Slabbed updates Louisiana v Gates as the day of reckoning draws near

Anyone that has kept up with the saga of vexatious litigant Shane Gates and his crusade against the St Tammany Parish legal system to avoid standing trial for his DWI arrest understand the multitude of lawsuits Gates has filed against the Judges in St Tammany Parish as well as the Sheriff, DA and State Attorney General represent abuses of process that will end badly for both the boy and his Daddy/Lawyer Daniel “Danny” Abel. The latest twist occurred last August when Gates and Abel sued St Tammany Parish Judge Richard Swartz to conflict him out of the Gates criminal case and derail the scheduled prosecution. With every judge in the 22nd JDC conflicted out due to civil lawsuits filed by Gates against them, Ad Hoc Judge Walter Rothschild was brought in to hear the case. The Advocate covered the series of hearings held last November and in a story published on November 16, 2013 well conveyed the jackassery:

Three times this week defense attorney Danny Abel tried to get St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Walter Reed recused from cases Abel is defending, and three times Ad Hoc Judge Walter Rothschild denied the motions.

Abel – who has filed a long and eye-popping list of legal claims alleging shenanigans in the St. Tammany justice system – was in court for hearings on two misdemeanor cases and one felony trial he is defending. In each case, Abel has alleged that Reed’s office is pursuing the prosecution either out of racism or despite conflicts of interest.

Rothschild wasn’t buying any of Abel’s claims, however, repeatedly telling the pugnacious lawyer that nothing he presented backed up his claims. At one point, Rothschild admonished Abel for repeatedly accusing the District Attorney’s Office of fraud, saying that making the allegation in the absence of any evidence was irresponsible.

Rothschild – who was hearing the various matters because all of the judges in the 22nd Judicial District have recused themselves – also refused to compel Reed to testify in response to subpoenas issued by Abel. He told Abel that he couldn’t subpoena Reed until he had given Reed a hearing to fight the subpoena’s issuance.

“You can’t put the cart before the horse.” the increasingly exasperated Rothschild said. He also denied a motion to change the venue of one of the misdemeanor trials, which will be tried without a jury. “I am trying this case; it doesn’t matter where I am trying it. Your client will get a fair trial,” Rothschild said.

In August, a federal judge ordered Abel to pay the legal expenses for St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain, whom Abel had sued on behalf of a woman who claimed the Sheriff’s Office had kept religious items it seized from her home in a 2008 raid. The suit was very similar to a second one, and U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance ruled that the woman’s lawyers “unreasonably and vexatiously multiplied the proceedings.”

My review of the docket in Gates last suit filed against St Tammany Parish Judge Richard Swartz revealed that Team Gates belatedly began serving process in the suit, filed in the Middle District of Louisiana, in late November just days before the 120 deadline for serving process expired and that a return was never filed for Judge Swartz, who had previously moved to dismiss the case due to a failure of Abel to serve process and/or to have it consolidated with the lawsuits filed by Gates in the Louisiana Eastern District against Sheriff Strain and St Tammany Parish officialdom.

Chris Yount / Slabbed New Media File Photo

Worth noting in sidebar is that Abel’s in house process server, Chris Yount must have had quite the time serving the lawsuit on the Louisiana Attorney General because his drivers license has been suspended for failure to pay his Louisiana Income taxes. Additionally Yount used 160 Metairie Lawn Drive as his address on the returns in Gates v Swartz despite the fact Slabbed’s private investigator has indicated to Slabbed that the structure at that address is “uninhabitable”. Court records in a Mississippi lawsuit to which Yount is a defendant indicate this address is undeliverable for US Mail. I have more coming on Yount including a massive IRS Income Tax Lien to go with the unpaid Louisiana Income Taxes.

In any event on November 15, 2013 Judge Brady of the Louisiana Middle District transferred Gates v Swartz to the Louisiana Eastern District and Chief Judge Sarah Vance’s courtroom.

The days when Gates’ lawsuits against St Tammany Parish Judges were being openly celebrated on the courthouse steps by Mr. Abel and Belinda Parker Brown of the special interest group Louisiana United International are now a distant memory as reality has begun to set in.  On January 13, 2014 Gates lawyer Daniel Abel tried getting a six month extension to answer the multitude of procedural challenges citing the fact he was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer as the reason.  He attached a letter from his doctor as proof.  Judge Vance gave him 6 week instead and set a hearing for February 26, 2014 observing, “This will provide counsel with ample time to enroll additional counsel and respond to defendants’ motions.”

Ironically that date, February 26, 2014 is the exact deadline Judge Vance gave Mr. Abel to pay his court ordered sanctions or face a contempt citation from his conduct of Martin v Magee. That ought to be a happening day in section R.

As Ambrose Bierce famously explained well over 100 years ago, “There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don’t know”, the practice of filing multiple, vexatious, frivolous lawsuits to harass, defame and conflict out Judges is not a new legal plan and it happens more than one would think. Just a month ago a Louisville TeeVee station ran a story about a local that filed multiple, frivolous lawsuits:

In November, Louisville resident Edward Flint filed a lawsuit against the publisher and top editors of The Courier-Journal, claiming they had ignored his allegations of corruption by local judges and public officials – and that the newspaper executives were part of a cover-up.

The newspaper is only the most recent of Flint’s legal targets. Since 2007, he has filed more than two dozen lawsuits in Jefferson Circuit Court and U.S. District Court, against Target, Meijer, his St. Matthews-area condo association, Gov. Steve Beshear and at least 14 judges, among others.

Acting as his own lawyer — called “pro se” in legal language — Flint has filed so many questionable lawsuits that former Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Martin McDonald last year ordered that Jefferson circuit and district court clerks no longer accept lawsuits filed by Flint without first getting permission from a judge.

I would imagine a lawyer that does this would be treated even more harshly because a lawyer should know better but this part is still unfolding in the case of Gates and his daddy.

Stay tuned.

11 thoughts on “Slabbed updates Louisiana v Gates as the day of reckoning draws near”

  1. Seriously, how long can an attorney practice openly, knowingly and intentionally in this manner before serious, meaningful discipline is handed out?

    1. One would agree with that assessment per Rothschild, but as a general rule how often do you see a court slap down a connected attorney?

    1. That is the conundrum. Retired jurists may also have someone in the wings in need of funding for a friends & family plan, Ada. So the judge makes a decision, the plaintiffs hope they can get it overturned on appeal, and meanwhile someone cashes in the green stamps.

        1. Speaking of which, “no bs” is a term frequently applied to Judge Vance.

          Worth noting is St Tammany Parish DA Reed, for all his faults, never attempted to try the Gates DWI in the media.

  2. Ada is spot on. Wally Rothschild is a no nonsense kind of guy who could care less if he pisses off the plaintiffs or the defendants. While he may have ruled against me on some issues in the past, I always had the utmost of respect for him as a man and as a jurist. The Supreme Court could not have appointed a better ad hoc.

    1. I’ll do you one better, in a crim case, he jammed the prosecution into offering a timed sentence on someone otherwise facing life, but my client/perp rolled the dice & lost. Got to admire a judge who is not afraid of a disabled attorney.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *