Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Letter to Chief Judge Joseph P. Farina

November 3, 2008

Chief Judge Joseph P. Farina
Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida
Miami Dade County Courthouse
73 West Flagler Street
Miami, Florida 33130

Re: Judge Jeri Beth Cohen
Case No. 99-21062 CA 15
Baron’s/Lanson, et al. v. Kopplow, Cooper, Salkin, et al.

Dear Chief Judge Farina:

This is a follow-up to my October 23, 2008 letter to you regarding Judge Jeri Beth Cohen. I would like to backtrack to explain what prompted me to notify you of the transgressions of Judge Cohen in the first place. On October 14, 2008, I met with Sergeant Alois Stier, Detective Luis Robainas, and Detective Janine Robinson at the offices of the Miami-Dade Public Corruption Investigations Bureau. The reason for my meeting was to file a criminal complaint against the defendant attorneys, their counsels, and Judge Jeri Beth Cohen in the referenced action. During our meeting, the Sergeant and the Detectives asked if I had been in touch with Chief Judge Farina and/or is he aware of what is transpiring in Judge Cohen’s courtroom pertaining to this case. I answered in the negative, at which point, they suggested I contact you, so I did. Enclosed in my previous letter to you was a letter that I sent to various Federal and State Agencies; as a matter of fact you, Chief Judge Farina, were noticed as a recipient on the front page Service List of that letter.

As the Chief Judge of the Eleventh Circuit Court in and for Miami Dade County, you are charged with overseeing judicial conduct within the Eleventh Circuit. This includes correcting any judicial misconduct in violation of the Judicial Canons or any other State or Federal laws.

I need you to be aware that at the present time, I have a Civil lawsuit pending in the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida against Judge Jeri Beth Cohen, in her official capacity as well as her individual capacity under the Americans with Disabilities Act – Case No. 08-22009-civ-JORDAN. I also have a Judicial Qualifications Complaint, File Number 08411, pending against Judge Jeri Beth Cohen with the Judicial Qualifications Commission in Tallahassee, Florida. I also have met with and provided the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Miami Dade Public Corruption Investigations Bureau with documents relating to my allegations of criminal conduct on the part of Judge Jeri Beth Cohen. Judge Cohen is aware of all the steps that I have taken and will continue to take to bring her misconduct and illegal activity to the proper authorities.

I have asked Judge Cohen, three times, through Motions, to recuse herself from the case. She refuses to do so.

Chief Judge Farina, you have the entire docket of this more than nine year old case at your fingertips. I have all the transcripts of the hearings held before Judge Cohen in addition to videotapes of the last three proceedings, after I was allegedly granted accommodations at the July 14, 2008 hearing. I will provide you with the videotapes for you to see for yourself how Judge Cohen has presided over this case, which by the way, has only been since April, 2008. It will be crystal clear for you, after reviewing the attached Motion to Compel, and the videotape of the October 15, 2008 hearing (which will be provided upon your request) that Judge Cohen did not provide the accommodations requested but instead is using her “Black Robe” and her power to continue her bias/assault to further emotionally damage me, and to financially destroy all the Plaintiffs in this travesty of (in)justice lawsuit to protect unscrupulous lawyers.

I am requesting you to immediately take action and to take all necessary steps to protect my due process rights, and my Constitutional right to a fair and unbiased tribunal, and to immediately stop Judge Cohen’s conduct that is obstructing justice in order to protect attorneys, who happen to be the defendants in this lawsuit and their counsels.

I will be filing this letter with the Clerk of the Court to be made part of the public record.

Respectfully submitted,

Meryl M. Lanson, Pro Se

Enclosure: Motion to Compel, with attached Exhibits

Copies provided to those on the attached Service List, in addition to All Counsel of Record.


Special Agent Jeff Danik, FBI
Bill McCollum, Office of Attorney General
The Office of Inspector General, FDLE
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director, JQC
Michael L. Schneider, General Counsel, JQC
Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink
The Office of Inspector General, Kenneth A. Chambers
John F. Harkness, Executive Director, The Florida Bar
Theodore P. Littlewood, Jr., Esq. The Florida Bar
Detective Luis Robainas, Miami Dade Public Corruption Investigations Bureau


Motion to Compel Court to Comply



CASE NO.: 99-21062 CA 15




KOPPLOW & FLYNN, P.A., a Florida
Professional Association, MARC
a Florida Professional Association,
MALNIK & SALKIN, P.A., a Florida
Professional Association,



COMES NOW, Plaintiffs, Meryl Lanson, Pro Se, and Norman Lanson, through his undersigned counsel, and files their Motion to Compel the Court to Comply with Previous Court Orders, and further states as follows:
1. On September 13, 2005, the late Judge Manuel Crespo entered an Order Granting Defendants’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Claims of Emotional Distress, and Deferring Ruling on Claims for Reputation Damage. (Exhibit #1)
2. In its Order, the Court stated that it was deferring ruling on reputation damages until the Plaintiffs had filed their Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint to include allegations for reputation damages.
3. The Plaintiffs have requested a hearing on their Motion for Leave to File a Third Amended Complaint, but have been deprived of that hearing, as ordered by Judge Crespo. Furthermore, this Court, at the very first hearing held on April 24, 2008 said that the Second Amended Complaint was a mess and it would have to be cleaned up.
4. Plaintiffs cleaned up the “mess” and filed a Third Amended Complaint. This Court refuses to have a hearing on the Third Amended Complaint and has deprived the Plaintiffs their right to Amend pursuant to Judge Crespo’s Order and this Court’s instructions.
5. In addition, the Plaintiffs are requesting the Court to comply with Senior Judge Herbert Stettin’s February 14, 2008 signed Agreed Order reserving Plaintiffs’ right to challenge all of the Defendants’ Amended Affirmative Defenses at an evidentiary hearing. (Exhibit #2)
6. Pursuant to that Agreed Order, Plaintiff had twenty days to challenge the Amended Affirmative Defenses. On March 4, 2008, Plaintiffs challenged § 87 and § 88 of the Defendants Amended Affirmative Defenses by filing a Motion to Strike as a Sham Pleading pursuant to FRCP 1.150.
FRCP 1.150 states:
Rule 1.150 (a) contemplates a full evidentiary hearing where the parties have the opportunity to offer evidence on the issue of whether the pleading attacked alleges a cause of action or defense that is false in fact. The rule provides that “the court shall hear the motion, taking evidence of the respective parties.” Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.150(a).
7. On March 4, 2008, Plaintiffs filed “Plaintiffs’ Motion to Stay and/or for a Continuance of the Hearing on Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment as to All Claims Brought by “Baron’s Stores, Inc.,” or, in the alternative, Motion to Strike “Baron’s Stores, Inc.” as a Party Plaintiff.

On Page 3, No. 6 states:

“The Defendants scheduled a hearing before this Court on the MSJ for March 18, 2008. This hearing should be stayed for four reasons:

A. On Page 5 of that Motion, No. 11:

“Second, because Kopplow and Cooper, in § 87 and § 88 of their Amended Affirmative Defenses, have inserted a new issue into this case, nearly eight and one-half years after it was filed, Plaintiffs are entitled to take discovery regarding the circumstances surrounding the filing of the alleged Amended Plan of Liquidation upon which the Defendants rely. By e-mail dated February 28, 2008, counsel for Plaintiffs informed Defendants that they were going to depose Defendant Sonya Salkin, Esq. who represented Baron’s in the bankruptcy proceeding, and Cathy Herschcopf, Esq., who was an attorney for the Creditor’s Committee in the bankruptcy case, and asked for dates when they would be available for same. To date, March 4, 2008, only counsel for Kopplow has responded, and has only provided dates on which he would be available for the deposition of Salkin. Further, these are only the first two witness Plaintiffs will need to depose regarding this issue.

8. It is well-settled that summary judgment is inappropriate when discovery is ongoing, and the “facts were not so crystallized that nothing remained but questions of law.” St. Fort v. Florida Department of Transportation, 688 So.2d 469 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997). Put differently, summary judgment should not be granted until the facts are “sufficiently developed to enable the trial court to be reasonably certain that no genuine issue of material fact existed.” Sanchez v. Sears, Roebuck and Co., 807 So.2d 196 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2002). Accordingly, the Defendants’ MSJ should be stayed pending the completion of discovery on this issue…

9. Third, as set forth above, Plaintiffs are not required to serve their responses to Kopplow’s and Cooper’s Amended Affirmative Defenses until March 5, 2008. At that time, Plaintiffs will be serving, inter alia, a Motion to Strike § 87 and § 88 of Kopplow’s and Cooper’s Amended Affirmative Defenses as a Sham Pleading. This Court will need to resolve that issue prior to hearing Defendants’ MSJ.

