Robert M.A. Nadeau vs. Nancy Madore Pratt
Docket # ESCV2014-00487
Essex County Court
43 Appleton Way
Lawrence, MA 01841
THE CASE WENT TO TRIAL ON APRIL 19, 2016
(IT DRAGGED ON AND ON FROM 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.)
THE LAWSUIT IN A NUTSHELL:
Robert M.A. Nadeau, lawyer and judge in York, Maine, sued me for writing this book:
Shortly before the trial, we were instructed to write a short summary of our opposing positions in the case. These summaries are presented to the Court as an introduction of sorts, much like you see in boxing:
'In this corner, weighing in at...'
I was going for a knockout, but before I even got the gloves on Bob was gone!
(but first he threw his new wife under the bus)
Let's see... what else was I going to tell you?
This case involving a local judge has been going for over two years, and
the media has yet to mention it
(even though he's up for re-election this November).
And that's pretty much it.
(turning to leave)
* * *
(slowly coming back into view)
You want more?
(this is how I picture you)
HERE'S THE LONG VERSION
Over the course of the last two years, Bob's lawsuit had been whittled down to just a few issues:
BOB'S MEDICAL RECORD
Bob doesn't like what I wrote about a psychological evaluation I saw on him in 2007, which I happened to stumble upon when he forced it down our throats at a public hearing that same year. Here's what I wrote:
"Though I didn’t understand most of the medical mumbo jumbo we were reading, certain words landed and stuck. Going from memory, I recall such words as ‘narcissist’ and ‘sociopath.’ The general gist was that we were looking at a person who had no remorse for his actions, and absolutely no ability to empathize with others. We read page after chilling page in stunned silence. I wasn’t all that surprised by the diagnosis. What astounded me was that Bob had entered this as an exhibit!"
Bob claims 1) that his medical record didn't say any of that, and 2) that I violated HIPPA and other privacy laws by writing about it.
My position is that Bob's medical record said exactly that, and since the medical record in question seems to have disappeared from the court file (where Bob just happens to be a judge); and since Bob threatened the only credible witness who could've verified its contents, it would appear that he has no way of proving that what I wrote was false. And if a statement can't be proved false, it can't be defamatory. In fact, this was already decided by a judge in York, Maine, where Bob sued Maryann and also lost.
As to his privacy rights, Bob waived those rights when he forcibly submitted his medical record into evidence at a public hearing where he was being charged with abuse. The parties in that case agreed to 'seal' the record, but I wasn't a party in that case, and therefore, I have no legal obligation to keep quiet about what I saw in court that day.
Still, you might be thinking; 'It's the guy's medical record. Why write about it?'
My answer is simple; I think Bob's medical record makes a strong case for requiring judges to undergo psychological evaluations. I mean, wouldn't it be nice to know that the people with the power to take away our children, our property and even our freedom are not suffering with severe psychological disorders? If you think this is too invasive, speak to the woman who Bob bragged about taking custody from:
“In fact, two weeks ago I presided over a child custody trial in which the mother reminded me of [Maryann], left the father for a series of extracurricular relationships causing him to become alcoholic (and a credible, hardworking, recovering one at that); I ultimately told the mother, to her face, that I felt that she was dishonest, manipulative, loose and in need of parenting courses to promote effective co-parenting, communication and cooperation, and I denied custody to her, even though she, like [Maryann], does love her kids and is otherwise a good mother to her children.”
By the time readers reach the point in the book where I'm talking about Bob's medical record, most of them have already figured out that they are looking at a guy with some pretty significant issues.
And that's why he has no clients. In the twenty or so lawsuits he's been a party to over the last decade, Bob has blamed everyone else for this steady decline, but let's face it, people don't trust him. And why should they? Would you hire an attorney who is likely to use whatever you tell him against you if you piss him off?
What do you think? Is it Bob's behavior or his medical record that's the bigger turn off? Shoot me an email and let me know.
MY OPINION OF BOB'S LEGAL EXPERTISE
I think it stinks (opinion). Two courts have disagreed with me (full disclosure). That's all I have to say about that.
Do I have a right to express my opinion about Bob's performance as an attorney? Tell me your opinion (I promise not to sue you).
Bob claims he isn't a public figure. Sure, he's an elected official (who is campaigning for re-election as we speak); and sure, he's a judge in York, Maine (although he could be suspended any day now for violating so many rules); and sure, he offers his legal services to the public (although nobody hires him anymore); but even so, Bob insisted that his behavior was private.
