Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Matt/Amy Roloff And Washington County Reach Settlement In Trespassing Lawsuit

The trial was supposed to begin this week in the case between Matt and Amy Roloff vs Washington County over the trespassing incident that was featured in an episode of Little People, Big World in 2010. Matt, Amy and Jacob Roloff were among the people that were going to be called to testify in front of a jury this week.

However, court documents state that the Roloffs and Washington County have reached a settlement on the remaining issues. The trial date was wiped off the court schedule. The court documents announcing that the parties have reached settlement were filed when Amy Roloff, the person who claims she was "shattered" by this incident, was actually in Jamaica.

The Roloffs had originally sued Washington County for multiple constitutional claims -- that the county unfairly targets Roloff Farms, they were seeking an injunction preventing future inspections. All of those were tossed out by the judge. The case was reduced to a simple trespassing charge.

Matt and Amy Roloff were suing for $200,000 in "severe emotional distress" allegedly suffered by Amy Roloff as a result of this incident. Court documents throughout this process have the Roloffs describing their lives as "shattered" since the inspector incident in July 2010. They attribute their "shattered" lives and all the stress they have in life to this one incident.

Matt Roloff insisted throughout this process that the lawsuit was not about money and that they were pursuing legal action for the principle of it.

However, after all of this time, which included the Roloffs unsuccessfully attempting to subpoena the Spiritswander Blog, the Roloffs and Washington County have now reached a settlement.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spiritswander Selecting Charities For Donation Funds

We have some good news, or at least that we are able to do a little bit of good.

Most of our loyal readers are well aware of the Subpoena saga and that people subsequently offered to donate funds to help fight for all of our rights in what we felt was a violation of all of our First Amendment rights and a power play and misuse of subpoena powers by Matt and Amy Roloff.

And as you know, we successfully quashed the subpoena.

http://spiritswander.blogspot.com/2010/02/spiritswander-blog-defeats-matt-and-amy.html

Spiritswander has never been about money or profit (haven't made one dime off of this site). Our readers offered to donate towards the costs (and there were some) of going through the court process to fight the subpoena. I said all along that any excess money would be donated to charities. And once again, I would like to express a heartfelt "Thank you" to all who donated or even felt the desire to help. It was very over-whelming to feel the support and much appreciated.

We are pleased to announce that it looks like we will indeed be able to make a couple of donations. As stated in our article, this is all possible due to the generosity of internet lawyer Karl Kronenberger. I informed Karl Kronenberger about the money that was donated and he also suggested we give the money to charity.

So now it becomes a choice of what charity/charities? I believe we have enough money to make two donations in amounts that will be appreciated.

One organization is pretty much decided. Karl Kronenberger suggested an organization such as  -- EFF - Electronic Frontier Foundation - because of the First Amendment issues that were involved in our case.

So the decision that is left is what charity or organization should we choose for the other half of our donation money? I wanted to put this out here to give people an opportunity to suggest a charity they feel would be worthy or make sense for our site to help. You can either post a comment here or if you would prefer, email at spiritswander@gmail.com . And if you donated yourself and want to keep it confidential, please feel free to email me with your suggestion. Ultimately the final decision will have to be mine as of course there are thousands of wonderful charities, but I did want to take some input and I will listen to all suggestions.

I'll list some ideas that have already been suggested.

1. Amy Roloff Charity Foundation  or CoDA: When this idea first came up, some suggested that it might be humorous to make a donation to Matt's CoDA charity or the Amy Roloff Charity Foundation in the name of Spiritswander. Honestly though, that seems a tad spiteful and there is the ugly reality that this whole issue came about because Matt and Amy were attempting to strip all of us of our rights. So even if it is for a charity, giving money to the people who attempted to infringe on your rights -- seems a bit odd. I'm not suggesting that those charities haven't helped any people in need, but there is also a lot of fun partying involved for the likes of Amy Roloff and her board members such as Chris Cardamone. So when there are so many other worthy charities, giving them a donation so they can stand up at a Gala and say "Look at what our charity did", doesn't seem like the right choice to make for our site.

2. Little People of America: Due to the content of our site, some readers have suggested a charity that goes towards benefiting people with dwarfism and the LPA is the most well known advocates for people with dwarfism. However, once again, I will just lay this out to be honest. There was one concern that some have with the LPA as it relates to the Roloffs.

We sent a note to the LPA informing them that we were considering them for a donation and wanted to give them a chance to clear the air.

The main issue is that we have been told by a few different members of the LPA,  that the LPA gives the Roloffs free hotel rooms for the National LPA conferences (as recently as last year). Although, someone else told us they didn't think that was true and had the understanding the Roloffs are still comped free hotel rooms by the hotel because of their celebrity status and not directly from the LPA.

As our readers know, Jeremy Roloff's best friend, Jacob Mueller, who is approximately 6'5" and is not related to any people with dwarfism, often goes along with the Roloffs to the LPA conferences and has a great time partying with them.

