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Judge Amit Mehta ruling FBI Steele Dossier, James Madison Project v Department of Justice, Nunes and Schiff Memos constitute public acknowledgement of existence of records

Judge Amit Mehta ruling FBI Steele Dossier, James Madison Project v Department of Justice, Nunes and Schiff Memos constitute public acknowledgement of existence of records

“If This Story Gets Out, We Are Screwed”…Wikileaks: Doug Band to John Podesta

“James Comey’s decision to revive the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server and her handling of classified material came after he could no longer resist mounting pressure by mutinous agents in the FBI, including some of his top deputies, according to a source close to the embattled FBI director.”…Daily Mail October 30, 2016

“We are being lied to on a scale unimaginable by George Orwell.”…Citizen Wells

 

 

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
_________________________________________
)
JAMES MADISON PROJECT, et al., ))
Plaintiffs, ))
v. ) Case No. 17-cv-00144 (APM)
)
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, et al., ))
Defendants. )
_________________________________________ )
INDICATIVE RULING AND ORDER AS TO PLAINTIFFS’
MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
Once more, this court is called upon to opine on the legal consequences of President Donald J. Trump’s declassification of information concerning the “Dossier”—the 35-page compilation of memoranda prepared by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele concerning Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and alleged ties between Russia and then
candidate Trump. Cf. BuzzFeed, Inc. v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Case No. 17-mc-02429-APM, 2018 WL 3719231 (D.D.C. Aug. 3, 2018). In this case, the court must decide whether the February 2018 public release of two congressionally drafted memoranda—popularly known as the “Nunes Memo” and the “Schiff Memo”—vitiates Defendants’ Glomar responses to Plaintiffs’ demand for
records concerning a “two-page synopsis” of the Dossier.

The court initially granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants. See generally James Madison Project v. Dep’t of Justice (“James Madison I”), 302 F. Supp. 3d 12 (D.D.C. 2018), appeal docketed, No. 18-5014 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 25, 2018). It held that neither the President’s tweets and other public statements, nor the public statements of other high-ranking government officials,
constituted a public acknowledgment that the documents sought by Plaintiffs James Madison Case 1:17-cv-00144-APM Document 49 Filed 08/16/18 Page 1 of
2
Project and Josh Gerstein in fact exist and are possessed by Defendant agencies. See id. Plaintiffs then filed a notice of appeal, but shortly after moved for reconsideration in light of the Nunes Memo’s release. Plaintiffs’ notice of appeal, however, divested the court of jurisdiction over this matter. See United States v. DeFries, 129 F.3d 1293, 1302 (D.C. Cir. 1997) (per curiam) (“The
filing of a notice of appeal . . . ‘confers jurisdiction on the court of appeals and divests the district court of control over those aspects of the case involved in the appeal.’” (quoting Griggs v. Provident Consumer Disc. Co., 459 U.S. 56, 58 (1982)). Accordingly, Plaintiffs now ask the court to indicate, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62.1, that it would grant their Motion upon remand. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 62.1(a)(3). Defendants assert that reconsideration is not warranted
and urge the court to deny the Motion.

For the reasons that follow, the court finds that the disclosures contained in the Nunes and Schiff Memos do constitute a public acknowledgement of the existence of the records sought by Plaintiffs from Defendant Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) and that the FBI therefore may no longer maintain its Glomar responses. Accordingly, the court indicates that, upon remand, the
court would grant Plaintiffs’ pending Motion for Reconsideration as to the FBI. Plaintiffs’ Motion as to the remaining agency Defendants, however, is denied.

I.
The court already has written extensively about this matter, and so only will summarize the relevant facts and procedural history here.
A.
In January 2017, Plaintiffs submitted a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request to four federal agencies—the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Case 1:17-cv-00144-APM Document 49 Filed 08/16/18 Page 2 of 13
3
Agency, the National Security Agency (collectively, “Intelligence Community Defendants”), and the FBI—for the following information:
(1) The two-page “synopsis” provided by the U.S. Government to
President-Elect Trump with respect to allegations that Russian
Government operatives had compromising personal and financial
information about President-Elect Trump (“Item One”);
(2) Final determinations regarding the accuracy (or lack thereof) of
any of the individual factual claims listed in the two page synopsis
(“Item Two”); and
(3) Investigative files relied upon in reaching the final
determinations referenced in [Item Two] (“Item Three”).
James Madison I, 302 F. Supp. 3d at 17. These responses remained unanswered at the time Plaintiffs filed this action. See id. 17–18.

Thereafter, within the context of this litigation, Defendants responded to Plaintiffs’ FOIA demands. All Defendants asserted Glomar responses as to Items Two and Three—that is, they refused to admit or deny whether any responsive records even exist. See id. at 18. As to Item One, only the FBI advanced a Glomar response, while the Intelligence Community Defendants admitted the existence and their possession of the “two-page ‘synopsis’” but invoked FOIA Exemptions 1
and 3 to justify withholding the document in its entirety. See id. Defendants then moved for summary judgment, which the court granted in full on January 4, 2018. See id. at 17. The court held that: (1) Defendants’ Glomar responses to Items Two and Three were proper, see id. at 31–35; (2) the FBI’s Glomar response to Item One was appropriate, see id. at 29–31; and (3) the
Intelligence Community Defendants’ withholding of the two-page synopsis was justified, see id. at 35–36. Plaintiffs then noticed an appeal from the court’s ruling. See Notice of Appeal, ECF No. 38.
Case 1:17-cv-00144-APM Document 49 Filed 08/16/18 Page 3 of 13

B.
But then the ground shifted. On February 2, 2018, President Trump authorized release of a memorandum prepared by the majority staff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, commonly referred to as the Nunes Memo. See Pls.’ Mot. for Recons., ECF No. 40
[hereinafter Pls.’ Mot.], Ex. 1, ECF No. 40-1 [hereinafter Nunes Memo]. Among other things, the Nunes Memo revealed that former British intelligence operative Christopher Steele drafted the Dossier; that, in October 2016, the FBI relied in part on portions of the Dossier’s contents to secure a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) warrant as to Carter Page, a former campaign
advisor to then-candidate Trump; that, in parallel with pursuing the Page FISA warrant, the FBI was undertaking efforts to corroborate the allegations contained within the Dossier; and, critically for this case, that “in early January 2017, Director Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier.” See id. at 4–6.1

