Common Pleas Judge Scott Gusweiler's attorneys have responded to the reply of Brown County Clerk of Courts Tina Meranda in the latest salvo in the legal battle between the two elected officials.
The reply by Gusweiler is the final filing due in the case before visiting Judge Thomas Nurre rules on the motion to dismiss the lawsuit Meranda filed against Gusweiler last March.
The Cincinnati law firm of Montgomery, Rennie and Jonson repeated many of the same points raised in their initial response to the lawsuit that was covered in the May 2 edition of the Brown County Press.
They had to repeat it because they wanted facts to be heard, not angry and fact deficient accusations by the supposed attorney, Eric Deters.
It also refers to the sharply worded response filed by Meranda's attorney Eric Deters, saying "Despite Meranda's attempt to make this case about judicial vengeance, the case actually presents a far simpler situation. When the excessive verbiage in Meranda's memorandum is removed...a judge issued an order, the judge allegedly 'threatened' the party to that order with contempt, and the party followed the order. This same set of events happens in courthouses every day."
The response goes on to cite case law supporting the contention that Gusweiler has absolute immunity from personal liability for judicial actions he takes while in office.
Gusweilers attorneys contend that the court order demanding keys to Meranda's office and the threat of contempt charges and arrest if the order is not complied with was a "judicial act" in a court where Gusweiler had legal jurisdiction.
The response says "The judge's alleged statements about sending Meranda to jail for contempt were made after the judge issued his order and clearly relate to the order."
As such, the response says, "Judicial immunity is absolute."
Awww snap! Facts getting in the way of a good smear! Don't you hate it when that happens? But wait, the smackdown of the Chihuahua and Clerk Meranda continue:
The response also addresses Meranda's claim that Gusweilers actions "put her in great fear for her safety and person".
It refers to a paragraph in Brown County Prosecuting Attorney Jessica Little's statement which reads "Tina Meranda and Judge Gusweiler had a heated discussion and after Judge Gusweiler advised Tina Meranda that he would not give the key to anyone on his staff, she gave him a key".
The response continues "So actually, Meranda negotiated acceptable terms and then handed over a key."
Case law from 1926 is also cited that says "The power of the court is inherent and takes precedence even of (sic) the statutory (legal) power of a clerk over court records and files."
In other words, there was no imminent threat. Zing!
Meranda's claim for monetary relief is then addressed. The intimidation statute cited by Deters in the lawsuit is a criminal statute that is being used to sue Gusweiler in a civil suit.
The response says "To sufficiently plead a claim for civil damages under (the Intimidation statute) Meranda must allege she suffered some damage in the form of injury, death or loss of personal property.
At the very most, Meranda alleges she 'feared Judge Gusweiler and his demeanor'. These damages are insufficient under Ohio law."
Look, I am not defending what some are calling the arrogant and preening behavior of Judge Gusweiler. I think his language on the day in question was reprehensible. However, foul language does not rise to the level of monetary damages. And citing a crminal statute in a civil case is kind of henky. Where did the Chihuahua get his law degree? And why don't we see mention of this case in his online newsletters? And where is the case referenced on his website like he promised me when I asked him about it on the air? I'm still waiting, Mr. Deters, you dope.
Stick to chasing ambulances and causing our insurance premiums and doctor bills to go up. You are far better at that than actual serious jurisprudence! Stick to that and causing more people to change the channel when you go on the air for 700WLW. And as for Ms. Meranda, she has cost the people of Brown County enough with her vendetta. She should do us all a favor and resign and return to private life, enjoying her family and her whine-ery. If this were really about principle and the rule of law, it would have been the right thing to take it before the 12th district court of appeals, who would have ruled on the matter and settled disputes. Instead, Tina Meranda went for money and blood. She went to the county begging for her vendetta to be funded by the taxpayers of Brown County. Sounds like she wants a nice golden parachute. Unfortunately, she chose the wrong lawyer to pack it for her. This case should be thrown out and Meranda should reimburse the county for lost man hours and the price of getting an outside judge, and then should resign.