Sunday, March 22, 2009

I, Meryl M. Lanson, Pro Se, am a disabled litigant suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - Legal Abuse Syndrome (PTSD/LAS). My husband and I are the owners of Baron’s Mens Clothing Stores. In April, 2008, after ten years of "legal malpractice" litigation, Judge Jeri Beth Cohen took over the Baron’s/Lanson litigation for a period of eight months. When Judge Cohen began presiding over this case, and became aware that she was dealing with a disabled litigant under the Americans With Disabilities Act, she assured me and Karin Huffer, M.F., M.S.T., ADA Consultant and Accommodations Designer, that she was competent and well equipped to handle this litigation and the accommodations that I requested under the ADA.

After being disarmed by Judge Cohen’s representations, her observance of my accommodations and rulings became progressively adverse to my and Baron’s interests. The following Chart shows Judge Cohen’s rulings in this litigation. While searching for a rationale to explain this incongruent behavior, it should be noted that the attorney defendants and/or their counsel all contributed the maximum donation allowed to Judge Cohen’s re-election campaign as soon as she was noticed to take over this case. After Judge Cohen destroyed our entire litigation, inapposite to the law, to the facts, and in violation of my due process rights, while obstructing justice, Judge Cohen announced, on the record, that she was "ill-equipped" to have dealt with this litigation from the inception, involving a disabled litigant, and was told so by her lawyers and the ADA. Judge Cohen did nothing to rectify the problem, and never vacated the Orders she entered, even though admitting to her incompetence. The Summary of the Court's Adverse Rulings in the Barons/Lanson litigation matter seems to speak for itself.

Summary of Adverse Court Rulings:
Specifically: February 4, 2008 to Present

1. Motion: 9/2005 Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to File Third Amended Complaint
Court’s Ruling: 9/3/08 Deferring Ruling on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to Amend [and Order Deferring Ruling on Defendant’s Joint Motion to Deny Plaintiffs’ Outstanding Motion for Leave to Amend]

2. Motion: 2/4/08 Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment as to all Claims Brought by Baron’s Stores, Inc or in the alternative, Motion to Strike Baron’s as a Party Plaintiff
Court’s Ruling: 10/15/08 Granted - “Ore-Tenus Ruling” at October 15, 2008, Hearing

3. Motion: 5/28/08 Salkin, Defendant Motion for Protective Order
Court’s Ruling: 6/23/08 Granted - May 30, 2008, Status Conference

4. Motion: 5/29/08 Plaintiffs Joint Motion to Strike Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment as to all Claims Brought by Baron’s Stores, Inc.
Court’s Ruling: 6/23/08 Denied – May 30, 2008, Status Conference

5. Motion: 6/2/08 Meryl Lanson, Plaintiff Motion to Disqualify and/or Recuse Judge Cohen
Court’s Ruling: 6/10/08 Order Denying Motion to Disqualify and/or Recuse Judge Cohen

6. Motion: 6/13/08 Plaintiffs Motion for Rehearing on 6/10/08 Order Denying Motion to Disqualify
Court’s Ruling: 6/18/08 Order Denying Motion for Rehearing of Motion to Disqualify 6/23/08 Order on May 30, 2008 Status Conference

7. Motion: 6/27/08 Norman Lanson & Baron’s Stores, Plaintiffs Joint Motion for Extension of Time to Disclose Plaintiffs’ Additional Expert Witnesses
Court’s Ruling: 6/30/08 Agreed Order Extending Deadlines for Disclosure of Expert Witnesses

8. Motion: 6/27/08 Meryl Lanson, Plaintiff Motion for Change of Venue, Request for ADA Accommodations, etc.
Court’s ruling: 8/1/08 Order Denying Motion for Change of Venue, Request for ADA Accommodations, etc

9. Motion: 6/30/008 Meryl Lanson, Plaintiff Verified New Motion for Recusal
Court’s Ruling: 7/7/08 Order Denying New Verified Motion for Recusal

10. Motion: 7/30/08 Plaintiffs Joint Renewed Motion to Stay
Court’s Ruling: 8/808 Order Denying Plaintiffs’ Joint Renewed Motion to Stay 8/13/08 Order of Referral to Mediation

11. Motion: 8/20/08 Plaintiffs Verified Motion for Disqualification
Court’s Ruling: 8/28/08 Order Denying Motion for Disqualification

12. Motion: 9/2/08 Plaintiffs Plaintiff’s Renewed and Amended Motion for Leave to File Third Amended Complaint (with Complaint)
Court’s Ruling: 9/3/08 Order Deferring Ruling on Defendant’s Joint Motion to Deny Plaintiffs’ Outstanding Motion for Leave to Amend and Deferring Ruling on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to Amend

13. Motion: 9/2/08 Plaintiffs Motion to Stay Proceedings Pursuant to Filing of Plaintiff’s Writ of Prohibition
Court’s Ruling: 9/3/08 Order Denying Plaintiffs’ Motion to Stay Proceedings pursuant to the filing of Plaintiff’s Writ of Prohibition in the Third DCA

14. Motion: 9/4/08 Plaintiffs Joint Motion Demanding Evidentiary Hearing on Renewed Motion to Strike Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment for Fraud on the Court
Court’s Ruling: 10/15/08 Denied – “Ore-Tenus Ruling” at October 15, 2008, Hearing

15. Motion: 9/4/08 Defendants Joint Motion to Strike and/or Exclude Testimony of Karin Huffer, M.F., M.S.T
Court’s Ruling: 10/15/08 Granted – “Ore-Tenus Ruling” at October 15, 2008, Hearing

16. Motion: 9/8/08 Plaintiffs Renewed Joint Motion to Strike Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (all Claims)
Court’s Ruling: 10/15/08 Denied – “Ore-Tenus Ruling” at October 15, 2008, Hearing Motion Court’s Ruling

17. Motion: 9/8/08 Plaintiffs Verified Supplement to Renewed Joint Motion to Strike Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment
Court’s Ruling: 10/15/08 Denied – “Ore-Tenus Ruling” at October 15, 2008, Hearing

18. Motion: 9/16/08 Plaintiffs Plaintiffs’ Motion to Vacate Portion of Court’s 6/23/08 Order on Salkin’s Motion for Protective Order
Court’s Ruling: 10/15/08 Denied – “Ore-Tenus Ruling” at October 15, 2008, Hearing

19. Motion: 9/23/08 Plaintiffs Joint Motion to Strike Case From Trial Docket Pursuant to Rule 1.440 & Motion Requesting the Court to Reserve Ruling on the Defendants’ Pending Motion for Summary Judgment
Court’s Ruling: 10/15/08 Denied – “Ore-Tenus Ruling” at October 15, 2008, Hearing

20. Motion: 9/29/08 Plaintiffs Joint Motion Requesting a Stay of All Matters
Court’s Ruling: 10/15/08 Denied – “Ore-Tenus Ruling” at October 15, 2008, Hearing

21. Motion: 10/15/08 Plaintiffs Joint Motion Requesting Stay, Establishing Deadline for Disclosure of Expert Witness and Scheduling Status Conference
Court’s Ruling: 10/28/08 Denied – as to Plaintiff’s requesting Stay of any ruling on Defendant’s pending Motion for Summary Judgment as to Baron’s Stores, Inc.

22. Motion: 10/15/08 Plaintiffs Motion to Vacate that Portion of the Court’s June 23, 2008 Order Granting Salkin’s MPO
Court’s Ruling: 10/28/08 Denied

23. Motion: 10/15/08 Defendants Joint Motion to Strike and/or Exclude Testimony of Karin Huffer
Court’s Ruling: 10/28/08 Granted

24. Motion: 11/18/08 Plaintiffs Joint Motion to Compel Court to Comply
Court’s Ruling: 11/18/08 Denied

25. Motion: 9/2/08, 9/8/08, 10/15/08, 11/14/08,& 11/17/08 Defendants: Kopplow and Cooper Defendants’ Kopplow and Cooper Motions for Summary Judgment as to all Claims Brought by Baron’s Stores, Inc.
Court’s Ruling: 11/21/08 Granted - Final Summary Judgment and Memorandum Order

26. Motion: 11/18/08 Defendants Emergency Motion to Enforce Subpoena Served Upon Mark Osherow
Court’s Ruling: 12/3/08 Granted

27. Motion: 12/10/08 Plaintiffs Motion for Rehearing – re Court Order (undated) Scheduling Order - Stay
Court’s Ruling: 12/10/08 Denied

28. Motion: 12/10/08 Plaintiffs’ Motion for Rehearing - 11/21/08 Order Granting Kopplow’s and Cooper’s Motion for Summary Judgment
Court’s Ruling: 12/10/08 Denied

29. Motion: 12/10/08 Plaintiffs Motion to Vacate all Dispositive Orders
Court’s Ruling: 12/10/08 Denied

30. Motion: 9/8/08, 12/10/08, 12/23/08 Defendants:
Kopplow and Cooper Final Order – re Summary Judgment
Court’s Ruling: 1/6/09 Granted – Summary Judgment in favor of Defendants

31. Motion: 1/23/09 Plaintiffs Motion for Rehearing
Court’s Ruling: 1/23/09 Denied

Saturday, February 28, 2009

February 25, 2009

Judge Herbert Stettin
5401 Hammock Dr
Coral Gables, Florida 33156

Re: Lanson/Baron’s et al. v. Kopplow, Cooper, Salkin et al.
Case No. 21062 CA 15

Dear Judge Stettin:

This is a follow-up to my previous correspondence to you dated February 19, 2009.

