Journalist Erin Baldwin Published the Truth & CA State Officials Retaliated: SLAPP Parsa Law Group v. Bad Biz Finder is the First of 48 Actions
April 4, 2012 § Leave a comment
In January of 2009, Erin Baldwin began to write and publish truthful, factual, and legally-substantiated journalistic articles and investigative reports about matters of great public concern; i.e., loan modification fraud and landlord-tenant abuse.
She wrote and published this information on a WordPress blog called Bad Biz Finder and did so anonymously, free of charge, and for the sole benefit of consumers in foreclosure and the California residential tenants of landlord and REIT, UDR, Inc., who was, at that time her landlord in Costa Mesa, California. Baldwin did not accept advertising income, donations, gifts or any other form of remuneration; rather, simply encouraged beneficiaries of the information to “pay it forward and help someone else for free.” Baldwin also exercised her First Amendment rights to assemble and associate with people similarly situated for the purpose of petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.
In addition to warning and informing consumers about loan modification and landlord-tenant fraud, Baldwin quickly gained support for:
1. A Petition for Writ of Mandate requiring the State Bar of California (“State Bar”) to make restitution to consumers financially harmed by its members through its Client Security Fund; and to require the Department of Real Estate (“DRE”) to make restitution to consumers financially harmed by its members through its Recovery Account.
2. A Class Action Lawsuit against UDR, Inc. on behalf of its California tenants financially harmed by UDR’s illegal California leases.
As the direct result of Baldwin’s altruistic approach, the high quality and accuracy of her information, her ability to convey vital information effectively to vulnerable consumers, she made an extraordinarily positive impact and gained nearly 200,000 followers in less than five months.
Fearing massive financial liability and personal accountability, the State Bar, DRE, and UDR, and many others, launched a full-scale attack on Baldwin’s First Amendment rights in order to:
1. Silence her speech and disable her ability to publish the truth;
2. Put an end to Baldwin promoting assembly and association for the purpose of uniting against lawlessness and oppression; and
3. Place endless roadblocks in Baldwin’s path to prevent her from petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.
In addition to direct violations of her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, The State Bar, DRE, and UDR, Inc., and others, also violated other constitutional rights, all of which make up Baldwin’s Section 1983 Complaint filed in district court on August 16, 2011.
The Central District Court of California (namely U.S. District Court Judges David O. Carter, Josephine S. Tucker, Dolly M. Gee and Magistrate Judge Sheri N. Pym) have done everything in their power to dismiss Baldwin’s Complaint. Baldwin has filed meritorious appeals with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and she has been equally stonewalled.
A small sampling of the acts committed against Baldwin includes:
1. The unlawful seizure of her automobile and the sum total of all her personal property on three separate occasions in two years to destroy credible evidence and prevent Baldwin from defending herself;
2. A premeditated and ruthless beating in custody by five male Big Bear Sheriffs deputies resulting in an emergency room medical report stating three times that Baldwin was assaulted. California State Bar Investigator, Tom Layton was present on the scene and used his former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s connections to orchestrate same;
3. Two Orange County Superior Court permanent injunctions issued by Judge Franz E. Miller on behalf of the State Bar, DRE, and UDR, Inc., that represent unconstitutional prior restraint of Baldwin’s protected speech together with $709,000.00 in monetary judgments even when Judge Miller knew Baldwin was never legally named as a defendant in the case and as such, had no jurisdiction over her;
4. False imprisonment for thirty-five days during which time Baldwin did not receive a preliminary hearing nor was she charged with a crime; and
5. Three years of judicial cover-up, fraud, and criminal obstruction of justice spanning Orange County, San Bernardino County, the California Court of Appeal, Central District Court of California, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The State Bar of California and California Department of Real Estate were terrified that Erin Baldwin would be successful in her Writ of Mandate. Since Baldwin was neither an attorney nor a real estate professional, the State Bar and DRE could not take action against her directly. Therefore, they funded a strategic lawsuit against public participation in collusion with one of the subjects of Baldwin’s article, James Parsa of Parsa Law Group.
These are the facts as pled by Baldwin in her Section 1983 Complaint specifically related to the first act of retaliation, a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation:
Parsa Law Group v. Bad Biz Finder, Erin Baldwin, et al.
1. On January 26, 2009, the Complaint in this action was filed against Bad Biz Finder, an “unknown business entity,” by Parsa Law Group, APC, a California Professional Law Corporation, for three (3) causes of action: (a) Defamation Per Se; (b) Intentional Interference in Contractual Relations; and (c) Intentional Interference in Prospective Relations. The filing parties were Daniel J. Kessler, Esq., (“Defendant Kessler”), Partner at Burkhalter, Kessler, Goodman & George, LLP; and (b) Michael Oberbeck, Esq. (“Defendant Oberbeck”), although the attached Civil Case Coversheet indicates only two (2) causes of action.
2. On its face this Complaint stated a singular remedy: Money Damages. However, the Civil Case Coversheet stated three remedies: (1) Money Damages; (2) Injunctive and Declaratory Relief; and (3) Punitive Damages. In violation of CCP §425.10(a)(2), the Complaint did not state the amount of money damages demanded in the Prayer for Relief.
3. The Summons failed to state the status of the entity being served, i.e., “Notice to the Person Served: You are served “as an individual defendant”; “as the person sued under the fictitious name of: [ …]”; or “on behalf of:.” As well, the applicable CCP §416 subsection is not completed. It was never clear how Defendants Parsa Law or BKGG went about serving an unknown business entity. The remedies sought in this action were stated as (a) monetary; (b) nonmonetary; declaratory or injunctive relief; and (c) punitive.
4. The Complaint pled examples of Baldwin’s alleged defamatory content published as of the date of Complaint. It lists articles that were published after January 26, 2009, titles of articles that were never published, but, curiously, leaves out the following articles that were, in fact, published prior to the filing date:
a. “Parsa Law Group’s National Loan Modification Center Violates Every Rule Under Sub-Section 2945.4 of the CA Foreclosure Consultant’s Act,” published on January 20, 2009. Baldwin’s investigative report compared, side by side, Defendant Parsa Law’s Retainer Agreement with the statutory requirements set forth in California Civil Code §2945.4, commonly known as the “California Foreclosure Consultant’s Act” (“CFCA”).
b. “Parsa Law Group / National Loan Modification Center is Not in Compliance with Contract Requirements under the CA Foreclosure Consultant Act,” published on January 20, 2009. Again, Baldwin’s compared Defendant Parsa Law’s contract with the contract requirements set forth in the CFCA, found at California Civil Code §2945.4.
c. “James Parsa, Parsa Law Group & NLMC Face Steep Penalties [For Violating The CFCA],” published on January 21, 2009. Baldwin’s investigative report stated the penalties for violating the CFCA ($10,000 per incident); and as an example, demonstrated her findings from the two previous articles as possible companies in violation.”
d. “The Truth About James Parsa is Revealed,” published on January 22. 2009, regarding the inconsistencies and padding contained in his resume.
e. “Parsa Law Group / National Loan Modification’s Prospective Customers Are Swarming to Bad Biz Finder For Help,” published on January 22, 2009.
