California SLAPP Abuse Leads to Section 1983 Case
April 17, 2012 § Leave a comment
Goodman-Mooney & Myers-Lin Attorneys Try to Escape “Burkhalter” Past But Their Past is Catching Up
Former Burkhalter Attorneys, Eric J. Goodman, David A. Berstein & Nicholas D. Myers filed 3 SLAPPs and 2 contempt cases in 7 months against Journalist, Erin Baldwin, for the sole purpose of silencing the truth. They’re now getting a lesson in karma.
Journalist Erin Baldwin knew this day would come. A day when all the horrible deeds done in the name of power, greed and prestige would come back to haunt the three Burkhalter, Kessler, Goodman & George attorneys who destroyed her life, one meritless case at a time.
These attorneys, of course, are no longer with Burkhalter as a complete metamorphosis was required to flush the dirty reputation they earned actively soliciting and representing clients that made a living out of defrauding consumers in foreclosure and California tenants.
One of these clients was Parsa Law Group, indisputably the most notoriously predatory loan modification law firm in California, owned and operated by James Parsa, Alex Dastmalchi, and Burkhalter attorney, Gregory Clement, who served as its corporate attorney and agent for service of process.
With the help of Burkhalter attorneys, Eric J. Goodman, David A. Berstein and Nicholas D. Myers, James Parsa and Alex Dastmalchi stole $11 million from consumers and walked away with it all. They also concealed that James Parsa is a twice-convicted statutory rapist that never registered as a sex offender. Instead of jail, Parsa received “community service” in the same community where he was raping children.
Erin Baldwin broke the story of rapist James Parsa as a public service. She also warned consumers about the unlawful loan modification services provided by Parsa Law Group. As a result, on January 26, 2009, Burkhalter attorneys sued Erin Baldwin’s blog, Bad Biz Finder (an unknown business entity) for defamation. At no time during this case was Erin Baldwin legally added as a defendant nor was Burkhalter able to identify even one defamatory statement.
Nonetheless, because Burkhalter attorney, Eric Goodman, was a co-adjunct professor of law at Whittier Law School with OC Superior Court Judge Franz E. Miller, it mattered not that this case had no merit and that its singular objective was to silence the protected speech of Journalist, Erin Baldwin. On June 2, 2009, Judge Miller permanently enjoined Erin Baldwin’s speech without a hearing on the merits and without identifying the parties and subjects about which Baldwin was prohibited from speaking. Judge Miller also granted Parsa Law Group a default judgment in the amount of $604,515.66 even though the Burkhalter attorneys could not support its request for monetary damages.
Since Baldwin was never named as a defendant, she could not be in default nor could her speech be permanently enjoined. Erin Baldwin’s challenge now is to find a judge that will state the obvious in a court order, particularly after everything the Burkhalter attorneys did to her for the past three years. The Parsa default judgment with permanent injunction is here: Parsa Default Judgment With Permanent Injunction
One last thing about this case: It was never about Parsa Law Group; in fact, Parsa Law Group didn’t even have standing to sue. The owner and proper plaintiff was Inkor Communications, another Burkhalter client, owned by Alex Dastmalchi who worked with Senior Burkhalter Partner, Alton Burkhalter to form dozens of fraudulent loan modification shell companies (like Parsa Law Group).
The Parsa case was really in defense of the State Bar of California and California Department of Real Estate’s participation in, and liability for, hundreds of thousands of consumers losing their homes which Baldwin also reported on. However, since Baldwin was neither an attorney nor realtor, they could not take action against her directly. So, they made a deal with James Parsa: “We won’t disbar you, you can keep your $11 million; but you’re going to file a case against Erin Baldwin to prevent her from advancing her reports about the State Bar and DRE’s fraud against consumers.” James Parsa accepted the deal and paid Judge Miller a nice “incentive” out of his $11 million and the Burkhalter attorneys went to work for the State Bar and DRE.
The Burkhalter attorneys, basking in the false glory of “stopping the evil journalist defaming good, honest business owners,” set out to find more subjects of Baldwin’s report that might want to sue her. With the six-figure judgment and permanent injunction as a calling card, they filed their second SLAPP three weeks later, on June 29, 2009, on behalf of publicly-traded landlord and real estate investment trust, UDR, Inc. (NYSE:UDR). Baldwin was accurately reporting about UDR’s illegal California leases but UDR, like the State Bar and DRE, was not particularly interested in having their criminal cash flow interrupted. UDR wanted the same result as Burkhalter got for James Parsa and they were willing to pay for it.
On December 11, 2009, Judge Franz E. Miller issued his second permanent injunction against Erin Baldwin’s in the UDR defamation case; again, without identifying a single defamatory statement, without a hearing on the merits and without identifying the parties and subjects about which Baldwin was prohibited from speaking. Judge Miller also granted UDR monetary damages in the amount of $104,610.00 even though UDR failed to provide documentary evidence to substantiate same. The default judgment with permanent injunction is here: UDR Default Judgment With Permanent Injunction
Two weeks after filing the UDR case, Burkhalter attorneys Eric Goodman, David Berstein and Nicholas Myers filed their third SLAPP case for defamation against Journalist, Erin Baldwin, on behalf loan modification fraud attorneys, Jeffrey A. Cancilla and Craig M. Laverty. Once again, Judge Miller heard the case but this time the case was dismissed in favor of Baldwin on November 9, 2010.
On August 31, 2009, the same day James Parsa was suspended from the practice of law for crimes of moral turpitude, the Burkhalter attorneys filed criminal contempt charges against Erin Baldwin in the Parsa Law Group case for allegedly violating the permanent injunction. Typically, when a person is charged with a crime, the charges are brought by the District Attorney. However, Eric Goodman, David Berstein and Nicholas Myers as well as Judge Miller had a vested interest in retaining control over the case that had a permanent injunction attached to it purchased by the State Bar of California. Therefore, the Burkhalter attorneys filed criminal contempt charges on Family Law Judicial Council forms pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 1209, et seq.
Feigning concern about Journalist, Erin Baldwin’s constitutional rights as a criminal defendant, Judge Miller appointed an Orange County Public Defender, Martin F. Schwarz to “defend” her. In reality, Schwartz’s job was to convince Baldwin the contempt was civil, that she was not entitled to a jury trial, and most importantly that the injunction and judgment stayed intact. The Burkhalter attorneys posed as district attorneys and Judge Miller adjudicated a criminal case where he was the accuser.
On September 13, 2010, the contempt charges were dismissed in favor of Erin Baldwin after she had spent 35 days in jail. Public Defender Schwartz did his job – the default judgment and permanent injunction are still intact today, despite the dismissal.
On November 10, 2010, the Burkhalter attorneys filed identical contempt charges against Baldwin in the UDR case. However, this time Erin Baldwin was wiser. The UDR case is still pending.
On August 16, 2011, Erin Baldwin filed a Section 1983 Complaint that among other things sought to reinstate her First Amendment rights fraudulently terminated by the Burkhalter attorneys. They are now going to have to answer for their criminal and civil misconduct against Journalist, Erin Baldwin.
Goodman-Mooney attorneys, Eric Goodman and David Berstein; and Myers-Lin attorney, Nicholas Myers, have violated many laws and will be held accountable. They continue to try to subvert justice but the fact remains, their actions are their own.
KARMA: That which you put out will come back to you ten-fold. It’s an unavoidable law of the universe that couldn’t care less who you think you are.