I wish I had a picture of the judge's expression the first time Bob mentioned this. It looked a little like this:
But if you've learned anything from my book, you know that Bob is impervious to the shock and awe that he brings to others. In fact, he'll just keep repeating even the most outrageous claims over and over (and over) again until the shock wears off. I guess the idea here is that if you repeat something enough times it will eventually start to make sense. And you might even recall that this strategy worked out really well for Bob in his previous lawsuit against me (which was presided over by Judge Welch).
After two years worth of reiterations about Bob's 'private citizen' status, even I was starting to wonder if it might be true.
However, even though Bob was (almost) private citizen, I still planned to argue that his behavior in our public courtrooms wouldn't be protected under the privacy laws. Specifically, violating the rules and abusing the litigation process is a matter of public concern - even if it's a 'private' attorney doing it. Attorneys may not be as public as judges, but they still have power to abuse, and therefore, their behavior is also subject to scrutiny.
In fact, every person who steps into our public courtrooms is fair game. Many a private citizen has been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion - people who, by the way, are supposed to be 'innocent until proven guilty.'
Why should it be any different for Bob?
And as it turned out, it wasn't!
AN ISSUE I HAD
BOB'S MOTIONS TO STRIKE
One of Bob's favorite pleadings is the Motion to Strike. He files lengthy motions filled with outrageous claims and then he files a motion to strike all of your answers. It's really quite annoying.
After enough of these motions to strike, you get the feeling that Bob's side of the story is the only one he wants the Court to hear. Where's the fun in that?
In BOB'S MOTION TO STRIKE, he's basically saying; 'Let's only tell the Court about, a) the medical record that didn't corroborate what Madore wrote in her book and, b) the courts' opinion that Bob didn't do anything wrong in his representation of Madore's brother.'
What he wanted stricken was all that other stuff about the medical record not coming from York Hospital, the previous court ruling that the contents of the medical record could not be verified and all of his behavior that supported my memory of the missing medical record, which was that he is a 'sociopath' and 'narcissist.'
The simple fact is that The Ethics of Judge Nadeau isn't about Bob's medical record. Nor is it about my brother's case. Those are just two side issues that presented the only small chinks that Bob could exploit. Altogether they comprise less than 1% of the book. The other 99% of the book is about severe misconduct that is being allowed and even rewarded in our courts. It's about corruption and injustice. However, Bob isn't challenging any of that. And I think that says it all.
Even more disturbing than Bob not challenging those larger issues was his insistence that they be stricken from the record altogether.
"[Madore] seeks to burden the jury and the Court with substantial alleged evidence that will not only be irrelevant but also, to the extent that it might even be deemed to remotely have any probative value, will be substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice."
In MY OBJECTION TO BOB'S MOTION TO STRIKE, I addressed this issue head on:
"[Nadeau's] behavior, as described throughout the book, supports [Madore's] clear memory on what she saw in that hand-delivered medical record, which is that [Nadeau] had been diagnosed as a sociopath and a narcissist. [Nadeau's] claim that revealing his behavior might ‘prejudice’ the jury is the same as saying; ‘My narcissistic, sociopathic behavior might prejudice the jury into thinking that I am a sociopath and a narcissist!’"
"It is certainly prejudicial," agreed the judge, adding ruefully; "But it goes directly to credibility and reputation, which is relevant to claims of defamation and damages."
On the eve of trial, Bob went online and posted a bunch of the exhibits that had either been thrown out by the Court or that he had decided to withdraw (after it was pointed out to him that they made him look even worse when they were viewed with the facts). So he posted the exhibits online (anonymously), where those pesky facts wouldn't interfere with what they appeared to be when taken out of context.
In the meantime, while Bob was preparing for trial by feverishly posting his online slander (touting his website as a 'sequel' to my book), my attorney had discovered that some of Bob's court approved 'evidence' wasn't quite complete and accurate either. Naturally, the 'missing' parts turned out to be not so good for Bob.
But we never actually got to any of that, because the moment we walked into the courtroom Bob's attorney handed us Bob's 'Motion to Dismiss'... his own case!
In his motion, Bob decided to label my 'updated edition' of the book - which actually reveals his unethical behavior in more detail (and even gets into some of the criminal stuff) as an 'admission' that I had defamed him. Through some careful wording, he managed to insinuate that I had changed my mind about what I saw in his medical record. Specifically, he told the judge that I had admitted that the medical record didn't say he was a 'narcissist' or 'sociopath.'
In other words, he lied.