Although the LPA certainly does a lot more than chose recipients for comp hotel rooms, there is something about that idea that raises concerns about the wisdom of the decision makers. People envision the LPA helping people with dwarfism who are in need -- or if it involves the Conferences - the many children with dwarfism whose dream it is to attend a LPA conference to feel "normal" for a week. The conventions are very expensive as you can imagine. Depending upon the city, it can be around $200 for a hotel room per night. Obviously that's just not feasible for many families. So with this rumor that the LPA then gives free hotel rooms to celebrities like the Roloffs who live in a mansion, with a fleet of BMW's and vintage vehicles and have their hotel rooms occupied by their average height friend that likes to party -- it sort of sours the LPA as a worthy choice for a donation.

We wanted to be fair to the LPA, so we sent them a letter, asking for clarification if they wished. We received a very nice response which thanked us for even considering them, regardless of whether we chose them or not and thanked us for giving the money to any charity.

Although the response did not include a "That is absolutely false and there is no truth to it", it did imply that they are not giving the Roloffs -- and by extension - Jacob Mueller their comp hotel rooms. The response stated the board members, conference planners, and others who are required to attend the Conferences are often are the beneficiaries of the comp rooms (which is common at hotels for the organizers of any group that will be occupying a large number of rooms at a hotel). Some comp rooms are set aside for the Kitchen Scholarship Fund Awardees.

The response we received went on to say that when Matt Roloff served as President of the LPA (he hasn't since 2004 or 2005) he would have been eligible for a comp room those years. Also, Matt Roloff was on the board for the 2007 LPA Convention in Seattle, so the Roloffs would have been eligible to receive a comp room that year. The response said that one of those years, Matt donated his comp room back to the Kitchens fund.

Please make of that what you will and form your own opinion. If the LPA is a popular choice among our readers or those who donated, I'll have no problem in selecting them.

3. The Salman family. They were the family originally from Iraq that was featured in a couple of LPBW episodes. They have moved to the U.S. Some of the children have forms of dwarfism. The father also has a tumor. Tragically, their daughter passed away after undergoing surgery. Russell Hayes and U.S soldier Tammy and their families have basically adopted the family and took on all the responsibilities and emotional burdens involved in basically adopting a family that has so many medical needs. We have done articles about their plight in the past. Russell and Tammy are very grateful and appreciative of anyone who sends positive thoughts, prayers or are able to make a donation. If Rap541 (of course our frequent commentator and guest reviewer) had their choice, Rap would choose the Salman family.

4. Gay rights or anti-Bullying organizations. This was suggested by some of our readers -- mainly because one of the primary reasons why we are so disliked by the Roloffs is because we have expressed our disagreement with them over issues such as the hurtful effects of derogatory gay slurs and our opinion that it's hypocritical for the Roloffs as diversity speakers that talk about accepting your difference and the difference of others to support organizations that teach and preach that gay people must pray to be cured. So because there is an obvious disagreement regarding gay rights issues between many of our readers and the Roloffs, some people think an organization geared towards that would be a good choice.

Those are just some of the organizations that were originally suggested, but by all means, please submit your suggestions.

And thank you once again to all that donated or wanted to donate or offered whatever form of support you could in our effort to (successfully) defend ourselves against Matt and Amy Roloff's attempt to violate the rights of not only myself or Rap, but all of readers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Amy Roloff Rants About TSA And Flight Attendants

Over the past few years, Amy Roloff, has increasingly voiced her displeasure with the air travel process - specifically with the TSA and with flight attendants.

Last week, Amy once against lashed out against the TSA on her Facebook Fan Page, this time accusing the TSA of discriminating against her because she is short. According to Amy in her Facebook postings, she got patted down again and alleges that this was the "4th or 5th" TSA person that whispered to her "It's because you're short".

Amy J Roloff:  "Here I am at the airport and again I get padded down. Why? No one has a clue or reason but they'll whisper to me- Oh yeah that's right the 4th-5th TSA person to say 'it's because you're short'. Really? Thats one if many this is wring. Then why do I have to do it - because 'I'm short'. Unacceptable. Something I Love to do I'm not liking much anymore - traveling." 

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-J-Roloff-Fanpage/191460144200528

 Amy is a frequent traveler as a paid public speaker and has done a lot of traveling for the TLC 'Little People, Big World trips (most recently to Australia).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jacob Roloff To Testify As A Washington County Witness Against Amy and Matt Roloff

This will be a brief update on the status of the Roloff lawsuit Vs Washington County.

The trial is now scheduled for May 29, 2012.

All of Matt and Amy's claims against Washington County -- the constitutional violations -- that the County unfairly targets the Roloffs, seeking an injunction against further inspections -- all were dismissed by the judge and the trial has been reduced to a simple trespassing charge. The County does not dispute the trespassing charge (they disciplined the inspector and attempted to apologize to the Roloffs). So basically all that the trial will be about is how much the Roloffs will receive in damages for a simple trespass. The Roloffs were suing for $200,000 in severe emotional distress suffered by Amy Roloff.

In a rather surprising turn of events, guess who will testify as one of Washington County's key witnesses to dispute the Plaintiffs (the Roloffs) claim that Amy suffered severe emotional distress worthy of a substantial financial sum? Jacob Roloff.