5. On January 27, 2009, Baldwin was personally served with a subpoena to appear at a deposition in this case as an “interested party.” Since Baldwin was not named in the Complaint, nor did she have an interest in the Complaint, she did not attend. Later, Defendant Parsa Law attempted to compel Baldwin’s appearance which attempts failed.
6. Also, on January 27, 2009, Defendants Goodman, Kessler, and fellow BKGG attorney, Nicholas Myers (“Defendant Myers”) set out on a course of action to violate Baldwin’s rights to privacy as set forth in 47 U.S.C. §551(c), the “Federal Cable Privacy Act,” that prohibits a cable operator from disclosing “personally identifying information concerning any subscriber without the prior written or electronic consent of the subscriber concerned,” or a court order.
7. Defendants Goodman, Kessler and Myers requested this information pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §2703(c)(2). This federal statute applies only to subpoenas issued by government entities, to wit:
“A provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service shall disclose to a governmental entity the (a) name; (b) address; (c) local and long distance telephone connection records, or records of session times and durations; (d) length of service (including start date) and types of service utilized; (e) telephone or instrument number or other subscriber number or identity, including any temporarily assigned network address; and (f) means and source of payment for such service (including any credit card or bank account number), of a subscriber to or customer of such service when the governmental entity uses an administrative subpoena authorized by a Federal or State statute or a Federal or State grand jury or trial subpoena or any means available under paragraph (1).”
8. On January 27, 2009, Defendant BKGG knowingly sent subpoenas posing as an attorney for a government entity to: (a) Road Runner Holdco, LLC; (b) Road Runner High Speed Data; (c) American Online, Inc.; and (d) Time Warner, Inc.
9. The subpoenas requested the following information about an I.P. address it claimed belonged to Baldwin. How did they get the I.P. address? WordPress CEO, Toni Schneider, gave it to them without notice to Baldwin or any other due process. Defendants Goodman, Kessler and Myers demanded production of documents to which it was not legally entitled, as follows:
“1. Produce any and all documents which evidence, reference, mention, reflect, record and/or otherwise document the identity of the subscriber having been assigned IP Address: 220.127.116.11.
“2. Produce any and all documents which evidence, reference, mention, reflect, record and/or otherwise document the identity of the subscriber having been assigned the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“3. Produce all Radius Logs for the subscriber assigned IP Address: 18.104.22.168.
“4. Produce any and all documents which evidence, reference, mention, reflect, record and/or otherwise document any other user names, email addresses or accounts owned by the same person or registered to the same street or billing address as the person identified by your own records as having been assigned IP Address 22.214.171.124.
“5. Produce any and all invoices generated by AOL to the subscriber assigned IP Address 126.96.36.199.
“6. Produce any and all documents which evidence, reference, mention, reflect, record and/or otherwise document financial transactions (i.e., payments, etc.) made by the subscriber assigned IP Address 188.8.131.52 as a result of invoices generated by AOL to the subscriber assigned IP Address 184.108.40.206.
“7. Produce any and all documents which evidence, reference, mention, reflect, record and/or otherwise document any technical support provided to the subscriber assigned IP Address 220.127.116.11.
“8. Produce any and all documents which evidence, reference, mention, reflect, record and/or otherwise document any technical support provided to the subscriber assigned IP Address 18.104.22.168.”
10. Baldwin’s position and argument has always been that an “I.P. address” identifies a computer, not a person, and certainly not a defendant in an unlimited civil action for defamation. Defendant Parsa Law violated Baldwin’s constitutional right to due process of law by seeking confidential, personally identifying information without giving her the opportunity to quash same. Defendant Parsa Law and its attorneys Defendant BKGG always had an email for Baldwin and cannot claim differently.
11. On February 2, 2009, Mary Courage representing Time Warner’s Subpoena Compliance Division responded by faxed letter to Defendant Myers informing him of the law pursuant to 47 U.S.C. §551(c), supra, insisting on a court order, and notifying him that:
“If you are planning on seeking this information through a court order, please be aware that we will need sufficient time prior to disclosure to provide our customer with notice of the order as required by Section (c)(2)(B) of the Act. If you require that we not inform our subscriber as such disclosure would jeopardize your investigation, it will be necessary that you include a statement to that effect within the wording of your court order signed by the judge.”
12. On February 5, 2009, Defendant Myers responded to Ms. Courage stating: “Pursuant to California law, a subpoena is considered and has the full effect of a court order” and cited CCP §2020.240 as his authority. No response from Ms. Courage.
13. On February 11, 2009, Defendant Myers sent another letter to Ms. Courage reminding her that a subpoena is the same as a court order and further: “As this is a matter involving defamation and tortious interference with business relations, we must move quickly to quash ongoing harm to our client.” No response from Ms. Courage.
14. On February 18, 2009, Defendant Myers sent another letter to Ms. Courage requesting a meet and confer conference pursuant to CCP §2025.450, “regarding the deficiencies in your response to the Subpoena and our intention to seek a court order to compel compliance.”
15. On February 19, 2009, Ms. Courage sent an email to Defendant Myers stating:
“Unfortunately, we will not be able to comply with your subpoena as it stands. We are bound by federal regulatory statutes as noted in our previous letter to you. The Cable Privacy Act supersedes California law and prohibits our answering your subpoena unless it has been signed by a judge.”
16. On February 25, 2009, at 6:40 P.M. Defendant Myers emailed the aforementioned Time Warner subpoena to email@example.com, and followed up at 9:53 P.M. with a telephone call.
17. On February 26, 2009, at 9:53 A.M., Mary Courage responded:
“We will await the receipt of the order signed by the judge. We cannot respond with subscriber information until that has been received. Keep in mind the notification issues.”
18. On February 26, 2009, Defendant Goodman filed an “Ex Parte Application to Compel Time Warner, Inc.’s Compliance With Deposition Subpoena for Records”; and both Defendants Parsa and Goodman filed Declarations in support thereof. The hearing was set for March 10, 2009.
19. Also on February 26, 2009, Baldwin received an email allegedly from the Legal Department of AOL, LLC, entitled, “Member Notification” wherein they informed Baldwin that they had received a “Subpoena for the Identity of AOL Member Screen Name” in the matter of Parsa Law Group APC v. Bad Biz Finder, et al. The message was very vague:
“If we have not heard from you or your lawyer indicating that you are moving to quash this subpoena, AOL will release the requested information pursuant to the subpoena. If you do intend to file a motion to quash the subpoena, please provide us with a copy. If you have any questions you should consult with an attorney or the attorney who served the subpoena. AOL LLC – Legal Department.”
20. Furthermore, the subpoena attached to the email was dated January 27, 2009, addressed to American Online, Inc. and the February 16, 2009 deadline for production of documents had already passed. Baldwin discovered that the entity, “American Online, Inc.,” is not registered with the California Secretary of State. On January 11, 2001, AOL merged with Time Warner forming “AOL-Time Warner, Inc.,” utilizing Time Warner’s legal department until the two companies split on May 28, 2009. Therefore, an AOL Legal Department did not exist on February 26, 2009. The email failed to state a telephone number, address and, and reply questions went unanswered. Lastly, an indicator that the email was fraudulent presented itself in the “If you have any questions you should consult with an attorney or the attorney who served the subpoena.” After repeated attempts to get her question answered Baldwin let this one go.
