Laws In Texas

DOJ Rounding Up on Virginia Lawyer. Why He Should Have Class Action Texas Lawyer Mikal Watts Number on Speed Dial

As the Department of Justice charge a Virginia lawyer with Extortion, we look at the State Texas is currently in, where Extortion and Political bribes are standard practice. San Antonio class action lawyer Mikal Watts is a prime case study.

“VIRGINIA” MAGISTRATE JUDGE JOEL HOPPE TERMINATES CASE, ‘MERGES’ WITH ANOTHER CASE

LIT was looking to update this COVID delayed criminal case and what they found is that the judge obviously doesn’t like transparency and/or LIT watching the case.

He closed the case, with a comment it was ‘merged with MJ’. No case reference shown, so we had to go onto PACER to try and find it, which we did. So we meander over to the new case and the first docket entry glaring at us is MOTION TO SEAL…

Ahhhh…this looks like a cover up. So we slide down to the bottom of the page and see there’s a guilty plea and plea agreement.

We go to pacer to purchase and it numbers the docs and pages but when we click through, we are presented with ‘cannot locate the case with caseid 119229’ – no matter the doc. we try to pull.

It’s sealed from public eyes. Not good.

So next, we went to Reuters, and noted it’s an Alison Frankel piece. We’ll hit her up on Twitter and see if she’s willing to investigate.

It’s interesting that it’s a Virginia case. The Burkes are having a terrible time getting an honest answer out of the Virginia State Bar about their complaints against Tom Hefferon and Matt Sheldon of Goodwin Law.

At Sentencing on Sept. 18, 2020, Roundup Atty Timothy Litzenburg Gets 2 Years For $200M Extortion Plot

A Roundup plaintiffs’ attorney was sentenced Friday in Virgina federal court to two years in federal prison for trying to extort $200 million from a global chemical manufacturer, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

U.S. District Court
Western District of Virginia (Charlottesville)
CRIMINAL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 3:19-mj-00069-JCH-1

Case title: USA v. Litzenburg Date Filed: 12/16/2019
Date Terminated: 06/19/2020

Plaintiff
USA represented by Henry Parker Van Dyck
U.S. Department of Justice
1400 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005
202-514-1721
Fax: 202-514-0152
Email: henry.van.dyck@usdoj.gov
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED
Designation: US AttorneyLawrence Rush Atkinson
U.S. Department of Justice
1400 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005
202-305-7413
Fax: 202-514-0152
Email: Lawrence.Atkinson2@usdoj.gov
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

U.S. District Court
Western District of Virginia (Charlottesville)
CRIMINAL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 3:19-mj-00069-JCH-1

Case title: USA v. Litzenburg Date Filed: 12/16/2019
Date Terminated: 06/19/2020

 

Date Filed # Docket Text
06/19/2020 Case merged into 3:20cr00013. ALL FUTURE FILINGS MUST BE DOCKETED IN CASE 3:20cr00013. (kld) (Entered: 06/22/2020)

COVID-19 UPDATE (4/4/2020)

On March 23rd, 2020, the court granted a third extension of time, defendant citing COVID-19 court closures. The ‘speedy trial’ has been deferred until April 30, 2020 (no doubt it will be delayed further as necessary).

LIT COMMENTARY

San Antonio attorney Mikal Watts extorted a settlement in Texas by writing to opposing counsel, a jaw-dropping letter, advising the defendants in very defined terms, that he “owned” every judge on the Texas appellate Court in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Pretty much the same as the lawyer below in Virginia has apparently been charged with; extortion.

Watts however, obtained a class action settlement for his client after his threats (which you can learn about in the associated articles below and video evidence).

Watts was never charged by the DOJ for extortion. In Texas, lawyers are truly above the law and this is verifiable fact if you’ve watched the Justice for Sale documentary and read our blog here which confirms the corruption remains to this very day.

The sad part is that 60-minute produced documentary was 31 years ago and it is exactly the same in Texas today – justice remains for sale and businesses and banks will prevail over the small business or public citizen(s).

That said, times are changing and the people are not accepting the corruption anymore. #RESTORETX.

