Patrick J Mannix, Sr v. MARC BERNIER
Posted in the Daytona Beach Forum
Virginia Courts Case Information
Bristol General District (Prepayable)***
Civil Case Details Page : GV07000350-00
Case Number: GV07000350-00 File Date: 04/10/2007 Case Type: Warrant In Debt
Debt Type: Number of Plaintiffs: 01 Number of Defendants: 11
Plaintiff # 1 Information:
Name: MANNIX, PATRICK J; SR.
Defendant # 1 Information:
Name: APPALACHIAN EDUCATIONAL COMM. CORP.
Defendant # 2 Information:
Name: BERNIER, MARC
Contact court for judgments of additional defendants
Number Date Time Result Hearing Type
01 05/01/2007 09:00 AM Continued
02 07/30/2007 09:00 AM Judgment
Judgment: Plaintiff Judgment Amount:$3,000.00
Other Amount: Interest Award: 6 % FROM 07/30/07
Cost:$36.00 Attorney Fees:
Is Judgment Satisfied: Date Satisfied:
Homstead Exemption Waived: No
Virginia Courts Case Information
Supreme Court of Virginia
Case Number: 081012 Case Type: CIVIL
Appellant: MANNIX, PATRICK J., SR. Appellee: BERNIER, MARC
Lower Court: CITY OF BRISTOL
Record Received: 05/01/08
Petition for Appeal
Petition for Appeal Received: 05/27/08
Brief in Opposition Received: 06/16/08 Received: Received:
Reply Brief Received:
Certificate of Appeal:
CSA Oral Argument:
Disposition Date: 10/22/08 Disposition: REFUSED
Petition for Rehearing Received:[color=red]11/05/08[/ color]
Petition for Rehearing Date: Decision:
I sued Marc Bernier and lost. Now I have to pay him over $9000!
Patrick Mannix Sr <---- IDENTITY THEFT
Ormond Beach, FL
|Report Abuse |Judge it!|#4 1 hr ago
I sued Marc Bernier and lost. Now I have to pay him over $9000!
Who the hell would want to steal my identity???
All this hoopla sounds like about some pretty personal stuff to me. No wonder the behavior is abnormal, it is personal. Vengeance always is.
He Sues And Loses; Mannix Has Only Begun To Fight
By Daniel Gilbert
Reporter / Bristol Herald Courier
Published: April 19, 2009
BRISTOL, Va.– Two years ago, Pat Mannix sued a talk show host for refusing to take his calls and won a $3,000 judgment when the radio personality did not file a legal response.
Since then, things have gone rather downhill for the litigious Bristol gadfly.
After the radio host, Marc Bernier, appealed, a Washington County Circuit Court judge in September 2007 ruled against Mannix, determining that the case was not grounded in facts. The Virginia Supreme Court recently denied Mannix’s appeal. Now the Circuit Court is forcing him to pay a loser’s fee: more than $10,000 in costs incurred by his opponent’s law firm.
The objections of Mannix are legion.
He challenges whether there is sufficient evidence for the court to impose sanctions against him. He calls his opponent’s legal fees excessive – even fraudulent. He has tried to subpoena the law firm’s bookkeeper and billing records. He has twice sought to disqualify the judge and filed a complaint with the state’s judicial policing body.
So far, to no avail.
Mannix originally brought the case against a dozen defendants, including Bristol and Washington County law enforcement and another radio station, suing for wrongful arrest, fraud and false advertising, but since then it has taken on a different flavor, evolving into a kind of referendum on one man’s use of the legal system.
Mannix, 57, has no formal legal training but is “blessed with the ability to read,” as he puts it. A former telephone repairman for the U.S. Air Force and a former postal worker, Mannix generally operates like a one-man law firm, representing himself, filing his own motions and serving his own papers.
“I do not file things unless I’m serious about them,” he insisted when asked if his lawsuits always have merit.“I come to court as a last resort.”
Since 1989, Mannix has sued 28 times in Washington County Circuit Court, not counting a divorce case and an application for a concealed handgun permit. He has sued three times in Bristol Circuit Court, not counting the Bernier case. He would not discuss in detail how he finances his legal crusades, but estimated that he has sunk perhaps $10,000 in them over more than two decades. He would spend that much again fighting to deny Bernier’s attorneys from collecting money he thinks they’re not entitled to, he said.
“It’s become a matter of principle. Cost is not even a consideration,” he said.
Mannix stands by his 2007 claim that Bernier discriminated against him by refusing to take his calls, and then obtaining an injunction against him in a Florida court. Bernier did not return a phone message seeking comment.