The excerpts of the transcript of the October 15, 2008 hearing, in front of Judge Cohen, are as follows: Enclosed please find a copy of the entire Transcript.

Page 13 – Line 3 through Page 15 – Line 2

Ms. Gwynn: Well, this was filed before. It was filed on behalf of all the plaintiffs. This was filed by Steven Katzman. It was a motion to strike sham affirmative defenses, and it goes right to the heart of this motion for summary judgment. And that has not been heard yet. And that’s one of the motions that were set here that we were supposed to hear this morning. And we requested a stay on the Court’s ruling on the summary judgment because there were two outstanding verified motions directed toward that pleading. There was the affirmative defense motion to strike affirmative defenses at Paragraph 87 and 88 which deals with the amended plan and the amended disclosure statement. There’s also two verified – there’s a verified motion to strike the motion for summary judgment as a sham pleading based on the fraudulent documents. You need to have an evidentiary hearing, Your Honor, on that particular issue -

The Court: I already told you that I’m going to rely on the bankruptcy order, Judge Hyman’s order. I’ve already told you that. I don’t know how many times I need to tell you that. I am not having a hearing on it I believe – I understand you disagree with me, and you can appeal it; that’s fine. We can’t agree. I don’t understand the law that way.
My understanding of the law is that I have to follow the bankruptcy order and rely on Judge Hyman’s opinion. I am not going to have a hearing on it. I’m not going to do it. That’s why Judge Gerstein, I believe, sent you back to the bankruptcy court for that evidentiary hearing; they refused to give one. I am not going to do it. I am –

Ms. Gwynn: That was on a totally different –

Ms. Lanson: That was on a totally different matter.

The Court: Well, look, I’ve ruled, Okay?

What you need to do is appeal it, at least against the lawyers. I have ruled based on the res judicata effect of the bankruptcy judge awarding and confirming the fees.

Page 19 – Line 11 through Page 20 Line 5

Ms. Gwynn: Your Honor, so the record’s clear, there’s two separate motions to strike sham pleadings. There was one that Mr. Throckmorton mentioned. There was also the plaintiffs’ motion to strike the summary judgment. So for the record, they’re both denied?

The Court: Yes.

Ms. Gwynn: And both of the requests for an evidentiary hearing on these two motions are denied –

The Court: Yes, they’re denied, just so we can get a record that you can appeal.

Ms. Gwynn: Right. And there was another motion. There was a motion to stay the summary judgment until these two motions for sham pleadings were heard. So I presume that’s going to be denied –

The Court: That’s denied.

Page 22 – Line 9 through Page 24 Line 4

Ms. Lanson: Excuse me, Your Honor.

The Court: Um-hum.

Ms. Lanson: In the documents that we’re asking for an evidentiary hearing, the fraudulent documents that we had an expert say that are fraudulent, they haven’t refuted. And that you have a duty, and I’ve sent in pleading about this –

The Court: Okay.

Ms. Lanson: -- to report that, and they have a duty to withdraw them. In the documents that are fraudulent, what was taken out of the documents was Judge Hyman’s – there was a piece in there about that we can go after the attorneys, and there was – there were reservations of rights for Norman and myself against the attorneys –

The Court: But that’s a different issue.

Ms. Lanson: No, it’s not a different issue, because if you give us the evidentiary hearing that you’re required to under 1.150, you will know what happened and who was responsible. Aren’t you curious as to what attorneys were involved in the perpetration, preparation and submission of fraudulent documents to a court that are now using it in your court, and you are violating your judicial canons by not referring these attorneys to the property authority that is clear in the judicial canons that you must do it, and you’re not doing it, and it is clear in the rules regulating the Bar, that they must withdraw those fraudulent documents; therefore, that’s supporting their summary judgment –

The Court: Well, let me say something to you.

Ms. Lanson: Yes.

The Court: I have Judge Hyman’s order. See, I may be curious about a lot of things. I may be curious. But I have Judge Hyman’s order. He did not set aside the bankruptcy.

Ms. Lanson: He didn’t address the fraudulent documents –

Page 24 – Line 24 through Page 26 – Line 12

The Court: Okay, Miss Lanson, I’m going to ask you to appeal my ruling. I’ve spent hundreds of hours on this reading –

Ms. Lanson: And we’ve spent ten years getting justice –

The Court: Miss Lanson –

Ms. Lanson: -- and we haven’t gotten justice because – if you would only give us the evidentiary hearing that we are entitled to that you have to give us under the law – that motion to strike those sham pleadings was filed in March of 2008. You’re ignoring those motions to strike the sham pleadings which go to the heart of the summary judgment to protect these attorneys. This is all the cronyism that I’ve been complaining about to the JQC, everything that I’ve complained about to the FBI, to the attorney general. And you are violating your rules, you’re breaking the law, you’re exacerbating my situation. You are not following the law. It says specifically that you must refer these attorneys when they violate rules regulating the Bar. They have submitted false evidence. They did not refute the false evidence. They did not withdraw the false evidence. And you’re sitting there saying it’s okay that you give false evidence. I’m going to protect you because you’re a member of the Bar like I am. I have a real problem with that. And that’s what you’re doing right now.

The Court: Okay. I understand that’s the way you feel—

Ms. Lanson: No, it’s not the way I feel. I am following the law. And you’re supposed to follow the law and you’re not doing it.

Page 35 – Lines 2 through 7

Ms. Gwynn: However, Your Honor, known since the end of July, but in the meantime, we filed all these motions that if you would have followed the law that we needed an evidentiary hearing on these fraudulent documents, we wouldn’t be there –

Page 35 – Line 22 through Page 37 – Line 15

Ms. Lanson: Excuse me. Nine years they keep saying we didn’t have experts. We had a damage expert in 1998; that we still have that damage expert. I have a fraudulent document expert. In nine years they didn’t produce one expert. They had their insurance company say we will get a damage expert to refute your damages. They never produced a damage expert. They said they would have 60 depositions. They delayed this thing for nine years. They got to all of our attorneys, because they’re all connected through the Florida Bar and its insurance company. I sent you – the latest motion that I filed outlines this. And this is what they’re saying for nine years. And now they come in with all their experts. A few months ago, they have the entire Dade County Bar supporting them. This is the cronyism and the corruption that’s going on in this case because this case is so huge. And you, by violating the law – well, that’s a real problem for me—

The Court: Miss Lanson, I know that it is –

Ms. Lanson: Yeah, so it’s a problem a judge violates the law and doesn’t give me -- you are obstructing justice, and you have denied me due process by not giving me the discovery we need get to the bottom of those fraudulent documents.

The Court: Okay. Miss Lanson, we’ve been over and over and over this. I respect your opinion on it, but I believe that the bankruptcy judge, that’s where it was –

Ms. Lanson: He never looked at the documents. He even said in there if the documents were fraudulent, you’re in a better position because of it. Are you as judge, are you okay to say even if they’re fraudulent documents, I’m not curious what attorneys were involved in it?

Page 48 – Line 24 through Page 49 – Line 13

Ms. Lanson: Your Honor, when you say that you don’t want to ever go behind Judge Hyman’s order – on Judge Hyman’s order on the first fraud trial –

The Court: Excuse me.

Ms. Lanson: Excuse me. You said you don’t want to go behind his order. He said it is clear to the Court that the Lansons had suffered damages at the embezzlement, at the bankruptcy and at the liquidation. If these damages were suffered and we retained Kopplow and Cooper and the Court is clear as to these damages, how could these attorneys not be responsible?

Page 49 – Lines 16 through 21

Ms. Lanson: Why are you protecting these attorneys?

The Court: I am not protecting these attorneys.

Ms. Lanson: Yes, you are protecting these attorneys.

Page 71 – Line 8 through Page 72 – Line 4

Ms. Gwynn: Your Honor, wait a minute. I want to put on the record that if – we filed motions to stay, we filed the motion to strike the sham pleadings that we wouldn’t even need a standard of care expert if we would have had a evidentiary hearing on the fraudulent documents because we would have gotten to the bottom of the fraud, and we would only have a trial on damages. The expert that the Lansons has is the handwriting expert that declared those documents fraud. We’re not dealing with that expert. But that is the expert, the only expert they needed, because at this time there’s fraudulent documents in the court record, and you do not want to address them.

The Court: Okay.

Ms. Gwynn: So that’s why we filed all the motions –

Ms. Lanson: You’re allowing – I mean, I don’t understand how you’re allowing attorneys to support their motions by fraud.

Page 81 Lines 18 through 19

Ms. Gwynn: But do you know what was really so unfair –

Page 81 Line 24 through Page 82 – Line 7

Ms. Gwynn: There was a motion to strike the affirmative defenses back in February –

Ms. Lanson: Correct.

Ms. Gwynn: -- and it was never heard. And that addressed the heart of the motion for summary judgment – that should have been heard first, but the defendants were allowed to sneak in a motion for summary judgment before that was even heard. So –

Page 85 – Line 5 through Page 86 – Line 3

Ms. Lanson: But we need the affirmative defenses that we filed that motion that’s sitting there. What is -- I don’t understand how this works. I’m pro se. We filed a motion to strike their affirmative defenses 87 and 88. We agreed to allow them to amend the second – why aren’t you going to hear that?

The Court: The affirmative defenses for 87 and 88 were what?

Ms. Lanson: They deal with the fraudulent documents.

Ms. Ross: We’ve gone over—

The Court: And I have spoken to the fraudulent document issue.

Ms. Lanson: But we filed a verified motion for a sham pleading on Nos. 87 and 88 in February. How could you go against the law when the law says under 1.150 that you must give us an evidentiary hearing?

The Court: I told you that I considered Judge Hyman – it was sent back to him by Judge Gerstein – wasn’t it Judge Gerstein?

Page 86 – Lines 16 through 25

Ms. Gwynn: They’re two different things.

Ms. Lanson: They’re two different issues. You’re mixing up the two.

Ms. Gwynn: They’re using fraudulent documents to gain an unfair advantage in this litigation to gut it out, and that’s what’s happening.

Ms. Lanson: And that’s what’s happening, and you’re buying it.

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.

I will be filing a Motion to Relinquish Jurisdiction back to your Trial Court to conduct the evidentiary hearing assured in your Order, which was denied by Judge Cohen. Had I known that this was a trick, in order for me to sign the Agreement allowing the defendants to amend their Affirmative Defenses, and that I would be deprived the right to challenge, in direct contravention of your signed Order, I would have never agreed to such a Motion. I respectfully request that you intervene in this matter, in the same manner in which you conducted a “Contempt Hearing” in the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines case, or in the alternative, to please disclose this matter to the proper Judicial authorities pursuant to Judicial Canons.


Meryl M. Lanson, Pro Se

Enclosure: As stated herein, only with Federal Express Delivery

cc: (without enclosures but will be provided upon request)

Judge Jeri Beth Cohen
Lauri Waldman Ross, Esq.
Charles W. Throckmorton, Esq.
Robert M. Klein, Esq.
Lewis N. Jack, Jr., Esq.
Reggie Sanger, Esq.
Elliot H. Scherker, Esq.
Kerri L. McNulty, Esq.
Mary Alice Gwynn, Esq.
State Investigative and Regulatory Agencies
Federal Investigative and Regulatory Agencies
February 19, 2009

Judge Herbert Stettin
5401 Hammock Dr
Coral Gables, Florida 33156

Re: Lanson/Baron’s et al. v. Kopplow, Cooper, Salkin et al.
Case No. 21062 CA 15

Dear Judge Stettin:

The referenced case was before you, on a temporary basis, while Judge Mindy Glazer was on maternity leave, approximately between January and March, 2008. It remained with you when it was decided that Judge Glazer would not be returning to the Division and that the Division would be taken over by Judge Jeri Beth Cohen. During the period of time that you presided over the case you entered Orders. Amongst those Orders was an Order agreed to by all the parties entitled “Agreed Order Granting All Defendants Motion To Amend Their Affirmative Defenses to Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint,” a copy of which is enclosed, as Exhibit A, for your ready review. The Order was drafted by attorney Lauri Waldman Ross, your former law clerk, as Exhibit B confirms. I, as a Pro Se litigant in these proceedings, was one of the parties who agreed to the terms of the Order.

The Plaintiffs, Baron’s Stores, Inc., and Norman Lanson, represented by counsel, and me, in my Pro Se status, abided by the terms of the “Agreed Order.” The Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Strike the Defendants Affirmative Defenses as a Sham Pleading in a timely manner. The hearing on that Motion was scheduled to be heard on April 24, 2008 and was ultimately continued, by mutual consent of all the parties, at the time when Judge Cohen took over the Division.

Without going into all the details that surround this ten year old attorney malpractice case, you need to be aware that attorneys Lauri Waldman Ross, Charles W. Throckmorton, Robert M. Klein, Lewis Jack, Jr., and Reggie Sanger obtained the benefit of the bargain of the Agreed Order that bears your signature. Yet, the Plaintiffs were deprived of their benefit, by your signed Order, of their opportunity to be heard on the Sham Pleading. The attorneys then conspired by intentionally subverting your signed Agreed Order by failing to bring your signed Agreed Order to the attention of Judge Jeri Beth Cohen. By going behind your back, and concealing the Agreed Order from the Court, the Plaintiffs were deprived of, not only their benefit of the Order that was Agreed to and executed by your Honor, but were also deprived of their procedural due process rights as mandated under Florida Statutes 1.150.

The Plaintiffs have a trail of e-mail communications, Motions, letters and Orders imploring the attorneys, and subsequently Judge Cohen, to abide by your Court Order. Lauri Waldman Ross sat silent while Judge Jeri Beth Cohen was entering Orders in favor of the defendants, in breach of Court Orders, yours most crucially included, in violation of due process rights and ultimately obstructing justice (See Exhibit C – a letter dated October 27, 2008 requesting Lauri Waldman Ross to correct the record which she refused to do, and to this day, has never done).

These attorneys have a history, in these proceedings, of lack of candor towards the tribunal in order to gain unfair advantages on behalf of their “Attorney Defendant Clients.” This has been the way these attorneys and their clients have operated during the entire ten years of this litigation. I would never make such allegations if I did not have the facts and the law, and the evidence, to support my allegations. What I don’t have, and what the Plaintiffs, in this litigation have never had, is the “connections and protection” that the attorney Defendants and their counsel enjoy. I have the utmost confidence, Judge Stettin, that when you entered that Order you did so in good faith, and that your role, as a respected Senior Judge, was to insure that all parties would be afforded their due process rights pertaining to the Agreed Order that you signed. That is not what happened regarding your signed Order and that is certainly not what happened in the Lanson/Baron’s litigation. What happened was that these attorneys, in concert with Judge Jeri Beth Cohen, ignored your Order and managed to gut our entire case and have it dismissed inapposite to the law, to the facts and in violation of our due process rights. Judge Jeri Beth Cohen denied us discovery and a required evidentiary hearing. Judge Cohen and these attorneys have conspired to obstruct justice in the Lanson/Baron’s litigation, and thus far, have been successful in their conspired acts. All the Plaintiffs have ever sought was and remains an evidentiary hearing, which is required, so that the Defendants’ would have to answer to just how these fraudulent documents were obtained, used and ultimately filed in the court record to support Summary Judgment.

Plaintiffs filed an Affidavit from an independent fraud examiner, Michael G. Kessler, whom I retained, and who determined that the documents that the Defendants have relied upon have been altered, modified, tampered and thereby falsified. The Defendants have never re-butted nor refuted Mr. Kessler’s critical Affidavit. (See Attached Exhibit D – the sworn Declaration of Michael G. Kessler, which the Plaintiffs have made part of the Court record).

I felt it of utmost importance that you should be aware of the conduct of these attorneys, specifically Lauri Waldman Ross, who was responsible for drafting, forwarding and obtaining your signature on an Agreed Order, and then sitting silent in the proceedings while witnessing the subversion of your Order by Judge Jeri Beth Cohen. Lauri Waldman Ross has used her position as a JQC special counsel, and as a member of the JNC, to corrupt these legal proceedings in order to be victorious. Lauri Waldman Ross wields her power to protect unethical and illegal conduct on the part of attorneys and Judges and does so to the detriment of the unassuming public.