A change in Texas government won’t happen quickly – but as we are witnessing first hand at LIT, the “old guard” lawmakers are resigning in droves in Texas as they can see that investigations have no expiry date when you look at the #metoo cases like Jeffrey Epstein.

Judges are more difficult with Federal judges appointed with life tenures and the State of Texas Supreme Court justices are presently bought by political donations.

The government and Governor is very much ‘old school Texan’ in his views and actions. Gov. Greg Abbott has very recently stepped way out of line in defending racist judges on social media and sacking non-lawyers from commissions like the State Commission on Judicial Conduct (SCJC) because they didn’t vote the way he wanted. Democracy should not work like that, unless you’re in Texas, of course.

But at LIT we truly believe, together with the power of the people, the one-sided judgments and power-players in the 3 branches of government can be held accountable. In short form, the corruption in Texas can be successfully challenged.

If you are reading this article, you can help too. Join us, subscribe to our newsletter to receive our latest news direct to your inbox (spam free) and follow us on Twitter, where we continue to alert social media worldwide of the true State Texas is really in.  #AuditTexas.

Read the Related Case and More about Texas Lawyer Mikal Watts of Watts Guerra:

From the Bench; Why Texas Democratic Loving Attorney Mikal Watts Favorite Number is 13

DOJ charges Roundup plaintiffs’ lawyer in $200 million alleged extortion scheme

Published; 18 Dec., 2019

Update; Jan 16, 2020 by LIT; See attached Order by Magistrate Judge Joel Hoppe on 7th January, extending time for Indictment up till Valentines Day, 14th February, 2020.

(Reuters) – The Justice Department arrested Virginia plaintiffs’ lawyer Timothy Litzenburg on Monday, alleging in a criminal complaint unsealed late Tuesday that Litzenburg attempted to extort $200 million from an unnamed chemical manufacturing company that makes a product contained in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller. According to the Justice Department, Litzenburg told the company’s outside counsel in several emails, phone calls and meetings in October and November that he would launch a mass torts onslaught against the chemical company unless he and two co-counsel were paid $200 million as “consultants.”

Litzenburg, who was part of the trial team that won a landmark 2018 verdict against Monsanto in California state court for groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, did not respond to my emails or phone messages requesting comment on DOJ’s allegations. His alleged scheme was described in an affidavit from U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigator Kevin Towers.

At the time of the alleged scheme, Litzenburg was a name partner of Kincheloe Litzenburg & Pendleton. His partner Daniel Kincheloe was the registered agent of the limited liability corporation that was allegedly created to receive the lion’s share of the purported $200 million consulting fee. Kincheloe has not been charged with any wrongdoing. He and partner Damon Pendleton did not respond to my emails or phone messages requesting comment.

According to the affidavit accompanying DOJ’s criminal complaint, Litzenburg allegedly floated the purported consulting fee in October, after warning the company’s unnamed outside counsel that he could precipitate a mass torts crisis for the company by naming it as a defendant in a publicly-filed lawsuit.

In several phone calls and emails in October and November, Litzenburg allegedly elaborated on the details of the consulting arrangement, according to the affidavit, demanding $200 million and allegedly threatening that if the company did not accede to his proposal, it would face an onslaught of claims that would cost billions of dollars to resolve. He allegedly described the $200 million as a “very reasonable price.”

The company’s lawyers contacted the Justice Department on Oct. 29. Thereafter, the Postal Inspector’s office recorded the defense lawyers’ interactions with Litzenburg. In one recorded phone call, Litzenburg allegedly said it would be “legal and ethical” for him to steer clients away from claims against the company. He also suggested that he could “take a dive” and “ask the wrong questions” in a pre-suit deposition of a toxicologist from the company.

The alleged extortion scheme took place as Litzenberg engaged in a vicious fight with former colleagues at the Miller Law Firm, where he got his start in the Roundup litigation. By Litzenburg’s account in counterclaims he eventually filed against the Miller firm, he pioneered the Roundup litigation after reading that the World Health Organization identified glyphosate as a possible carcinogen. (Monsanto has staunchly defended Roundup’s safety, denying that it is linked to cancer.) Litzenburg, a 2008 graduate of the University of Richmond Law School, said he was responsible for vetting early Roundup plaintiffs, deposing some Monsanto executives and directing discovery from the company.