But the crux of Mannix’s legal argument has shifted focus from Bernier to the system itself, and the presiding judge, Isaac St. Clair Freeman. Mannix has blasted Freeman as unfit for the bench, and believes the judge went outside the record to justify sanctions against him. That, at least, is how Mannix explains the printouts of his civil court history that appeared in the Bernier court file without authentication or notice, only to be referenced as evidence by Freeman at a hearing.
“Unreasonable and oppressive”
In September 2005, a local Christian radio station filed a complaint in Sullivan County, Tenn., against Mannix for telephone harassment, a misdemeanor.
The programming director for WPWT claimed Mannix, in one month, had called about “150 times, tying up our phone lines and disrupting our business,” according to the affidavit.
Mannix doubts he called that many times. But the dispute heightened when Washington County, Va., officers picked him up at his home, and booked him as a fugitive from a felony.
“Telephone harassment,” Mannix mused.“How bad would it have to be to be a felony?”
In Tennessee, harassment is a felony only when a person convicted of a crime is accused of contacting the victim of the crime.
A Washington County judge tossed out the case in October 2005. A year later, Mannix was picked up by police in Bristol on the same warrant. Again, the charge was dismissed, but this time Mannix shot back, taking collective aim at the parties he believed wronged him.
He filed a civil warrant seeking $15,000 – the maximum allowable in general district court. All defendants responded to his April 2007 complaint – except one, Bernier, based in Daytona Beach, Fla. A Bristol General District Court judge dismissed the charges against the rest of the defendants. He entered a $3,000 judgment against Bernier in July 2007.
The next month, Bernier retained the Bristol firm of Elliot Lawson & Minor to appeal the judgment to Circuit Court.
Freeman, a circuit court judge who sits in Marion, Va., was assigned to the appeal. In the first hearing in September 2007, Freeman appeared to find the legal arguments of Bernier’s attorney, Eric Reecher, vastly superior.
Taking Reecher’s arguments under advisement, Freeman asked Reecher if the attorney had requested that Mannix pay court costs and his attorney’s fees.
In fact, Reecher had not, but told the judge he planned to. He did so within a week, seeking $9,600 in attorney’s fees, based on an affidavit submitted by his law firm’s bookkeeper.
Freeman, meantime, granted Reecher’s motion demurring to Mannix’s initial charge, and dismissed the case.
After just two months of litigation, Reecher’s fee stunned Mannix, who served the bookkeeper, Susan Doss, with a subpoena and requested billing records.
Reecher moved to quash the subpoena, arguing that it sought information protected by the attorney-client privilege, and calling it “unreasonable and oppressive.” Freeman granted the motion to quash the subpoenas, over the objection of Mannix and his attorney, Randall Eads.
A Virginia court can impose sanctions, such as paying for an opponent’s court costs, when a judge determines that a litigant’s pleading is not fact-based or was brought to harass the other party.
In an Oct. 26, 2007, hearing, Eads argued that the court lacked evidence to determine whether Mannix had done anything worthy of sanctions, and that he should at least be granted access to the people and records that supported the calculation of attorney’s fees; he could not cross-examine a written affidavit in court.
“We don’t know if Mr. Mannix ever had a case or not because it was just not worked up to make that determination,” Eads argued, according to transcript of the hearing.
“And Mr. Mannix certainly disputes that any attorney would work 46 hours on a case that would be appealed from a general district court to a circuit court,” Eads said, calculating the hours based on Reecher’s fee of $200 an hour. He later amended his calculation to 48 hours.
“They could have done it pro bono for all I know,” Mannix said.
Reecher, asked about the work involved in such a case, declined to comment last week. Freeman granted the motion for sanctions.
“The past is not my concern”
In Freeman’s letter to the parties on Jan. 11, 2008, not only did he approve sanctions against Mannix, he sought to stop him from filing any legal action in the circuit without judicial permission.
“Mr. Mannix shall obtain leave of court prior to instituting any cause of action within this circuit, regardless of which court,” Freeman wrote.
The final order, which Reecher’s office prepared, opted for a narrower construction of Freeman’s opinion. The order billed Mannix $9,913.93, and obliged him to obtain the court’s permission before bringing a legal action against Bernier, his show or the broadcast corporation that produces the show.
Reecher and fellow attorney, Dawn Figueiras, limited the scope of Freeman’s opinion in order to reduce the likelihood of an appeal, Figueiras said in court.
This, though, was not Freeman’s original intent, the judge said during a Feb. 27, 2008, court hearing.
“My intent was for Mr. Mannix to get leave of the Court to file any civil lawsuit in this Circuit, not just against Mr. Bernier,” he said. In explaining why, he cited Mannix’s lengthy civil paper trail.
“And part of the record in this case was the number of cases that Mr. Mannix has filed and it is a lot ... and except for one, it appears to me that they were all either dismissed or there was no action taken.”
To clarify, Freeman added:“And what has happened in the past is not my concern; it’s what’s going to happen in the future,” he said.