A few weeks later, the President authorized the declassification and release of even more information about the Dossier’s origin and use. On February 24, 2018, a rebuttal to the Nunes Memo, written by the minority staff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, became public. See Pls.’ Notice of Suppl. Info., ECF No. 41, Ex. 1, ECF No. 41-1 [hereinafter Schiff Memo]. The rebuttal, better known as the “Schiff Memo,” revealed, among other things,
that Steele shared his “reporting . . . with an FBI agent . . . through the end of October 2016”; and, importantly for this case, that “[t]he FBI has undertaken a rigorous process to vet allegations from Steele’s reporting.” Id. at 5, 8. As a result of the release of the Nunes and Schiff Memos, there is now in the public domain meaningful information about how the FBI acquired the Dossier and
how the agency used it to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
1 Citations to both the Nunes and Schiff Memos are to the page numbers electronically generated by CM/ECF.
Case 1:17-cv-00144-APM Document 49 Filed 08/16/18 Page 4 of 13

Not surprisingly, after the release of the Nunes Memo, Plaintiffs asked this court to reconsider the validity of Defendants’ Glomar responses. See generally Pls.’ Mot. Moving under Rule 60(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Plaintiffs argued that the information contained in the Memos “undoubtedly would have conclusively and substantively changed the outcome of the present case if it had been available prior to this Court’s” summary judgment ruling.
Id. at 6. Defendants opposed Plaintiffs’ motion, arguing that “nothing to which [Plaintiffs] refer in the Nunes Memo or in the Schiff Memo addresses the two-page synopsis that is the subject of plaintiffs’ request.” Defs.’ Opp’n to Pls.’ Mot., ECF No. 43 [hereinafter Defs.’ Opp’n], at 2. As Defendants put it: “The Schiff Memo, like the Nunes Memo, is devoid, in fact, of any reference
to the two-page synopsis” and thus “[n]o waiver of the Glomar responses . . . results[.]” Id. at 3.

In view of the parties’ positions, the issue before the court is: Does the President’s approved release of the information contained in the Nunes and Schiff Memos constitute an official acknowledgement of the existence of records requested by Plaintiffs, such that Defendants’ Glomar responses are now invalid? The court turns now to answer that question.

II.
A.
Rule 60(b)(2) allows for relief from a final judgment, order, or proceeding based on “newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(2). In order for evidence to meet the requirements of Rule 60(b)(2), the following criteria must be met:
(1) the newly discovered evidence is of facts that existed at the time
of trial or other dispositive proceeding; (2) the party seeking relief
was justifiably ignorant of the evidence despite due diligence;
(3) the evidence is admissible and is of such importance that it
Case 1:17-cv-00144-APM Document 49 Filed 08/16/18 Page 5 of 13

probably would have changed the outcome; and (4) the evidence is
not merely cumulative or impeaching.
West v. Holder, 309 F.R.D. 54, 57 (D.D.C. 2015) (citation omitted).
There is no dispute here that both the Nunes and Schiff Memos satisfy the first, second, and fourth prongs for purposes of Rule 60(b)(2). See Bain v. MJJ Prods., Inc., 751 F.3d 642, 647 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (defining “newly discovered evidence”). Thus, the sole question for the court is whether those Memos are “of such importance that it probably would have changed the outcome” of the court’s summary judgment ruling. West, 309 F.R.D. at 57; see also In re Korean Air Lines Disaster of Sept. 1, 1983, 156 F.R.D. 18, 22 (D.D.C. 1994) (noting that evidence is “newly discovered” under Rule 60(b)(2) if it is “of such a material and controlling nature as will probably change the outcome” (citing Goland v. CIA, 607 F.2d 339, 371 n.12 (D.C. Cir. 1978)).
B.
It is helpful to start with a recap of the principles that govern how to evaluate a Glomar response. To overcome a Glomar response, the plaintiff can either challenge the agency’s position that disclosing the existence of a record will cause harm under the FOIA exemption asserted by the agency, or the plaintiff can show that the agency has “officially acknowledged” the existence
of records that are the subject of the request. See James Madison I, 302 F. Supp. 3d at 20. If the requester takes the second route—as Plaintiffs do here—she “must pinpoint an agency record that both matches the plaintiff’s request and has been publicly and officially acknowledged by the agency.” Id. at 21 (emphasis omitted) (quoting Moore v. CIA, 666 F.3d 1330, 1333 (D.C. Cir. 2011)).2
2 Although drafted by Legislative Branch staff, Defendants here do not dispute that the Nunes and Schiff Memos constitute official public statements of the President that could give rise to a Glomar waiver. Cf. James Madison I,
302 F. Supp. 3d at 24 (The D.C. Circuit has recognized that ‘[a] disclosure made by the President, or by [an] advisor acting as “instructed” by the President,’ is attributable to executive branch agencies for purposes of the official
acknowledgement doctrine.” (quoting Am. Civ. Liberties Union (ACLU) v. CIA, 710 F.3d 422, 429 n.7 (D.C. Cir. Case 1:17-cv-00144-APM Document 49 Filed 08/16/18 Page 6 of 13

Generally speaking, there are two ways in which a plaintiff can establish that a public statement officially acknowledges the existence of a document. The plaintiff can either (1) identify a statement that “on [its] face” constitutes an official acknowledgement of a document’s existence, or (2) point to a statement that, when combined with the “context in which it is made,” leads to an
“inescapable inference that the requested record[ ] in fact exist[s].” See James Madison I, 302 F. Supp. 3d at 22. Under either approach, the “official acknowledgement” doctrine must be construed “strictly.” Id. at 23 (quoting Moore, 666 F.3d at 1333). And, “whether expressly or by inference, the official statement must render it ‘neither logical nor plausible’ for the agency to
justify its position that disclosure would reveal anything not already in the public domain.” Id. at 24 (quoting Am. Civ. Liberties Union (ACLU) v. CIA, 710 F.3d 422, 430 (D.C. Cir. 2013)).

III.
Plaintiffs argue that the Nunes and Schiff Memos, both directly and by way of inference, “pinpoint” the existence of agency records that “match” their FOIA requests. They contend that both Memos disclose the FBI’s efforts to verify or refute the accuracy of the Dossier’s allegations, and note that the Nunes Memo expressly mentions “a source validation report conducted by an
independent unit within [the] FBI [that] assessed Steele’s reporting as only minimally corroborated.” Nunes Memo at 6 (emphasis added); see Pls.’ Mot. at 2–3. The referenced “source validation report,” they assert, “matches” their requests for “final determinations regarding the accuracy (or lack thereof) of the allegations summarized in the two-page synopsis, as well as 2013)). In fact, the Nunes Memo’s release caused the Department of Justice to withdraw its Glomar response in a different FOIA case before this court, involving a demand for records relating to the Carter Page FISA warrant application. See James Madison Project v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Case No. 17-cv-00597-APM (D.D.C.), Def.’s Resp. to Order, ECF No. 32, at 1 (“Defendant withdraws the Glomar response as to the existence of the Page FISA applications and orders identified in the Nunes Memo.”). Case 1:17-cv-00144-APM Document 49 Filed 08/16/18 Page 7 of 13

investigative files (if any) relied upon in rendering those final determinations.” Pls.’ Mot. at 2–3 (internal quotation marks omitted); see also James Madison I, 302 F. Supp. 3d at 17.