He also said that he developed and maintained the Miller firm’s relationships with its Roundup clients, including Dewayne Johnson. In August 2018, Johnson was the first plaintiff to prevail in a jury trial of claims that exposure to Roundup caused him to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A San Francisco Superior Court jury awarded Johnson $289 million in punitive and compensatory damages, causing a steep one-day decline in the stock price of Monsanto parent Bayer. The trial judge later reduced the judgment to $78 million. Bayer, which denies Johnson’s allegations, has appealed the judgment.

According to the Miller firm’s breach of duty complaint against Litzenburg in Circuit Court in Orange County, Virginia, Liztenburg was just a very junior lawyer acting under the direction of senior attorneys. By the time of the Johnson trial in San Francisco, the firm said, Litzenburg was engaged in “erratic and troubling behavior,” such as sending “nonsensical emails and texts” and skipping important meetings.

The Miller firm said it terminated Litzenburg’s employment in August 2018. It alleged in its lawsuit that he misappropriated client contact information and interfered with client retention agreements by soliciting Miller firm clients to defect to his new shop. Litzenburg’s countersuit accused the firm of defamation and business conspiracy, asserting that onetime Miller clients, including Johnson, considered Litzenburg to be their counsel.

The two sides reached an agreement earlier this month to drop claims and counterclaims against each other. In an email statement on the criminal charges against Litzenburg, Michael Miller said that his firm fired Litzenburg more than a year ago. “Mr. Litzenburg has nothing whatsoever to do with The Miller Firm nor The Miller Firm with Mr. Litzenburg,” the statement said.

It’s important to remember that, at the moment, the criminal case against Litzenburg is unproven accusations. The Justice Department has not yet publicly produced Litzenburg’s alleged emails to the chemical company’s lawyers nor its purported recordings of Litzenburg’s meetings and phone calls.

That said, the criminal complaint against Litzenburg reads like a vindication of all of the ugly criticisms that mass tort defendants throw at plaintiffs’ lawyers. Tort reformers could not have made up a story that casts plaintiffs’ lawyers in a more damning light than the government’s allegations against Litzenburg.

Obviously, the sort of misconduct alleged in the criminal complaint is an extreme rarity – but it’s these exceptions that feed perceptions of the plaintiffs’ bar. Here’s hoping that mass torts lawyers read the Litzenburg complaint as a cautionary tale.

Pending before the Court is the Third Joint Motion to Continue and Suspend Speedy Trial

(“Motion”). ECF No. 28. In the Motion, the parties ask the Court to extend the time for the court to hold a preliminary hearing to April 30, 2020, by sixty days, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.1, and to extend the time for indictment, see 18 U.S.C. § 3161(b) (requiring an indictment be filed within thirty days after an individual is arrested on a criminal complaint). As grounds for the extensions, counsel for the defendant cites court closures in response to COVID-19.

Upon consideration of the Motion, I find that the defendant consents to extending the time to hold a preliminary hearing and that the Motion shows good cause for the extension. Furthermore, I find that failing to grant the extension of time to indict would deny the Defendant and the Government the time reasonably necessary for effective preparation, taking into account the exercise of due diligence. See 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(B)(iv).

Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that the Motion, ECF No. 28, is GRANTED.

The time for holding a preliminary hearing is extended to April 30, 2020. Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.1(d). Additionally, the time for filing an indictment in this case is extended by fourteen (14) days from the date of the preliminary hearing, and the additional time resulting from the extension shall be excluded in computing the time within which an indictment must be filed under the Speedy Trial Act. See 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A).

ENTER: March 23, 2020

Joel C. Hoppe
United States Magistrate Judge

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  1. Pingback: Texas Lawyer Keen[e] to Resign After being Criminally Charged with Soliciting a Client for Sex, in Exchange for Legal Services | Laws In Texas

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Laws In Texas is a blog about the Financial Crisis and how the banks and government are colluding against the citizens and homeowners of the State of Texas and relying on a system of #FakeDocs and post-crisis legal precedents, specially created by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to foreclose on homeowners around this great State. We are not lawyers. We do not offer legal advice. We are citizens of the State of Texas who have spent a decade in the court system in Texas and have been party to during this period to the good, the bad and the very ugly.

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