Prytulak to Bascue:  Might this be obstruction of justice?

Lubomyr Prytulak
Ukrainian Archive, www.ukar.org

27 September 2002

James A. Bascue
Presiding Judge
Los Angeles Superior Court
111 North Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA
USA     90012

Re: Rambam vs Prytulak   BC271433

James A. Bascue:

In two telephone conversations on the morning of 25-Sep-2002 with Court representative Katina at (213) 974-5173, Defendant Prytulak was informed that although the Court had a record of the receipt of Defendant materials on 30-Aug-2002, no record existed that these materials were in fact Defendant's motion to quash and his payment of filing fee, and so no motion had been filed and no payment of filing fee had been credited, and the current whereabouts of neither the motion nor the American Express Worldwide Money Order that accompanied it could be determined.

Accordingly, that same day, 25-Sep-2002, Defendant Prytulak sent off a fresh motion to vacate default and quash service to the Court, and served a copy on Plaintiff attorney Gary Kurtz, and on 26-Sep-2002, Defendant received confirmation that the motion had been filed.

Were the disappearance of Defendant's 30-Aug-2002 motion with payment anomalous with his other experiences with the Los Angeles Superior Court, Defendant would be predisposed to attribute the disappearance to innocent error; however, when the disappearance comes on the heels of the Court's relentless thwarting of Defendant efforts to raise the issue of jurisdiction, Defendant is ready to ask whether the disappearance may not have been a deliberate destruction of litigation documents for the purpose of influencing the outcome of a judicial proceeding.

Indeed, now that the Defendant motion to quash has finally been filed, Defendant finds himself wondering how much better off he is than before, and Defendant can scarcely muster the courage to hope that what is supposed to be an adversarial procedure really has been allowed to have adversaries.  That is, Defendant having won the right to be heard will advance justice only if the Court will listen, and that the Court will listen can be doubted in view of the observation that Defendant's right to be heard was not granted as a matter of course, and was not granted in reply to Defendant's soft request, but was granted rather only in reply to Defendant's increasingly urgent and broad protests.

To facilitate further discussion, it is necessary to make reference to a total of four Prytulak motions to quash (all but the last unfiled) over two LASC Rambam vs Prytulak cases, which motions have been suffixed below with the letters A to D to facilitate unequivocal reference.  According to the proposed nomenclature, then, the vanished 30-Aug-2002 motion will be referred to as Motion-to-Quash-C:

A 02E00326 Mailed 03-Apr-2002 Barry A. Taylor No
B BC271433 Delivered by FedEx 29-May-2002 James R. Dunn No
C BC271433 Delivered by FedEx 30-Aug-2002 James R. Dunn Yes
D BC271433 Delivered by Fax 25-Sep-2002
and by FedEx 26-Sep-2002
James R. Dunn Yes

Below are two pieces of evidence for Defendant's claim above that the Court did thwart his efforts to challenge jurisdiction, and that the thwarting was relentless:

  1. Defendant Prytulak was denied feedback concerning the necessity of paying a filing fee.  Had Defendant at any point been informed of defects to any of his submissions, he would have immediately corrected them.  The Court sees this demonstrated in the events of 25-Sep-2002 where Defendant did receive feedback of a defect, and did react promptly and totally to remedy that defect.  The fact that the defect happened to be the Court defect of having lost Defendant materials only underscores Defendant readiness to remedy all defects first so as to expedite proceedings, and to pursue collateral issues such as the reason for the Court's loss only later when the central proceedings have been put back on track.  One phone call is all it took to prompt Defendant to remove defects, and all that it would have taken much earlier, and an email would have done just as well at less cost.  Thus, Defendant views the Court's refusal to supply such feedback prior to 25-Sep-2002 as placing an insurmountable obstacle in the path of his challenging Court jurisdiction.

