Plaintiffs in ESD Case Allege Witness Tampering, Perjury

In a Nov. 2 filing, Charla Aldous and Brent Walker, attorneys for the Doe family, ask Judge D’Metria Benson to levy sanctions against the Episcopal School of Dallas and its counsel.

As you may recall, a jury awarded the Doe family $9.2 million in September when it found ESD liable for gross negligence and fraud.

The host of charges in the 40-page filing include witness tampering, perjury, obstruction of justice, “intimidation conduct,” and concealing material evidence. For the actions that “implicate criminal conduct,” the plaintiffs ask Benson to refer the case to the proper authorities.

One of the more surprising allegations concerns the cause of the recess on Sept. 8. During the rebuttal phase, Benson said new evidence needed to be investigated and allowed the parties to take a recess until Sept. 14. Court resumed the next week without the introduction of new evidence or witnesses.

The filing claims a current ESD teacher contacted Aldous and offered to share “sufficient evidence to prove material lies on ESD’s part during the litigation.” However, less than 24 hours after coming forward, the current teacher cut off contact. The plaintiffs request an investigation “into the facts surrounding this matter to determine whether witness intimidation or witness tampering occurred.”

Another, less serious charge, is that ESD dealt improperly with members of the media, namely Preston Hollow People, when it issued press releases and other statements throughout the course of the trial. Crisis PR specialist Lisa LeMaster is also named in the filing.

The plaintiffs are seeking $92,465.90 in legal fees incurred as a result of the alleged misconduct, as well as additional monetary sanctions “in an amount the Court deems appropriate.”

Benson will hear this motion, as well as the one for final judgment, at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 10.

To look at the filing yourself, go here and enter Case No. cc1003251a

12 thoughts on “Plaintiffs in ESD Case Allege Witness Tampering, Perjury

  • November 3, 2011 at 8:00 pm
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    Thanks for the update. I wondered about that weird break, but now it makes more sense. Who would investigate that? The DA? The police? The county? Just curious.

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  • November 4, 2011 at 11:27 am
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    Is this a preemptive move in fighting an appeal?

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  • November 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm
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    @amanda, It’s my understanding the DA would investigate perjury/witness tampering charges.

    @Just an observer, Could be. It would stand to reason that if an attorney/team of attorneys is found to have committed crimes, its case for appeal would weaken.

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  • November 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm
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    Sounds like a catfight to me. Do we need this? Talk about cluttering up the court’s record. 80 plus pages just to file a motion for sanctions? Geez, that’s overkill. Take a rifle shot instead of a scattergun approach and be done with it. Methinks thou protests too much. Maybe she got a burr under her saddle because sanctions were threatened from the other side. Now, it’s about blood. We will bury you.

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  • November 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm
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    Wow. The Burrow’s hide and seek sections are ridiculous. So, is ignoring court orders like Castaneda did in the Burrow supoena (not to mention the general disregard for the witness/discovery protocols) a common occurrence by lawyers?

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  • November 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm
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    @interested observer, Who are you threatening with your “it’s about blood” and “We will bury you.” comments?

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  • November 5, 2011 at 11:56 am
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    this is a new twist.

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  • November 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm
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    40 pages and not 80, reading comp. much?
    I think Aldous should find out who you are and what these “blood” and “bury” threats are for. Shouldn’t be too hard to find out.

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  • November 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm
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    Avid Reader, @interested observer. Please note that my comments were an attribution of an attitude by someone who commits overkill. Clearly, in context, they were not a threat directed toward anyone. The overkill is the apparent motive of being “out for blood,” and to “bury” the opposition. It is reflected in actions by one who has alrady won, and still hasn’t gotten enough.

    There is no problem with my reading comprehension. I said the motion was 80+ pages. Actually, with exhibits and everything else, it is 327 pages. That’s overkill. The motion is online at dallascounty.org.

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  • November 9, 2011 at 4:18 pm
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    I guess Nance’s PR retainer from ESD has run out.

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  • November 10, 2011 at 10:09 am
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    Thanks for the clarification Interested Observer. Whether it is reading comprehension or something else; the motion is only 42 pages with the remaining pages being supporting text from previous filings and discovery.

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  • November 10, 2011 at 3:14 pm
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    Claire, any updates on the hearing from today?

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