Brad Mathewson's lawsuit against the Webb City R-7 School District has been assigned to an outside mediator.
According to documents filed in the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, the case was selected for inclusion in the court's Early Assessment Program.
After the two sides have filed their pleadings in the case, they will have 15 days to choose a neutral mediator and file that mediator's name, address, and telephone number with the court. The school district, Mathewson, and the mediator will collectively determine how the cost of the mediator's services will be paid. If the two parties cannot agree on a mediator, the court will prove them with a list of possible mediators, then they will have 10 days to pick one or risk having one appointed by the Early Assessment Program's administrator, Magistrate Judge James C. England.
The Early Assessment Program is designed to allow parties to "confront the facts and issues in their case before engaging in expensive and time-consuming discovery procedures," according to the general order that began the program.
It allows the parties to consider each other's views, discuss the issues, consider the costs and try to settle the case before added costs make settlement more difficult, and lets them consider other means of solving the dispute.
The program is designed to help parties in a legal action to "identify areas of agreement and explore the possibility of settling the case through mediation techniques."
Mediation sessions will be held either in meeting space at a U. S. Courthouse, or in some other location selected by the administrator or mediator.
What happens in the mediation sessions should remain secret, the rules say, and cannot be used in any future court case should the mediation effort fail. Participants cannot record the sessions or use private reporters to take down proceedings unless all parties agree.
Mathewson, for those who have not been paying attention recently, is the 16-year-old Webb City High School junior who filed a lawsuit against the R-7 School District, claiming R-7 officials violated his First Amendment rights, when they would not allow him to wear gay pride T-shirts or T-shirts from the Gay/Straight Alliance chapter which he was a member of while attending high school at Fayetteville, Ark., last year.
Another local case has also been placed in the Early Assessment Program, though details of that case have not been publicized and are not yet available. Documents issued by the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri earlier this week indicate that the lawsuit filed by former Newton County Jail prisoner Oscar Alvarez against lame duck Sheriff Ron Doerge has also been placed in that program.
This would appear to be another indication that the Alvarez lawsuit is not one of the typical jailhouse cases filed against every sheriff in the United States. As indicated earlier in The Turner Report, the Alvarez case was not filed by Alvarez himself or by a public defender, as is usually the case in these prisoner lawsuits, but was filed by a high-powered litigation firm from Springfield.
The flurry of legal activity surrounding the Newton County sheriff, including the Alvarez case and apparent ongoing investigations by the Missouri Ethics Commission and the Attorney General's office, now features another lawsuit.
A man named Stanley Paul Smith has filed a lawsuit against Doerge in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, but Doerge is far from the only defendant named. Also included are Attorney General John Ashcroft, Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt, U. S. Cellular Company, Freeman Hospitals and Healthy Systems, the City of Joplin, Joplin Mayor Phil Stinnet, Former Police Chief David Niebur, the Joplin City Council, the Missouri Division of Probation and Parole, Attorney General Jay Nixon, U. S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan, President George W. Bush, former President George Bush, Missouri Governor Bob Holden, Missouri Highway Patrol Officer Miles Parks, officials from the Social Security Administration, former CIA Director George Tenet, current CIA Director Porter Goss, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, U. S. Senators Kit Bond and Jim Ryun and a number of other officials.
Smith opens his petition by requesting nearly $1.3 billion in actual damages and more than $10.3 billion in punitive damages for "damages for illegal and unconstitutional injuries caused to (his) physical-mental health and violations of the First Amendment as well as actual property damage."
He asks for an additional $300 million apiece from Eagle Picher Industries and the U. S. Government for "lead poisoning that has caused permanent disabilities" and weakened his immune system.
Smith accused the defendants of being involved in a conspiracy. According to the lawsuit, the conspiracy started on April 27, 1995, when Smith was laying on the ground examining his son's wrecked car. He found himself unable to stand up due to "excruciating abdominal pain" caused by his non-functioning gall bladder.
He had been scheduled for gall bladder surgery earlier at Oak Hill Hospital but the surgery was canceled, he said, when the hospital canceled the surgery because it would "not accept Medicaid pending."
After Smith went on a mercy mission to drop off food to a friend who had suffered a heart attack, he determined that he should go to the hospital and demand emergency surgery.
Unfortunately, as he was heading west on 32nd Street, he was stopped by a Joplin police officer. He could not reach his wallet to get his driver's license, due to the excruciating pain, the petition said.
He asked why he had been stopped and the officer told him one of his headlights was burned out. As police backup arrived, according to the petition, Smith tried to tell the officers that he had to get to the hospital. He said he was afraid his gall bladder would rupture.
"All of his requests for immediate medical attention were ignored by all three police officers," the lawsuit said. Smith was told to lean over the trunk of his car. He said he couldn't because of the pain, but he offered to turn away from them and put his hands behind his back if the officers wanted to frisk him.
Smith claims the officers pulled their guns and aimed them at him. One Officer "came up behind him, threw him against the trunk of his car and kept slamming his abdominal area into the trunk by hitting him in the small of the back."
The lawsuit says he was beaten for 15 minutes, then told he was going to be arrested because his driver's license was not valid. An officer told Smith's wife, who was sitting in the front seat that she would have to drive. Smith said he had already told the officers his wife couldn't drive because of "ongoing psychiatric problems," as well as the fact that she didn't have a current driver's license.
Smith's son was called to come take care of Smith's wife, who was left alone, according to the lawsuit, while Smith was handcuffed and taken to the station. When he arrived there, he had to go through the booking procedures, still needing emergency medical attention.
Smith couldn't believe what was happening to him, his lawsuit said, especially since there would be no United States if his illustrious ancestor, George Washington, had stopped "when all seemed hopeless at Valley Forge."
Smith continues with allegations that hospital and police officials lied about him, being that he was known for filing lawsuits.
The lawsuit also claims that because he was unlawfully imprisoned in the state of Missouri at a later date, (You would have to see this lawsuit to believe it.) he was unable to prevent a young girl with whom he had been instant messaging from dying from cancer.
Smith also claims that the CIA has been taking money from him that he had earned in his lawsuits. The petition doesn't quite explain how they were doing this, but when conspiracies are involved, you never know.
There is no end to the people involved in this conspiracy against Smith. He concludes his lawsuit by claiming that he was delayed at a medical appointment Nov. 5 so he would not be home when his mail is delivered. (Don't you just hate it when that happens?)
Smith's detailing of that last incident also reveals the final member of the all-encompassing conspiracy. "Smith wonders who stole what important piece of mail this time. Smith's son, Jeremy Smith, is believed to be one of the culprits involved in taking mail."
The lawsuit would be laughable, except that taxpayer money is being used to deal with this since, of course, Smith cannot afford to do so.
The biggest conspiracy, it seems, may be against the average taxpayer.