21. On March 6, 2009, Defendant Parsa Law filed its First Amended Complaint For Damages. It added two causes of action: (a) Trade Libel; and (b) Unfair Competition & Business Practices. Baldwin is not added into the caption of the matter, but is added into the first paragraph of the Complaint, to wit: “To: Bad Biz Finder, Erin K. Baldwin,” as well as in “The Parties.”
22. At the request of Defendant BKGG Myers, on March 16, 2009, Reed Smith Attorney, Marilyn Moberg, Esq. (“Defendant Moberg”) provided a letter to Defendant Myers representing that she was counsel for AOL, LLC, and as such, was authorized to provide Defendant Myers the personal identifying information for the email account firstname.lastname@example.org. She claimed she was providing this information based on a telephone call and letter from Defendant Myers, rather than a formal subpoena or court order. Defendant Moberg stated in her letter that the owner of the email address was “Beverly Sullivan,” and that was the singular basis of Defendant BKGG adding Beverly Sullivan as an “individual defendant” in its Second Amended Complaint.
23. Baldwin has found no evidence to support the fact that Defendant Moberg was, is, or has ever been legal counsel for AOL, LLC. Defendant Moberg’s letter addressed to Defendant BKGG Myers, states, in part:
“This letter confirms follows up [sic] our letter of February 26 and our telephone call today during which you informed me that you have not received any objection, motion to quash or other communication from the subscriber or any attorney on its behalf regarding the production of information by AOL. Accordingly, the following letter provides the information we agreed as set forth in the prior letter.
“The name and telephone number of the subscriber having been assigned the address email@example.com is: Beverly Sullivan, Day and Eve phone number: (454) 247-1084. Additional IP addresses at which this account was accessed: IP 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199.”
24. Side Note: In preparation for the herein action, Baldwin inquired as to the validity of Defendant Moberg’s claim with Reed Smith Executive Management Team, Gregory B. Jordan, Global Managing Partner; Robert A. Nicholas, Global Head of Legal Personnel; Gary A. Sokulski, Chief Operating Officer; and Richard A. Jones, Chief of Litigation Department. Reed Smith Attorney Boyd C. Sleeth was named the representative of Messrs. Smith, Jordan, Nicholas, Sokulski and Jones to respond to Baldwin’s request for information. On February 11, 2011, Mr. Sleeth sent Baldwin a letter stating:
“Your letter to Messrs. Smith, Jordan, Nicholas, Sokulski and Jones was referred to me. As Marilyn Moberg informed you by letter on November 4, 2009, please be advised that Ms. Moberg’s March 16, 2009 letter to Nicholas D. Myers [Defendant BKGG Myers] was written by her as an attorney representing AOL LLC.”
25. On March 19, 2009, Defendant Parsa Law filed its Second Amended Complaint For Damages. No new causes of action were added. However, two new defendants were added: Erin Baldwin, an individual; and Beverly Sullivan, an individual. It is clear the rationale behind Defendant BKGG adding Beverly Sullivan, however, Baldwin consistently pleaded that there was never any justification or evidence supporting the decision to add her as defendant.
[Erin Baldwin was NEVER added as a defendant to this case. Therefore Judge Miller NEVER had personal jurisdiction over Erin Baldwin nor subject matter jurisdiction over her in relationship to the causes of action.
If Judge Miller never had jurisdiction over Baldwin — she could not be in default; nor could she be held personally liable for a default judgment in the amount of $604,515.66; nor could her speech be permanently enjoined; nor could she be held in contempt; nor could she be the subject of two bench warrants for arrest; nor could she be unlawfully incarcerated for a period of 35 days on the force of the first bench warrant in a San Bernardino jail.]
26. Also on March 19, 2009, Defendant BKGG stated in its pleading the changes made and justification for same:
(a) added Trade Libel as a cause of action;
(b) added Unfair Competition and Business Practices (California Business & Professions Code section 17200, et seq.);
(c) added a new defendant, Erin K. Baldwin, an individual;
(d) Added a new defendant, Beverly Sullivan, an individual;
(e) stated that Baldwin and Sullivan, as individuals, are liable for the acts of Bad Biz Finder because they were “alter egos” of Bad Biz Finder; [Even though the evidence they attached failed to name Baldwin.]
(f) asserted that the privilege of separate existence would promote injustice because “Co-Defendants Baldwin and Sullivan organized and controlled BBF, so that it is now, and at all times mentioned in this Complaint, merely an instrumentality, agency, conduit or adjunct of Co-Defendants Baldwin and Sullivan; and
g) asserted that Baldwin and Sullivan acted in bad faith and dominated and controlled Defendant BBF such that Baldwin and Sullivan are jointly and severally liable for the acts complained of in this Complaint.
27. On March 30, 2009, Defendant Parsa Law claims to have filed its Proof of Service of Summons for the Second Amended Complaint. However, the docket in this case also states that a Proof of Service was filed on April 6, 2009 and April 7, 2009. The reason why Defendant BKGG kept re-filing a bogus Proof of Service is because it was waiting for a response from the subpoena they served Time Warner, Inc., to provide confidential personally-identifying information about Baldwin’s cable account so they could name her to the Complaint. The response never came because Defendant BKGG’s request is unlawful unless it is requested in the form of a court order signed by a judge.
28. On April 11, 2009, the Court signed a court order demanding Time Warner Cable’s compliance with Defendant BKGG’s request for personally identifying information for I.P. address 188.8.131.52, they claim belonged to Baldwin. Not only was this action in violation of the Federal Cable Privacy Act, but it is an unconstitutional invasion of Baldwin’s privacy to publish anonymously. In Lovell v. Griffin (303 U.S. at 303 U. S. 452) the United States Supreme Court held:
“There can be no doubt that such an identification requirement would tend to restrict freedom to distribute information, and thereby freedom of expression. Liberty of circulating is as essential to that freedom as liberty of publishing; indeed, without the circulation, the publication would be of little value.”
28. On April 29, 2009, in response to the unlawful court order signed by the Court and served by Defendant BKGG, Time Warner, Inc. produced account information including name, address, phone number, user name and length of service. However, Time Warner made the statement:
“We do not make any representations as to the identity of any individual who actually used the above IP address on the date and time in question.”
29. As stated, supra, an I.P. address does not identify a person, it identifies a computer, and it certainly does not identify a defendant in a civil unlimited case for defamation. Defendant BKGG added Baldwin into its First Amended Complaint on March 6, 2009 without any justification whatsoever. It attempted to conceal this fact by only listing Baldwin in the body of the Complaint, not in the caption.
30. On May 7, 2009, Defendant Parsa Law filed an Ex Parte Application for Temporary Restraining Order, Issuance of an Order to Show Cause Re Preliminary/Permanent Injunction; Memorandum of Points & Authorities, Declaration of James M. Parsa, Esquire; Declaration of David A. Berstein; Esq., Exhibits A-E; and [Proposed] Order; the hearing was set for May 8, 2009.
31. On May 8, 2009, there is no record of an ex parte hearing taking place, however the Minutes reflect that it was granted.
