Archive for Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New court papers claim Sherron Collins should have been aware of lawsuit

A certified letter about a personal injury claim sent to KU basketball player Sherron Colins had an incomplete address on it, Collins' lawyers argued in court filings recently.

July 2, 2008

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Kansas University basketball star Sherron Collins has not shown "excusable neglect" in seeking to set aside a civil lawsuit judgment against him, according to court papers filed by a woman who sued him.

In a motion filed this week in Douglas County District Court, Jessica Brown maintains that Collins, 21, showed "reckless indifference" by not responding to two letters her attorney sent to him in March about making a personal injury claim and then ignoring the filing of the lawsuit.

The civil lawsuit alleges Collins assaulted her in May 2007 in a Jayhawker Towers elevator.

The first letter was sent March 6, followed by a March 21 letter sent certified mail-return receipt requested. It was returned to Brown's attorney, Jim Whisler, marked unclaimed.

Brown's motion also states a court-appointed process server certified that she personally delivered a summons pertaining to the lawsuit to Collins on May 14 at his residence in Jayhawker Towers.

Brown's court filing calls "absurd" Collins' claims that he thought a previous attorney who represented him was handling the letters and legal petition for him. Collins did not give the name of the lawyer, nor did he produce any evidence that shows why he thought the lawyer knew about the matter, Brown's court document states.

Last month, Judge Jack Murphy signed a "judgment by default" in favor of Brown when Collins did not respond to the lawsuit in 20 days as required by law. A hearing was set for next Tuesday to determine damages sought by Brown in excess of $75,000.

But that Tuesday hearing was continued until Aug. 1 - after Collins' attorney, Chris Burger, filed a motion to set aside the judgment. Murphy will hear oral arguments from both sides about that motion.

Collins has not been charged with a crime, but the matter is under investigation by the Kansas University Public Safety Office, which is awaiting results of the testing of materials by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Collins has denied all of the allegations.

Comments

1029 6 years, 10 months ago

Looks like Collins was focused on something else during the month of March when those letters were sent. What could have possibly been more important?Good luck, Sherron. Thanks for focusing on winning a championship and not letting this be a (noticeable) distraction.

Baille 6 years, 10 months ago

Billable time? I doubt it.And there is no $75k. That is what the hearing on August 1, 2008 is for. Now I have no illusions that a reasonable explanation will dissuade those brainwashed by the insurance industry and Chamber propaganda, but the damages section of a Petition plead every plausible category of damages for which there is a reasonable basis. That is the nature of a notice-pleading jurisdiction without any provision for pre-suit discovery. Kansas is such a jurisdiction. Normally - like for instance when people provide an Answer - the facts from both sides are fully developed through the course of discovery. (Assuming the defense counsel - who are enslaved by billable hours - don't try to subvert the process with boilerplate objections and obfuscation. Sorry, MD. ;) ) In this case, the factual basis for the damages will come out at the hearing on damages.However, my money remains on the second chance for Collins. And even if I am wrong I bet the defense gets some more time to at least obtain discovery about the claimed damages.

Baille 6 years, 10 months ago

"Is this about making Collins answer for the crime he is accused of or is this about getting the accuser paid?"Not at all. It's about receiving an appropriate remedy (yet t o be determined) for alleged injuries and harms (yet to be determined) caused by wrongful behavior. Answering for crimes is the DA's job.For example, in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, the DA handles the crime, but it is left to the victim to get compensated for her damaged car, the reasonable and necessary medical expenses she has incurred, and any lost wages. If the wrongdoer does not provide compensation for those damages, a civil suit must be filed. For all those that sit and complain about a legal system they know nothing about, file the suit yourself or suck it up and just pay for the harms caused by another. For everyone else, I would recommend working with an attorney.

jaywalker 6 years, 10 months ago

Not trying to make excuses for Collins, but I understand that his father took ill suddenly and that's why he left Lawrence for Chicago a few days before the hearing and why he wasn't present in court. If he truly thought his lawyer was still on retainer then I would suspect he would have taken it for granted that said lawyer would explain the situation and move to postpone. In any case I hope the allegations aren't true as I hate to see anyone treat women in such a manner. I will also say that this is clearly a case of he said/she said, and unless Collins whipped it out and left DNA on the woman's clothes there is absolutely no way to know the truth. Unfortunately, athletes often do walk around with an arrogant sense of entitlement AND there have been many women just lookin' to get paid by trapping one. Pick your side and place your bets, place your bets.

fu7il3 6 years, 10 months ago

1029, do you really believe that the game of basketball is more important than a civil lawsuit based on alleged criminal activity? If so, that is pretty sad.

karmaxs3 6 years, 10 months ago

Regardless, Sherron is still more responsible than Brittney Spears, and last I heard she still gets to see her kids, so there you have the result of what money and fame can do. Brittney is not nearly as powerful in L. A. as KU is in Lawrence.....here you may reach your own conclusions as to how the case will end.

