Acosta v. Acosta

by Andrew G. Watters, Esq.

A case study of injustice enabled by bureaucratic inefficiency and lack of caring.

This is a domestic violence case with a companion divorce venued in San Mateo County Superior Court. My intention was to castigate the local court for delaying the trial of this case for over a year, and depriving my client of contact with his kids for that whole time. This web page was originally going to be solely about the domestic violence case, but it has lately turned into an issue of freedom of speech.

To summarize, I took a video of Ms. Acosta's deposition, which I had intended to post on this web page with annotations and editorial commentary. Ms. Acosta filed an ex parte application to enjoin me from distributing the video of her deposition online. The Court, shockingly, granted this application and enjoined my freedom of speech. I have filed an action in the U.S. District Court to declare the state court order void under the Federal constitution and otherwise, and to enjoin the enforcement of the order. You can't make this stuff up.

The case is 3:21-cv-05601 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Feel free to take a look at my complaint, my application for a TRO/OSC, and the declaration I filed. Here is the underlying motion and opposition that resulted in the unlawful order.

July 23, 2021 - Judge White denied my application for a temporary restraining order to prevent the state court order from being enforced. I was surprised to see him refer to the 11th Amendment as potentially barring this case, which is strange considering that a Federal court can enjoin state officials from enforcing an order that violates the Federal constitution, and because the 11th Amendment does not (at least by its own text) apply here. I specifically filed this case as a request for an injunction preventing the enforcement of the underlying order. Was I supposed to sue the Sheriff instead? Lol. So this is what it feels like to be a litigant in a one actually cares about a person's rights being violated. I have to admit, in fifteen years of being a lawyer I have not really felt this way, which is unfortunate considering that I've had many clients who have won or lost.

Concerning the Eleventh Amendment, this summary is a primer for regular people. I need to read up on the latest cases and consult with a more keen legal mind before my next move here. I don't think Judge White is right on this.

July 29, 2021 - I've retained counsel to handle this one. Meanwhile, read Judge White's order and my letter to my Congressional representative. I was also referred to the case of Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart, but I don't think it applies because that case was about private donor information and financial documents, not deposition video. Why shouldn't I be able to post video of what someone is going to say at trial?

To be continued.


© 2021 Andrew G. Watters

Last updated: July 29, 2021 05:59:39