Meryl M. Lanson, Pro Se

Enclosures: As stated herein

Judge Jeri Beth Cohen
Lauri Waldman Ross, Esq.
Charles W. Throckmorton, Esq.
Robert M. Klein, Esq.
Lewis N. Jack, Jr., Esq.
Reggie Sanger, Esq.
Mary Alice Gwynn, Esq.
State Investigative and Regulatory Agencies
Federal Investigative and Regulatory Agencies



MERYL M. LANSON, individually,



Individually, and as Judge For The 11th
Circuit Court in and for Miami-Dade
County, Florida



Pursuant to Rule 15 and Rule 19 of F.R.C.P., Plaintiff, Meryl M. Lanson, Pro Se, hereby files this Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint to Add Indispensable Party Defendants and an Extension of Time and states as follows:
On December 8, 2008, the Court granted the Plaintiff, Meryl M. Lanson, an extension of time until February 15, 2009 to file her Amended Complaint. The following subsequent facts occurred, giving rise to the Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Add Indispensable Parties.
1. A hearing was held on December 24, 2008 in front of the Defendant, Judge Jeri Beth Cohen (Case No. 99-21062 CA 15). Plaintiff, Meryl M. Lanson, was not in attendance at that hearing. On or about the first week in January, 2009, Plaintiff, Meryl M. Lanson, received a copy of the transcript of the December 24, 2008 hearing.
2. Upon reading the transcript and conducting research and investigation, Plaintiff believes it is critical that an extension of time be granted in order to add the ADA Access Coordinator and the County as indispensable parties to this cause of action. Plaintiff was not aware that the ADA Access Coordinator and now the County have potential liability in this action and should be added as party Defendants under Rule 19 F.R.C.P.
3. The adding of indispensable parties and the extension of time is critical because of what transpired at the initial specially set hearing on Plaintiff’s ADA Accommodations held on July 16, 2008, and then what transpired at the December 24, 2008 hearing with regard to Plaintiff’s ADA Accommodations; both hearings before the Defendant, Judge Jeri Beth Cohen are in conflict.
4. For ease of reference of the aforementioned, the following excerpts from the hearings are germane to Plaintiff’s instant Motion.
July 16, 2008 Hearing - P. 7 – Line 19 through 23: (Attached as Exhibit 1)
The Court: So let’s look at the accommodations. Okay. I have the list here. Let’s look at them and see how we can accommodate her. All right.
P. 8 – Line 16 through P. 9 – Line 9:
The Court: Can I ask a personal question? And if that may be out of order so you tell me. I understand that that - - And I, you know, deal with medications everyday. I run a drug court. Most of the people in my drug court are duly diagnosed. So we on a regular basis work with psychiatrists. And most of the people in our drug court suffer from
P. T. S. D. that -- They are primarily women, obviously for different reasons. I am not comparing Ms. Lanson to the women in any drug court. I am saying the syndrome. And a lot of them have anxiety and/or depression. And medication - - They are medicated and it does work very well. Now I am not telling her she has to get medicated.
Ms. Huffer: Well, she is now.
Page 26, Line 1 through Page 27, Line 7:
Ms. Huffer: I have great respect, Your Honor, for you and your position. But you are sounding more like the therapist here. All she is asking is for you to hear hard evidence. That’s all she is asking for. That’s all the accommodation - -
The Court: But I am the Judge of what the evidence is, you see.
Ms. Huffer: Right.
The Court: You see. You want her - - You want to allow her to control this process.
Ms. Huffer: No. No. No. Access to evidence. In other words, full discovery, full everything.
The Court: We will get her that.
Ms. Huffer: That is important.
The Court: We will get her that. But I can’t say:
“Well, because she perceives something a certain way it must be so. Because she perceives what I have done a certain way it must be so.”
Ms. Huffer: But she is never to be invalidated due to P. T. S. D.
The Court: I am not invalidating her at all. In fact, I want to go through these accommodations and give them to her. I would never invalidate - -
December 24, 2008 Hearing – Page 5, Line 4 – 19: (Attached as Exhibit 2)
The Court: I understand that she feels that she’s done what she needs to do as far as her ADA request, but I’ve now run this through my lawyers and my ADA Office. I’ve been in extensive conversations with them about how to handle this. The reason being is initially I felt that if - - well, initially, I really didn’t approach it the way I should have, because it was the first time I’d ever had a request and I just - - you know, I wasn’t as diligent as I should have been about running it by my lawyers. But I felt that what she was asking for I could accommodate.
Page 6, Line 3 – 21:
The Court: That’s why I went to the lawyers for the Court and also to the ADA Office, and they told me very clearly that I should have come to them initially. That while Ms. Lanson feels that she’s adequately protected herself from an ADA perspective, my lawyers in the office here told me they don’t want judges making these determinations. This is not something judges are equipped to do. We’re not trained to know if somebody has a disability, how severe it is, what kind of accommodations they should be given, and they like it to run through the ADA Office, especially in a situation like this where it’s escalating and where she sued me for a violation of her ADA rights.

Page 7, Line 5 – 9
The Court: I am not equipped to make ADA determinations. That’s not something that I’m equipped to do. And that’s why there is an administrative structure to handle that.
5. The ADA Access Coordinator was previously put on notice of Plaintiff’s Request for ADA Accommodations. Attached, as Exhibit 3, is a copy of a letter from Plaintiff’s Consultant, Karin Huffer, M.S., M.F.T. to Judge Jeri Beth Cohen dated June 24, 2008. Attached, as Exhibit 4, is a copy of a cover letter to the Access Coordinator, dated June 27, 2008 from attorney, Mary Alice Gwynn, enclosing Plaintiff’s formal request for ADA accommodations as well as Exhibit 5, the ADA Report prepared by Karin Huffer, M.S., M.F.T. It was subsequent to receiving the aforementioned correspondence that Judge Cohen contacted all the parties for a specially set hearing regarding Plaintiff’s, Meryl M. Lanson, ADA Accommodations.

6. The granting and fulfilling of Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II, Accommodations is an administrative/ministerial function. Therefore, the Office of the ADA Coordinator and related parties, need to be named as well as Judge Cohen, as outlined above by Judge Cohen, that she was never equipped to deal with the ADA Accommodations, initially, and should have immediately consulted with her attorneys, and the ADA Office, upon receiving the ADA Accommodations on June 13, 2008 prior to the ADA Accommodations hearing specially set by Judge Cohen.


Bel-Bel Int’l Corp. v. Cmty. Bank of Homestead, 162 F.3d 1101, (11th Cir. 1998), which held that under Rule 19(a) of F.R.C.P., a person who is subject to service of process and whose joinder will not deprive the court of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action shall be joined as a party in the action if (1) in the person’s absence complete relief cannot be accorded among those already parties, or (2) the person claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and is so situated that the disposition of the action in the person’s absence may (i) as a practical matter impair or impede the person’s ability to protect that interest or (ii) leave any of the persons already parties subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent obligations by reason of the claimed interest.
Based on the Court’s own admission at the hearing held on December 24, 2008, that the Court was “not equipped to make ADA determinations. That’s not something that I’m equipped to do,” the Court assigned responsibility to the ADA Access Coordinator for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami Dade County, Florida. As stated above, the Access Coordinator was also apprized by three separate parties of the Plaintiff’s Request for ADA Accommodations as early as June 13, 2008, more than one month prior to Judge Cohen specially set hearing on the Plaintiff’s Request for ADA Accommodations.

The ADA Access Coordinator was not present at the hearing nor did Judge Cohen make reference to the ADA Access Coordinator at the hearing on July 16, 2008. The first time that Plaintiff became aware of the Access Coordinator’s involvement, and now a potential party, was after reading the transcript of the hearing held on December 24, 2008 before Defendant, Judge Jeri Beth Cohen. The Access Coordinator, and the County, are now indispensable parties who must be included to have a complete adjudication of all issues and the elimination of the possibility of re-litigation. The purpose of joinder under F.R.C.P, 19(a) is to afford the parties “complete adjudication” of the issues and “elimination” of the possibility of “relitigation.” Tick v. Cohen, 787 F.2d 1490 (11th Cir. 1986) (quoting Schutten v Shell Oil Co., 421 F.2d 869(5th Cir. 1970). In addition, the Plaintiff may be unable to obtain complete relief without the absent parties present, F.R.C.P. 19(a)(1), and the Plaintiff may be prevented from adding this party at a later date pursuant to the doctrine of res judicata. Mann v. The City of Albany, Ga., 883 F.2d, 999 (11th Cir. 1989).
The joinder of necessary and indispensable parties is mandatory. City of Marietta v. CSX Transportation, Inc., 196 F.3d, 1300 (11th Cir. 1989). In addition, the Plaintiff is requesting to also add, as an additional party, John Doe, in the event new parties become indispensable parties after discovery has commenced.