FatTony 6 years, 10 months ago

I would think there would be a lot of Hotter Co-eds available who would be thrilled that Sherron was rubbing against them in the elevator. Really why rub against a brutal old chick.

stephenj 6 years, 10 months ago

So it took her 10 MONTHS after the alleged assault to file this thing and send Collins a letter? If it had really happened wouldn't she call the police or her lawyer that day? I say you snooze you lose, or conversely, the early bird extorts the worm.

justthefacts 6 years, 10 months ago

ANY adult who ignores service of a law suit has got SERIOUS problems. Note to the world and not just student athletes: It is NEVER ever ever ever ever ever a good idea to ignore a law suit and hope it will go away and never bother you again! If you want to make it "go away," you need to do something to make that happen (get a lawyer yourself, answer the papers by filing a response, talk to your coach, parents or someone who knows more about the process and who will help you follow up on it, etc.) Sticking your head in the sand (or elsewhere) will only make the problem worse. It will be interesting to see if the judge buys his excuses as a reason to set aside a judgement. For case law on setting aside a judgement b/c the answer was not filed in time - and what constitutes excusable neglect - here's some reading material:http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/ctapp/2001/20010105/84504.htmhttp://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/supct/2001/20011207/86406.htmhttp://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/ctapp/1998/19981030/78990.htm

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 10 months ago

Stephenj-She didn't wait 10 months to call police; she called police within 24 hours. She waited 10 months for police to file charges before trying to get relief through civil court. The police investigation continues.Jonathan KealingOnline editor

fu7il3 6 years, 10 months ago

"Is this stuff on the big new sign promoting KU basketball and the winners for 2008. The sign out by the Turnpike?"Good idea. Exit 202University of KansasHome of Sherron Collins's assault suit and Darrell Arthur's kidney's GPA. (The grades LOOKED real.)

domino 6 years, 10 months ago

This is really starting to tick me off. I don't know if he is guilty or not, but the more I read, the more I feel like it is a case of a blood-sucking lawyer trying to make a mountain out of a mole-hill. Makes me think of one of the ending lines in "The Bee Movie" - the head bee (who is now giving legal advice) tells his client that he will turn their case over to the mosquito - the client says he didn't know the mosquito was a lawyer - the bee replies something to the effect of "he's always been a low-life blood-sucker - he just needed the briefcase.) Laughed my a&& off!!

kugrad 6 years, 10 months ago

All she wants is "justice," you know, 75 grand or more.

1029 6 years, 10 months ago

I still think KU will be good enough to contend for the Big 12 title next year. I think Collins and Aldrich can almost carry the team, provided neither has problems with foul trouble. Everyone else will be competing for playing time and trying to be a key contributor to tough team defense. Various players will emerge at various points in the season and things will fall into place. Rock Chalk!

ModerateOne 6 years, 10 months ago

The substance of the allegations will be sorted out later but what is clear beyond any doubt is that Sherron is an idiot for not keeping track of his legal responsibility to respond to a lawsuit.

castarke 6 years, 10 months ago

All this lady wants is money. That is usually what its all about. The Entire Student body is behind you 110% Sherron!!!