32. On May 11, 2009, Defendant Parsa Law filed an Order to Show Cause Re Preliminary Injunction scheduled for May 19, 2009.
33. On May 18, 2009, Defendant BKGG Berstein filed a Supplemental Declaration in Support of its Request for a Preliminary Injunction against Baldwin.
34. On May 18, 2009, the Court entered a tentative ruling Re Defendant Parsa Law’s Order to Show Cause Re Preliminary Injunction that stated:
“Hear argument. Reasoning: Determine whether Plaintiff served the application on defendants; Plaintiff shows reasonable likelihood of prevailing and irreparable harm; the problem is unconstitutional prior restraint (See Evans 162 A4 1157).”
35. On May 18, 2009, the Judge Miller cited Evans v. Evans (2008) 162 Cal.App.4th 1157, Cal.Rptr.3d, as his prevailing thesis in denying Defendant Parsa Law’s request for a Temporary Restraining Order against Baldwin. It appears from the Court’s citation, that it acknowledged that restraint of Baldwin’s speech would be unconstitutional. Therefore, after setting out his basis for denying Defendant Parsa Law’s Temporary Restraining Order/Preliminary Injunction, Judge Miller did the unthinkable. He granted a permanent restraining order a short twelve (12) days later. Even the oddest of scenarios can be explained by a fist full of cash.
36. On May 18, 2009, Judge Miller believed this citation applicable:
“The right to free speech is . . . one of the cornerstones of our society, and is protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and under an “even broader” provision of the California Constitution…
“An injunction that forbids a citizen from speaking in advance of the time the communication is to occur is known as a “prior restraint.” … A prior restraint is the most serious and the least tolerable infringement of the First Amendment.
“… Prior restraints are highly disfavored and presumptively violate the First Amendment. This is true even when the speech is expected to be of the type that is not constitutionally protected.
“… To establish a valid prior restraint under the federal Constitution, a proponent has a heavy burden to show that the countervailing interest is compelling, the prior restraint is necessary and would be effective in promoting this interest, and less extreme measures are unavailable. …”
“Further, any permissible order “must be couched in the narrowest terms that will accomplish the pin-pointed objective permitted by constitutional mandate and the essential needs of the public order.
” . . . Even if an injunction does not impermissibly constitute a prior restraint, the injunction must be sufficiently precise to provide “a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice that his contemplated conduct is forbidden. …
“An injunction is unconstitutionally vague if it does not clearly define the persons protected and the conduct prohibited. … An order prohibiting a party from making or publishing false statements is a classic type of an unconstitutional prior restraint. … While [a party] may be held responsible for abusing his right to speak freely in a subsequent tort action, he has the initial right to speak freely without censorship.”
“This portion of the order is also invalid as unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. The injunction broadly prohibited Linda from publishing any defamatory comments about Thomas.
“This sweeping prohibition fails to adequately delineate which of Linda’s future comments might violate the injunction and lead to contempt of court.
“The fact that the court’s prohibition on publishing false materials applied only to speech on the Internet does not affect our analysis. The courts have made clear that speech on the Internet is accorded the same First Amendment protection as speech on other forums.”
37. On June 2, 2009, he granted this:
“IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant BAD BIZ FINDER and ERIN K. BALDWIN, and those in active concert or participation with them, are from this day forward enjoined and restrained from:
1. Publishing, transmitting, distributing or otherwise publicly displaying all previously-publicized or publicly available defamatory and/or tortious statements about PARSA LAW GROUP, APC, PARSA LAW GROUP, APC’s services, and/or PARSA LAW GROUP, APC’s officers, directors, members, shareholders, agents, representatives, employees and/or affiliates, namely those blog entries/articles previously and/or currently available at the websites http://www.badbizfinder.wordpress, http://www.badbizfinder.blogspot.com and http://www.thereallybadbizfinder.wordpress.com and reproductions and variations thereof previously and/or currently available elsewhere, including but not limited to: http://www.ripoffreport, http://www.pubcit.typepad.com (CL&P Blog), http://www.ocmetrobusiness.com and http://www.digg.com;
2. Publishing, transmitting, distributing or otherwise publicly displaying tortious statements which state or imply illegal conduct by PARSA LAW GROUP, APC and/or PARSA LAW GROUP, APC’s officers, directors, members, shareholders, agents, representatives, employees and/or affiliates, absent of adjudication of illegality;
3. Publishing, transmitting, distributing or otherwise publicly displaying defamatory and/or tortious statements about PARSA LAW GROUP, APC, PARSA LAW GROUP, APC’s services, and/or PARSA LAW GROUP, APC’s officers, directors, members, shareholders, agents, representatives, employees and/or affiliates, including those found in Exhibit “B” to Baldwin’s Request for a Temporary Restraining Order.
[Exhibit “B,” is 324 pages of investigative article print-outs.]
4. Publishing, transmitting, distributing or otherwise publicly displaying defamatory and/or tortious statements about PARSA LAW GROUP, APC, PARSA LAW GROUP, APC’s services, and/or PARSA LAW GROUP, APC’s officers, directors, members, shareholders, agents, representatives, employees and/or affiliates; and
5. PARSA LAW GROUP, APC’s officers, directors, members, shareholders, agents, representatives, employees and/or affiliates; either directly or indirectly. The above injunction relief is effective immediately and shall remain in place in perpetuity.”
38. On May 19, 2009, Baldwin’s “Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs,” was rejected with a comment from the Clerk, Latesha: “We are unable to file this fee waiver because a business can’t file for a fee waiver so I will charge the credit card for $13.00. If you have any questions please call 714-834-4724 and ask for Latesha. Thank you.” The statement regarding charging the credit card refers to the acceptance of Baldwin’s Opposition to the Preliminary Injunction.
39. On May 19, 2009, Latesha forwarded the rejected fee waiver and Baldwin’s Opposition to the Preliminary Injunction to Department C-14 in time for the hearing. Although she requested that the fee waiver be immediately returned to Baldwin, Defendant Turner intentionally kept it in the department until June 2, 2009, the date the Default Judgment was entered against Baldwin.
40. Defendant Turner did this without knowledge that Baldwin knew it had been rejected and returned to her on May 19, 2009, with instructions to return the rejected fee waiver to Baldwin. Defendant Turner failed to do so in collusion with the Court to prevent Baldwin from making a first appearance fee, thereby giving the Court a reason to enter her Default. The reason for this collusion is stated, infra, on May 29, 2009.
41. On May 19, 2009, the Court denied Defendant Parsa Law’s Request for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction. This was the time that the Court and Defendants BKGG, Parsa, and Parsa Law and others put their best foot forward to give the appearance of being cognizant and respectful of Baldwin’s constitutional rights.
42. However, the reality rested in CCP §529, that states:
“On granting an injunction, the court or judge must require an undertaking on the part of the applicant to the effect that the applicant will pay to the party enjoined any damages, not exceeding an amount to be specified, the party may sustain by reason of the injunction, if the court finally decides that the applicant was not entitled to the injunction. Within five days after the service of the injunction, the person enjoined may object to the undertaking. If the court determines that the applicant’s undertaking is insufficient and a sufficient undertaking is not filed within the time required by statute, the order granting the injunction must be dissolved.”