Jacob Roloff, 15,  who is once again struggling in school, will be forced to testify in front of a jury because his testimony appears to contradict the claims of his parents Matt and Amy Roloff in their lawsuit against Washington County seeking $200,000 for severe emotional distress. Amy says her life has been shattered by that one incident, while Jacob says he hasn't seen any change in Amy.

The Roloffs contention is that their lives have been shattered by this one incident involving the inspector on that day in July of 2010. They claim that all the stress they have in life is all because of this one incident.

In these court documents and statements, the Roloffs paint a very different picture of their lives compared to the uber-happy,  always successful and upbeat persona Matt and Amy portray on their Facebook Fan Pages on an almost daily basis.

So the core of the case now is the Roloffs attempting to show that the emotional distress suffered by Amy is worth $200,000.

Amy says she was shattered by the incident.

Matt says it has rattled Amy to her core and in over 20 years of marriage he has never seen her that devastated. The Plaintiffs (the Roloffs) will call people such as former 'Little People, Big World' producer and close Roloff friend Chris Cardamone, Matt's assistant Caryn, and Amy's personal trainer to back up Amy's claims that she has been shattered by this one incident.

So to summarize:

1. Amy says she was shattered.

2, Matt says he's never seen Amy so emotionally devastated in his life.

3. Meanwhile, Jacob apparently stated in his deposition (Jacob's deposition was not posted publicly, but referred to in Amy's deposition which is in the public domain. Amy was asked why Jacob said he has not noticed any change in Amy since this incident) that there has been no change at all in Amy since the incident. In the court documents where Washington County announced their intention to call Jacob Roloff as a witness, they state what Jacob will testify that the inspector did not do anything threatening or make any verbal threats. It states that Jacob will testify that he wasn't worried about Amy, that the incident had no affect on him, and that other than Amy being frustrated, he hasn't seen any effects on her since the incident [Note: Before anyone makes claims that this is 'private insider knowledge' - all this information is in the public domain on the PACER site -- PACER stands for Public Access to Court Electronic Records. Spiritswander was forced into following the activity in this case on PACER in order to defend our rights against the subpoena Matt and Amy Roloff requested]

Therefore, because of the obvious contradiction between Matt and Amy's story and Jacob's version, Washington County have announced that they will call Jacob Roloff as one of their key witnesses.

Personally, I don't think this case will be a proud moment for the LP movement. In trying to argue for $200,000 worth of emotional distress; one of the Roloffs arguments, complete with a psychiatrist specializing in people with dwarfism, basically seems to be that little people are weak, defenseless and get very frightened of average height people. Little people don't have coping skills like an average height person. Amy was scared for her physical safety because she is so little and the inspector is so big and while that situation might not have devastated an average height person, it destroys the life of a Little Person  because they are so small, scared and can't cope with such a scenario. It's a very different message than what was supposed to be the entire lesson of the series 'Little People, Big World'.


I suppose it will depend on the final outcome and how much money Roloffs are able to get in damages, but one has to wonder if they will feel like the whole lawsuit was worth it? The Roloffs failed in their subpoena against the Spiritswander Blog -- which we felt was a clear abuse of subpoena powers and an attempt to trample on the First Amendment rights off all readers of the Spiritswander Blog. Their case against Washington County has been dismissed all except for a simple trespass charge, a variety of embarrassing personal details will now be known in public court documents (things such as Matt discussing whether his and Amy's sex life since the incident is as robust as it was a few years ago)  and now it's clear that by pursuing this issue, their 15 year old son who is once again struggling in school (as per Matt Roloff in court documents dated December 2011) will now be forced to testify in front of a jury, basically against his own parents and Jacob will need to deal with the stress of all that.

One wonders if any amount of financial compensation they will possibly receive as a result of this case will be worth all of that? Matt insists that their lawsuit "is not about the money", except now that is all this case is about because all other parts of the lawsuit has been thrown out by the judge.

The trial is set as a two-day jury trial scheduled to begin on May 29, 2012.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Matt Roloff Says New Little People, Big World Episode In June

In a video interview with KTVO that has been posted on You Tube, Matt Roloff says they've been filming more episodes (the entire Roloff family are currently on a trip -- 'Down Under') and the next episode should air in June that will "touch people's hearts", followed by a sequence of episodes that will air later this year that Matt says will be interesting and compelling for viewers.

According to Matt in public court documents in December 2011, the Roloffs contract was set to expire in April 2012, but were in talks about doing a few more "special" episodes.

Aside from Matt talking about when more episodes will air; just a really quick summary from Matt's interview:

Matt's message is that they represent all people that have a difference and if they can get people to accept a person that is 4'2" with dwarfism and see them as a real person going through the same things, then that will open their eyes to all people who are different from them.

Matt says that people who are "different" are too hyper-sensitive and shouldn't be offended if people say something wrong or a bad word out of ignorance. Matt states that ignorance is actually a good thing because it opens the door to educating someone and if you get upset and bitter because someone said a word you don't like, that will end any possible dialog.

Matt says they are still cranking out episodes, just at a slower pace. They have no regrets. They wouldn't trade it for anything.  Matt says their biggest regret is that they aren't able to respond to everyone.