Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thomas Nugent, judge in Bruce Kelman v. Sharon Kramer defamation case between experts on toxic mold, jails one health advocate

See Sharon Kramer's site.

Sharon Kramer, a health advocate who testified in toxic mold cases, was sued in 2010 by a fellow expert for defamation. She was found liable for writing, “Dr. Kelman altered his under oath statements on the witness stand" in the article at the bottom of this post. But Kramer says someone else wrote the article, and she was merely referenced as an expert.

In 2012, after a trial, in which Plaintiff was represented by Keith Scheuer and defendant represented herself, Judge Thomas Nugent of San Diego Superior Court ordered Kramer to sign a statement including the words, “I do not believe Dr. Kelman committed perjury."

Judge Nugent threw Ms. Kramer in jail for three days for contempt for refusing to sign this statement. After three days, he freed her, recognizing that she had not made the statement that she was accused of making, and that opposing counsel had simply made it appear that she had made this accusation.

Here's the March 14, 2012 court transcript:

North San Diego Superior Court, Dept. 30, case number 2010-00061530

THE HONORABLE THOMAS NUGENT: “…I recalled you even said that it wasn’t you who had accused the gentleman of perjury or of altering his testimony. It was rather counsel’s efforts to try to make it sound that way. I don’t know if I remember that right or not, if you did say that or that is how you feel.

[Maura Larkins comment: Judge Nugent should not be concerned with Ms. Kramer's feelings--only with her actual publications.]

THE HONORABLE THOMAS NUGENT: More importantly, I would really strongly urge you give every consideration to agreeing to the proposal counsel made which simply said, “I didn’t mean that”. “I didn’t mean to suggest that”. I’m not saying you have to do that. I’m not. You didn’t hear that from me...

SHARON KRAMER: “No. I did not hear the important thing. I did not hear an apology that the courts framed me for libel seven years ago and I am sitting here in handcuffs for speaking the truth about fraud and policy. If you want to send me back to jail, fine. But I’m not signing an apology for the courts doing that...No. What you’re asking me to do is fraud– to collude with the court to defraud the public...

On March 27, 2012 the following post was published on ContemptOfCourtFor.Me:

"[On] March 13...While Mrs. Kramer was unlawfully incarcerated and being given a false criminal record in the County of San Diego, California, Mr. Kelman was rendering an Expert Toxicologist Opinion on behalf of the County of Orange, California. His “expert” opinion was that the Social Security Administration building in which an abnormal number of employees have cancer and autoimmune diseases, is safe for occupancy by the County employees.”

[Maura Larkins comment: Apparently a Louisiana jury did not believe Mr. Kelman, and found that Social Security workers had indeed been sickened by mold.]

...[A]fter being unlawfully incarcerated for refusing to commit perjury which would aid to defraud the public...She was made to appear before the handcuffs, chains and jail garb with no make up, unbrushed hair & two nights of very little sleep...

While feigning confusion, the Court acknowledged the evidence that Mrs. Kramer was framed for libel by Mr. Kelman’s attorney and the prior courts. No longer mandatory, the Court still strongly urged Mrs. Kramer to sign the fraudulent retraction under penalty of perjury after giving her a false criminal record and incarcerating her for refusing to retract something that she did not do – with the underlying matter having broad adverse impact on public health policy..

On 08/31/2012 there was a Motion Hearing (Civil) at 01:30:00 PM. Ms. Kramer was sanctioned $3000 for three statements.

Jury Finds "Toxic Mold" Harmed Oregon Family, Builder's Arbitration Clause Not Binding
March 9, 2005

A Clackamas County jury on Friday (March 4, 2005) held Adair Homes Inc. responsible for faulty construction practices that caused toxic mold to thrive inside Paul and Renee Haynes' new home in Sandy, Oregon. The jury also found Adair's negligence caused illness in Mrs. Haynes and the couple's two small children – Michael, 6, and Liam, 4. The family experienced severe respiratory, digestive and cognitive impairment. One half of a million dollars was awarded to the injured family.

The case is a first in the Northwest to award damages for personal injury to a family exposed to mold in a newly built home. "This verdict is significant because it holds construction companies responsible when they negligently build sick buildings,” said Kelly Vance, the family's attorney.

Adair Homes, Inc. which builds hundreds of residences each year in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, built the house on the Hayne's five acres in early 2002. Four months after moving in and becoming ill, the family discovered rampant mold growth inside the walls of their new home. Dry wall and insulation were installed while the frame was wet from recent heavy rains. Evidence presented during the trial proved there was standing water in the wall cavities and the crawl space long after the construction was completed. This led to the growth of the toxigenic fungi. “You couldn’t have made the framing in that house more wet if you had sprayed it with a firehose," stated Vance.

By the time the Haynes discovered the mold, it was too late. Mrs. Haynes and the children were exhibiting neurologic and immune system damage. Paul Haynes reported the problem to Adair Homes, but the company refused to take responsibility. The family was forced to flee their new house in an effort to save the health of the mother and young sons.

Two separate medical evaluations substantiated that both Renee Haynes and her son, Michael, had mold antibodies in their blood, indicative of dangerous exposure levels to mold. Numerous experts, including a fungal immunologist, an occupational therapist and a neuropsychologist testified concerning the Haynes children's developmental and sensory integration disorders that began shortly after moving into the Adair built home. The family's treating physicians and therapists agreed that Liam’s and Michael’s medical needs from the mold exposure will continue for several years to come. Michael’s teacher testified that he was placed in a special disabled room at school and may need to remain there until at least junior high school. She expects Liam to suffer the same fate.

Amazingly, the Haynes family almost did not even get to tell their story to a jury. Adair, like many other commercial entities, utilizes an arbitration clause in its contract. That clause designates a specific preferred arbitration service. Adair uses Construction Arbitration Services, Inc., a company based far away from Adair's market, in Dallas, Texas. After the case was filed, Adair moved to stay the case pending arbitration and submitted an affidavit from the owner of the arbitration service, Marshall Lippman. The judge allowed the case to go to trial when the family's attorney showed that Lippman had submitted a false affidavit concealing the fact that he had been disbarred by the State of New York and Washington D.C. The disbarments occurred because Lippman had been found to have stolen funds from his clients.

Dr.Bruce Kelman of GlobalTox,Inc, a Washington based environmental risk management company, testified as an expert witness for the defense, as he does in mold cases throughout the country. Upon viewing documents presented by the Hayne's attorney of Kelman's prior testimony from a case in Arizona, Dr. Kelman altered his under oath statements on the witness stand. He admitted the Manhattan Institute, a national political think-tank, paid GlobalTox $40,000 to write a position paper regarding the potential health risks of toxic mold exposure. Although much medical research finds otherwise, the controversial piece claims that it is not plausible the types of illnesses experienced by the Haynes family and reported by thousands from across the US, could be caused by "toxic mold" exposure in homes, schools or office buildings.

In 2003, with the involvement of the US Chamber of Commerce and ex-developer, US Congressman Gary Miller (R-CA), the GlobalTox paper was disseminated to the real estate, mortgage and building industries' associations. A version of the Manhattan Institute commissioned piece may also be found as a position statement on the website of a United States medical policy-writing body, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Sharon Kramer
Mycotic Disease Awareness

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