Dr. James A., PhD, Paralegal
Liberals are doing everything they can to stop Trump. Recently, a lawsuit was conveniently refiled from another jurisdiction outside of New York state by an anonymous person claiming Trump raped “her” at a party hosted by Jeff Epstein, a convicted sex offender. Ironically, the liberal media never mentioned that Bill has been a frequent guest of Epstein. Trump had once been to a single event hosted by Epstein in Florida (not even the state where the allege rape “occurred”), and immediately left and never attended another one.
However, the media is planning on utilizing this lawsuit in a manner of what philosophy dubs a “straw man” fallacy. The straw man fallacy is where your opponent creates a false caricature of you as if it’s your belief, action, or statement, and then attacks the caricature as if the straw man is really you, and claims victory for successfully attacking it. This is what this lawsuit is. I’m going to explain some legal proceedings that shed a little more light on this as well to further prove my point because most of the time, the public is in abject ignorance about how court systems work (which is one reason why we have so many riots against police).
First, the lawsuit was initially filed in another state and dismissed. It has been refiled in New York which does not have jurisdiction over the case. One has to wonder why a judge would even permit it to be refiled in another state. But of course, New York has already proven that its political figures will attack Trump (NY Attorney General, for example). Furthermore, the statute of limitations for this case has been exceeded by several years. I am surprised the judge even allowed it to be filed, but sometimes, the court doesn’t catch that right away until another party raises the issue. Most people think a judge reads every complaint, and that’s just not true. Most of them are skimmed over and filed by clerks or other judicial assistants. In fact, many attorneys can simply take a document to court and use the clerks electronic stamping machine and have the clerk open a docket file for it. And there you have it, Trump raped someone because a lawyer drafted a complaint and stamped a docket number on it.
Secondly, the case was dismissed for failing to state an actionable claim. Liberals are claiming that it was dismissed on a “technicality” which is highly unlikely. When a pro se lawsuit is filed, judges are bound to “construe liberally” the plaintiffs lawsuit (Haines v Kerner, 404 US 519 (1972)). In other words, because a pro se litigant often lacks the legal expertise, the judge does not hold a pro se plaintiff to the same standards. This means it is more likely that the case was dismissed on more than just “technical” grounds. Perhaps alleging that the event occurred in an abandoned house was part of the problem.
Thirdly, many people are not aware of how a lawsuit actually works. When a lawsuit is filed, after it is reviewed, it goes through the “pleadings stage”. The case does not normally get dismissed sua sponte (on the courts own initiative) when a lawyer files the case as opposed to pro se cases where the judge normally rules under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) that the case has failed to state a claim on which relief can be granted. Most of these cases survive the initial pleading stages when just the minimal requirements of pleadings are met. That’s NOT a big deal. It’s how the system works.
Where most cases get the boot, is when the defendant in a case files to summarily dismiss the case by filing a motion for summary judgment (FRCP 56) or motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12 ( (b) or (c)). But first, we need to explain the difference between matters of fact, and matters of law. A matter of fact is something that a jury decides. A matter of law is what a judge decides. A matter of law would be something like whether or not the state has a provision that makes an action a crime. For example, if I sue you for having blue hair, it would be failure to state a claim because there’s no legal provision that prohibits that (not to mention that it would be patently frivolous). However, if there were one, then there’s the question of whether the person accused actually had blue hair, which would be a matter of fact. If the facts are disputed, then any material facts in dispute must be heard by a jury. This doesn’t mean that the facts are true, it just means that any fact that is relevant to proving a particular element of a legal allegation must be heard by a jury if there is a disagreement among the parties about the facts (some of those factual contentions are minimized even further toward trial preparations as the Rules of Evidence have additional requirements for evidentiary standards of documents and witnesses).
Sometimes factual denials and admissions are done at the pleading stage. The court usually gives the defendant 30 days to file an “Answer” once the lawsuit is served by a service process (either by a process server or sheriff). In that Answer, the defendant will categorically admit or deny the numbered paragraphs in the complaint. Any facts not disputed are normally deemed admitted. Some facts also are materialized through the “discovery” process which uses written interrogatories, production of documents, and depositions.
Once all of these stages are completed, the judge orders pretrial proceedings. Time does not permit me to get into the details about that, but that’s where preparation begins for a trial if it makes it that far, and a tentative trial schedule and deadlines for pre-trial motions are established.
Now here’s the rub. This lawsuit was filed within 30 days of the election. The plaintiff KNEW that Trump’s lawyers have 30 days to respond. It would be virtually impossible to submit an Answer (any Answer worth its legal salt) to the complaint in a shorter amount of time. My guess is the lawsuit probably will not last the year out, or will be dismissed shortly. However, the plot of the plaintiff’s lawyer (and likely the political enemies of Trump behind him) was to simply make the allegation, get it on record, and use it as a political straw man to attack Trump with during the remaining days of the election.
I will revisit this issue in greater detail later this week, and with links to the original complaint and current complaint. In all the years I’ve been involved in criminal and civil litigation, this is another case that smells like manure, and I sincerely hope that Team Trump asks the court for sanctions against the attorney for the plaintiff for filing a malicious lawsuit for political purposes.
Please see my recent article on Why I’m Still Voting For Trump In Spite of the Trump Tapes