Tuesday, October 31, 2006

City Law Department disobeying the Law

I have rarely felt so outraged at the City Government which is supposed to serve the people. When we filed the Police Lawsuit asking the City to provide enough police to protect the public we also filed questions, which are known as interrogatories, that the City is required to answer in 45 days.

That 45 days came and went, I called the City's lawyer Mark Sweeney who said he'd get back to me. He had an underling, Dave Sterritt, call me back to request an additional month to answer the questions. We plaintiffs agreed to let them have that extra time, and asked them to memorialize this in an email. After waiting a few days, I called them back and they informed us they were just going to ignore the Rules of Civil Procedure and not answer the interrogatories.

How are citizens supposed to feel when the government repeatedly ignores its own rules? What if we decided we didn't want to send in our taxes when required? Or get inspections for our cars? Why do they get to pick and choose the rules to follow, but we have to follow them all or face the consequences.

Anyway, it turns out there is a remedy for this, which I'm sure they knew, but they just want to take advantage of the fact that we are not lawyers. Here it is:


1)Defendant City of Boston has not answered the Interrogatories served on the Defendant on August 25, 2006 by the Suffolk County Sheriff

2) On October 25, 2006 Plaintiff Kevin McCrea called counsel for the Defendant Mark Sweeney to request the answers to interrogatories. Counsel seemed genuinely surprised to discover they were due and asked to get back to Mr. McCrea the next day.

3) On October 26, 2006 counsel for the Defendant Dave Sterritt (sp?) called Mr. McCrea and requested an extra 30 days or so until December 1, 2006 to answer the interrogatories. Mr. McCrea granted this request with the proviso that he needed to check with his co-plaintiffs. He asked Attorney Sterritt to memorialize this agreement in an email.

4) After receiving no response from Defendant, Mr. McCrea called Attorney Sterritt on October 30, 2006. Mr. McCrea let Attorney Sterritt know that the plaintiffs would allow the Defendant until December 1st.

5) Attorney Sterritt then informed Mr. McCrea this is like a "chess match" and that he and the defendant would not be following the Rules of Civil Procedure, and that they would not be answering the interrogatories at all. Mr. McCrea pointed out that he would be violating the rules of Civil Procedure, and that maybe a complaint to the Board of Bar Overseers would be warranted. Attorney Sterritt said he was just “doing what his bosses told him to do.”

6) Rule 33 says as follows:

3) Answers; Final Request for Answers. Each interrogatory shall be answered separately and fully in writing under the penalties of perjury, unless it is objected to, in which event the reasons for objection shall be stated in lieu of the answer; each answer or objection shall be preceded by the interrogatory to which it responds. The answers are to be signed by the person making them, the objections by the person or attorney making them. The party upon whom the interrogatories have been served shall serve answers and objections, if any, within 45 days after the service of the interrogatories. The court may, on motion with or without notice, specify a shorter or longer time. Unless otherwise specified, further answers to interrogatories shall be served within 30 days of the entry of the order to answer further. The interrogating party may move for an order under Rule 37(a) with respect to any objection to or other failure to answer an interrogatory. Alternatively, for failure to serve timely answers or objections to interrogatories (or further answers, as the case may be), the interrogating party may serve a final request for answers, specifying the failure. The final request for answers shall state that the interrogating party may apply for final judgment for relief or dismissal pursuant to paragraph 4 in the event that answers or objections are not timely received. The party upon whom the interrogatories have been served shall serve the answers or objections either within 30 days from the date of service of the final request or prior to the filing of an application for a final judgment for relief or dismissal, whichever is later.

(4) Application for Final Judgment; Affidavit. In the event that answers or objections have not been received and after the expiration of 40 days from the date of service of the final request for answers, or such further time as the parties may agree upon in writing or the court may allow, the interrogating party may file a written application for entry of final judgment for relief or dismissal. The period of time set forth in the previous sentence shall be deemed to include the three day period allowed pursuant to Rule 6(d). The application must be accompanied by a copy of the final request for answers and an affidavit containing the following information:

a. the date and manner in which interrogatories were served on the party against whom relief is sought;

b. the fact that the 45-day time period for service of answers or objections has expired, and no answers have been received;

c. the date and manner in which the final request for answers was served;

d. the fact that the 40-day time period for answers or objections after a final request for answers has expired, and that no answers or objections have been received; and

e. that the party now applies for final judgment for relief or dismissal.

7) Plaintiff formally requests their interrogatories to be answered in accordance with rule 33 in 30 days. If not, they will request final judgment in the case.

8) Since Defendant used deceit in agreeing to answer the interrogatories, and then reneging on that promise without informing the Plaintiff, Plaintiff considers that the 30 day waiting period for the Interrogatories to be answered should be started on October 27, the day after Defendants agreed to answer the Interrogatories. If Defendants had been honest with the Plaintiffs on October 26 and informed Plaintiffs they had no intention of answering the interrogatories, Plaintiffs would have filed this request on October 27. Therefore, Defendants have until November 27, 2006 to answer the interrogatories.

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