The Defendant will not be prejudiced by the Court granting the Plaintiff’s request as the Defendant has not filed an Answer nor has discovery commenced and thus, the granting of additional parties is appropriate at this early stage of the litigation.
Plaintiff has contacted opposing counsel regarding the issues raised in this Motion. Counsel for Judge Jeri Beth Cohen, David Glantz, stated that “with respect to Judge Cohen, counsel opposes any further extensions of time to amend the Complaint against Judge Cohen. Attorney Glantz has no position concerning any additional parties.”

WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff respectfully requests this Honorable Court to grant her Motion for Leave to include indispensable parties under F.R.C.P. 19. Plaintiff further requests, that in the event this motion to add indispensable parties is denied, Plaintiff requests a thirty day extension to file her Amended Complaint.

Respectfully submitted,

Meryl M. Lanson, Pro Se

By: ___________________
Meryl M. Lanson, Pro Se

I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true and correct copy of the foregoing has been sent via U.S. Mail, on this 17th day of February, 2009, to counsel on the service list.
Meryl M. Lanson, Pro Se

By: ______________________
Meryl M. Lanson, Pro Se

David J. Glantz
Assistant Attorney General
Office of Attorney General
Civil Litigation Division
110 S.E. 6th Street - 10th Floor
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301

Monday, February 9, 2009


CASE NO.: 08-11286-J








I express a belief, based on a reasoned and studied professional judgment, that the Panel decision is contrary to the following decision(s) of this Court (Eleventh Circuit) and contrary to the decisions of the United States Supreme Court, and that consideration by the full court is necessary to secure and maintain uniformity of this court’s decisions and the integrity of the judicial process. In re Prince, 40 F.3d, 356(11th Cir. 1994)
In re Jennings, 199 Fed.Appx. 845, 2006 WL 2826947 (C.A. 11th Cir.) ; In re Walker, 515 F.3d, 1204 (C.A. 11th Cir. 2008);
Travelers Indemnity Company v. Gore 761 F.2d 1549 (11th Cir. 1985) Hazel-Atlas Glass Co. v. Hartford-Empire Company, 322 U.S. 238, (1944).
Appellants, Baron’s Stores, Inc., Norman Lanson, Pro Se and Meryl Lanson, Pro Se, respectfully assert that an En Banc Rehearing of the Court’s January 15, 2009 Order is warranted. In addition, the underlying bankruptcy proceeding and the ultimate decision of the Panel involves a question of exceptional pubic importance, and likewise warrants consideration by the full court:
By: _______________________________________
Arthur Morburger, Counsel for Baron’s Stores, Inc.

This Court’s decision fails to address the Appellees (all attorneys and therefore Officers of the Court) perjured affidavits, signed by all the Appellees/Attorneys who swore, under oath, in their boilerplate Affidavits, that they had no connections or adverse interest to any of the parties when, in fact, they had more than sixty (60) undisclosed connections and/or conflicts of interest to parties involved in the bankruptcy proceeding. Ignoring the attorneys perjured Affidavits sends a “clear message” that it is okay for attorneys, who are officers of the court, to lie to the court, under oath, and it is okay for these officers of the court to ignore the mandatory disclosure requirements under Bankruptcy Rule 2014. The result of attorneys/officers of the court ignoring the mandatory bankruptcy rules and “lying under oath” caused a fifty-two year old company’s demise, caused more than two hundred people to lose their jobs, benefits, and security, caused the devastating financial loss to the sole shareholders, caused the creditors of the estate extreme damage as they were paid between 4 and 8 cents on the dollar, while the attorneys/officer of the court were rewarded with millions of dollars in ill gotten fees. The dishonest attorneys who lied to the court, under oath, benefited by being monetarily rewarded for their criminal acts of perjury, and for their breach of fiduciary duties to their clients and to the court; This very rule, enacted by Congress, was specifically designed to protect the public from such a “travesty of justice” in that which occurred here in the In re Baron’s proceedings.
The Panel’s decision also conflicts with the authoritative decisions of every other United States Court of Appeals that has addressed the issue of mandatory disclosure, under the penalty of perjury, pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 2014.

On March 11, 2005, Meryl M. Lanson filed an Emergency Motion to Reopen Baron’s bankruptcy, Case No. 97-25645-PGH-BKC, for “fraud on the court” pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 2014. In their initial retention Affidavits to be appointed counsel in the bankruptcy proceedings, attorneys, Marc Cooper, Ronald C. Kopplow and Sonya Salkin, swore under oath, that they did not have any connections and/or conflicts of interest to the estate. Later, Appellants discovered over sixty undisclosed connections and/or conflicts of interest of the three attorneys. On April 7, 2005, the Bankruptcy Court granted Appellants Emergency Motion to Reopen for the purpose of adjudicating the merits of Appellants claim that the Attorneys, not only perpetrated a fraud upon the Court, but violated the mandatory bankruptcy rule 2014.
On November 30, 2005, the Bankruptcy Court entered an Order Denying the Appellees/Attorney’s Motion for Summary Judgment. Within that Order, on Page 11, the Court stated:
“The Bankruptcy Court concluded that the disclosure obligation mandated by the Bankruptcy Code and Rules “implicates a public policy interest justifying relief…under Rule 60(b)(6). Id. at 188 (quoting In re Southmark Corp., 181 B.R. 291, 295 (Bankr. N.D. Tex. 1995)). The Bankruptcy Court observed that it was alleged that the professionals failed to disclose conflicts of interest that would have barred their retention. Id. at 188. The Bankruptcy Court found that if this were true, it would constitute “fraud on the court” warranting relief even though more than a year had passed since the professionals were retained and their fees approved. Id. As a result, the Bankruptcy Court found it appropriate to consider the sanctions motions. Id. In this case, Debtor has alleged that the Attorneys failed to make appropriate disclosures under Bankruptcy Rule 2014. If these allegations are true this inadequate disclosure by the Attorneys may constitute “fraud on the Court,” which must be addressed.”

The Bankruptcy Court, on Page 14 of this same Order, stated

“Additionally, all professionals whose employment must be approved by the Court are required to make disclosure under Bankruptcy Rule 2014. Bankruptcy Rule 2014(a) requires that the application to employ must be accompanied by verified statement of the person to be employed that discloses the connections between that person and the universe of parties in the case. Bankruptcy Rule 2014(a). The professional cannot pick and choose which connections to disclose. Id. at 511 (citing In re Hot Tin Roof, Inc., 205 B.R. 1000, 1003 (B.A.P., 1st Cir. 1997)). It is the responsibility of the professional to disclose all relevant connections.”

The Bankruptcy Court ultimately ruled that the attorneys did not perpetrate a fraud upon the Court stating that the attorneys did not possess subjective intent citing Davenport Recycling Assocs. v. C.I.R., 220 F.3d 1255, 1262 (11th Cir. 2000). On January 7, 2008, the District Court affirmed the Bankruptcy Court’s ruling. On January 15, 2009, this Court issued its Affirmance Order stating:
“our law requires the demonstration of a plan or scheme…designed to improperly influence the court, which indicates that scienter is required” without citation to any of the Eleventh Circuit cases on which the Court relied upon.