    More particularly, the paramount defect in two instances was Defendant's neglecting to supply a filing fee, of which the Court failed to inform Defendant.  However, Defendant finds two reasons for supposing that the Court does standardly, or at least commonly, inform a litigant in such circumstances that a filing fee is wanting:

    1. CCP §411.20 repeatedly states that in the event of non-payment of fee, the Court shall notify the litigant and allow him 20 days to make good the payment.  Although CCP §411.20 four times makes reference to non-payment that is caused by a submitted check being returned by the bank unpaid, this might be interpreted as the most common cause of non-payment, and as standing for other causes, such as the Court discovering that a check has been submitted unsigned, or incorrectly dated with the previous year, or made out to the wrong recipient or for the wrong amount, or perhaps simply omitted either through ignorance or oversight.

    2. In Defendant Prytulak's 25-Sep-2002 telephone conversations with Court representative Katina, Defendant asked what was the Court's usual response to a motion submitted by mail that was unaccompanied by payment of a filing fee.  She replied that the usual response was to return the motion to the sender.  Defendant did not ask, but thinks he can assume, that the return would be accompanied by some feedback, however brief, as to the reason for the return, perhaps something like a stamp saying "RETURNED FOR LACK OF FILING FEE."

    However, with respect to two Motions-to-Quash A and B, Defendant was not notified of the need to supply a filing fee and not allowed 20 days to do so, as would be expected from (i) above.  And neither was Defendant's motion sent back with the stamp "RETURNED FOR LACK OF FILING FEE," or returned at all whether stamped or unstamped, whether with feedback or without, as would be expected from (ii) above.  In other words, Defendant appears to have been deprived of customary feedback concerning Court requirements, and in this manner was thwarted in his attempt to challenge jurisdiction.

    Worse than that, throughout the Rambam vs Prytulak proceedings, Defendant Prytulak repeatedly asked the Court to disclose defects in his submissions so that he could correct them, to which the Court returned an inscrutable and impenetrable silence.  In contrast, the Court could be seen extending detailed feedback to Plaintiff Rambam as to defects in Plaintiff submissions that needed to be corrected, as is documented in the Prytulak 13-Sep-2002 reply to Rambam objection, which also appears to have gone missing, as discussed immediately below.

  2. Two submissions that allude to Motion-to-Quash-C appear to have vanished as well.  The vanished Motion-to-Quash-C generated two further submissions to the Court:

    However, neither of these submissions has been acknowledged in the Case Summary for BC271433 on the LASC web site.  As Defendant views both these documents as strengthening his challenge to jurisdiction, he is predisposed to view the Court's seeming failure to deal with them as further instances of thwarting that challenge.

Defendant Prytulak urges the Court to investigate the loss of his submitted materials to determine whether that loss is innocent error or rather willful destruction aimed at influencing the outcome of the Rambam vs Prytulak proceedings.

Although the possibility of obstruction of justice is by far the most serious question to emerge from the Rambam vs Prytulak proceedings, the lesser question of filing fees that fail to stir the Court to action is not so trivial that it can readily be forgotten.  Given that the filing fee submitted with Prytulak Motion-to-Quash-C, as well as the one submitted with the Prytulak 16-Sep-2002 reply to objection, led to no filing, or to any Court hearing or any detectable Court activity, Defendant Prytulak requests that the fees be traced and returned specifically, both the US$193 and the US$23 that Defendant placed in the hands of the Court:

Lubomyr Prytulak


Irving Abella • Department of History • York University • 4700 Keele Street • Toronto, ON • Canada M3J 1P3
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Robert A Dukes, Assistant Presiding Judge • LASC • 111 North Hill Street • Los Angeles, CA • USA 90012
James R Dunn, Judge • LASC • 111 North Hill Street • Los Angeles, CA • USA 90012
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Gary Klausner, Supervising Judge, Civil Division • LASC • 111 North Hill Street • Los Angeles, CA • USA 90012
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V Ponce, Assistant Clerk • LASC • PO Box 151, Main Post Office • Los Angeles, CA • USA 90053
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