Defendants’ response is straightforward. Distinguishing the Dossier from the two-page synopsis, they concede that both Memos disclose the FBI’s efforts to corroborate the Dossier’s allegations, but assert that nothing in the Memos “addresses the two-page synopsis that is the subject of plaintiffs’ requests.” Defs.’ Opp’n at 2. In other words, they argue, neither the Nunes Memo nor the Schiff Memo contains reference to any document that matches the “final
determinations” or “investigative files” about the synopsis that Plaintiffs seek, so their Glomar responses remain on firm ground.

Plaintiffs have the better of the argument.
A.
Item One: The Two-Page Synopsis. Recall, only the FBI asserted a Glomar response to Plaintiffs’ demand for a copy of the two-page synopsis presented to President-elect Trump. James Madison I, 302 F. Supp. 3d at 18. The Nunes Memo makes the FBI’s position no longer tenable because it expressly refers to the document Plaintiffs seek. Specifically, the Nunes Memo states:
“[I]n early January 2017, [FBI] Director Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier, even though it was—according to his June 2017 testimony—‘salacious and unverified.’” Nunes Memo at 6 (emphasis added). Read in context, the Nunes Memo’s reference to “a summary of the Steele dossier” presented to President-elect Trump in “early January 2017”
matches Plaintiffs’ first demand: a “two-page ‘synopsis’ provided by the U.S. Government to President-Elect Trump with respect to allegations that Russian Government operatives had compromising personal and financial information about President-Elect Trump.”
Case 1:17-cv-00144-APM Document 49 Filed 08/16/18 Page 8 of 13

To begin with, the phrase “a summary of the Steele dossier” clearly refers to a written summary. Interpreting that phrase to refer to an oral summary would be grammatically unnatural.

The Nunes Memo uses the past tense of the verb “brief,” the preposition “on,” and the article “a” before “summary” to describe what Director Comey did with respect to “a summary of the Steele Dossier.” Reading those terms together conveys that Director Comey dispensed information as to some tangible object—a briefing “on” “a summary.” To say that the Director “briefed” the
President-elect “on” “an” oral summary would make little sense. If the briefing concerned only an oral summation, then the phrase “a summary of” to modify “the Steele Dossier” would be entirely unnecessary (“Director Comey briefed President Trump on . . . the Steele Dossier”). Thus, understanding “summary” to refer to a “written summary” is the natural reading.

Context supplies other evidence of a match between Plaintiffs’ Item One request and the Nunes Memo’s reference to “a summary of the Dossier.” The terms “synopsis”—used by Plaintiffs—and “summary”—used by the Nunes Memo—are, of course, synonyms. The interchangeability of those words points to the same document. Additionally, Plaintiffs’ demand for a document pertaining to “allegations that Russian Government operatives had compromising
and personal financial information about President-Elect Trump” is an unmistakable reference to what the Nunes and Schiff Memos identify as the Dossier. See Nunes Memo at 5 (stating that the “‘dossier’ [was] compiled by Christopher Steele” who was tasked with “obtain[ing] derogatory
information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia”); cf. Schiff Memo at 3–4 (“DOJ’s applications did not otherwise rely on Steele’s reporting, including any ‘salacious’ allegations about Trump, and the FBI never paid Steele for this reporting.”). And the Nunes Memo’s description of what Director Comey did with the “summary” is consistent with a January 10, 2017, CNN article that
Plaintiffs incorporated in their FOIA request to the agencies “for context.” See Answer, ECF No.
Case 1:17-cv-00144-APM Document 49 Filed 08/16/18 Page 9 of 13

8, Ex. A, ECF No. 8-1 [hereinafter FOIA Request], at 2; Defs.’ Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 14, Ex. G, ECF No. 14-14 [hereinafter CNN Article]. The CNN article reported that allegations regarding Russian possession of “compromising personal and financial information” about the President-elect were “presented” in a two-page synopsis to President-elect Trump during the first
week of January 2017 by “four of the senior-most US intelligence chiefs,” including FBI Director Comey. CNN Article at 1–2; see also FOIA Request at 3 (stating the “two page synopsis included allegations derived from a 35 page ‘dossier’ allegedly compiled by a former British intelligence
operative” and published by BuzzFeed). The Nunes Memo confirms this description of events.

It places Director Comey in a briefing of President-elect Trump regarding a summary of the Dossier in January 2017. These parallels lead the court to conclude that the “synopsis” sought by Plaintiffs is in fact the “summary” acknowledged by the Nunes Memo.

It is true that the Nunes Memo does not use the word “synopsis.” But that is not fatal. The context in which the official acknowledgement was made leads to the obvious inference that the FBI possesses the two-page synopsis Plaintiffs seek. Is it reasonable to conclude that the synopsis does not exist or that the FBI does not possess it, even though the FBI has, in the words of the Nunes Memo, undertaken a “rigorous process to vet allegations from Steele’s reporting”? Of
course not. No reasonable person would accept as plausible that the nation’s top law enforcement agency does not have the two-page synopsis in light of these officially acknowledged facts of its actions. As the D.C. Circuit observed in ACLU, “[t]he Glomar doctrine is in large measure a judicial construct, an interpretation of FOIA exemptions that flows from their purpose rather than their express language.” 710 F.3d at 431. To accept the FBI’s Glomar response as to Item One in this case would “stretch that doctrine too far.” Id.
Case 1:17-cv-00144-APM Document 49 Filed 08/16/18 Page 10 of 13

By authorizing the release of the Nunes Memo to make known the existence of the “summary” of the Dossier on which he was briefed, the President has publicly acknowledged the existence of the two-page synopsis in Director Comey’s possession. The FBI therefore can no longer assert a Glomar response to Plaintiffs’ demand for that record.
B.
Items Two and Three: Final Determinations and Investigative Files. For much the same reasons already discussed, it remains no longer logical nor plausible for the FBI to maintain that it cannot confirm nor deny the existence of documents responsive to Plaintiffs’ second and third requests: (1) “[f]inal determinations regarding the accuracy (or lack thereof) of any of the individual factual claims listed in the two page synopsis” and (2) the “[i]nvestigative files relied
upon in reaching [such] final determinations.”