43. Defendant BKGG did not want to post an undertaking because it knew it was “wrongfully enjoining” Baldwin. All parties involved knew that the injunction was unconstitutional and that it was likely at some point that Baldwin would be able to set it aside and collect on the undertaking. So, to mitigate the risk involved, the Court denies the preliminary injunction and promotes it as a true act of judicial equanimity to overshadow the act is about to take against Baldwin.
44. Also on May 19, 2009, Defendant Parsa Law submitted a Request for Entry of Default.
45. On May 27, 2009, Baldwin filed a Motion for an Order Setting Aside Default; the hearing was set for July 14, 2009.
46. As of May 28, 2009, prior to the Court entering her Default on June 2, 2009, Baldwin had filed two responsive pleadings in the Parsa Defamation Case. Therefore, the Court could not take Baldwin’s Default. That the Court determined they were not in an acceptable format or an appearance fee was not paid, is not sufficient to enter Default against Baldwin for $604,515.66. The pleadings are as follows:
a. Opposition to Defendant Parsa Law’s Request for a Temporary Restraining Order/Preliminary Injunction dated May 19, 2009. The Court refused to acknowledge the pleadings because, as it said, the pleading was “in an anonymous format and not timely.” Nonetheless, it had been filed and the Court had acknowledged that it had been filed.
b. Motion for an Order Setting Aside Default dated May 27, 2009. While the Court acknowledged that the Motion was “timely brought,” it failed to acknowledge that Baldwin had the authority to act on behalf of Bad Biz Finder. However, the Court had no problem recognizing Baldwin as a defendant when it held her solely liable for a six-figure judgment and permanently enjoined her speech severely violating her constitutional rights.
47. On May 28, 2009, Defendant Parsa Law filed and was granted a Request for Dismissal as to “Beverly Sullivan and Does 1-10, inclusive,” as to all causes of action.
48. Also on May 28, 2009, Defendant Parsa Law’s May 19, 2009 Request for Entry of Default was rejected by the Court Clerk, namely, “”M. Nordman, Deputy Clerk,” who entered a “Notice to Filing Party” stating the reasons for the rejection:
“a. Statement of Damages has not been filed with the court. It is required if requesting punitive damages. Note that it also has to be served to each defendant.
“b. Declaration of James Parsa: no proof has been submitted to support your demand. Please include some documentation how you have calculated the “economic loss of $206,250.00.” Also, you have listed that you have lost 300 clients between January and May, is there any documentation that would support this? Note that the signature on the document is a copy.
“c. Please submit a Judgment, you have submitted an Order.
“d. Proof of Service is not in legal format; Clerk is not able to file it as is.
“e. Attorneys’ fees requested exceed rule 366. If you wish to ask more than the rule states, please submit a declaration explaining why you are entitled to them. Also, no agreement is attached that would allow you to collect any attorneys’ fees. Please refer a rule that gives you this right.”
49. On May 19, 2009, Baldwin fax-filed an Opposition to Defendant Parsa Law’s Order to Show Cause Re: Preliminary Injunction but as stated below, the Court refused to acknowledge it because it was “anonymous and untimely.”
“The Court informs counsel it received Baldwin’s Opposition to Ex Parte Application for a Temporary Restraining Order; Opposition to Motion for Preliminary / Permanent Injunction. The Court states for the record that because the filing by Baldwin was untimely and anonymous, the Court did not consider it. The Court hears oral argument. The Order to Show Cause re: Preliminary Injunction is denied without prejudice. The Default Prove-Up Hearing is scheduled for May 29, 2009 at 8:30. Matter is trailed for counsel to file the Request for Entry of Default in the Clerk’s Office.”
50. On May 19, 2009, BKGG Defendant Berstein filed a Request for Entry of Default as to Baldwin; the Default Prove-Up hearing was set for May 29, 2009.
51. On May 28, 2009, Defendant Parsa Law filed and was granted a Request for Dismissal as to “Beverly Sullivan and Does 1-10, inclusive,” as to all causes of action.
52. On May 29, 2009, following the UDR hearing, Baldwin contacted the Court Clerk of Department C-14 for a status of the Default Prove-Up Hearing at which time Baldwin was informed that said hearing had been continued to June 2, 2009. The Minute order stated the reason as: “Default Prove-Up Hearing continued to 06/02/09 at 11:30 a.m. in this department … due to the unavailability of Baldwin.” However, it is unclear how a professional law corporation can be “unavailable,” when its attorney were present. The actual reason for the continuance was the clerk’s rejection of Defendant Parsa Law’s default prove-up package and the Court’s plan to circumvent the requirements in the rejection notice.
53. The May 29, 2009 Minute Order also stated: “8:34 AM, The Court conducts a chambers conference, unreported, with counsel present.” Improper extrajudicial ex parte contact occurs when a judge communicates with (a) one party to a lawsuit to the exclusion of the other party or parties; and/or (b) initiates discussions about a case with disinterested third parties. (See, Canon 3(A)(4), ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct). This conference included both elements, except that the disinterested third parties were actually very interested in the outcome of the conference. Included in the conference was “one party to a lawsuit to the exclusion of the other party,” Baldwin was not invited, but Defendants Parsa, Goodman and Berstein attended; and the interested third parties were Defendant CSB Investigators, Tom Layton and John Noonen.
54. Defendant CSB was very interested, in fact, dedicated, to the cause of permanently enjoining Baldwin’s speech because she was publishing the facts about Defendant CSB’s liability to the public for the misconduct of its attorney members involved in loan modification fraud. Baldwin also published reports about (a) Defendant CSB’s collusory relationship with Defendant DRE; (b) how to file a claim with the CSB “Client Security Fund,” for restitution for harms done by its attorney members; and perhaps most damaging, (c) Baldwin’s widespread promotion of her intention to file a Writ of Mandate forcing Defendant CSB to make restitution to the consumers harmed.
55. Attorney Thomas V. Girardi directed California State Bar attorney Paul O’Brien to send State Bar investigators Tom Layton and John Noonen to offer a “financial incentive” to Judge Miller in exchange for entering a Default Judgment with Permanent Injunction against Baldwin to silence her in perpetuity.
a. “A court ruling is subject to reversal if obtained through prejudicial improper ex parte communication.” (See, People v. Winnetka (1980) 28 Cal.3d 587, 169 Cal.Rptr. 713, 620 P.2d 163; and In re Calhoun (1976) 17 Cal.3d 75, 130 Cal.Rptr. 139, 549 P.2d 1235.
b. In fact, even if an ex parte communication is not prejudicial, it may still be improper and may still subject the attorney to discipline. (See, People v. Laue, 130 Cal.App.3d at 1060; and In re Jonathan S. (3rd Dist. 1979) 88 Cal.App.3d 468, 151 Cal.Rptr. 810.
56. Defendant Parsa was present not only because it was his case that served to covertly satisfy the malevolent objectives of Defendant CSB but he was funding the “financial incentive” out of his client trust account which, at that time, was approximately $11 million.
