Case of the Day: United States v. Goodyke

The Case of the Day, United States v. Goodyke (8th Cir. 2011), involves the misuse of an apostille. Goodyke and Robinson held unusual views about the government. They sold fraudulent “diplomatic immunity cards” to like-minded people, telling the buyers that the cards would allow them “to avoid paying taxes, and would entitle them to immunity from being detained or arrested by law enforcement officers.” According to Goodyke’s brief, the evidence regarding the purpose of the scheme was as follows:

The undercover officer, Det. Rod Gentry of the KCMO Police Department, adopted the name of Marty Riggs for the operation, and proceeded over the early months of 2006 to have numerous meetings and telephone conversations with both Mr. Denham [another defendant] and Mr. Robinson. On February 11, 2007, Gentry attended a meeting of some 10-14 people at a karate school in Independence, Missouri, at which Mr. Robinson was the speaker. The meeting was in the nature of an “educational class” in which Robinson expounded “his views of the Constitution and so forth.”

Among the topics discussed was the process by which, as Robinson and Denham believed, an individual could reclaim  his sovereignty. This process involved three basic steps, including (1) executing and notarizing an “act of state,” this being a document that set forth an individual’s personal declaration of sovereignty and of citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven, (2) obtaining an apostille for the act of state document from the local Secretary of State’s office, and (3) obtaining a diplomatic identification card and badge.

Let’s just pause to consider how ridiculous this is. But it seems that Robinson, at least, really believed in it (at least according to Goodyke’s brief):

On September 20, 2007, federal and local officers initiated a prearranged traffic stop of Mr. Robinson’s vehicle, during which Mr. Robinson presented officers with his own diplomatic identification card and credentials. A search of his vehicle revealed another identification card in the name of Larry Terry Smith. Both Robinson’s card and Smith’s card also contained the State Department seal.

(more…)

Continue ReadingCase of the Day: United States v. Goodyke

Case of the Day: Playboy Enterprises v. Smartitan

The case of the day, Playboy Enters. Int’l, Inc. v. Smartitan (Singapore) PTE Ltd. (N.D. Ill. 2011), is, I am sorry to say, our second case from the “adult entertainment” industry. In today’s case Playboy was licensing its trademarks for use on clothing and women’s bags to be sold in Japan, which makes the case less sordid than BluMedia v. Sordid Ones, the case we reviewed in January.

Playboy had licensed Smartitan, a Singapore business, to put its trademarks on consumer products to be sold in Japan. During the life of the contract, Eltex rather than Smartitan had made all royalty payments to Playboy (Eltex and Smartitan had a common shareholder). At some point, unbeknownst to Playboy, Smartitan supposedly “dissolved”, and the contract was taken over by Eltex. Playboy learned that Smartitan was using the marks on unauthorized products, and Smartitan was also frequently late with sales reports. Playboy audited Smartitan under their contract; at Smartitan’s request, the audit took place at the offices of Eltex in Hong Kong. After the audit. Playboy sued Smartitan and Eltex for breach of the contract. Smartitan moved to dismiss for insufficient service of process. (more…)

Continue ReadingCase of the Day: Playboy Enterprises v. Smartitan

Case of the Day: In re Veiga

In today’s case of the day, In re Veiga (D.D.C. 2010), we return to the Lago Agrio epic. In this installment, Chevron and its lawyers, Rodrigo Pérez Pallares and Ricardo Reis Veiga, sought to compel the deposition in the United States of Alberto Wray Espinosa, and the production of documents. Ecuador and the Lago Agrio plaintiffs intervened in the case. Chevron and its lawyers sought the evidence for use in the Lago Agrio civil case in Ecuador, the Ecuadoran criminal case against Chevron’s lawyers, and the BIT arbitration between Ecuador and Chevron. Our prior Lago Agrio coverage can be found here. If you’re not familiar with the case, I suggest reading some of the earlier posts before proceeding, because I’m going to jump right in. By way of providing a road map, I’m going to review the case and the judge’s application of the Intel analysis before reaching what I think is the most interesting part of the decision: does § 1782 allow the court to order a person within its jurisdiction to produce evidence, even if the evidence is not located in the United States?

Chevron and its lawyers wanted Wray’s testimony and documents  because Charles W. Calmbacher, Ph.D., who had been a technical expert for the Lago Agrio plaintiffs, had earlier testified that two expert reports the plaintiffs had filed in his name in the Ecuadoran case “purport to reach conclusions—namely, that there was harmful environmental contamination—that he did not actually reach.” Dr. Calmbacher testified that the reports had been prepared in Wray’s office. Chevron evidence about the Calmbacher report and, more generally, the expert reports used in the Lago Agrio case.

(more…)

Continue ReadingCase of the Day: In re Veiga