The Memos reveal that the FBI has undertaken substantial efforts to confirm the accuracy of the Dossier’s reporting. The Nunes Memo expressly acknowledges the existence of “a source validation report,” conducted by an “independent unit within [the] FBI,” which “assessed Steele’s reporting as only minimally corroborated.” Nunes Memo at 6. The Schiff Memo takes a more
favorable view of a portion of Steele’s reporting, and provides even more information about the FBI’s efforts. It explains that “Steele’s information about [Carter] Page was consistent with the FBI’s assessment of Russian intelligence efforts to recruit him and his connections to Russian persons of interest,” Schiff Memo at 6, and that the FBI had reached a sufficient level of confidence
in Steele’s reporting about Carter Page’s alleged coordination with Russian officials to include that information in a FISA warrant application, id. at 8. Additionally, the Schiff Memo states:
“The FBI has undertaken a rigorous process to vet allegations from Steele’s reporting, including with regard to Page.” Id. at 8. Unless the court is to believe that the FBI undertook these efforts Case 1:17-cv-00144-APM Document 49 Filed 08/16/18 Page 11 of 13

without creating any memoranda or other papers containing assessments about Steele’s reporting and did not gather files for that purpose—a wholly implausible proposition—the Nunes and Schiff Memos are “tantamount to an acknowledgment that the [FBI] has documents on [those] subject[s].” ACLU, 710 F.3d at 431.
Defendants counter that the absence of any express reference in the Memos to efforts to validate the synopsis, as opposed to the Dossier, allows them to stand on Glomar responses as to Items Two and Three. But that position defies logic. As a “summary” of the Dossier, Nunes Memo at 6, the synopsis undeniably contains some subset of the Dossier’s allegations. It is simply not plausible to believe that, to whatever extent the FBI has made efforts to verify Steele’s
reporting, some portion of that work has not been devoted to allegations that made their way into the synopsis. After all, if the reporting was important enough to brief the President-elect, then surely the FBI thought enough of those key charges to attempt to verify their accuracy. It will be up to the FBI to determine which of the records in its possession relating to the reliability of the
Dossier concerns Steele’s reporting as discussed in the synopsis. Accordingly, the FBI has waived its Glomar responses as to Items Two and Three of Plaintiffs’ FOIA request.

The same cannot be said, however, about the Intelligence Community Defendants. Neither the Nunes Memo nor the Schiff Memo makes any reference to any effort by the Intelligence Community Defendants to determine the accuracy (or lack thereof) of any of the individual factual claims contained in the synopsis. Although an official presidential statement can vitiate a Glomar
response for an executive branch agency, see ACLU, 710 F.3d at 429 n.7, the court does not read Circuit precedent to go so far as to say that the President’s acknowledgment of the existence of records by one agency categorically precludes every part of the Executive Branch from asserting a Glomar response. Rather, if an official presidential acknowledgement is limited to a single
Case 1:17-cv-00144-APM Document 49 Filed 08/16/18 Page 12 of 13

component of the Executive Branch, as is the case here, other unrelated components may still invoke Glomar. The court’s conclusion is consistent with the principle that, when the President makes an official acknowledgment as to a particular agency, in that capacity he acts solely as the “parent” of that agency and that agency alone—not the entire Executive Branch. Cf. id. (explaining
that the rule that one agency’s waiver of a Glomar response does not bind another, unrelated agency “does not apply . . . where the disclosures are made by an authorized representative of the agency’s parent. A disclosure made by the President, or by his counterterrorism advisor acting as ‘instructed’ by the President, falls on the ‘parent agency’ side of that line.” (internal citations
omitted)). To adopt the contrary rule would have far-reaching consequences that this court is not prepared to accept, in the absence of clear guidance from the Circuit. Accordingly, the court finds that disclosures contained in the Nunes and Schiff Memos are not official acknowledgements that preclude the Intelligence Community Defendants from maintaining Glomar responses as to Items
Two and Three of Plaintiffs’ request.

IV.
For the foregoing reasons, consistent with Rule 62.1, the court states that, on remand, the court would grant Plaintiffs’ Motion for Reconsideration as to all of the FBI’s Glomar responses.
The court, however, denies the Motion for Reconsideration as to the Intelligence Community Defendants’ Glomar responses to Plaintiffs’ second and third FOIA requests. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 62.1(a)(2).

Dated: August 16, 2018 Amit P. Mehta
United States District Judge
Case 1:17-cv-00144-APM Document 49 Filed 08/16/18 Page 13 of 13

https://www.scribd.com/document/386451281/FBI-Foia-Ruling#download&from_embed

 

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Justice Dept. enema required, Strzok firing not enough, J Christian Adams warning, Attorney Ty Clevenger FOIA requests and Transparency Project, DOJ blocking Set Rich info release

Justice Dept. enema required, Strzok firing not enough, J Christian Adams warning, Attorney Ty Clevenger FOIA requests and Transparency Project, DOJ blocking Set Rich info release

“Why was Tony West, who helped Obama keep his records hidden at taxpayer expense, promoted to Acting Associate Attorney General, the third highest official at the Justice Department?”…Citizen Wells

“Why has the Department of Justice not been cleansed (given an enema)?”…Citizen Wells

“I know that Seth Rich was involved in the DNC leak.”…Kim Dotcom

 

J. Christian Adams, former Justice Department attorney, warned us in 2010.

“On the day President Obama was elected, armed men wearing the black berets and jackboots of the New Black Panther Party were stationed at the entrance to a polling place in Philadelphia. They brandished a weapon and intimidated voters and poll watchers. After the election, the Justice Department brought a voter -intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and those armed thugs. I and other Justice attorneys diligently pursued the case and obtained an entry of default after the defendants ignored the charges. Before a final judgment could be entered in May 2009, our superiors ordered us to dismiss the case.

The New Black Panther case was the simplest and most obvious violation of federal law I saw in my Justice Department career. Because of the corrupt nature of the dismissal, statements falsely characterizing the case and, most of all, indefensible orders for the career attorneys not to comply with lawful subpoenas investigating the dismissal, this month I resigned my position as a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney.”
“Based on my firsthand experiences, I believe the dismissal of the Black Panther case was motivated by a lawless hostility toward equal enforcement of the law. Others still within the department share my assessment. The department abetted wrongdoers and abandoned law-abiding citizens victimized by the New Black Panthers. The dismissal raises serious questions about the department’s enforcement neutrality in upcoming midterm elections and the subsequent 2012 presidential election.”

https://citizenwells.com/2014/06/09/j-christian-adams-explains-obama-use-of-alinsky-rules-for-radicals-challengers-to-obama-labeled-marginalized-compartmentalized-birthers-impeachment-proponents-made-to-look-crazy/

I have probably spent the greatest amount of time researching relative to reporting on the Seth Rich murder.

I vowed I would not forget it.

We deserve the truth.

There have been a number of FOIA requests for release of information regarding the Seth Rich murder and “investigations.”

I kept looking for a followup on the Judicial Watch request.

Attorney Ty Clevenger has made a number of FOIA requests as well as filing lawsuits and provided updates.

http://lawflog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/2017.09.01-Seth-Rich-FOIA-request.pdf

“Federal lawsuit seeks records about Seth Rich murder”

“This morning I filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that asks a federal judge in Brooklyn to order the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice to release records concerning the murder of former Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich.

