The Citizens' Report
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 20, 2019, 08:31:43 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
25249 Posts in 4024 Topics by 320 Members
Latest Member: SMW
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  The Citizens' Report
|-+  South Carolina
| |-+  Georgetown County SC
| | |-+  Politics and Current Events
| | | |-+  Watch Your Backs!!
« previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: Watch Your Backs!!  (Read 2696 times)
Lee Padgett
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2089


« on: July 01, 2017, 06:27:37 AM »

So, ahem, without prodding the police make a huge bust in town. Three days affect the alleged offense, Mark Mercer is arrested for littering on Bill Duncan's property. That is right folks arrested for littering on private property without a formal complaint! Then, attorney and property owner, Bill Duncan, moves the earth to get this guy out of jail for this bogus arrest. I hope Mercer sues and wins. This type of Scoville retribution is just beginning. Watch your backs folks. http://www.gabnewsonline.com/26614/294013/a/barber-supporter-arrested-charged-with-litter-after-collecting-back-jack-signs
Logged

"The death of objectivism and small government can be attributed to emotional politics." Liberty Laura
PBSIAT
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 303


« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2017, 09:17:39 AM »

I am thinking about printing a couple hundred shirts that say Jack is sacked. Anybody want one? This is the type of behavior that cost Scoundrel the election. Just like his petty taking Rubillo's picture down. Jack is a immature child and very bitter. He will settle as many scores as he can before January rolls around.
Logged
concernedperson
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 563


« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2018, 08:26:03 AM »

Any word on Mark Mercer's case? Has it quietly been dropped with a agreement not to sue for false arrest? Gardner is now gone so I heard that the case was gone to.
Logged
Marty Tennant
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 5736



WWW
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2018, 02:37:44 PM »

Yes, curious minds want to know. It took the City 6 months to drop their bogus charges against me when I was falsely arrested at the Police Station. I didn't sign a "do no sue" agreement and later settled with them out of court.
Logged

Notice:  All posts made by me are my OPINION.  I am not responsible for any comments by others!  The Citizens' Report is provided as a public service to the citizens of Georgetown County for them to report and comment on the news.
Lee Padgett
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2089


« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2018, 07:04:36 AM »

I heard no one in the City would prosecute it so it has been handed over to the 15th Circuit solicitors office who is trying to figure out why they have it!!   Thanks Paul Gardner.
Logged

"The death of objectivism and small government can be attributed to emotional politics." Liberty Laura
JW
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 556


« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2018, 08:13:22 AM »

If you want to know how Jack put this stupid move together look who signed the request for the arrest warrant. If we had a reporter with just a little courage they who ask for it. Little Scott Harper runs around town telling everyone he is independent and works for no one but the people. His reports tell another story. Wish we had a courageous reporter for this story and others.
Logged
PBSIAT
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 303


« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2019, 01:47:12 PM »

Does anyone know how much money Mark got? I heard he got a nice sized settlement but Jack refused to apologize. That is all he really wanted was a apology.
Logged
Tom Rubillo
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 67


« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2019, 02:44:53 PM »

A refusal to apologize in Mr. Mercer's case by the former mayor as suggested by PBSIAT's posting would make perfect sense in light of the fact that the case against Scoville and others filed by Steve Rothrock is still pending.  If part of the former mayor's defense is that he knew nothing about the whole littering charges in advance -- a defense that would throw Paul Gardner under the bus by alleging that Gardner was acting on his own -- an apology by the former mayor in the Mercer case could be construed as "an admission against interest" by Scoville in the Rothrock case.  Put another way, if Scoville did nothing wrong vis-a-vis Mercer, he has nothing to apologize about.  If, on the other hand, he were to apologize to Mr. Mercer, Scoville would be implicitly acknowledging that the had done something that warranted an apology -- that he had done something wrong.  The apology in the Mercer case would probably be admissible against Scoville in the Rothrock case. Under these circumstance a "refusal to apologize" makes perfect sense, both legally and as a matter of simple etiquette.   

Scoville's refusal to apologize, coupled with Gardner having hired separate counsel to assert a counterclaim for slander against Steve Rothrock, very strongly suggests that every other defendant in the Rothrock case has decided to cut Gardner loose, leaving him laying on the street in heavy traffic.  SMIRF (the city's claims manager) has almost certainly told Gardner (and maybe Scoville too) that while it will prove a general defense of the claim, the city (which is self insured) will not pay any judgment against Gardner or maybe even Scoville.