Appellees/Attorneys, Kopplow and Cooper, represented Appellants’ Baron’s Stores, Inc. and its sole shareholders, Norman Lanson, individually, and Meryl Lanson, individually, in an accounting malpractice lawsuit. Appellees/Attorneys, Kopplow and Cooper, filed the lawsuit only in the name of the corporation, Baron’s, and failed to file the lawsuit, within the statute of limitations, on behalf of their individual clients, Appellants, Norman Lanson and Meryl Lanson. When Appellees/Attorneys, Kopplow and Cooper, realized that they committed malpractice by failing to file suit on behalf of their individual clients within the statute of limitations, they recommended that their clients, Norman Lanson and Meryl Lanson, consult with Sonya Salkin, a bankruptcy attorney and a Region 21 Panel Trustee, to pursue bankruptcy on behalf of Baron’s. In order to simultaneously continue to hide their malpractice, and at the same time maintain control of the bankruptcy, Kopplow and Cooper failed to disclose their more than sixty connections and/or conflicts of interest in violation of mandatory Bankruptcy Rule 2014. In addition, and of most critical importance, Appellees/Attorneys lied, under oath, thereby committing perjury, when they signed an Affidavit filed directly with the Court claiming no connections whatsoever to any party involved in the bankruptcy proceedings. Salkin was consulted with and ultimately retained by the Appellants, the Lansons, to protect their most valuable asset, Baron’s Stores, Inc., and to maximize the recovery on behalf of themselves and their wholly owned corporation. Salkin also violated the mandatory disclosure rules when she, too, swore under oath that she did not have any connections to anyone in the bankruptcy proceedings. These are blatant misrepresentations that are reflected in the record. In reliance on Appellees/Attorneys sworn affidavits that they had no connections and/or conflicts of interest, the Bankruptcy Court appointed them as attorneys in the bankruptcy proceeding. In Appellants Initial Brief, on Page 23, Appellants requested equitable remedies under the manifest injustice that occurred in the bankruptcy proceedings. Appellants also requested the Eleventh Circuit to fashion an equitable remedy to rectify the injustice that occurred due to the non-disclosure in violation of the mandatory requirements under Bankruptcy Rule 2014.
This Panel’s decision fails to address the Appellees/Attorneys blatant violation of Bankruptcy Rule 2014, the mandatory disclosure requirements, and by this Court’s failure to address this violation, conflicts with three (3) prior decisions of this Circuit.
In re Prince, 40 F.3d, 356 (11th Cir. 1994) the Court dealt with the exact same issue, the mandatory disclosure requirements for professionals under Rule 2014, and found as follows:
“Whether Sirote firm inadvertently or intentionally neglected to inform the court of its conflicts is of no import. If the actions of the Sirote firm in this case had been performed by a sole practitioner, disbarment proceedings would undoubtedly have ensued. Law firms, no matter their size, must ensure that their representations do not result in irreconcilable, intolerable conflicts that can only result in harm to their clients, as in this case. In this instance, Sirote was in the unfortunate position of having to serve too many masters. Where a claimant, who represented members of the investing public, was serving more than one master or was subject to conflicting interests, he should be denied compensation It is no answer to say that fraud or unfairness were [sic] not shown to have resulted.” Woods v. City Nat’l Bank & Tr. Co., 312 U.S. at 268, 61 S.Ct. at 497 (1941). The conflicts Sirote firm operated under pushed the limits of discretion to the extreme. Because Sirote firm could not have adequately and impartially served its client under the circumstances of this case, the bankruptcy court’s award of fees was improper. (Emphasis added)

While a bankruptcy judge’s discretion in deciding compensation cases under section 328 enjoys great bounds, it is not unlimited. A finding that Sirote firm qualifies for fees in this case would render the impartiality requirements of the Bankruptcy Code meaningless. While a complete denial of fees may be extreme in some instances, this case requires nothing less. “This sanction serves to deter future wrongdoing by those punished and also to warn others who might consider similar defalcations.” Gray, 30 F.3d at 1323. Accordingly, we find that the district court’s affirmance of the bankruptcy court’s award of fees constitutes an abuse of discretion. See Neville v. Eufaula Bank & Trust Co. (In re U.S. Golf Corp.), 639 F.2d 1197, 1201 (5th Cir.1981).

For the foregoing reasons, we find that the law firm of Sirote & Permutt, PC. is not entitled to compensation for its work in representing Prince in his bankruptcy proceedings because the firm operated under intolerable conflicts of interest which unduly prejudiced the Debtor in violation of the Bankruptcy Code.

This Court’s opinion is also in conflict with its previous opinion in In re Jennings, 199 Fed.Appx. 845, 2006 WL 2826947 (C.A. 11th Cir.) The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the underlying order denying fees for failure to disclose under Bankruptcy Rule 2014 and affirmed disgorgement of all pre-petition fees, citing the Eleventh Circuit’s analysis in In re Prince cited above.
The Eleventh Circuit agreed that the bankruptcy court was not required to peruse the entire record to discern any connections or conflicts. The relevant disclosures must appear in the application and accompanying Affidavit filed pursuant to Rule 2014. The Eleventh Circuit also agreed with the district court, that undisclosed connections and conflicts “prejudiced the bankruptcy estate and deprived each of an unbiased independent assessments of the available and outstanding claims,” citing In re Prince, 40 F.3d at 361 (finding a conflict of interest where counsel “was in the unfortunate position of having to serve too many masters.”)
Having made these determinations, the Eleventh Circuit agreed that the bankruptcy court was well within its discretion to conclude that the professionals initial and continuing violation of the disclosure rules, coupled with its non-disinterestedness, warrants its disqualification and denial of all compensation including disgorgement of any pre-petition retainer. The Eleventh Circuit blanketly denied compensation based on the non disclosure and was not moved by the attorneys’ argument that fraud or unfairness were [sic] not shown to have resulted.”(quoting Woods v. City Nat’l Bank & Tr. Co., 312 US. 262, 268 (1941)).
The Panel’s decision, not only conflicts with this Court’s previous opinion in the In re: James Walker 515 F.3d 1204 (11th Cir. 2008) proceeding, but also emphatically affirmed a “fraud on the court” stating that “lying under oath is lying under oath.” In the In re James Walker, this Court affirmed the bankruptcy court’s sanction and removal for “fraud on the court” of a creditor-elected trustee, who was not an attorney, and whose failure to disclose was that of which was one remote connection from ten years prior to the bankruptcy proceedings. The creditor-elected trustee argued that she was not required to submit a verified statement regarding her connections. This Court made a very firm assertion when it declared “the idea that false testimony when offered to the court voluntarily is immune to the consequences of lying under oath is absurd. Lying under oath is lying under oath.” This Court’s Opinion in Walker never mentioned the requirement of scienter and never included it in its analysis affirming the bankruptcy court’s finding of “fraud on the court” which, too, did not include any analysis or finding of subjective intent or scienter. In fact, after a thorough research and review of all cases, including a request to West Law’s research attorneys, it was discovered that, to date, the only opinion found, where the Eleventh Circuit affirmed and found fraud on the court, was in the In re James Walker bankruptcy proceeding.
“Fraud on the court” requires the involvement of an attorney. This requirement is confirmed in the Eleventh Circuit case Travelers Indemnity v. Gore (cite supra) in which the Eleventh Circuit refused to find “fraud on the court” for Gore’s perjury because there was no allegation of an attorneys involvement. In addition, the Eleventh Circuit in Travelers adopted the following definition of “fraud on the court” from other circuits. “Fraud on the court” should, we believe, embrace only that species of fraud which does or attempts to, defile the court itself or is a fraud perpetrated by officers of the court so that the judicial machinery cannot perform in the usual manner its impartial task of adjudicating cases… There is no mention of scienter in this court’s previous definition of “fraud on the court” adopted from other circuits where scienter is never mentioned. The majority of circuits require an attorneys involvement because attorneys are highly educated in the law and know when a deception to the court is occurring. That explains why scienter is not required for “fraud on the court” because attorneys, as officers of the court, know better.
In S.E.C. v. ESM Group, 835 F.2d 270 (11th Cir. 1988), the Eleventh Circuit relying on Travelers refused to find fraud on the court because the attorney involved was not a direct participant in the plan to defraud. In S.E.C., scienter is never mentioned.
However, this Court retreated from its earlier position where it required the direct participation of an attorney, and for the first time, found “fraud on the court” in the Walker proceeding by affirming the bankruptcy court’s finding of “fraud on the court” of a non-lawyer. This court, in Walker, affirmed the “fraud on the court” of a non-lawyer who failed to disclose one remote connection in her voluntary Affidavit. In direct contrast, this Court never addressed the three attorneys mandatory (not voluntary) requirements under the Bankruptcy Rules in its Order, and affirmed the same bankruptcy court’s selective enforcement of the mandatory rules legislated by Congress, when it applies to attorneys; attorneys who failed to disclose more than sixty (60) connections and/or conflicts of interest, the majority of which were not remote but in fact, present and ongoing from prior to and during the bankruptcy proceedings. The Court did not cite one case to support its retreat from Walker. The only legal authority this Court cited, which was previously relied upon by the same bankruptcy court, to support its about face from Walker, is Davenport. Davenport is not applicable and is distinguishable because it was a tax court case with no mandatory disclosure requirements attached to it. Furthermore, this Court has used Davenport for the premise of an unconscionable scheme calculated to interfere with the judicial system’s ability to properly adjudicate the matters before it. The perjured Affidavits were filed for one reason - to influence the court to authorize their employment. The plan or scheme to influence the Court to authorize their employment was confirmed after the attorneys were put on notice to amend their Disclosure Affidavits, informing the court of their connections and/or conflicts of interest, and they failed to do so. What could be more unconscionable than having three attorneys, officers of the court, with combined legal experience of eighty five years, knowingly lie to the court in order to authorize employment to secure their ill-gotten fees. To reiterate, the Eleventh Circuit’s affirmance of the same bankruptcy court’s finding of “fraud on the court,” “lying under oath is lying under oath.” The distinction in Walker v. Baron’s, is that in Walker, it was one creditor elected non attorney trustee who failed to disclose one remote connection, and in Baron’s, it was three attorneys, one being a United States Panel Trustee, who collectively failed to disclose more than sixty (60) present and ongoing connections and/or conflicts of interest.
The Panel’s decision is also in conflict with other circuits court of appeals, and the United States Supreme Court case in Hazel-Atlas Glass Co. v. Hartford-Empire Company, 322 U.S. 238, (1944).
In the Seventh Circuit, U.S. v. Gellene, 182 F.3d 578 (7th Cir. 1999), the Court found, that although Gellene made some disclosure, he did not fully disclose his connections and withheld the information over a two year period which not only was in violation of Rule 2014 but resulted in a conviction of bankruptcy fraud, served a jail sentence, was fined and was disbarred. The bankruptcy court also told Mr. Gellene: “New York is different from Milwaukee…Professional things like conflicts [of interest] are taken very, very seriously. And for better or worse you’re stuck in Wisconsin.”
In the Second Circuit, Kupferman v. Consolidated Research and Manufacturing Corp., 459 F.2d 1072(2nd Cir. C.I.R. 1972) stated: “an attorney’s loyalty to the court, as an officer thereof, demands integrity and honest dealing with the Court. And when he departs from that standard in the conduct of a case he perpetrates a “fraud upon the court.”
In the U.S. Supreme Court, Hazel-Atlas Glass Co. v. Hartford-Empire Company, 322 U.S. 238, (1944) an attorney may commit fraud on the court, not only through misrepresentation, but also through omission. Also in Hazel Atlas “it is a wrong….which ….cannot complacently be tolerated consistently with the good order of society… involv[ing] two victims: the individual litigant …and the court itself, whose integrity is compromised by the fraudulent behavior of its officers.) “The very temple of justice is defiled.”
The Panel’s decision involves question of exceptional public
importance which warrants consideration by the full Court.