Back in October, I wrote about the U.S. Department of Justice ordering the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. to release records about the murder, but since that time not a single record has been produced.  Around the same time, the FBI refused to search for records in its Washington Field Office, even though that is where the records are most likely to be found.  The lawsuit notes that the FBI has a history of trying to hide records from FOIA requestors and Congress.

I also asked the court to order the National Security Administration to release all of its communications with members of Congress regarding Seth Rich, Julian Assange, and Kim Dotcom, among others.

As you are probably aware, Mr. Rich’s parents filed suit this week against Fox News, producer Malia Zimmerman, and frequent guest Ed Butowsky.  I think that was a serious tactical error.  All of the defendants now have the legal right to subpoena documents and witnesses, and you can be sure they will use that power aggressively.

THE TRANSPARENCY PROJECT

With help from several supporters, I’ve organized The Transparency Project, a nonprofit corporation headquartered in Texas. If you want to support the Seth Rich litigation, you can find out how at Tproject.org. The website is a little primitive, but I plan to update it soon.”

Read more:

http://lawflog.com/?p=1912

The Transparency Project

“The Transparency Project is a nonprofit organization that fights political corruption, particularly in the judiciary and the legal profession. TTP was organized by Ty Clevenger, an attorney who grew tired of watching judges and lawyers get away with things that would send most people to prison.  Ty has forced two federal judges into retirement, triggered a grand jury investigation of the Texas Attorney General (who was subsequently indicted), prompted the indictment and conviction of a corrupt district attorney, and sued bar prosecutors to force them to investigate Hillary Clinton’s lawyers for their roles in destroying email evidence.  TTP intends to purse similar cases.”

Read more:

http://tproject.org/

 

 

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Insurance company intimidation tactics, Fraud allegations bullying, Manipulate situation by choosing what information is relevant, NC Statutes on unfair claim settlement practices

Insurance company intimidation tactics, Fraud allegations bullying, Manipulate situation by choosing what information is relevant, NC Statutes on unfair claim settlement practices

“For members who have found themselves in disputes with Thrivent, the retroactive change rankles. “You’re wondering how Lutheran organizations can treat their own customers that way,” says Mr. Tiedemann, an 83-year-old retiree who navigated the dispute-resolution process for more than two years before giving up.”...WSJ May 30, 2006

“The insurance companies understand that if they deny and deny claims, then many of the claimants will never pursue their claim,”…ABC News Good Morning America April 25, 2008

“pre-dispute mandatory arbitration provisions are inappropriate in insurance policies and incompatible with the legal duties insurers owe policyholders when handling their claims.”…NAIC, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, August 15, 2016

 

How Do Insurance Companies Use Intimidation Tactics?

“One of the ways an insurance company may try to manipulate the situation is by choosing what information is relevant. If they discover some key information that wasn’t previously communicated to them, they might choose to punish you for not telling them, instead of simply assuming you had made a mistake and asking you to supply the missing information.”

“Unsubstantiated Fraud Allegations: Many insurance providers will allege that their policyholder is engaged in fraud by inflating the value of items in their claim, fabricating events resulting in loss or claiming loss of items that do not exist or were not lost or damaged. Sometimes these allegations will be loosely based on mistakes on a proof of loss form or be completely without any factual support. The objective is to intimidate a policyholder into accepting a lowball offer because of fears that the insured will face potential civil or criminal liability as well as having his or her claim completely denied.”

http://eachstorytold.com/2018/06/30/fraud-accusation-insurance-company-intimidation-tactic-common-intimidation-techniques-tactics-by-insurance-companies-are-unethical-illegal-obligation-of-good-faith-and-fair-dealing-toward-policyh/

From AcomHealth.

“It is a very common device for claims adjusters to allege “fraud” as a means to drive a minimal financial settlement with a provider. The claim by some insurance company employee that “overutilization” has taken place and that somehow, based on self-serving and unreal “guidelines” they are exploring legal action against the provider is, indeed, sobering and probably as intimidating as it is intended to be. As absurd and unethical as this behavior is, it is frequent and it is effective in driving low-dollar settlements by providers even for the most legitimate of claims.”

“While the exact language in the law regarding fraud may vary from state to state, the common elements necessary to prove fraud might be summarized as follows:

Fraud must be proved by showing that the defendant’s actions involved five separate elements:

  1. A false statement of a material fact,
  2. Knowledge on the part of the defendant that the statement is untrue,
  3. Intent on the part of the defendant to deceive the alleged victim,
  4. Justifiable reliance by the alleged victim on the statement, and
  5. Injury to the alleged victim as a result. Source:  Farlex Internet Free Dictionary”

Read more:

https://acomhealth.com/steps-prevent-defend-claims-insurance-fraud/

NC Statutes.

“§ 58-24-165. Unfair methods of competition and unfair and deceptive acts and practices. Every society authorized to do business in this State shall be subject to the provisions of Article 63 of this Chapter relating to unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices”

https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/BySection/Chapter_58/GS_58-24-165.pdf

“(11) Unfair Claim Settlement Practices. – Committing or performing with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice of any of the following: Provided, however, that no violation of this subsection shall of itself create any cause of action in favor of any person other than the Commissioner:
a. Misrepresenting pertinent facts or insurance policy provisions relating to coverages at issue;
 b. Failing to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly upon communications with respect to claims arising under insurance policies;
c. Failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of claims arising under insurance policies;
d. Refusing to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation based upon all available information;
e. Failing to affirm or deny coverage of claims within a reasonable time after proof-of-loss statements have been completed;
 f. Not attempting in good faith to effectuate prompt, fair and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear;
g. Compelling [the] insured to institute litigation to recover amounts due under an insurance policy by offering substantially less than the amounts ultimately recovered in actions brought by such insured;
h. Attempting to settle a claim for less than the amount to which a reasonable man would have believed he was entitled;
 i. Attempting to settle claims on the basis of an application which was altered without notice to, or knowledge or consent of, the insured;
 j. Making claims payments to insureds or beneficiaries not accompanied by [a] statement setting forth the coverage under which the payments are being made;
k. Making known to insureds or claimants a policy of appealing from arbitration awards in favor of insureds or claimants for the purpose of compelling them to accept settlements or compromises less than the amount awarded in arbitration;
 l. Delaying the investigation or payment of claims by requiring an insured claimant, or the physician, of [or] either, to submit a preliminary claim report and then requiring the subsequent submission of formal proof-of-loss forms, both of which submissions contain substantially the same information;
 m. Failing to promptly settle claims where liability has become reasonably clear, under one portion of the insurance policy coverage in order to influence settlements under other portions of the insurance policy coverage; and

n. Failing to promptly provide a reasonable explanation of the basis in the insurance policy in relation to the facts or applicable law for denial of a claim or for the offer of a compromise settlement.”

