Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Master Berthaudin Screws Me Over

When the Schoolteachers first moved for summary judgment, I wasn’t worried at all. They had no evidence! – none, that is, except their own testimony that they acted without malice, and that the things they said about me were true. That’s just the kind of thing the courts call “bald assertions and self-serving affidavits”. It doesn’t meet their first-stage onus.

In the meantime, I had served them with interrogatories (as was my right under the Queen’s Bench Rules), demanding that they provide particulars of things like which students allegedly complained about my erratic behavior, and which questions I supposedly refused to answer in a Physics class…things the Principal had accused me of. The Schoolteachers refused to answer, citing “confidentiality and irrelevance”! So I filed a motion with the Court, demanding better answers to interrogatories. The University filed a counter-motion, demanding that my discovery rights be suspended pending the outcome of the Summary Judgment motions.

The Court refused to heat my motion, and granted the University’s motion insteade! This was just a month before I was scheduled to argue the Schoolteacher’s Summary Judgment Motion before Master Berthaudin (the same master who had just rejected my attempts to obtain discovery).
I hadn’t planned on needing much evidence going into that hearing. Most of what I was relying on was contained in the University’s own evidence, where they disclosed the series of phone conversations and emails which led to the Principal using her special powers to demand my expedited removal from the program, thereby bypassing the Due Process rights which I was otherwise entitled to under the Student Teacher Handbook. That was my evidence of malice and conspiracy, and it should have been enough. Actually, I shouldn’t have needed even that, because the Schoolteacher’s hadn’t introduced any evidence to contradict the paragraph in my Statement of Claim where I alleged that they did exactly that…that’s what they should have needed to meet their “first-stage onus”. Until they do that (which they didn’t) there should be no need for me to cough up my own supporting evidence…the so-called “second-stage onus”. If the Schoolteachers fail to meet their first-stage onus, or if they do and I then  meet my second-stage onus, the case goes to trial.

But when the Master shut down my discovery rights, just weeks before the hearing, I got worried. I had one ace in the hole…my own notes about what happenned in the classroom in Gordon Bell. And they clearly showed that Mr. Tram, the classroom teacher, was lying when he portrayed me as an abominable teacher. Or if he wasn’t lying, at the very least the conflict between the two narratives created the “genuine issue for trial” which should have defeated the motion for summary judgment. 

For strategic reasons, I hadn't wanted to disclose my notes before I had a chance to examine the other parties on discovery, but now I thought…just in case. So I filed them as evidence.

But at the Summary Judgment hearing, the same Master who shut down my discovery rights just weeks before the hearing, went on to find that the Schoolteachers had met their first-stage onus with nothing more than their bald assertions of bona fides. Where was my evidence of malice, he demanded? I proceded to go through my classroom notes, showing how Mr. Tram consistently took perfectly innocent circumstances and twisted them to make me look terrible. I showed him the correspondence between the University and the Principal which led to the Principal bypassing my due process rights. And I showed him Mr. Tram’s classroom notes, where he reported that I “tapped” a student on the shoulder, and compared them with Principal Arlene Skull’s fax to the University, where she reported I “grabbed” the student by the shoulder. I showed her the letter from Wally Stewart, my faculty supervisor, stating that no lesson plans were due before November 23rd, and asked how the Schoolteacher’s could square that with the claim that they kicked me out on Nov 21st for “refusing to submit lesson plans”?

The Master ruled that I had provided “no evidence whatsoever.”

That’s how I knew the fix was in. He didn’t list my evidence and say it was unconvincing. Or say that it didn’t prove malice. The same Master who had weeks previously ruled that I wasn’t entitled to replies on interrogatories. He said that I had provided “no evidence whatsoever.”

There was no way this outrageous decision was going to stand up on appeal. Or so I thought.


  1. So now what are you going to do Marty?

    1. Well, all this was just over a year ago. So I've been fighting it ever since. I'll continue the story when I put up my next blogpost.