The Beaver County Court Administrator’s Office is refusing to send defense exhibits filed on behalf of an anonymous commenter on the Beaver Countian to a judge who is presiding over a defamation case filed by Treasurer Connie Javens and her adult daughter Renne Javens Zuk.
Attorney Gerald Benyo has filed an objection with the Court Administrator’s Office for failing to send Senior Judge John Bozza a copy of an exhibit he filed as part of his motion to quash a subpoena on behalf of aka “John Q Taxpayer.”
Benyo’s exhibit contains dozens of articles published by the Beaver Countian as part of its investigative reporting into Treasurer Connie Javens, her handling of millions of dollars related to the sale of Friendship Ridge, and contracts her family members have garnered from the new owners of the facility. The exhibit also contains thousands of comments posted by readers of the Beaver Countian.
Although the Beaver County Court Administrator’s Office sent the judge most of the filings in the case, it selectively failed to send him the defense exhibit in question. The Court Administrator’s Office has now suggested that aka “John Q Taxpayer” send his defense exhibits to the judge himself. These types of court documents are normally sent to a judge as part of a case file directly by the Court Administrator’s Office or Prothonotary’s Office to ensure the integrity of the records being presented.
“I spoke with Prothonotary Nancy Werme who advised that she had no objection (and has never had any objection) to providing Judge Bozza with the exhibits filed with my client’s Motion To Quash,” wrote attorney Benyo to Deputy Court Administrator William Hare. “I was specifically advised that Ms. Werme as the Prothonotary Of Beaver County is willing to provide these documents either through the mail or through electronic means – to which I understand constitutes either being copied onto a computer disc or allowing Judge Bozza special access to the electronic case file from which he could obtain the documents directly. This alleviates any concerns that the documents transmitted to Judge Bozza are from the official documents filed of record in this case and any issue as to why the Court Administrator’s Office unilaterally chose to submit only a partial case file to Judge Bozza in this matter. I am requesting that the Court Administrator’s Office advise me as to whether I need to file a Motion to have the complete docket of this civil matter forwarded to Judge Bozza or whether the Court Administrator’s Office will simply request Ms. Werme to forward the remaining documents not already forwarded to Judge Bozza (the exhibits to my Motion To Quash) to him immediately.”
It is unknown when the judge or the Court Administrator’s Office may respond to the objection by attorney Benyo.
Attorneys representing the Beaver Countian and all of the other defendants in the case have also recently objected to oral arguments in the matter being scheduled at the Erie County Courthouse instead of in Beaver County. The decision to change venue was made with no explanation given by the judge.
Connie Javens and her adult daughter Renee Javens Zuk currently have a defamation lawsuit pending against several anonymous commenters on the Beaver Countian for remarks made on articles about controversies involving the sale of Friendship Ridge. This publication has refused to comply with a subpoena issued by the women seeking information which could be used to identify the commenters, and has filed court action of its own seeking to block the attempt at compelling such a disclosure.
About The Beaver Countian’s Legal Representation
Founded in the 1980’s in Baltimore, Offit Kurman is now one of the fastest-growing full-service law firms in the region. The group has a keen understanding of the importance of the intersection of law and technology, having recently expanded their attorneys with technology focused practices including intellectual property, data and cybersecurity, and privacy issues. With 120 attorneys on staff, the firm offers a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category. Offit Kurman’s twelve offices serve individual and corporate clients in the Philadelphia, Washington DC, Baltimore, and New York City metropolitan areas, and markets including Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Northern Virginia.
Legal representation for the Beaver Countian was arranged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the world’s leading digital civil rights organization. The EFF was founded in 1990 to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows. The international nonprofit organization champions causes of user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. The EFF is currently leading federal litigation against the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance program.