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To Brad Hewitt Chief Executive Officer of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, My claims experience my background and thoughts, Request that you read and investigate facts, Opportunity to act out Christian beliefs

To Brad Hewitt Chief Executive Officer of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, My claims experience my background and thoughts, Request that you read and investigate facts, Opportunity to act out Christian beliefs

“pre-dispute mandatory arbitration provisions are inappropriate in insurance policies and incompatible with the legal duties insurers owe policyholders when handling their claims.”…NAIC, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, August 15, 2016

“Thrivent contends that its commitment to individual arbitration is ‘”important to the membership because it reflects Thrivent’s Christian Common Bond, helps preserve members’ fraternal relationships, and avoids protracted and adversarial litigation that could undermine Thrivent’s core mission.’”…Thrivent v. Acosta Nov. 3, 2017

“Martin Luther may or may not have stated ‘Here I Stand’ but his actions certainly did.”…Citizen Wells

 

I have it on authority that Thrivent does not like what I have written about them.

I recently told the outside attorney who relayed this message that I endeavor to be accurate and do not lie.

I stated that if Thrivent finds any errors or wishes to respond with a rebuttal, I will accomodate them.

I also have not written about my later claims experience yet.

From my recent letter to

Mr. Mike Causey

NC Insurance Commissioner

” Most of my adult life was spent in IT. My first job was with a top 20 accounting firm in Greensboro. I taught college Computer Science for 5 years. The rest of my IT career was spent in higher level IT/management positions or in my own consulting firm. I represented 3 NC companies in Manhattan for their IT matters. I had the highest level of real estate licensing in NC, Broker in Charge until 2009. I have had 3 successful motions in NC court and zero failures.

I was baptized as an infant in the Lutheran Church, went through catechism class, was an acolyte, joined the church at age 12 and sang in a choir for years. The first time I was self employed in 1985, I took out a disability policy with AAL, Aid Association for Lutherans, a fraternal benefit society licensed to sell insurance in NC. They later became Thrivent. I believed I could trust them then.”

I have addressed to or copied Mr. Brad Hewitt, Chief Executive Officer of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, multiple times over the years.

Someone(s) at Thrivent have read some of what I have written about them and my first claims experience

Mr. Hewitt, I hope this article reaches you.

  • From the “Thrivent’s Christian Calling” pdf: “Fraternal benefit societies have a common bond among members. Thrivent’s common bond is Christianity. We embrace the core Christian beliefs as articulated in the Apostles’ Creed”
  • From Thrivent vs Perez Sept. 29, 2016: “The MDRP is the sole means for presenting and resolving grievances, complaints, or disputes between Members, insureds, certificate owners or beneficiaries and Thrivent or Thrivent’s directors, officers, agents and employees. The MDRP reflects Thrivent’s Christian belief system and strives to preserve Members’ fraternal relationship.”
  • I can assure you that the “core Christian beliefs” touted in the above did not manifest in my claims experiences with Thrivent. The whole of my experience has been the recipient of adversarial and argumentative postures.
  • No one from the Thrivent headquarters/claims office ever expressed any concern over my well being or in truly helping me through difficult times. Not the least hint of living out Christian values.
  • I believe that your staff, especially your corporate and outside legal resources, believes they are right and I am wrong. I have dealt with numerous attorneys and their specialty is adversarial positions. They don’t however like being lied to. Your upper level staff has been misled.
  • My first claims experience, though simpler in scope, covers a lot of territory. It reveals much of a pattern I have experienced with Thrivent that may explain partly my last claims experience.
  • My first claims experience was presented here along with a summary. It contains indisputable facts that explain my level of frustration and dissatisfaction with Thrivent. I strongly suggest you read it and investigate and then reach out to me.
  • The bottom line is that Thrivent used the wrong language on the claims form, the language that the doctor had to follow for date of disability. I was ignored and ultimately slandered and libeled by Thrivent personnel (I have the transcript). Thrivent later corrected the claims form. They did not apologize to me or make restitution to me for my ill treatment.
  • In a recent email I sent to your outside attorney I stated:
    “We appear to be at an impasse.
    I am an expert on business & business systems. Over 30 years experience,
    with customers with $ 5 million to over a billion in sales.
    I represented 3 companies in Manhattan.
    My proposal:
    Take this out of the legal/adversarial mode.
    Hire me as a consultant to explain what happened and to prevent it from happening again.
    They tout the MDRP program as benefiting the members and representing their core Christian values.
    What better way to exemplify it than to create a win win situation, heal our wounds & to fix any problems in the system.
    I am certain a bible verse applies.”
  • This was difficult for me to write after what has transpired with the financial, physical and emotional toll on me. However, it is closer to what I believe is a Christian posture.

Here I stand.

First claims experience.

https://citizenwells.com/2018/07/25/thrivent-incompetence-misrepresentation-fraud-my-first-claims-experience-not-unique-thrivent-touts-core-christian-values-and-beneficial-dispute-resolution-wolf-in-sheeps-clothing-directed-by-devi/

 

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Alleged Seth Rich murder witness Luke Anon Jack Burkman interview on Hagman Report, Orwellian subjugation of Seth Rich murder investigations on search engines, DNC controlled media attacks thought criminals

Alleged Seth Rich murder witness Luke Anon Jack Burkman interview on Hagman Report, Orwellian subjugation of Seth Rich murder investigations on search engines, DNC controlled media attacks thought criminals

“Let me tell you something. They were all over that woman,”
“And it was the type of stuff we ran into with the outfit (the Chicago mob). Intimidation just by watching her, making their presence known. … Just to let her know ‘We can do what we want.’ ”…Attorney David Schippers, Clinton investigator

“I know that Seth Rich was involved in the DNC leak.”…Kim Dotcom

“Burkman said in an interview that he considered Selig like a brother and was badly shaken by his friend’s death.”
“The tragically ironic part is Glenn’s last words to me were, ‘Be careful,’” Burkman said. “It’s just a tragedy — terrible.””…Politico Jan. 24, 2018

 

Jack Burkman was interviewed recently on the Hagman Report regarding the alleged Seth Rich murder witness referred to as Luke Anon.

I have been on the internet a lot for years.

I have continued to follow the Seth Rich murder almost daily since it happened.

I have noticed a trend.

  1. The subjugation of probing investigations with honest questions and sincere motives.
  2. The intensity with which the left, DNC controlled media has attacked those asking questions, “Thought Criminals.”
  3. The difficulty in finding the latest news on the Seth Rich murder.

I have therefore tried to keep the story alive.

I listened to part of the interview of the alleged witness presented at the press conference.

I still need to review it and will. Any feedback from those who have listened to it would be appreciated.

The press conference July 11, 2018.