57. In exchange for Defendant Parsa funding the transaction, Defendant CSB agreed to “suspend” Defendant Parsa in theory only. Defendant CSB agreed to deflect all consumer claims made to its Client Security Fund against Defendant Parsa. In January, 2011, Baldwin received a copy of one such letter from a consumer that states:
“In re: Your Application for Reimbursement from the Client Security Fund; CSF No. [omitted for privacy purposes].
“This is in response to your recent inquiry regarding the status of your application. Mr. Parsa has not yet been disbarred by the California Supreme Court nor has his resignation been accepted by the California Supreme Court.
“Mr. Parsa will not be considered officially disciplined by this office until the investigation is final and the State Bar’s discipline recommendation is accepted by the California Supreme Court. The Client Security Fund cannot anticipate how long this will take. Under Rule 3.432(A) discipline of the attorney is a major requirement for reimbursement and the fund cannot resolve an application until the discipline is final.
“Once discipline is imposed on Mr. Parsa, the Client Security Fund Commission must still review an application and issues a decision under its own Rules of Procedure. We cannot guarantee that your application will be approved for reimbursement. The Commission must determine that your application meets all of the requirements for reimbursement.
“There are a very large number of cases awaiting review by the Client Security Fund Commission, so please understand that even once the discipline is official, it will still be some months before you receive a decision from the Client Security Fund Commission. You should allow a minimum of six months or longer after the California Supreme Court makes the discipline official before a decision can be made by the Fund.
“You are welcome to go to the California State Bar website, http://www.calbar.ca.gov to monitor the discipline status of this attorney.
“Thank you for your patience and cooperation. If you have any further questions or concerns, please correspond with us in writing so that we can properly respond to you.
CLIENT SECURITY FUND UNIT
58. Baldwin asserts that it took Defendant Parsa’s foreclosure consultant less than a minute to take $3,500 from this consumer and she has been waiting a year and a half to get it back. After the funds were electronically taken from her account, she never heard from Defendant Parsa or his staff again.
59. At the June 2, 2009 Default Prove-up Hearing, the Court Reporter’s Transcript documented Defendant Parsa’s testimony to justify a Default Judgment against Baldwin in the amount of $604,515.66 (without having to document or provide proof for any of his claims) thereby completely circumventing the standard requirements set forth in the May 28, 2009 Rejection Notice of the Clerk.
60. According to the June 2, 2009 Court Reporter’s Transcript, the extent of Defendant Parsa’s “testimony” upon which the Court relied to form its conclusion that Baldwin’s statements were defamatory, thus “unprotected speech,” to justify a permanent injunction against Baldwin grossly violating her constitutional rights is as follows:
“JUDGE FRANZ E. MILLER:
“Mr. Parsa, is everything you wrote in your Declaration of May 27, 2009, true and correct?
“Yes, your Honor.
“JUDGE FRANZ MILLER:
“Okay, Mr. Berstein, you may inquire further as you desire.
“ATTORNEY DAVID A. BERSTEIN:
“Thank you, your honor.
“ATTORNEY DAVID A. BERSTEIN:
“Mr. Parsa, with regard to the court’s, I guess, request for some clarity, the 300 or so clients that we have indicated were lost by the law firm, were these clients refunded their money?
“Yes, they were.
“ATTORNEY DAVID A. BERSTEIN:
“Okay. All of them?
“Every single one.
“ATTORNEY DAVID A. BERSTEIN:
“Okay. And the $206,250.00 that reflects what your profit would have been had those clients remained at Parsa Law Group?
“ATTORNEY DAVID A. BERSTEIN:
“Okay. And what is your understanding as to why these clients left Parsa Law Group?
“They were specifically concerned about the comments and points raised by the website “Bad Biz Finder,” and essentially were not at all in the position or of the mood to accept an explanation. They simply wanted their money back. They felt there was a scam involved and that was the end of that. There was no dissuading them.
“ATTORNEY DAVID A. BERSTEIN:
“And are these people that you personally spoke to?
“The majority of them, yes. As far as their refunds, every single one was approved by myself.
“ATTORNEY DAVID A. BERSTEIN:
“Now, in addition to the $206,250.00, you indicated to me that your firm had to take steps to correct what had been done by Bad Biz Finder.
“Yes, that’s correct.
“ATTORNEY DAVID A. BERSTEIN:
“And what are we talking about there?
“First of all, we did hire a PR firm in an attempt to counter what the Bad Biz Finder was spreading. That firm’s name is Idea Hall. My contract with them began in April, April 1st, went through June 1, 2009. The contract is for $45,000. To date I have already paid them and they have earned $30,000. In addition to that, if you want me to continue?
“ATTORNEY DAVID A. BERSTEIN:
“Yeah, are there any other expenses that have been directed toward correcting what has been done by Bad Biz Finder?
“Since February of this year, 2009, we have increased our advertising budget in an effort to counter react the losses we were experiencing. I estimate that to be about 10% of our clientele, and that was an additional $10,000 a month, approximately, sometimes $12,000, for a total of $40,000 through the first of this month, June 1st.”
61. With that, the Court granted Defendant Parsa Law a judgment against Baldwin in the amount of $604,515.66 and signed the Permanent Injunction. The Court Reporter’s Transcript documented that the Court signed the Default Judgment with Permanent Injunction with knowledge it was unconstitutionally void for vagueness, overbroad, violated Baldwin’s due process rights and was an unconstitutional prior restraint of Baldwin’s protected speech about matters of public concern:
“”JUDGE FRANZ E. MILLER: Now, if Ms. Baldwin chooses to seek the guidance of the Court as to what is permissible or not permissible under this injunction so as to fashion something that protects her free speech right while preventing her from making libelous defamatory statements, I would invite her to do so.”
62. The permanent injunction was not only unconstitutional, but by its vagueness, placed Baldwin in a prejudicial position to easily violate the injunction. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Hill v. Colorado, 530 U.S. 703, 732 (2000), ruled on this issue rendering the permanent injunction void ab initio, if “It fails to provide ‘a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice of what is prohibited, or is so standardless that it authorizes or encourages seriously discriminatory enforcement’.”
63. In eBay Inc. v. MercExchange L.L.C 547 U.S. 388 (2006), the United States Supreme Court set forth and considered its “traditional four-factor test historically employed by courts of equity,” to wit, that a Baldwin must demonstrate four things prior to the permanent injunction issuing:
a. That Baldwin has suffered an irreparable injury;
b. That remedies available at law; such as monetary damages, are inadequate to compensate for that injury;
c. That considering the balance of hardships between the parties, a remedy in equity is warranted; and
d. that the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction.
64. The Court failed to identify and list in the Permanent Injunction any specific statements it found defamatory, therefore, what constituted “unprotected speech,” to justify the extraordinary measure of permanently enjoining a journalist’s speech. Further comments from Judge Miller are memorialized in the June 2, 2009 Court Reporter’s Transcript as follows:
“Certainly free speech rights are possessed by individuals who chose to speak anonymously. The question here, however, is whether or not Ms. Baldwin, in the guise of Bad Biz Finder knowingly made false statements about Parsa Law Group, and the Court finds besides the fact that Bad Biz Finder is clearly making great efforts or Ms. Baldwin is making great efforts to remain anonymous allows the court to make the inference that she is knowingly making false statements with the intent to injure Parsa Law Group.
