A federal judge told attorney Carlos Moore to start actually practicing law and stop grandstanding as he fined him $3,000 two weeks ago for failing to respond to discovery requests in a wrongful death lawsuit. Mr. Moore sued the city of Tupelo last year on behalf of the family of Antwun Shumpert after he was shot to death by a Tupelo police officer. It also appears Mr. Moore is using anonymous phone calls and memos that don't exist to support his claims as well.
The shooting occurred on June 18, 2016. Mr. Moore filed the lawsuit on June 30. The city responded to the lawsuit a month later. The city served the First Set of Interrogatories, Requests for Production of Documents and Requests for Admission upon the plaintiffs on November 23. The plaintiffs didn't respond to the request for the documents or admissions so the defense filed a motion to compel on January 25 - two months later.The defendants filed a second motion to compel on February 21 and accused Schumpert of filing inadequate responses.
The second motion to compel makes it clear the defense is trying to hold Carlos Moore accountable for his grandstanding and inflammatory charges. The motion states:
it should be noted that the underlying event giving rise to this action was well publicized, and counsel for the plaintiffs made repeated claims that he alleged were factually based and that were published in the local media and other media, including The New York Times, regarding the basis of claims made by the Shumpert family. Included in statements made by plaintiffs’ counsel to the media for public consumption are the following:
a. “He [Shumpert] ran from the police, but he did not attack the officer or the K-9.” said Moore during the press conference at Tupelo City Hall. “Was the K-9 not well-enough trained to handle an unarmed 37 year-old man? . . .”
b. “Black lives do not matter in Tupelo,” Moore said. “When you are black or brown (the police) are trigger happy. They sent out a memo to certain parts of the white community that it was open season on blacks.”
c. Moore said during a June 21 press conference the surveillance video showed the initial stop and an hour gap before the ambulance arrived.
d. “The police shot Ronnie four or five times,” or said. “It was a modern day lynching. It was simply an execution.”
e. Moore has released photos of Shumpert’s body. He says these photos show mutilation of the body by the K-9 unit, including scratch marks on his back and wounds to the groin area.
f. Moore also said he has consulted his own forensic pathologist who believes that the wounds on Shumpert’s body, including his back, are consistent with a dog attack.
g. Witnesses also exist that can corroborate the version of events as told by Moore, the attorney claims.
h. Finally, he (District Attorney John Weddle) refuted Moore’s claims that he had found an eyewitness who had recorded video, . . . .
i. This from The New York Times: “They have declared open season on us, and they are killing with impunity,” said Mr. Moore, who is black.
5. These defendants’ Interrogatory No. 7 to Peggy Shumpert reads as follows:
You allege in the complaint that Shumpert tried to surrender voluntarily and came from his hiding place as he heard Officer Tyler Cook and his City assigned K-9 approach. State the factual basis of your claim in that regard, identify all persons on whom you rely to support that claim and identify all documents on which you rely to support that claim.
The following is Peggy Shumpert’s response:
Plaintiffs will rely on forensics expert testimony to establish this fact. Experts will be designated by Plaintiffs’ Expert Designation deadline....
6. Interrogatory No. 8 to Peggy Shumpert reads as follows:
You allege in the complaint that as Shumpert attempted to voluntarily K-9 viciously attacked him, biting him in the groin, ripping his flesh leaving a gaping hole at least six inches deep in his groin and nearly mutilating his testicles after shredding his scrotum. You allege further that the K-9 also severely clawed Shumpert on his back and inflicted other injuries and bruises to the person of Antwun Shumpert. State the factual basis of your claim in that regard, identify all persons on whom you rely to support that claim and identify all documents on which you rely to support that claim.
Peggy Shumpert responded as follows:Please refer to Interrogatory No. 7.
Basis of motion to compel: Plaintiffs’ counsel has alleged publicly and repeatedly that Shumpert attempted to voluntarily surrender, and that the K-9 viciously attacked him, biting him in the groin and severely clawed Shumpert on his back. Peggy Shumpert should be required to either provide the information sought by this interrogatory or admit that she has no factual basis for these claims, can identify no person on whom she relies to support these claims and can identify no documents on which she relies to support these claims.
7. These defendants’ Interrogatory No. 9 to Peggy Shumpert reads as follows:
You allege in the complaint that while Shumpert was trying to defend himself against total annihilation by the K-9, Officer Tyler Cook approached Shumpert and shot him four times, punched Shumpert in the face and kicked or stomped Shumpert in the mouth knocking four of his bottom teeth backwards toward his throat. State the factual basis of your claim in that regard, identify all persons on whom you rely to support that claim and identify all documents on which you rely to support that claim.
Peggy Shumpert’s response was as follows:
The rest of the motion treats the sensational charges in a similar manner. The defense cites each one made by the plaintiffs and then asks them to provide evidence for the charge. The plaintiffs make vague references to materials that are not produced.Please refer to Interrogatory No. 7.
The city spells out its intentions at the end of the motion in case anyone who reads the motion misses the point. The motion makes it clear the defendants have had enough of Mr. Moore and his demagoguery and are going to tell him (and his clients) to either put up or shut up:
11. The event giving rise to this legal action occurred on June 18, 2016. Following a series of repeated inflammatory claims and allegations by plaintiffs’ counsel, which continued after this action was filed, the complaint in this action was filed on June 30, 2016. These defendants seek through discovery the factual basis of the plaintiffs’ claims made repeatedly and publicly against them and the identity of all persons and documents on which the plaintiffs rely to support those claims. Either Peggy Shumpert has a factual basis for these claims and can identify persons and documents on which she relies to support these claims or she can’t. If she can, she should be required to do so. If she can’t, she should be required to say that she can’t.