 

 

More here:

https://citizenwells.com/

http://citizenwells.net/

 

Case against Thrivent, NAIC  why arbitration clauses should be banned, If arbitration benefits members why mandate?, Erickson vs Thrivent

Case against Thrivent, NAIC  why arbitration clauses should be banned, If arbitration benefits members why mandate?, Erickson vs Thrivent

“Thrivent contends that its commitment to individual arbitration is ‘”important to the membership because it reflects Thrivent’s Christian Common Bond, helps preserve members’ fraternal relationships, and avoids protracted and adversarial litigation that could undermine Thrivent’s core mission.’”…Thrivent v. Acosta Nov. 3, 2017

“pre-dispute mandatory arbitration provisions are inappropriate in insurance policies and incompatible with the legal duties insurers owe policyholders when handling their claims.”…NAIC, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, August 15, 2016

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”…Matthew 7:15

 

From Erickson vs Thrivent.

“This case involves an insurance contract between Plaintiff Raymond Erickson and a fraternal benefit society. Insurance contracts issued by a fraternal benefit society generally include the society’s bylaws, as well as any subsequent amendments to the bylaws, provided that the amendments do not reduce the benefits promised in the original contract. This Court must decide whether Erickson is bound by an arbitration clause that was not in his original insurance
contract but was later added to the fraternal benefit society’s bylaws. Because the arbitration clause does not reduce Erickson’s benefits under the contract, this Court finds that the clause applies to him and requires him to arbitrate his claims.”

“Erickson made a claim for benefits under the contract. in December 2014 after he moved into a long-term care facility. Doc. 1 at 13. Thrivent paid Erickson benefits for some time, but terminated them in November 2015. Doc. 1 at 16, 18. Erickson then sued Thrivent in this Court, asserting claims for breach of contract, bad faith, breach of fiduciary duty, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees. Doc. 1. The parties mediated before Magistrate Judge Veronica Duffy, but were unable to resolve their dispute. Doc. 11. Thereafter, Thrivent filed a Motion to Compel Arbitration and argued that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. §§ 1-14, and the Dispute Resolution Bylaw require this Court to stay the case and compel arbitration. Docs. 14, 15, 21. Erickson opposed the motion, contending that the Dispute Resolution Bylaw is unenforceable for several reasons.”

“State contract law governs whether a valid arbitration agreement exists between Erickson and Thrivent. First Options of Chi .. Inc. v. Kaplan, 514 U.S. 938, 944 (1995). This Court is sitting in diversity jurisdiction, so it applies South Dakota’s choice-of-law rules to determine which state’s laws govern whether a valid arbitration agreement exists. Dakota Foundry, 891 F. Supp. 2d at 1095. The parties disagree on which state’s law should apply, with Thrivent arguing
for Wisconsin law and Erickson arguing for South Dakota law.”

“The issue of which state’s law applies does not raise a material question of fact because the Dispute Resolution Bylaw constitutes a valid arbitration agreement under Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin law. Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin have all enacted statutes regulating fraternal benefit societies. Minn. Stat.§§ 64B.Ol–64B.48; SDCL §§ 58-37A-1 to 58-37A-39; Wis. Stat. §§ 614.01–614.96, 632.93. Under these laws, a fraternal benefit society
insurance contract consists of the insurance certificate, the member’s application, and the laws of the society. Minn. Stat. § 64B.19; SDCL § 58-37A-19; Wis. Stat. § 632.93. Critically, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin statutes recognize that contracts between a fraternal benefit society and its members include later amendments to the society’s laws, provided that the
amendments do not destroy or diminish the benefits promised in the original contract. . Minn. Stat.§ 64B.19(2) (“Any changes, additions, or amendments to the laws of the society duly made or enacted subsequent to the issuance of the certificate, shall bind the owner and the beneficiaries, and shall govern and control the benefit contract in all respects the same as though the changes, additions, or amendments had been made prior to and were in force at the time of the application for insurance, except that no change, addition or amendment shall destroy or diminish benefits that the society contracted to give the owner as of the date of issuance.”); SDCL § 58-37-A-19 (“Any changes, additions or amendments to the laws of the society made or enacted after the issuance of the certificate, bind the owner and the beneficiaries, and govern and control the benefit contract in all respects the same as though the changes, additions, or
amendments had been made before and were in force at the time of the application for insurance. However, no change, addition, or amendment may destroy or diminish benefits which the society . contracted to give the owner.as of the date of issuance.”); Wis. Stat. § 632.93(2) (“[A]ny changes in the laws of a fraternal made subsequent to the issuance of a policy or certificate bind the
owner and any beneficiary under the policy or certificate as if they had been in force at the time of the application, so long as they do not destroy or diminish benefits promised in the policy or certificate.”). As required by Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin law, Minn. Stat. § 64B.19; SDCL § 58-37-A-19; Wis. Stat.§ 632.93, Erickson’s contract states that the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, including any later amendments, are part of the agreement: ”

Read more:

http://eachstorytold.com/2018/07/15/thrivent-and-fraternal-insurance-why-you-should-not-buy-their-insurance-erickson-vs-thrivent-reveals-all-retroactive-contract-changes-mandated-dispute-resolution-and-arbitration-companies-control/

United Insurance vs Office of Insurance Regulation, State of Florida.

“Section 624.155 is a statute regulating the business of insurance. The statute relates, directly or indirectly, to the relationship between the insurance company and the policyholder. The proposed arbitration agreement would impair, invalidate or supersede section 624.155. The statute provides for a civil action — with the relevant procedural protections. The statute also provides for court costs and fees. Mandatory binding arbitration lacks the procedural and constitutional protections (such as jury and appeal to an Article V court) of a civil action.”

Read more:

http://eachstorytold.com/2018/07/15/florida-insurance-statutes-mandatory-binding-arbitration-lacks-the-procedural-and-constitutional-protections-such-as-jury-and-appeal-united-insurance-company-vs-florida-office-of-insurance/

NAIC: Why arbitration clauses should be banned.

“This judicial recognition that mandatory arbitration provisions can interfere with core state and federal Constitutional rights, and that consumers have not “consented” in any meaningful sense to these clauses, apply equally to insurance consumers. This is demonstrated previously in the memorandum presented at the April 5, 2016 Consumer Liaison Meeting in New Orleans, and further detailed by the consumer group Texas Watch.2 Along with our colleagues, we can provide detailed information on these issues if D Committee wishes.
Today we focus on the claims process. The nature of the insurance promise is different from most other consumer services or products, and pre-dispute mandatory arbitration provisions are inappropriate in insurance policies and incompatible with the legal duties insurers owe policyholders when handling their claims.

  • Companies that include pre-dispute mandatory arbitration clauses in their consumer contracts presumably do so because it will be to their advantage should a dispute later occur.
  •  However, handling claims is an essential element of the insurance contract and insurers are required to consider the best interests of their policyholders. Courts frequently describe this broad duty as requiring “the insurer to consider the interests of its policyholder in a manner at least equal to its own.”3
  • Inserting a pre-dispute mandatory arbitration clause in an insurance policy allows the insurer to select the venue most favorable to it should a dispute later occur and therefore makes it less likely that policyholders will assert their rights to dispute their insurers’ claim evaluations, and less likely they will succeed when they do.
  • Insurers convinced that arbitration will benefit policyholders and insurers equally (or policyholders more), should therefore be willing to provide – and not mandate – arbitration as an option when an actual dispute occurs. If arbitration provides a truly neutral forum, then there is no need for an insurer to insist on its use.”