“I’m not going to hash it out statement by statement, but there are a number of the statements while they are not very nice might be posted as matters of opinion, but many of them purport to state facts which Mr. Parsa has just testified, and I believe him, are untrue about alleged criminal acts, fraudulent business practices, et cetera, and that’s how the Court reaches its conclusion.
[Which ones? The Court never identified, documented or listed in the body of the injunction the statements that formed the basis of his decision to permanently enjoin the “protected speech” of a journalist reporting on matters of public concern.]
“So, Ms. Baldwin, having had the opportunity to come out of hiding and give the Court her opinion on this matter, opted not to, which is her right, but on the face of the evidence here it’s overwhelming that the statements were libelous both in the general sense and the trade libel sense. …
[Baldwin “came out of hiding” twice prior to the June 2, 2009 hearing: She filed an Opposition to Defendant Parsa Law’s Request for TRO and again on May 28, 2009 on which date she filed a Motion to Set Aside the Default Judgment.” In light of these facts, Judge Miller did not have jurisdiction to enter Baldwin’s Default.]
“So, in any event, the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that Bad Biz Finder and Erin K. Baldwin – Oh, suggestions have been made, although I’m not sure under oath by anyone, that Beverly Sullivan is an aka of Erin Baldwin.
[Response from Defendant Parsa Law Attorney David Berstein: “Yeah. We’re not exactly sure. We believe her to be an aka, but we know the real person to be Beverly – or Erin K. Baldwin.”]
[On the date Judge Miller signed a Default Judgment against Baldwin in the amount of $604,515.66 and permanently enjoined her speech, he had no idea whether she was a defendant in the action, or not.]
[Six weeks later in his tentative ruling denying her Motion to Set Aside the Default Judgment and Dissolve the Permanent Injunction, Judge Miller stated: “Not clear if Baldwin has any authority to appear on behalf of Bad Biz.”]
“Okay. What I’m going to do is then enter judgment against Bad Biz Finder and Erin K. Baldwin aka Beverly Sullivan. If, in fact, you find that — something to the effect that Beverly Sullivan is indeed a separate person, you can bring an action to amend your judgment accordingly.
“If you find out later on that Beverly Sullivan is the real name, true name, of Erin K. Baldwin, again, I think you can probably amend, if necessary. But at this point judgment will be against Bad Biz Finder and Erin K. Baldwin aka Beverly Sullivan for Trade Libel and Defamation.”
65. On June 2, 2009, Defendant Turner mailed to Baldwin her rejected fee waiver. Baldwin received in on June 4, 2009, fixed the errors, then faxed it back. The fee waiver was granted two days after the Default Judgment was entered and Judge Miller stated the reason on the record:
66. On July 13, 2009, Baldwin traveled by bus to file a Reply to Baldwin’s Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Set Aside Default, etc. scheduled for July 14, 2009. At the same time she personally visited Department C-14 and requested information from Defendant Turner about how to appear telephonically for the July 14, 2009 hearing since Baldwin did not have sufficient funds to return by bus again the next day. Baldwin was instructed to coordinate the participation through Court Call in the morning at 888-882-6878 or visit http://www.courtcall.com for more information. Defendant Turner did not instruct Baldwin that she would need a printout of the fee waiver approval from the Department even though Defendant Turner knew that it was required to appear telephonically.
67. Baldwin contacted Court Call to make the arrangements and was asked to fax a written acknowledgment that the Court had approved the fee waiver. Since Baldwin had only hours earlier appeared personally in Department C-14 and had not been provided with said acknowledgment, she telephoned Defendant Turner and requested that she provide an authorization to Court Call on Baldwin’s behalf. Defendant Turner informed Baldwin that she would have to travel back to the Court to pick it up and then fax it herself. Baldwin explained that she had just spent her last few dollars traveling to the Court to file the Reply and to inquire how to appear telephonically the next day. Defendant Turner refused to assist Baldwin stating: “This is a court of law, we don’t do favors.” Consequently, Baldwin was unable to appear.
68. Also, on July 13, 2009, the Court stated in its tentative ruling preceding the hearing on Baldwin’s Motion to Set Aside the Default:
“Although Defendant’s Motion was timely brought it is unclear if Baldwin has any authority to appear for Bad Biz.”
69. Accordingly, the Court did not consider Baldwin’s arguments. However, six weeks prior to this tentative ruling, on June 2, 2009, the Court was so sufficiently clear that Baldwin had the authority to appear for Bad Biz, that it assigned sole liability to Baldwin for a $604,515.66 default judgment and permanently enjoined her speech.
70. On July 14, 2009, the Court completely disregarded Baldwin’s arguments in opposition to the June 2, 2009 Default Judgment with Permanent Injunction. In her papers, Baldwin, having been recognized by the Court as a Defendant in this action on June 2, 2009, initiated her Motion to Set Aside the Default with: “As Defendant in this action, we request that the Court set aside the default in this case.” The Court denied Defendant’s Motion to Set Aside the Default Judgment.
71. Bad Biz Finder has always been referred to as an “unknown business entity” in the Parsa Defamation Case and as such, could not be served with a Summons and Complaint. On May 27, 2009, Defendant BKGG, dismissed all causes of action against Defendant Beverly Sullivan and Does 1-10 on May 27, 2009. Then, as stated, supra, Judge Miller stated he was unclear whether Baldwin had any authority to appear for Bad Biz Finder. If it please the Court, were there any legitimate defendants named in the Parsa Defamation Case?
72. On July 14, 2009 (the same date the Court refused to acknowledge Baldwin as a defendant in the Parsa Defamation Action), Defendant BKGG filed an application for an Order to Show Cause Re Contempt against Baldwin for allegedly violating the terms of the June 2, 2009 Default Judgment with Permanent Injunction.
73. On August 31, 2009, the Court held an OSC Re Contempt against Baldwin for her alleged intentional violations of the June 2, 2009 permanent injunction even though the terms of the injunction were so murky that even Judge Miller acknowledged as much on the date he signed the injunction:
“THE COURT: Now, if Ms. Baldwin chooses to seek the guidance of the Court as to what is permissible or not permissible under this injunction so as to fashion something that protects her free speech right while preventing her from making libelous defamatory statements, I would invite her to do so.”
[Please see “Parsa Defamation Case – Contempt” with all the facts set forth in a later blog post.] Judge Miller
74. Due to the fact that Baldwin was not timely noticed for this hearing, she did not attend. The Court ordered a bench warrant for her arrest (with a $5,000 bail), held it until September 10, 2009, then released it (but failed to serve it) on Baldwin.
