Sunday, April 29, 2007

Federal Court Dismisses TAMPOA Suit!

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami has dismissed TAMPOA's federal suit against the City and the Navy for "[f]ailure of counsel to file a joint scheduling report within the deadlines set forth" by the Court's February 8, 2007 scheduling order. That order required that counsel hold a joint scheduling conference by April 7, 2007 and file a joint scheduling report by April 20, 2007. TAMPOA and its counsel, according to the Court's dismissal order, did not comply with the April 20 deadline and had not done so by the time the court, on its own, entered its dismissal order on April 25, 2007.

In its order the court cautioned (in bold type) that its February 8, 2007 order had cautioned counsel that the "[f]ailure of counsel to file a joint scheduling report within the deadlines set forth [in the February 8, 2007 order] may result in dismissal, default, and the imposition of other sanctions including attorney's fees and costs."

The Federal District Judge was serious in his warning. He issued his dismissal "sua sponte" (meaning on his own and without urging from any party to the suit).

The judge dismissed TAMPOA's suit "without prejudice" and indicated "[t]his case is CLOSED." (Caps in the original). The court also denied as moot the Navy's motion requesting more time to respond to the suit. The judge further indicated that should TAMPOA re-file the lawsuit "without a substantial change in issues or parties," TAMPOA is to "notify the Clerk of Court of the existence of the newly filed action" and the new case will be assigned to the same judge.

Now, if the suit is refiled, TAMPOA will start out with a judge whose order it has already violated and a judge TAMPOA has already made unhappy. Nice going TAMPOA. How conducive is that to winning?

What a travesty TAMPOA now has to explain to its members at tomorrow's Board meeting. This lawsuit was supposed to be the case against the Navy and the City that would definitively answer the Southard Street questions and give TAMPOA needed leverage to force the City to settle. Instead, TAMPOA and its attorneys look like rank amateurs not ready for prime time. Once again, TAMPOA's reputation suffers and gives all those who already hate us more reason to gloat.

And just when was the TAMPOA Board going to tell anyone of this debacle? The Board, and certainly its President, have to have known about this since April 25, 2007, yet not a peep to the membership. Did they think no one would find out? And just when was the Board going to say something? At the insulated little Board meeting tomorrow?

This Board has bad-mouthed The Citizen for being biased toward TAMPOA, yet the Board would rather the membership read this bad news in The Citizen. That in itself is another travesty; just another instance of the lack of effective communication with TAMPOA members.

Big question: Who now pays for the cost of this lawsuit that is now down the tubes? And if TAMPOA chooses to re-file, who pays for that cost? Of course you already know the answer to that one. More importantly, who will take responsibility for the failure to do what was required by the Federal Court Order and for the failure to do what could have been done to avoid the dismissal? Is it time yet for a change in direction?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best that we can hope for is that this development is part of some elegant and ingenious legal strategy (and that only on its surface does it look as stupid as the whole fiasco created by Mr. Tukey and his minions). We would not be surprised, however, if there is going to be some sort of lame excuse that can be added to the list of lies and misinformation that has been already been fed to the homeowners by TAMPOA. We can only hope that the financial bleeding and community embarassment will soon stop so that decent TAMPOA residents can move along without the entanglements that have harmed our property values and diverted resources from more beneficial projects in Truman Annex. This whole matter is a lose-lose situation at this point and even if TAMPOA "wins" in all aspects of its demands regarding Southard Street (and prevails in telling the City what to do with its public land on the waterfront), its reputation will have been lost (although Mr. Tukey may have trouble understanding the importance of maintaining the integrity of reputation). If it makes him feel better, Mr. Tukey can still declare victory regardless of the outcome.

4/29/2007 08:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This latest incident involving the Tampoa Board is so terrible. Tukey and his "leadership" has to go. The whole philosophy of the Board toward suing and lawsuits is poor, not thought out and WRONG! Board -- quit spending my money!

4/29/2007 10:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is so sad that you are so filled with hate that you just jump to negative conclusions without hearing any facts. The City Attorney and the Mayor have been avoiding accepting service. The suit was dismissed merely as an administrative item. When they are successfully served, the scheduling meeting will be held. Do you have any perspective at all on how out of control your hatred has become?

4/30/2007 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Cayo Dave said...

Huge scoop Conchette. Congrats.
So, was this dismissal mostly procedural or does it speak to the veracity of TAMPOA's claim?

5/01/2007 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Conchette said...

The dismissal was procedural, but the decision of the judge does make one concerned about the quality of the lawyering on all sides of the case. Since the primary responsibility for producing the joint scheduling report generally falls upon the plaintiff's lawyers, by not complying with the deadline in the Court's Scheduling Order, TAMPOA and its attorneys may not have exactly endeared themselves to the Federal Judge in the case.

This same judge will likely sit on any refiled case. It's anyones guess how any new lawsuit will turn out. The judge was obviously sending a message to the lawyers with his decision. It will be interesting to see if they have heard that message.

5/02/2007 09:34:00 AM  

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