Libertarians Seek to Recover $214K in PA Case

Posted in ydr.com (York Daily Record)
1-3-2013
 

HARRISBURG, Pa.—The Libertarian Party is seeking to recoup nearly $214,000 in legal costs from its successful defense against a Republican Party-backed challenge to keep the Libertarian ticket off the Pennsylvania ballot.

Paul Rossi, the lead lawyer for the Libertarians, said in a motion filed Monday in Commonwealth Court that the challengers violated a court order by intentionally misleading his clients in an effort to pressure them into giving up.

But in October, after a review that lasted more than seven weeks, Senior Judge James Gardner Colins ruled that the Libertarian candidates for president, U.S. Senate and the three statewide “row offices” had enough valid signatures to stay on the ballot.

Mike Barley, director of the state Republican Party, said the challengers acted in good faith throughout the process.

“Their (the Libertarians’) claims are baseless,” he said.

Of the Libertarians seeking statewide offices, the top vote-getter in the Nov. 6 election was Betsy Summers, a Wilkes-Barre businesswoman running for state auditor general. She received 210,876 votes, about 4 percent of the total.

16 thoughts on “Libertarians Seek to Recover $214K in PA Case

  1. No Difference

    The LP won — WON — their case. Let me see if I can make that clearer: THE LP WON THE CASE. That means that the loser lost. If the loser lost, then they have caused the LP injury in the expenses related to the case to fight the loser off.

    Now the case has been decided; the RP is at fault apparently. How do they get off claiming that they did nothing wrong?

    This so-called “justice system” is a huge scam.

  2. Andy

    I hope the party gets the $214,000 back, but it should probably be more than this if you take into account all of the volunteer hours that it took to go through the challenge process and all of the stress involved for all of the party members.

  3. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    They need to ask for way more than that, because the attorney will undoubtedly get a percent. They need to get enough that the Republican party really hurts.

  4. Richard Winger

    Thanks to IPR for reporting this interesting news. The general U.S. lawsuit practice is that each side pays for its own attorneys and costs (except that in civil rights cases, plaintiffs who beat the government in court do get attorneys fees). Pennsylvania petition challenges are an exception to the general American practice, but only starting in 2004. The Pennsylvania Libertarian Party is in federal court arguing that the Pennsylvania costs rule violates the U.S. Constitution. I wish the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania had not filed for costs, although the position of the party in federal court is not directly in conflict with what it has recently done in state court.

  5. FLAMETHROWING LIBERTARIAN !

    I wish they not only had to pay but it hurts so much they have to squeel like pigs ! The sorry stinking FASCIST lost PA by over 300,000 and MI by close to 450,000 voters. Not even CLOSE my friends.

    It has been said that most of the legal work for Alternative Parties is done pro bono in Ballot Access cases by Party members who happen to be attoneys. Let’s hope this is the case here as you all know it is unlikely the LP will see this money anytime soon, if ever.

    * * * * * * * * * * *
    Have you signed this “We the People” petition ? Before Jan.29! – https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/work-congress-introduce-bill-rights-enforcement-clause/8bGN8pYc

  6. paulie

    Everyone is correct:

    I hope they win, it should have been more, and after they win I hope they still defeat the system of assessing attorneys fees to the losing party and having courts be the primary venue for petition challenges.

  7. Steve M

    “Mike Barley, director of the state Republican Party, said the challengers acted in good faith throughout the process.”

    “Their (the Libertarians’) claims are baseless,” he said.

    The Republican party did not challenge the Green party candidates only the Constitution Party and Libertarian Party’s petitions.

    Take if from Faith, there was nothing good about what the Pennsylvania Republican Party did to keep other competing candidates off the ballot.

    I believe that having threatened the Constitution and Libertarian parties with legal costs that the Pennsylvania Republican party should have to stand up in court and defend why they shouldn’t have to pay similar costs. Let them be on record for their double speak! It will be good for making jokes about if nothing else.

  8. Paul A. Rossi, Esq

    As the attorney for the LP (and no, I am not a volunteer) in this case, I wanted to sketch-out some of the conduct that the GOP engaged in to show that their conduct was in bad-faith, sufficient to seek and obtain costs and attorney fees.

    It is important to understand that in an Election Law contest the PA Court’s has explained that the legal counsel have a heightened duty of candor to the Court’s and opposing counsel. This is because election law cases have to be decided in quick order (8-9 weeks), and the Court and legal counsel have to trust that the other side is not engaged in any shady tactics. It is on this front that the GOP failed to comply with their obligations to the Court and to the LP legal counsel. For instance:

    (1) The Republican Party (secretly) amended the pleadings during the review, without informing the Court or opposing counsel, by deleting thousands of duplicate line objections that would have shown up as valid signatures during the review. They deleted these duplicate line objections so that they would not be added to the valid signature totals thereby making it appear that the LP was not getting enough valid signatures to prevail. The Republican Party then, using the artifically lower valid signature totals, argued that we were not getting enough valid signatures to prevail, threated the LP with costs and attorney fees if we did not withdraw the Nomination Papers by 3:00 p.m. on August 22 (3 days into the review). They did this without informing the Court or opposing counsel that the daily totals did not include the duplicate signature lines they they deleted prior to the review.

    (2) In addition, the GOP, in violation of the Court Order, systematically refused to remove any objections that were found by the review teams to be invalid (such as the GOP’s “Not Registered at Address” objections that the computer system proved to be incorrect). The GOP also failed to credit the LP with signatures that were stipulated to be valid by the review teams, so they got a second shot at getting some signatures to be ruled invalid (but they never failed to properly input invalid signature) – every mistake that they made in data input into their computer system during the signature review was to the detriment of the LP, and never to the GOP’s detriment.

    The foregoing are just some of the GOP conduct upon which we are seeking attorney fees and costs from the GOP.

  9. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Thanks for checking in with us, Mr. Rossi. We’ll all be watching this case with much interest. The GOP seems to have stooped to desperate levels many times during the past campaign season–and then lost anyway. I personally don’t think the Republican Party
    will regain its former strength for a long time.

  10. Marc Montoni

    THANK YOU, Mr Rossi. I know they kept you hopping.

    In your pursuit of these people, I hope you will find a way to also make the LP whole. We had many costs in this fight, and the ones who forced us to endure those costs should make us whole.

    Will you eventually be challenging the system that has led to this abuse?

  11. paulie

    Richard Winger reported in one of the preceding comments that “The Pennsylvania Libertarian Party is in federal court arguing that the Pennsylvania costs rule violates the U.S. Constitution.” This is unrelated to this case, and I don’t know if Paul Rossi has anything to do with that one.

  12. Paul A. Rossi, Esq

    I am not litigating the federal case current before the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. That case is waiting on a decision on opposing counsel’s motion to dismiss which was argued back in September.

  13. Chuck Moulton

    Paul Rossi is a very capable attorney. I’m confident filing for court costs and attorney’s fees was the right strategy here. I won’t discuss the why further since this is ongoing litigation.

    Note: I am not an impartial observer. I could receive some money for attorney’s fees and costs if the case prevails.

  14. paulie

    Does anyone know – was it legally not possible to ask for compensation being forced by the court for the non-attorneys that had to work on the signature challenge defense?

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