10. Fourth, as a related corollary to the third reason, until this Court resolves Plaintiffs’ Motion to Strike § 87 and § 88 of Kopplow’s and Cooper’s Amended Affirmative Defenses as a Sham Pleading, Plaintiffs are not required to serve their reply to those Affirmative Defenses. Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.140 (a) (2); Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.100(a). Until the Plaintiffs serve their reply to those Affirmative Defenses, the pleadings are not closed and summary judgment should not be granted. Lakes of the Meadow v. Arvida/JMB Partners, L.P., 714So. 2d 1120,. 1122 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1998) (The movant’s burden is an especially heavy one where, as here, the pleadings are not closed.”)

11. As noted in the Transcript on the hearing held on October 15, 2008 – Page 87 Line: 17 through Page 88 Line 17:

Ms. Lanson: I want a hearing on those fraudulent documents that we are entitled to.

The Court: I’m not giving you one.

Ms. Lanson: You’re not giving me a hearing on the 87 and 88 –

The Court: No, because I’ve explained to you on numerous occasions why not, and I’m not going over it again.

Ms. Lanson: You follow Judge Hyman when you want to –

The Court: Please give me – please give me a date.

Ms. Lanson: I want an order that you’re not giving us an evidentiary hearing on the --

The Court: Miss Lanson, you are in no position to dictate to me; I don’t care what you’re suffering from. I will not have you dictate to me what you want and when you want it and how you want it. If you want an order on that, you drat one; I will edit it and sign it. The same thing that I do for these attorneys; they have to draft their orders, I will edit it and sign it. So you go ahead and draft it; I will edit it and sign it. But don’t you dictate to me.

12. This Court has previously been put on notice of Judge Stettin’s Order. However, this Court has refused to abide by Judge Stettin’s February 14, 2008 Order. The Plaintiffs were deprived the benefit of their bargain, pursuant to the Agreed Order entered on February 14, 2008.
13. To this date, Judge Cohen refuses to abide by Judge Crespo and Judge Stettin’s previous Orders to the detriment and prejudice of the Plaintiffs.
WHEREFORE, the Plaintiffs request a hearing to compel the Court to comply with the following prior Orders:
a) Judge Crespo’s September 13, 2005 Order Granting Defendants’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Claims of Emotional Distress, and Deferring Ruling on Claims for Reputation Damage until the Plaintiffs had filed their Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint to include allegations for reputation damages.

b) Judge Stettin’s February 14, 2008 Agreed Order.
Respectfully submitted,

By: ____________________
Mary Alice Gwynn, Esq.

By: _____________________
Meryl M. Lanson, Pro Se


I HEREBY CERTIFY that true and exact copies of the foregoing were forwarded by electronic mail, facsimile and/or U.S. Mail on November 5, 2008, to all parties on the attached Service List.

Mary Alice Gwynn, P.A.
805 George Bush Boulevard
Delray Beach, FL 33483
Telephone: 561-330-0633
Facsimile: 561-330-8778

By: _______________________
Mary Alice Gwynn, Esq.
Florida Bar No.: 879584
Meryl M. Lanson, Pro Se
18652 Ocean Mist Drive
Boca Raton, FL 33498
Telephone: 561-488-2740
Facsimile: 561-488-2861

By: ____________________
Meryl M. Lanson, Pro Se


Robert M. Klein, Esq.
Stephens, Lynn, Klein
Two Datran Center, PH II
9130 South Dadeland Blvd.
Miami, FL 33156

Lauri Waldman Ross, Esq.
Ross & Girten, P.A.
Two Datran Center – Suite 1612

9130 South Dadeland Boulevard
Miami, Florida 33156

Lewis N. Jack, Jr., Esq.
P.O. Box 330519
Miami, FL 33233

Charles W. Throckmorton, Esq.
Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, P.A.
2525 Ponce de Leon Blvd., 9th Floor
Coral Gables, FL 33134

Reggie D. Sanger, Esq.
208 S.E. 9th Street
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316