12. While in some cases substantive reliance on an expert witness might be appropriate, here the plaintiffs’ attorney has repeatedly and publicly made allegations based on self-proclaimed factual rhetoric. The plaintiffs should not be allowed to dodge basic discovery responses under these circumstances.Mr. Moore filed a response a few days later that merely stated his client filed responses that were sufficient and made in good faith.
13. In addition to all of the foregoing, Peggy Shumpert’s responses were more than a month delinquent and remain unverified. The responses accordingly should be stricken.
Judge David Sanders heard it all and imposed sanctions of $3,000 on Mr. Moore on March 22. He excused the plaintiffs from any responsibility and placed all blame on the Grenada attorney:
The defendants’ motion  to compel is granted in part. Because the plaintiffs served their responses to the defendants’ discovery requests after the motion to compel was filed, the court is bound by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to impose sanctions on the plaintiffs and/or their attorney.
1. Based on the testimony presented by Carlos Moore at the hearing, it appears that his own conduct, and not that of the plaintiffs he represents, necessitated the filing of the defendant’s first compliance motion. Accordingly, Carlos Moore shall be solely liable for the sanctions imposed herein. The defendants are instructed to submit to the court a detailed list of the expenses, including attorney’s fees, they incurred in filing their first motion to compel....
Judge Sanders also ordered the defense to provide some discovery responses by March 24. He specifically pointed out one phone call that was cited by the plaintiffs:
Interrogatory No. 7: The plaintiffs are instructed to respond to this interrogatory consistent with the testimony provided by Carlos Moore at the hearing, which includes any evidence the plaintiffs relied upon in alleging that the decedent tried to voluntarily surrender when he heard Officer Cook and his K-9 approach, as well as any documents or evidence that have been submitted to the plaintiffs’ expert for review. Furthermore, Carlos Moore’s testimony indicated most, if not all, of the evidence buttressing this allegation stems from an anonymous phone call made to the decedent’s brother-in-law. The plaintiffs are instructed to provide a detailed description of this phone call in their response, including: (1) the date and time of the call, (2), the phone number of the anonymous caller, (3) an affidavit from the brother-in-law specifying what exactly was said during the call, and (4) a statement as to what attempts were made to identify and follow-up with the anonymous caller. (KF: Anonymous phone call? You can't make this up.) .....
Carlos Moore was quoted in an article as stating the following: “Black lives do not matter in Tupelo…When you are black or brown, (the police) are trigger happy. They sent out a memo to certain parts of the white community that it was open season on blacks.” During Carlos Moore’s testimony at the hearing, he explained that he is not aware of the existence of such a memo. Rather, Carlos Moore described the statement as a “rhetorical device.” The plaintiffs are instructed to respond to this interrogatory consistent with the testimony provided by Carlos Moore at the hearing. In addition, the response shall state that Moore knew of no such memo when his statements were published....
Mr. Moore didn't rebut any of these accusations but instead threw himself upon the mercy of the court as he made every excuse but the dead dog* ate his discovery:
2) Also, Plaintiffs through counsel, ask the Court to take judicial notice that no other lawyer in Mississippi likely endured five death threats from various sources as well as had a spouse with a prolonged unexpected illness requiring said spouse to be out of work for a month in the last quarter of 2016. The Court is asked to find excusable neglect and no malice under the circumstances. Counsel for the Plaintiffs simply filed a lawsuit and appeal challenging the state flag which has the Confederate emblem, a symbol of white supremacy, embedded, and received unwarranted death make threats which had an adverse effect on counsel’s job performance. (KF: Yes, he threw in the state flag. Yes, he is that dumb.) The unexpected illness of counsel’s wife in late 2016 also put said counsel behind in his work on behalf of several clients and has necessitated said counsel bringing in co-counsel in this case and others. Even Rule 37 (a)(5)(A)(iii) allows the Court to not sanction a party or counsel if “other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.” Five death threats and an unexpected illness of the undersigned counsel’s wife are the other circumstances particular to the undersigned that make the award of expenses unjust in this instance. Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure also allows for relief from an Order because of excusable neglect. Counsel should not be penalized for focusing on staying alive and caring for a sick spouse. That would be against public policy. Neither the Plaintiffs nor the Defendants suffered irreparable harm or undue prejudice because of the short delay in answering discovery. The discovery deadline is currently August 4, 2017.The court has not ruled on his motion.
Kingfish note: The words "crybaby" and "Nifong" enters the mind when reading Mr. Moore's defense. Perhaps Mr. Moore simply isn't tough enough to practice law and should find something else to do with his life.
*The K-9 in question died a few months later but is being held in the morgue as evidence in this case.
List of documents posted below
Page 1: Motion for reconsideration
Page 5: Order for sanctions
Page 11: Response to motion to compel
Page 15: Second motion to compel
Page 23: First motion to compel
Page 27: Notice of service of process
Page 30: Media exhibits
Page 56: Second amended complaint