost successful campaign to have him thrown out. This does not square with his past writings and statements.

          Is Schmalfeldt committing perjury?

          Liked by 5 people

        • You’re accepting something uttered by a malignant Narcissist as correlated with objective reality?

          Have we taught you NOTHING?

          Liked by 4 people

  4. Schmaleldt truly outdid himself this time.

    He opens his “memorandum of law” by almost explicitly admitting that is lulzsuits are vexatious and threatens to continue forum shopping. This of course saves Louis Nettles the trouble of outlining that for the judge when the time for discussing sanctions comes.

    How do you follow an opener that strong? Glad you asked.

    Oliver Wendell Jones closes his memorandum by telling the court that if it doesn’t overturn every existing precedent to contrary, he’ll continue forum shopping until he finds a court that will salve his butthurt the way mama used to.

    As I read it, I kept having to remind myself that this is the Diminished Capacity Kid’s motion and not one for the defense.

    It really did make my day.

    Liked by 9 people

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