75. This August 31, 2009 Orange County civil bench warrant was used to arrest and incarcerate Baldwin in a San Bernardino County correctional facility for thirty-five (35) days beginning February 25, 2010, six (6) months after the bench warrant was issued. During this period of incarceration she was not brought before an Orange County magistrate nor was she given a preliminary hearing to formally charge her with a crime. This constitutes many egregious violations of Baldwin’s constitutional rights. [Please see “Parsa Defamation Case – Contempt; Case #7,” infra, for a statement of facts pertaining specifically to the Contempt case and “Criminal Case No. FSB1000789; Case #22]
76. On August 31, 2009, on the same date Baldwin was held in contempt for continuing to defame Defendant Parsa’s “good name,” and Defendant Parsa Law’s “stellar business reputation,” Kristin Ritsema, Supervising Trial Counsel, of Defendant CSB’s Office of the Chief Trial Counsel, filed Case No. 09-C-12545, against James Mazi Parsa (CSB No. 153389) and sent a “Transmittal of Records of Conviction of Attorney” as to Defendant Parsa for “crimes involving moral turpitude,” in connection with Orange County Superior Court Case No. NB00HM06291, wherein Defendant Parsa’s was convicted of two (2) counts of unlawful sexual intercourse (California Penal Code §261.5) with minors.
77. On September 17, 2009, State Bar Court Presiding Judge JoAnn Remke ordered Defendant Parsa suspended from the practice of law effective October 16, 2009. Judge Remke also ordered Defendant Parsa to comply with Rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court, and “perform the acts specified in subdivisions (a) and (c) of that rule within 30 and 40 days, respectively, after the effective date of this suspension.” The Rule 9.20 Compliance Declaration approved by the State Bar Court Executive Committee on June 7, 2001 and revised on December 13, 2006, requires (that if ordered by the Court, as was the case with Defendant Parsa), attorneys being suspended take the following actions and declare under penalty of perjury that they have done so:
1. I notified all clients and co-counsel, in matters that were pending on the date upon which the order to comply with rule 9.20 was filed by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, of my consequent disqualification to act as an attorney after the effective date of the order of suspension/disbarment, and in those cases where I had no co-counsel, I urged the clients to seek legal advice elsewhere, calling attention to any urgency in seeking another attorney (OR) Asset that: As of the date upon which the order to comply with rule 9.20 was filed, I had no clients.
2. I delivered to all clients any papers or other property to which the clients were entitled, or notified clients and co-counsel, if any, of a suitable time and place where the papers or other property could be obtained, and called attention to any urgency for obtaining the papers or other property (OR) Assert that: As of the date upon which the order to comply with rule 9.20 was filed, I had no papers or other property to which clients were entitled.
3. I refunded fees paid, any part of which had not been earned. As of the date upon which the order to comply with rule 9.20 was filed, I had earned all fees paid to me.
4. I notified all opposing counsel or adverse parties not represented by counsel in matters that were pending on the date upon which the order to comply with rule 9.20 was filed by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, of my disqualification to act as an attorney after the effective date of my suspension, disbarment, or the Supreme Court’s acceptance of my resignation, and filed a copy of my notice to opposing counsel/adverse parties with the court, agency or tribunal before which litigation was pending for inclusion in its files. As of the date upon which the order to comply with rule 9.20 was filed, I did not represent any clients in pending matters.
78. On October 8, 2009, Defendant Parsa’s wife, Deborah Parsa sued him for divorce via Orange County Superior Court Case No. 09D009278 so that Defendant Parsa could transfer into her name the approximate amount of $11 million he had remaining in his client trust account. Defendant CSB requires that members that tender their resignation with charges pending return all monies to existing clients (See Declaration, supra) and provide a full accounting of same prior to resignation. The divorce judgment was entered on March 16, 2010.
79. On October 16, 2009, Defendant Parsa began an interim suspension post-August 31, 2009 conviction by Defendant CSB.
80. On the 40th day deadline for Defendant Parsa to comply with the rule 9.20 requirements set forth, supra, October 27, 2009, he voluntarily tendered his resignation with charges pending. By so doing, Defendant Parsa avoided his mandatory compliance with Rule 9.20. Defendant Parsa is eligible to return to the practice of law in less than a month, on October 16, 2011. Due to the fact that Defendant Parsa was charged with an offense of moral turpitude rather than a violation of Defendant CSB’s rules of professional conduct, he is not required by Defendant CSB to make restitution to the thousands of consumers he defrauded. As well, due to the fact that Defendant Parsa put his client trust fund monies in his wife’s name, he will have a neat fund to begin his new venture.
81. In the meantime, Baldwin, that told the truth about Defendant Parsa and his business, Defendant Parsa Law Group, has an unconstitutional permanent injunction restraining her from reporting on the aforementioned fraud.
82. In addition, Baldwin has a money judgment in the amount of $604,515.66 that Defendant Parsa can attach to any monies Baldwin has or property she may acquire.
83. On August 27, 2011, in its tentative ruling on Baldwin’s Motion to Set Aside the Default Judgment and Dissolve the Permanent Injunction, the Court denied Baldwin’s Motion because her Points & Authorities contained too many pages. Baldwin withdrew her Motion and proceeded with her Section 1983 action.
84. On September 2, 2009 Baldwin filed an Appeal of the June 2, 2009 Default Judgment with Permanent Injunction.
[Please see “Parsa Defamation Case – Appeal with all the facts set forth in a later blog post.]
85. On March 24, 2011, Baldwin filed a Writ of Mandate with the Court of Appeal Re Judicial Disqualification.
[Please see ” Parsa Defamation Case – Writ of Mandate with all the facts set forth in a later blog post.]
86. On June 6, 2011, Baldwin removed the Parsa Defamation Case to district court pursuant to federal question jurisdiction.
[Please see ” Parsa Defamation Case – Removal to District Court” with all the facts set forth in a later blog post.]
87. On August 16, 2011, Baldwin filed the herein Complaint to remedy the issues contained within this complaint and the thirty-one (31) others to follow.
88. Defendants associated with this action brought this case with unclean hands and have demonstrated bad faith throughout the litigation of this case. Pursuant to the Doctrine of Unclean Hands, Defendant Parsa Law is not entitled to obtain relief due to the fact that it acted unethically and in bad faith with respect to the subject of this Complaint. Defendant Parsa Law’s sole and malicious objective in this litigation was and is to circumvent liability for its illegal actions by extinguishing Defendant’s freedom of speech that acts as a public service to expose Defendant Parsa Law’s illegal actions and does so for the protection and welfare of consumers.
89. In violation of California Code of Civil procedure §128.5, Defendant Parsa Law presented a Complaint and other pleadings and papers to the Court in bad faith and did so for an improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation. The claims, defenses, and other legal contentions within this Complaint are not warranted by existing law and, indeed, comprise a frivolous argument.
90. Baldwin asserts that Defendant Parsa Law’s actions herein constitute violations of her Constitutional rights as well as state law violations incorporated herein by supplementary jurisdiction.
91. On August 30, 2011, in his tentative ruling, Judge Miller denied Baldwin’s Motion to Vacate the Default Judgment with Permanent Injunction solely because the Memorandum of Points & Authorities had too many pages. Baldwin withdrew her motion.
92. Although Baldwin was never served with Defendant Parsa’s Motion to Dismiss, the docket in this matter states that a hearing on said Motion to Dismiss was scheduled in this case for October 18, 2011. When Baldwin called the clerk to inquire about this, the clerk stated: “A judgment has never been entered in this case; that is why it is set for a Motion to Dismiss.” The clerk could not find that the Permanent Injunction and Default Judgment had ever been filed in this case.