The economic estimation of the loss of social capital damages to American society arising from the failed and unwarranted reorganization of Baron’s, a fifty-two year old family business, is as follows:
Baron’s was an S-corporation producing taxable income to its owners and income tax payable of $100,000.00 per year – loss of ten years income tax equals $1,000,000.00
Baron’s payroll, per year, for two hundred employees was $4,000,000.00
The share of Baron’s contribution towards FICA, rounded at about 7% per year is $280,000.00 which over ten years equals $2,800,000.00
Baron’s employees share of FICA, mitigated by re-employment of some workers, as many were unable to find re-employment, and thus received unemployment compensation, coupled with lost income tax and lost employee share of FICA is estimated over ten years to have cost the Federal Government $2,300,000.00
Baron’s paid sales tax to the State of Florida over the ten years with annual sales approximating $20,000,000.00 at 6% equals $12,000,000.00.
Baron’s, the corporate entity, and through its owners, supported non-profit organizations estimated at $20,000.00 per year over ten years equals $200,000.00.
The total estimated loss of social capital because of Baron’s demise, over the past ten years, is $18,300,000.00.
Considering the economic crisis we are in, and the bankruptcies that are being filed on a daily basis, and will continue to be, this case is an example of what happens when attorneys lie to the court, under oath, and put their self interests ahead of those they are duty bound to protect. In the Baron’s bankruptcy, the professionals received more than $2 million in ill gotten fees, out of a pot of approximately $3 million, the creditors received pennies on the dollar, two hundred people were put out of work, and the sole owners lost everything they and their family worked fifty two years to build.

For all the foregoing reasons, stated above, this Honorable Court should GRANT Appellant’s Petition for Rehearing En Banc and vacate its January 15, 2009 Order of Affirmance. In the alternative, this Honorable Court should consider the instant Petition as a Motion for Panel Rehearing and enter an Order vacating its January 15, 2009 Order consistent with the arguments made hereinabove. This Honorable Court should grant such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper herein.

Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion

No. 08-11286
Non-Argument Calendar
D. C. Docket No. 07-60770-CV-CMA
BKCY No. 97-25645-BKC-PG
In Re: BARON'S STORES, INC., Debtor.
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Florida
(January 15, 2009)
Before CARNES, BARKETT and WILSON, Circuit Judges.

Meryl M. Lanson and Norman Lanson ( the “Lansons”), proceeding pro se,and Baron’s Stores, Inc. (“Baron’s”), appeal the district court’s order, affirming the bankruptcy court’s decision finding that attorneys Marc Cooper, Ronald Kopplow, and Sonya Salkin (collectively “the attorneys”), who worked on behalf of Baron’s during its bankruptcy proceedings, did not perpetrate a fraud on the bankruptcy court.

We examine independently the factual and legal determinations of the bankruptcy court, employing the same standards of review as the district court. In re Issac Leaseco, Inc., 389 F.3d 1205, 1209 (11th Cir. 2004). We review the bankruptcy court’s factual findings for clear error and all questions of law de novo.

In re Int’l Admin. Servs., Inc., 408 F.3d 689, 698 (11th Cir. 2005). For a factual finding to be clearly erroneous, we, “after reviewing all of the evidence, must be left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” United States v. Rodriguez-Lopez, 363 F.3d 1134, 1137 (11th Cir. 2004) (quotation omitted).

“Fraud on the court must involve an unconscionable plan or scheme which is designed to improperly influence the court in its decision . . . .” Davenport Recycling Assocs. v. C.I.R., 220 F.3d 1255, 1262 (11th Cir. 2000) (alleged fraud on tax court). “It has been found only in those instances where the fraud vitiates the court’s ability to reach an impartial disposition of the case before it.” Id. Upon review of the record, and upon consideration of the briefs of the parties, we discern no reversible error. To the extent that the movants challenge the legal finding, the bankruptcy court did not err in finding that, to demonstrate the perpetration of fraud on the court, Baron’s and the Lansons must have demonstrated an intentional scheme to perpetrate a fraud. Our law requires the demonstration of a “plan or scheme . . . designed” to improperly influence the court, which indicates that scienter is required. Moreover, to the extent that the movants contend that recklessness satisfies this requirement, they did not raise the argument before the bankruptcy court, and they do not develop it on appeal. Accordingly, we do not consider this argument. See Narey, 32 F.3d at 1526-27; Horsley, 304 F.3d at 1131 n.1.

The bankruptcy court’s factual finding, that the attorneys did not intend at any point to mislead or defraud the court, is supported by the evidence, and the movants have not demonstrated that this finding and accompanying credibility determinations were clearly erroneous. Looking at all of the evidence, one is not left with a definite and firm conviction that the bankruptcy court committed a mistake in finding no deliberate scheme designed to improperly influence the court.

Because the Lansons and Baron’s have not demonstrated that the bankruptcy court clearly erred in finding that the attorneys were credible and not involved in a plan or scheme designed to improperly influence the court in its decision, we affirm the district court’s decision affirming the bankruptcy court.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


January 27, 2009

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Baron's Stores, Inc. was confirmed using tampered, altered and falsified documents.

Sonya L. Salkin, Baron's bankruptcy counsel, and a Region 21 Chapter 7 Panel Trustee, admitted that she was responsible for the preparation and submission of the amended Plan of Liquidation and the amended Disclosure Statement confirming the 1997 bankruptcy of Baron's. The documents were tampered with and altered and submitted for confirmation in direct contravention of the instructions of the United States Trustee, David Butler, and Assistant United States Trustee, Ramona Elliott.

Meryl M. Lanson, Officer of Baron's, retained a forensic document expert, Michael G. Kessler of Kessler and Associates. Mr. Kessler, declared under the penalty of perjury, on May 2, 2008, that “someone tampered with these documents, modified them, and/or altered them resulting in these documents not representing what they are presented to be. These documents have been falsified.”

