Friday, March 29, 2013

Sue Bank of America - Pay big Bucks

 Corporate "Personhood" Run Amok

 In a twisted saga of how the crazy concept of corporate personhood has been perverted beyond even this jaded commentator's imagination, today's San Francisco Chronicle has the story of a women attorney who was grossly mistreated by the Bank of America, arrested and held chained to a jailhouse wall, without her diabetes medicine, sued the Bank and the Police (our own San Francisco's finest) and ended up not only having her case thrown out of Federal court, but ordered to pay the Bank $50,000 in bloated attorney's fees for stifling the Banks' right to free speech, under California's anti-SLAPP statute (which protects the free speech right of people from a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, a type of lawsuit usually brought by a corporation or business for the purpose of chilling free speech in the public arena) according to the Federal judge who first heard the case and 9th Circuit Court of Appeal, in its unpublished ruling.)

Sharon Henry went to deposit her partner's check in the Bank; the Bank, suspicious of the amount of $27,000, looked up the name of the partner, which coincidentally there were two of, and found out she did not have sufficient funds to cover the check.  Never mind that the Bank's own policy is to call the number on the check for verification. They snatched Henry, a San Mateo deputy District Attorney no less, and had her arrested. San Francisco police then chained her to a wall for two hours, without her medication and refused to let her call her partner.

Two hours later, the Bank realized its "mistake" and she was let go.  She sued the Bank for negligence and the police for negligence and false arrest and accused them of arresting her because she was African American. 

Equal Justice Under the Law?

So a gay African American civil servant is mistreated by all parties who fail to follow proper procedure, both in verifying the account and in holding her in medieval conditions (who gets chained to walls these days? Or do they, remind me not to get arrested in San Francisco) and she has to pay the Bank because of a perverted use of the anti-SLAPP statute, extending protection to banks from liability for any statements its employees make while investigating the crime. Her lawsuit was called "frivolous" by the Court.

While I do not have all the facts (why was she in Federal court, for one thing? A civil rights allegation?), it seems to me these are actions not statements that she suffered. And why do Banks have free speech rights in the first place? 

And unstated in the story is whether some of this "mistaken" activity occurred because Henry is gay, as well as African American.

In America? 2013? I'm shocked. Shocked I tell you.

Sadly, not.

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