“Insurers that would insist on mandatory arbitration of policyholder disputes have selected the forum that they believe will be more favorable to them than to their policyholders, if not on each individual claim then in the aggregate. However, manipulating the dispute resolution process in this manner conflicts with the duties insurers owe their policyholders and is not holding their policyholders’ interests “at least equal to their own.”

If arbitration was truly a neutral forum rather than one favoring insurers, then there would be no need for an insurer to insist on its use before a dispute has even arisen. Insurers should utilize arbitration only when the policyholder has consented to do so after an actual dispute occurs (which is what the suggested amendment to the Model Unfair Trade Practices Act should accomplish), rather than requiring it in boilerplate language that the policyholder is very unlikely to read, could not bargain over the provision even if she did, and could not make an
informed decision at the point of sale on the merits. True freedom of contract, combined with the fundamental right to a trial, requires a knowing relinquishment of that right, which can only occur voluntarily once a specific dispute has materialized.”

“Taken together, these decisions deliver two clear messages: (1) States can enforce bans on arbitration provisions in insurance contracts, and (2) the likelihood of surviving a FAA preemption argument is often related to the specificity of the prohibition. Our sample language (below) attempts to maximize the power of McCarran-Ferguson by adding it as an amendment to the Model UTPA, which itself states in Section 1 that “The purpose of this Act is to regulate trade practices in the business of insurance in accordance with the intent of
Congress … [citing McCarran-Ferguson],” and by making the ban directly related to insurance contracts.”

Read more:

http://eachstorytold.com/2018/07/16/naic-banning-arbitration-clauses-in-insurance-policies-why-arbitration-clauses-should-be-banned-companies-that-include-pre-dispute-mandatory-arbitration-clauses-do-so-because-it/

 

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Thrivent Financial for Lutherans v. Colin Brock appeal, Thrivent nonpayment of disability benefits, Order denying Thrivent’s motion to confirm arbitration award, Brock alleges fraud corruption or other undue means

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans v. Colin Brock appeal, Thrivent nonpayment of disability benefits, Order denying Thrivent’s motion to confirm arbitration award, Brock alleges fraud corruption or other undue means

“Thrivent contends that its commitment to individual arbitration is ‘”important to the membership because it reflects Thrivent’s Christian Common Bond, helps preserve members’ fraternal relationships, and avoids protracted and adversarial litigation that could undermine Thrivent’s core mission.’”…Thrivent v. Acosta Nov. 3, 2017

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”…Matthew 7:15

“Martin Luther may or may not have stated ‘Here I Stand’ but his actions certainly did.”…Citizen Wells

 

From Thrivent Financial for Lutherans v. Colin Brock.

“This interlocutory appeal and original proceeding arise from a dispute between Colin Brock and his insurer, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans (“Thrivent”) over nonpayment of disability benefits, which Brock claims Thrivent owes him under a Thrivent insurance policy.   As required by the policy, the trial court compelled the parties to arbitrate.   Following an evidentiary hearing, the arbitrator denied Brock’s claims.   Thrivent moved the trial court to confirm the arbitration award.   In turn, Brock requested the trial court to vacate the arbitration award on the ground that the award was obtained “by fraud, corruption, or other undue means.”   The trial court signed an order denying Thrivent’s motion to confirm the award, vacating the arbitration award, and directing a rehearing before a new arbitrator.   Thrivent appeals the order and also seeks review by way of a petition for writ of mandamus.   Brock contends that we have no appellate jurisdiction over the interlocutory order and requests that the petition for mandamus be denied.

We dismiss Thrivent’s interlocutory appeal for lack of jurisdiction and deny its petition for writ of mandamus.”

https://caselaw.findlaw.com/tx-court-of-appeals/1108836.html

AAL, Aid Association for Lutherans, implemented a change to their contracts, retroactively in 1999, to impose mandatory dispute resolution consisting of Appeal, Mediation and Arbitration in lieu of litigation. Their member dispute resolution program is referred to as MDRP. They claim, and many courts have upheld that they could implement and enforce the change retroactively due to their fraternal status. This has not been challenged in all states and since the states differ on how insurance entities are treated, this is still an open question.

The embracing of mandatory arbitration has become widespread in consumer and employment contracts. This has led to a huge impact on our day in court and given companies much power to control outcomes and continue unsavory practices, harmful to consumers.

This is not just a Thrivent problem or insurance problem, it is a problem affecting the daily lives of all Americans. Thrivent’s practice of using their special status is particularly unjust and alarming and runs contrary to their platitudes touted in company policies.

Thrivent v. Brock revelations and questions.
  • Brock alleges: “the award was obtained ‘by fraud, corruption, or other undue means.’”  We have no way of knowing because the MDRP, culminating in arbitration, was held behind closed doors, out of the light of day of a courtroom.
  • Brock had taken the arbitration decision to trial court and next the appeals court. How much were the legal fees?
  • Thrivent has a large legal staff and engages outside legal firms who specialize in disability cases.
  • How much time elapsed from the first disability claim to the appeals court decision and probable redo of arbitration?
  • What happened next? Arbitration? What was the outcome.
  • What is Colin Brock’s disability? Is it life threatening or painful? Is Mr. Brock getting adequate treatment?
  • Was Mr. Brock able to pay his bills? Feed a family?
  • How has the MDRP process helped Mr. Brock? Did he experience the blessings of the Christian beliefs touted by Thrivent?
  • How many Thrivent members drop out of this MDRP process for various reasons such as too engulfed in pain and stress or discouraged by improper Thrivent procedures and attitudes? Mr. George Tiedemann went through the process for 2 years and dropped out. He was 83.
  • How many Thrivent members were shocked to find out that the policy they took out years earlier, had been modified without their consent or signature?
  • How many Thrivent members sought legal representation to no avail because many attorneys will not touch a case with mandated arbitration?

 

“Thrivent’s Christian Calling

Thrivent’s Lutheran heritage of answering God’s call has led to a strong membership-owned organization that now welcomes Christians seeking to live out their faith.

Fraternal benefit societies have a common bond among members. Thrivent’s common bond is Christianity. We embrace the core Christian beliefs as articulated in the Apostles’ Creed as follows:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

If you share these beliefs, we invite you to join other Thrivent members called to pursue a life of generosity and wisdom with money.”

https://www.thrivent.com/about-us/files/28023.pdf

Here I stand.

 

More here:

https://citizenwells.com/

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