justthefacts 6 years, 10 months ago

Baille, I'm not a gambler so no thanks on the wager. Usually, judges do not like to decide cases on procedural grounds alone - they want to give both sides a chance to be heard on the merits/facts of the case. However, there have not been many instances of overturning a default judgement where service was perfected (done according to the law) and the defendant completely failed to respond. That usually doesn't happen unless someone in the family dies or the defendant gets real sick right afterwards. If the courts routinely allowed defaults to be set aside just b/c someone was too busy to take care of responding, very few people would follow the rules of civil procedure, knowing they'd not be held to them. Not the kind of thing most judges want to encourage (ignoring a court/judge will usually hack him/her off pretty badly). That said, b/c of the public noteriety of the person in question, and the pretty thin ice for getting this kind of money for this kind of conduct, the judge may be looking for a hook to hang a hat upon. If the facts (which I do not know) show that there was a scintilla of evidence that his failure to respond was justifiable under the specific circumstances, the judge will probably set aside the default judgement and let this thing go to trial (whereupon the parties will being to talk settlement). For example, if he can prove he gave the paperwork to his attorney and that the ATTORNEY is the one who blew of responding, that will provide legal grounds to set aside the default judgement. On the other hand, if the facts show that all he did (when handed the paper work) was set it aside and forget about it, the fact he was headed to the basketball finals is probably not an excuse MOST judges would accept! The civil procedure system is set up so that all the players know what to expect in terms of process. Blowing off service is never a good idea, unless you are 150% judgement proof and always will be! It doesn't matter if she has a good claim or not, at this point and for purposes of deciding if the default judgement should be overturned. For those into sport metaphors, what that aspect is analogous to is claiming there was a foul that should have been called during the game as opposed to after the game is over. During the game, you might get the claim of a foul reviewed. But after the game is over, not very likely. It's going to take more then just proof of the foul actually happening to get the game's results reversed after the game is over!

Baille 6 years, 10 months ago

I think the paper is using assault for its lat meaning, but I may be wrong.One can review the case file at the clerk's office to find out for sure. I have not done so, but I imagine there is a count of battery in there as well.Remember that this is a civil case, so criminal classifications and, to an extent, definitions would not apply.

FlintHawk 6 years, 10 months ago

I am troubled by the timing of the service. Without speaking to either party's guilt or innocence, to serve Collins in March 2007 smells to me like a deliberate tactic by Ms. Brown's attorney. A question for those who know the law: Would it have made any difference to Ms. Brown's legal position if they had served Collins a months later?

Baille 6 years, 10 months ago

"A question for those who know the law: Would it have made any difference to Ms. Brown's legal position if they had served Collins a months later?"Probably not, but with a deadline of one year on intentional torts it does not pay to wait until that last couple of months to serve. If there is a problem with getting service - as there was in this case - the claim could be forever lost.Even if Collins was distracted in March, the real service was made in May and that is when the clock started running on the time to Answer.I think. Not sure on the dates. Just kind of skimmed it. I am sure justthefacts will set me straight if I am mistaken.By the way, jtf, have a little friendly side wager on the motion to set aside the judgment. I am betting that it's side aside and teh case continues on the merits. Wanna get in? Nothing of value being wagered of course. Just bragging rights for the day.

notajayhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

http://www.kslegislature.org/legsrv-statutes/getStatuteFile.do?number=/21-3408.html"21-3408. Assault. Assault is intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of immediate bodily harm. Assault is a class C person misdemeanor."

rocksolid 6 years, 10 months ago

The award is for the plaintiff in this case will amount to two cents. Quit with the blah blah blah of him not answering the suit, and get on with the merits of the case. If he is found negligent or guilty then there is something to talk about. If there is not a judgment against him or if the criminal case finds him not guilty, The majority of you will say another athlete got away with a crime. While others will call the victim a gold digger. Just more material for Sherron to hear on the road next year in Mizzou or Manhattan.

dweezil222 6 years, 10 months ago

Baille, I'll hop on that bet, with an addition: If this goes to trial, the victim gets awarded less than $100, exclusive of legal fees (assuming Collins is even found liable).

Raider 6 years, 10 months ago

davidsmom - I'm with you. I'm still trying to figure out where the 'personal injury' (that was mentioned in the article above) comes in to play. This whole thing reeks of a greedy lawyer trying to get every nickel he can. If SC rubbed up against her, or if he waved 'something' at her, then she should have simply slapped the ^%#$ out of him and went about her business.

Kent Fisher 6 years, 10 months ago

I'll remind you all again, responsible people don't put themselves in this position. Mr. Collins deserves all the grief and punishment he gets, if any, for his irresponsibility. Sure, I bleed crimson and blue, too, but will not condone this of ANY of our athletes.

davidsmom 6 years, 10 months ago

I am still waiting for some details to the original story - no one has ever explained what Ms. Brown is actually claiming happened. The earlier versions of the story say he "rubbed against her." I do not understand how that constitutes "assault" nor do I understand how that can cause "physical harm" as has been stated in several of the stories.

JDB 6 years, 10 months ago

1029 says:I still think KU will be good enough to contend for the Big 12 title next year. I think Collins and Aldrich can almost carry the team, provided neither has problems with foul trouble. Everyone else will be competing for playing time and trying to be a key contributor to tough team defense. Various players will emerge at various points in the season and things will fall into place. Rock Chalk!-----------------------------Collins is already in "Foul" trouble.

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