So Sue Me
I was confused when speaking with a delegate last weekend who informed me that a delegate attempted to move an emergency resolution at convention that was to instruct Executive Council to drop its' lawsuit against me. I thought the delegate telling me this was confused since I have sued the TWU for wrongful dismissal and, to my knowledge, have not been sued by the TWU for anything. As it turns out, both the delegate at convention and the delegate on the phone with me had it right. From the Executive Council's January meeting minutes:
Whereas the labourtalk website in an anti-union forum; and Whereas membes of the TWU EC have been publicly defamed on that website by a former member; now THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the TWU fund a legal suit that will be brought before a former member for defamation of character M/S
MOTION to go into closed meeting per 2c 1:52 p.m.
MOTION to come out of closed meeting 2:32 p.m.
On the main motion
M/S/C Opposed - Sister Schneider
So, apparently, Bobby is the only person who understands that speaking the truth is a compete defence to defamation. Maybe the Union's lawyer explained that to them when they tried to launch the lawsuit. Apparently, this great use of the members' money (suing me) was in response to this post that I made on labourtalk. I repeat it here because I know many of you don't go to that site:
Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:24 pm Post subject: I am pissed
During the first part of the examination for discovery in my lawsuit against the TWU, John Carpenter declared several "undertakings". This is quite normal and I will probably do the same when I go through my examination. Basically, what it means is that you undertake to get back with information that you don't have available at that instance. So, it might be that you need to consult some other person or consult a document. Whatever. Like I said, apparently it's quite normal for this process. At any rate, we had scheduled the resumption of the discovery (which had commenced on December 1st) for January 19th. John Carpenter indicated that he would have no problems fulfilling his undertakings by that time and we could get on with this lawsuit.
One would think one could fulfill such a commitment, given that's over seven weeks to do what one said one was going to do, right? Well I guess not if the "one" is one John Carpenter. The union's lawyer e-mailed my lawyer after 4:00 p.m. today to advise that his "client" is having difficulties completing the undertakings before January 19th and requested that the process be delayed until "sometime in February." Unfortunately, the union's lawyer is on vacation through the month of February. My lawyer has suggested March 4, 5 or 6th as possible dates. I have advised him that this would fall during the TWU Convention. I have also advised my lawyer that maybe we should just suggest to the TWU lawyer that his "client" do what he said he was going to do.
Apparently, the union's strategy on this lawsuit is to drag it out as long as is possible. Or maybe that's just John Carpenter's strategy. At any rate, it is infuriating. The December 1st date had originally supposed to have occurred on November 14th. It was delayed to accommodate John Carpenter's busy schedule. John Carpenter's busy schedule also precipitated his own lawyer sending a copy of a letter to my lawyer in July wherein he "again" (by cc) asks Carpenter to call him to discuss this matter.
I invite anyone on this site that is still connected to send this information to delegates with the hope that someone will have the balls to stand up on the Convention floor and ask the TWU Executive just why they wish to drag their heels on this matter. I am more than willing to share all documentation that I've got with a delegate or delegates for that express purpose. I am sure that there might be some members of the Executive who recognize that whenever I get to testify (let's hope it's in this decade!), it is not likely to be pretty for the TWU. I hope that there's at least a couple smart enough to recognize that delaying this matter endlessly isn't apt to make that testimony any prettier. To compound matters, I have a case before the Human Rights Commission that has been accepted which also keeps getting delayed because all parties agreed that we would wait until the discovery portion of the lawsuit was completed before proceeding with the human rights complaint. I agreed to that, of course, before I knew that the discovery portion of the lawsuit was going to take a year to complete. As an aside, the union is using a BC lawyer to defend itself against the Alberta Human Rights Commission complaint, a different lawyer than they are using for the lawsuit. What with all this and asinine Supreme Court challenges, it appears that the union has an unlimited legal budget. But I digress....
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the matters discussed during the examination for discovery are confidential. I do not believe the confidentiality extends to the antics surrounding just trying to schedule the meetings to do the examination.
Speaking of antics, if I was a member paying my hard-earned union dues to the TWU, I'd be asking what Ivana Niblett was doing in Edmonton on December 1st and checking to make sure she didn't file a per diem. Why would you ask this, you say? Well, my lawyer received a phone call from the union's lawyer a short while before the examination was set to begin asking if it would be okay if Ivana sat in and watched. We declined the offer. As I said to my lawyer that day, I always found Ivana's field trips with John to be an irritant when I was in office. Surely to God, the members in Calgary might have concerns that needed to be addressed. Or maybe the Education Committee had some work that needed doing. Whatever. Do either John or Ivana consider that before they jump in the car and drive off wildly in all directions?
If I were a member paying my hard-earned union dues, I'd be questioning the value the TWU got that day as Ivana sat in the Edmonton office waiting for John. Or what value they would have gotten having her sit in my lawyer's office staring at our proceedings. Or what sort of value they are getting from a Vice President who can't seem to honour his work commitments.=unquote
Here's the irony. The last portion of discovery was scheduled for April 7th. We scheduled that at the end of the January 19th meeting where I underwent my examination for discovery. On March 20th, I received an e-mail from my lawyer advising that John Carpenter had requested this be rescheduled because "a CIRB commitment has come up that creates a conflict for John Carpenter." I responded to my lawyer that John Carpenter created his own conflict because he would have been fully aware when booking his CIRB commitment that he was already booked for April 7th. I suggested that my lawyer tell the TWU's lawyer that John Carpenter is not the only person who can represent the TWU at the CIRB, nor is he the only individual that can represent the TWU in the proceedings regarding my lawsuit. The response we got from the TWU lawyer was that John Carpenter had to attend the CIRB hearings. He didn't explain why John didn't bother to indicate he was already booked for the 7th on another matter when the CIRB meetings were being scheduled. We indicated we wished to proceed on the 7th. The response we got was that nobody else could represent the TWU at the CIRB and that John would not be attending the meeting we have scheduled for the 7th. It has been rescheduled to the 27th.
Now, if me complaining about the endless delays in this matter triggered Executive Council passing a motion to sue me for stating what is all completely true, I can't wait to see what this post today generates.
It occurs to me, also, that the TWU has taken a page out of the corporation's (pick any corporation - Telus, Canada Post, etc.) handbook. If someone is saying something you don't like, even if it's true, sue them. It even has a name: litigation chill. Sadly, though it should really come as a surprise to nobody, I am not afraid of being sued for recounting facts. Not in the least. I also think there's some sort of provision in the court system to hold TWU account for any frivolous or vexatious lawsuits. They might have been warned about that by their lawyer, also, when he explained that you can't successfully sue someone for defamation when the individual is telling the truth. And has documentary evidence (including above-mentioned letter from the union's lawyer) to back up their statements.
I'm sure that everyone would agree that this is a fantastic use of members' hard-earned dues money. Not.
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