(SMIRF has two, independent, contractual obligations as the city's claims manager.  One is to provide a defense.  This is the strongest obligation.  The other is to indemnify or pay judgments for legal wrongs that occurred during the course of the performance of the duties of one's office.  This obligation only extends to "unintended" acts that arise out of official acts, not intentional wrongs or "ultra vires" acts -- those outside of the scope of one's official duties or employment.  Slander is an intentional act.  It is also "ultra vires.")

As to his slander counterclaim against Rothrock, for the purposes of this lawsuit Gardner, as city administrator at the time of the events complained of in the case, is almost certainly a "public figure" within the meaning of the law.  That classification or designation, for all practical purposes, makes it very, very difficult for him to prevail on a counterclaim that he was defamed.  He'd have to prove "actual malice" on Rothrock's part.  Given that it was Gardner's behavior (or misbehavior) that set off this entire chain of events, it will be especially difficult to persuade a jury that it was Rothrock's bad intentions that motivated any statements that can be proven that Rothrock made about Gardner.  Compounding Gardner's legal problems, as a high ranking public employee at the time of the events in question, he was supposed to keep out of electoral politics and remain strictly neutral.  Remember the Hatch Act?  State law includes similar provisions.  Despite the requirement that he remain neutral, Gardner interjected himself into the situation.  His motives were "the motivator," not the other way around. If there was any "actual malice" involved here, well ....

Gardner's only salvation here is if SMIRF, using the city's money, enters into a "universal settlement" that satisfies claims against every defendant, Gardner included.  Gardner would have to dismiss his counterclaim against Rothrock to get to that point.   Even assuming that the city council were to agree to be nice and use taxpayer money to get Gardner off the hook and, at the same time, end the case against the city,  Rothrock would have to agree to all of the terms of the settlement, including the inclusion of Gardner.  Rothrock could agree to settle against the city, but not Gardner.  That would leave the city with no reason to do anything except to end the case against the taxpayers, with the dispute between Rothrock and Gardner going forward to trial. 

What this all boils down to is that Gardner's economic fate may well end up being entirely in Rothrock's hands, and vice versa.  It ain't legal to bet on the outcome of lawsuits, but in this instance, it appears that  Rothrock is Clemson.  Gardner is Carolina (Coastal Carolina).

That saId, there is always risk involved in litigation.  There's a very old law -- the Statute of Elizabeth -- (dating back to Elizabeth 1st, not 2d) that prohibits all defendants in lawsuits from selling, giving away or otherwise disposing of assets while a lawsuit is pending.  Those sorts of transactions are presumed to be intended to defraud potential judgment creditors.  Those transfers can be readily set aside once a judgment is rendered by a jury so that the winner in the case can collect on his or her judgment.  So it won't do anybody any good to try to hide or get rid of assets while this whole mess is still pending.  Both Rothrock's claim and Gardner's counterclaim triggered the applicability of the Statute of Elizabeth in this situation against each of them.  It hangs over both of their heads at this point.  Both need to watch out for their loins.
Logged
Marty Tennant
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 5736



WWW
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2019, 08:08:39 PM »

Love the deep legal analysis Tom.

Only in Georgetown would this stuff happen.
Logged

Notice:  All posts made by me are my OPINION.  I am not responsible for any comments by others!  The Citizens' Report is provided as a public service to the citizens of Georgetown County for them to report and comment on the news.
PBSIAT
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 303


« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2019, 08:30:21 AM »

I have a couple of questions for Mr. Tom and let me say thank you up front for explaining this legal mumbo jumbo to the rest of us.

Is there really a chance one of these people actually has to pay for their personal misdeeds? That would be great to finally see one of them held accountable instead of us taxpayers paying for their personal vendettas.

If they are found personally liable will their homeowners coverage help them out. I have always heard our homeowners provides some limited protections for stuff like this.
Logged
Tom Rubillo
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 67


« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2019, 01:44:58 PM »

All commercial liability policies -- auto, home, business -- specifically exclude coverage for intentional acts.  The city's contract with its claims manager -- SMIRF -- does the same.  Defamation of character is an intentional act. 

In this case , since the city is spending its own money and not that of an insurance company, the city council could agree to pay money to settle the case between Mr. Rothrock, the city and its chief of police with no problem.  False arrest/civil rights violations have been asserted, so those might be covered, at least arguably, so the city council has some rational basis to cut municipal losses.

Since the actions of the former administrator (and, perhaps, the former mayor if the former administrator was following orders from the former mayor) were not official acts, did not involve public business, but were entirely personal and political, the council has less incentive (and much less reason) to worry about those individuals.  As a practical and political matter, it would prove very hard for council members to justify spending city money on the intentional bad behavior of others that were not part of any official business of the city.  The city's contract with SMIRF would not cover those individual acts.  Given that, the question then becomes whether any settlement the city council agrees to is "universal" (covers other defendants) or not?  If the city council answers this question "no," the individual defendants are on their own and the case against them proceeds forward.  If the city council were to, for some reason or another, answer the question "yes," (which, quite frankly, I think would be pretty stupid) then the issue becomes whether the city will expressly reserve the right to seek contribution from the other defendants in paying the agreed settlement amount AND THEN DO SO.   But this is only part one.  Things get sticky here. 

Part two:  To come to a settlement agreement, all the parties involved in the settlement have to agree to all its terms.  That means, among other things, that the plaintiff (in this case Mr. Rothrock) has to agree both (1) if the amount of money being offered is enough and (2) just exactly who he will release from liability in exchange for the payment.  He could, for example, agree to accept $1.00 from the city and the chief of police and release only those defendants from liability.  The case would then proceed forward against the individual defendants.  Assuming that Mr. Rothrock were agreeable to enter into a "universal" settlement covering all defendants (which, unless I miss my guess, would take a hell of a lot more than $1) , then it would be up to the city council to decide whether to pay enough money to satisfy Rothrock's demand and include the individual defendants in the agreement.  For reasons set out more fully below, this is not a decision or an amount that can be kept secret and swept under the rug.  Public money is involved.  But more on that later.

A plausible scenario in this case is that there may be a partial settlement -- one between the plaintiff, the city and the chief of police.  That's plausible because it would make sense for the city to cut its losses and get out of the case.  At the same time, it is unlikely that whatever proves satisfactory to both the plaintiff and the city council to do this, it will be insufficient to get the plaintiff to agree to settle against the individual defendants.  That, coupled with the fact that one of the defendants -- Gardner -- has asserted a counterclaim against Mr. Rothrock, that part of the dispute seems almost assuredly headed for trial.  Again, if it were legal to bet on the outcome of lawsuits (which is ain't), I'd rate the odds heavily in favor of Rothrock, although I won't speculate about the amount a jury might award.  Georgetown juries are notoriously cheap.  Those in federal court can be very generous.  The forum in which the case ends up being tried, therefore, can prove to be very important.

But back to the original question:  Does homeowners insurance cover any of this?  Answer:  Absolutely not.  The best that any of these individual defendants can expect from an insurance company (or SMIRF) is a lawyer to mount a defense.  As previously explained, an insurance company's contractual obligation to provide a defense is separate from its obligation to pay any money on behalf of its insured.  The same is true regarding the city's "self insurance" contract with its claims manager, SMIRF.  If the case goes to trial and the jury awards money damages to Mr. Rothrock, that judgment would have to be satisfied out of the personal assets of the defendant{s},  While a judgment debtor (someone losing a lawsuit) can get some protection from the bankruptcy court, bankruptcy does not protect anyone from an award of punitive damages -- damages earmarked by jury as punishment for intentional acts like, for example, defamation of character.  Pension, Social Security payments and the like are protected, but houses, cars, bank accounts, expensive works of art, jewelry, boats, etc. are not and can be attached, seized and sold to pay damage awards.  A bankruptcy court might supervise all that, but that's really no place that anyone wants to find themselves unless absolutely necessary.  That's a big card to be saved to the maximum extent possible.

Just as an interesting aside, SMIRF is a creature of the SC Municipal Association and is funded entirely with taxpayer money.  That means that it must comply with requests for information made to it under the SC Freedom of Information Act.  While material subject to disclosure would NOT include any litigation strategy or attorney work product, it does include information regarding the expenditure of public money, including all amounts it spends in connection with any litigation against the city -- what it pays in litigation costs, what it pays the attorneys and any amounts it pays to settle each case, this one included.  So if you're curious, send SMIRF an FOIA request.  Elected officials need to keep this fact in mind when making decisions in this matter.  The cost and outcome of this case is very likely to be the subject to discussion in upcoming elections.  Pay too much money now and pay a lot more politically later.

Stay tuned.   
Logged
Pages: [1] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!