The revelation that Mannix’s civil court history had become part of the evidence in the dispute with Bernier was news to Mannix and Eads.
Following the hearing, they were alarmed to find in the court file printouts of electronic records listing Mannix’s civil lawsuits in Bristol and Washington County – the very records Freeman had referenced. The printouts were not authenticated nor stamped with a time of filing, as required by Virginia laws on evidence.
The following week, Eads filed a motion to set aside Freeman’s verdict, objecting that the documents were improperly filed and “may have tainted the decision of the Court on the issue of sanctions.”
Freeman denied it.
Convinced that Freeman, himself, placed the printouts in the court file, Eads wrote in his appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court that judges “have no duty or obligation to search for evidence on their own in any particular case.” And he added a particularly apt metaphor for Freeman, an avid hunter:“Unlike hunting seasons established by the Game Commission to regulate hunting period activities for certain species of game, a closed season always exists for judges in reference to hunting for evidence.”
Eads concluded:“The hunters of evidence should be no one other than the parties to the litigation and not the trial judge who has a duty to properly admit or reject evidence.”
Eads’ appeal cited numerous judicial errors, from Freeman’s acceptance of the bookkeeper’s affidavit as evidence to the amount of attorney’s fees sought.
The high court denied the appeal on Oct. 22, 2008. In February, the court denied a petition for a rehearing.
With the case in an inexorable slide toward sanctions, Mannix again lashed out at the parties he believed had wronged him. Days after the final word came from the Virginia Supreme Court, Mannix filed a formal complaint against Freeman with the Virginia Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission – an arm of the high court that polices judges.
Later that month, he sued Doss, the bookkeeper for Elliott Lawson & Minor, for fraud; the case is now pending in General District Court.
Nothing, though, changed Mannix’s $10,000 legal bill – nothing except for more sanctions.
Bernier, his victory intact, applied for more fees generated by the appeal:$1,000 and change.
For most unsuccessful litigants, this would not be cause for celebration.
For Mannix – though perplexed as to why two months of legal work at the trial court level cost 10 times more than the appellate work – it was a most welcome development.
The application for more fees defibrillated the case, jumping it back on the docket, and requiring the entry of a new final order. Meaning: Mannix has not lost yet.
“I’m not going to hear this”
On April 14, Mannix appeared before Freeman for what the judge said would be the last hearing in the case.
Before taking the bench, Freeman sent word to a bailiff denying a request by the Bristol Herald Courier to photograph the hearing. The judge did not inform Mannix nor Reecher of the request, and did not give the newspaper a chance to plead its case, as provided for in Virginia law.
He did not state a reason for denying the request.
The first motion Freeman entertained in court was Mannix’s argument that the judge should recuse himself.
In the lengthy, four-page motion, Mannix incorporated his previous objections to Freeman’s rulings, and claimed the judge violated the Canons of Judicial Conduct by considering evidence that was not introduced by a party to the litigation.
Mannix also quoted at length from a Bristol Herald Courier article a year ago, in which an area legislator criticized Freeman over his handling of handgun permit applications and his demeanor in general.
Freeman denied Mannix’s motion.
“There is no bona fide reason to recuse myself,” Freeman said.
Freeman granted Reecher’s motion quashing a subpoena that Mannix had issued for Bernier, who was not present at the hearing.
In considering Reecher’s request for additional fees, Freeman asked Mannix if he had a response; Mannix did, of sorts.
The case, which Freeman dismissed with his Feb. 27, 2008 order, had not been properly reinstated with an order, Mannix argued. And he had not personally received notice of the hearing.
Freeman pointed to his March 2009 letter directing the Circuit Court clerk to place the matter on the docket – to which Mannix objected.“That is not an order,” he began.
“Sir, I’m not going to hear this anymore,” Freeman interrupted.
The hearing, it seemed, had not tipped in Mannix’s favor. But outside the courtroom, Mannix was all smiles.
“This is really going to help me,” he said.“This means a new final order. I’ll appeal. We’re going back to Richmond.”
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You're an illiterate developmentally disabled loser Patrick.
Call Mannix what you want an idiot, crazy, or whatever, but one thing for sure he stands for what he believes in and if people would open their eyes and see how corrupt our judicial systems are then we all would understand. Whether he wins or loses in court he sure makes the people who set the laws look like asses. I say more power to him and if I ever needed someone to represent me in court it would be Mannix due to the fact of his knowledge of the laws and amendments that our government wrote, but yet tend to follow themselves. I hope and pray that more people will see he is the true Robin Hood who fights for the people.
Everyone knows that the Volusia Courts are controlled by the Daytona Capos, why did Mannix even think of suing there?, he had no chance. Nothing to do with legal justice, just real life. Elected Judges out here are owned by those that finance them, is a simple system, really.
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