Here is an exact quote of what I wrote in my updated edition of the book:
"Though I didn‘t understand most of the medical mumbo jumbo we were reading, certain words landed and stuck. Going from memory, I recall such words as narcissist‘ and 'sociopath.‘ The general gist was that we were looking at a person who had no remorse for his actions, and absolutely no ability to empathize with others. We read page after chilling page in stunned silence. I wasn‘t all that surprised by the diagnosis. What astounded me was that Bob had entered this as an exhibit! Was it possible that Bob was so confident in his ability to fool the doctors at the psychiatric ward that he actually submitted the report sight unseen? Why else would he have entered it as an exhibit?"
Then later, referring to that passage I quoted above, I added:
"I have no doubts about what I wrote."
And even later still, I reiterated yet again:
"'Narcissist‘ and 'sociopath‘ were just two of the words that stuck out for Maryann and I. Maryann actually read them out loud before handing me the page, so that I could see them for myself. She must have repeated those words twenty times that day—and countless times ever since."
I saw Bob's motion as an attempt to 'save face.' He is a bully. And when a bully walks away from his victims, they're supposed to disappear. They're not supposed to keep coming back for more.
After reading Bob's motion, Judge Kottmeyer looked confused. This wasn't the first time she looked confused. A few days before, while we were going over exhibits, she had a similar look on three different occasions, as she paused to grimly observe; "These are very disturbing." After reading Bob's motion to dismiss, she paused like that again, just before asking; "Are there any objections?"
"We absolutely object, Your Honor!" announced Scott. "And we are asking the Court to deny Mr. Nadeau's motion to dismiss and grant our motion to dismiss instead!"
This seemed to confuse the judge more. Of course, she hadn't had time to get to know Bob. Even after all she had seen in the previous week (and she had seen a lot) she couldn't quite comprehend that this practicing attorney and fellow judge had made a career out of spinning gold out of straw.
In fact, not a month had passed as we were standing there, since Bob had put his golden spin on the latest of his twenty or so lawsuits in the last decade. This time, he was the one being sued, in his capacity as a judge, for intentionally manipulating the court schedule to create a backlog in retaliation for not getting the full time position (with double the salary) that he had requested.
Why was he so upset about not getting the full time position (with double the salary), you ask? Well, as with all the questions you put to Bob, the answer will depend on which day you ask him. When he was requesting the full time promotion (with double the salary), he said it was because his law practice had "gone down the tubes." But later, when the county of York got touchy about the backlog he created to bully them into granting the full time position (with double the salary), he claimed he was looking out for the needs of the people of York County.
The judge in that case unravels the events leading up to the 'backlog' with painstaking detail. Nadeau made numerous scheduling changes that affected hundreds of cases. Some of the changes were drastic, and when you see them lined up in black and white, there's no doubt that Bob created that backlog to force York County into making his position full time (and paying him double). And the people of York County were the last thing on his mind when he did it. If you don't believe me, you can read the order for yourself HERE (pages 4-10).
And here lies the key to Bob's success: though the court records are littered with similar commentary about Bob's lack of credibility, misuse of the system and ethical issues, they are not so quick to actually hold him accountable for these offenses. And while these not so subtle warnings would do the trick for you or I, they don't even register with a sociopath. In fact, a sociopath sees them as a win.
Which makes me wonder about the one and only journalist who covered that case, when I saw the headline:
"Probate Judge Wins Civil Case over Court Rescheduling"
The 'winner' said he was "pleased" with the court's ruling, and assured readers that he would continue his crusade to provide full time judicial services to the citizens of York County, "despite woefully inadequate county funding for more badly needed judicial time."
And that is why we couldn't let Bob dictate the terms of the dismissal in my case. We knew that if we left even the slightest crumb for him to pick up, he would brandish it everywhere as a victory. And in fact, if you check out the latest on his slander blog (he's calling it the 'sequel' to my book), you'll see his latest claim that his reason for dropping his defamation case against me was because he didn't want to reschedule the two days he would lose in York Court.
Yeah... that's the reason he gave. Reputation be damned! He refused to inconvenience the people of York County!
(sociopaths are notoriously oblivious to irony)
"This is what he does!" my attorney told the judge after reading Bob's motion to dismiss. "And its the second time he's done it to my client!"
All the hours spent litigating, and once again, Bob was withdrawing his claims against me.
Here is JUDGE KOTTMEYER'S ORDER. It does not provide the full vindication that I had hoped for. But I think the people who matter (meaning those with any sense) will recognize that Bob's dismissal of his own claims confirms the truth about what I wrote.
Read more about Bob (and his wife's) website entitled "MADANNOUNCER."