Sonya Salkin has never hired an independent expert to refute Mr. Kessler's sworn declaration. Sonya Salkin refuses to be deposed pertaining to the falsified documents. Sonya Salkin has admitted to The Florida Bar that she never ascertained whether the documents that confirmed the bankruptcy of Baron’s were falsified. Sonya Salkin has filed for protection from the courts regarding any discovery pertaining to the documents. Baron's, Norman Lanson, and Meryl Lanson have been denied their due process rights to depose Sonya Salkin on the falsified documents. Judge Jeri Beth Cohen has protected Salkin by denying discovery on the falsified documents. Judge Jeri Beth Cohen, with malice and intent, has obstructed justice causing further damage to Baron’s, its creditors, and the Lansons. Such denial is a violation of the constitution of these United States of America.

The Courts and The Florida Bar continue to protect Sonya Salkin from any discovery and protect her from being deposed regarding the falsified documents that confirmed the bankruptcy of Baron's.

The falsification of the documents that confirmed Baron's bankruptcy has caused multi millions of dollars worth of damages to Baron's and its creditors, and was the reason that two hundred people lost their jobs. All the assets of Baron's were distributed amongst the lawyers, and their undisclosed insider connections, who conspired to destroy Baron's, its principles, its employees and its creditors for their own selfish greed. This is a common practice in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases.


NOVEMBER 6, 1991


Mismanagement, conflicts of interest, and political cronyism are hindering the effectiveness of the Justice department’s U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee Program, witnesses told a House Judiciary Committee panel today. In response to this testimony and numerous complaints he has received, Congressman Jack Brooks (D-Texas) announced that he is requesting the General Accounting Office to conduct a thorough investigation of the program.

“A smoothly functioning bankruptcy system is vital to the well-being of the American economy,” said Brooks, Chairman of both the Subcommittee on Economic and Commercial Law and the full Judiciary Committee, “and Congress created the U.S. Trustee Program to be a cornerstone of that system. Unfortunately, the examples of abuse that have come to our attention provide a clear signal that the U.S. Trustee Program is simply not getting the job.”

The U.S. Trustee Program, housed in the department of Justice, performs a wide range of administrative functions in bankruptcy cases, including monitoring cases, holding creditors meetings and reviewing fee requests. For example, in Chapter 7 liquidation cases, the U.S. Trustees establish the supervisory panels of private trustees who act as fiduciaries for individual debtors’ estates. U.S. Trustees are also intended to serve as the watchdogs of the bankruptcy system to ensure fairness and ferret out fraud and abuse.

“Since 1987,” continued Brooks, “17 former trustees and five of their employees have been convicted of embezzling funds in excess of $6.1 million from bankruptcy estates – and I am afraid this is just the tip of the iceberg. Given the increasing numbers of bankruptcy filings at a time of deep and lingering recession, we cannot afford to take chances with the Trustee Program.”

Lawrence A. Beck, a bankruptcy attorney from San Antonio, Texas, criticized the U.S. Trustee System from the debtor’s viewpoint. He encountered disorganization and resistance from the local U.S. Trustee when he sought help in investigating gross irregularities in the private trustee’s handling of the debtor’s estate. “Most individual debtors who enter bankruptcy with significant assets,” said Beck, “eventually conclude that they have become trapped in a crooked, dishonest system which is run for the benefit of the panel trustees and his hand-picked attorney, and which is supervised by incompetent bureaucrats.”

George Francis Bason, Jr., a former bankruptcy Judge, told the Subcommittee that despite a promising start in 1978, the U.S. Trustee Program has suffered “significant deterioration” in recent years. According to Bason, political favoritism and conflicts of interest are among the chief causes of this decline.

“Cronyism has come to have too large a role in appointments in the U.S. Trustee system,” said Bason. “Competent people at the local level are leaving in disgust…and too many of the remaining personnel in both the national and the local offices are simply not qualified by background and experience to do their jobs efficiently and well.”

With respect to conflicts of interest, Bason told the subcommittee that as a judge he presided over two cases with national and international significance in which he “found that intense pressure was exerted by the national office upon the local office of the U.S. Trustee to abandon the U.S. Trustee’s proper independent role as a neutral, impartial administrator and instead to act as a servant and advocate for the narrow self-interest of one party to the litigation.”

Larry E. Kelly, Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas, echoed Bason’s charges of political favoritism in the Trustee program. Kelly also testified that the “major defect” in the Trustee Program is “a lack of devotion and purpose in its very existence from the uppermost levels of the Justice Department. I have, with recent exceptions, seen no indication that the program has any pride or discernible purpose in its leadership.”

Brooks concluded: “I, for one, am not going to stand by while those caught up in the crippling economic crisis facing this country are subjected to further abuse by those entrusted with the fair administration of the bankruptcy system. I am determined to see that the U.S. Trustee Program gets back on track.”

Sol Stein, 1999/04, wrote Bankruptcy: A Feast for Lawyers that reveals how the Chapter 11 experience aids the bankruptcy bar and rarely the debtor company and its creditors. Many of us fondly remember Stein and Day Publishers, part of the 70% of bankruptcies that are filed to heal but wind up killed by the Trustees of U.S. Bankruptcy system.

Like Baron’s Mens Stores, Stein and Day existed for decades providing jobs and creatively serving public and private needs of a thriving community.

Elia Kazan, winner of five Pulitzer prizes and two Academy Awards, in his autobiography said, "My publisher, Sol Stein, was my producer, my editor; Sol Stein was my director. Stein had books on bestseller lists for nineteen consecutive years until he had to file for Reorganization under Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

Basic Trust is a social staple that underpins all commerce. Failure of trust in a capitalistic society causes hoarding, greed, and moral failure motivated by fear of scarcity. Ever since good faith, fair dealing, and good will were removed as the backdrop for contracts and regulation, the United States has sunk into a moral and ethical chasm that is now evidenced by potentially the greatest economic crisis of the century. It was brought on by failure of those in power to serve responsibly. CEO’s forgot who sustained the business that afforded them fat bonuses - Trustees are not trusted.

Baron’s Mens Stores never forgot the community, their employees, and to this day, for the past fifteen years, have been fighting for their creditors to be fairly treated by having reopened Baron’s bankruptcy, exposing the fraud, including but not limited to the fact that Baron’s bankruptcy was confirmed using falsified documents. The unnecessary bankruptcy of Baron’s confirmed by fraud perpetrated by attorneys cost Florida a business that had sustained for fifty two years.

The United States cannot sustain business as usual. Each person who reads this must take action for self protection and posterity.

As a direct result of the U.S. Trustee’s failure in the case of Baron’s, a fifty two year old multi-generational family owned company, was lost. We live in an “economic world.” The unnecessary loss of Baron’s through fraud and abuse in the bankruptcy system cannot be viewed in terms of the loss to the owners of Baron’s alone – that is the tip of the iceberg. The real losses caused by FRAUD and ABUSE go further in a cascade of damages emanating from but this one case.

Let’s look at an Economic Estimation of the Loss of Social Capital Damages to American Society arising from the failed reorganization of Baron’s.

- Baron’s was an S-Corporation producing taxable income to its
owners and therefore Income Tax Payable of $100,000.00 per

- Loss of 10 years Income Tax equals $1,000,000.00.

- Baron’s employed 200 workers with a payroll of $4,000,000.00 per year.

- The lost FICA tax employers share over the past 10 years at 7%
(rounded) $280,000.00 x 10 years equals $2,800,000.00.

- Baron’s employees’ share of FICA would be mitigated by re-employment of workers; however, many workers were unable to find re-employment. Between unemployment compensation paid, and lost income tax, and lost employee share of FICA, it is estimated that the COST TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT over 10 years equals $2,300,000.00.

- Baron’s paid Sales Tax to the State of Florida. Baron’s sales per year were $20,000,000.00 at 6% over 10 years equals $12,000,000.00.

- Baron’s also supported non-profit organizations through the Corporate entity, or the Owners, estimated at $20,000.00 per year over 10 years equals $200,000.00.



In my opinion, through the research that I have done, I believe, this is a criminal racketeering enterprise in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 152, §1623, §1341 and §1346.

Just prior to posting I received the “New York Lawyer – Legal Times” article by David Ingram – “Rove Subpoenaed to Testify About U.S. Attorney Firings.”

At the end of the article, House Judiciary Committee Chairman, John Conyers, Jr., who issued the Subpoena, said in a statement “Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it. After two years of stonewalling, its time for him to talk.”

Sonya Salkin, Esq., Baron’s counsel, and a United States Chapter 7 Panel Trustee, must answer for her admitted participation in the documents that confirmed Baron’s bankruptcy. After years of stonewalling by Ms. Salkin, her attorneys, and co-conspirators, it is time for her to talk as well. Sonya Salkin must be deposed and our due process rights must be invoked NOW.

Submitted by: Meryl M. Lanson