United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
SANDRA L. FERGUSON, Plaintiff,
BRIAN J. WAID AND THE WAID MARITAL COMMUNITY, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING THE PARTIES' MOTIONS FOR PARTIAL
SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON DEFAMATION CLAIM
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the parties' Motions for
Partial Summary Judgment on Defendant Brian J. Waid's
Defamation Counterclaim. Dkts. #58 and #77. For the reasons
stated below, the Court has reached certain rulings on legal
issues related to this claim, but DENIES both Motions.
Sandra L. Ferguson and Defendant Waid are both licensed
attorneys in the state of Washington. See Dkt. #1.
In July of 2017, Ms. Ferguson published a “client
review” of Mr. Waid on the attorney-rating website
Avvo.com. Ms. Ferguson's review stated, in part:
I am an attorney. However, the opinions expressed in this
review are based on my personal experience as a former client
of this attorney, Brian J. Waid. I consulted and retained
Brian Waid in April 2011 regarding a contact dispute matter.
He represented me until December 10, 2012, the date he
abandoned me on a false pretext while an important motion was
pending. Let me state it unequivocally: Brian J. Waid is a
PREDATOR and a FRAUD. He should be prosecuted as a white
collar criminal. However, this decision is not within my
control. But I can write this review to warn and hopefully,
prevent others from becoming future victims of Attorney Waid.
I am not Waid's only victim. I assisted one of his other
clients to find capable counsel. We have both filed civil
suits against Waid for malpractice, false and deceptive
business practices, and fraud. . . . Here is what Waid did to
me: (1) he failed to enforce my priority lien over the money
that was in dispute; (2) he advised me to file a lawsuit
instead of using a more cost-effect [sic] procedure that was
available, so that he could fraudulently charge, bill and
collect fees from me for his worthless legal services; (3) he
concealed and failed to disclose to me that he had a conflict
of interest; (4) he deposited and left $265, 000 of my money
in the court registry. . . he  abandoned me, lying to the
court so that he would be allowed to withdraw over my
objections. . . . By similar methods, Waid's other
client-victim was bilked of hundreds of thousands of dollars
by Waid and his co-counsel.
Ferguson repeated these statements in a second internet
posting on August 11, 2017, that was titled “This
Lawyer Reported for Fraud.” Dkt. #6-3. In addition to
the above statements, the second posting also stated that Mr.
Waid “violated the professional ethics rules, ”
and had been reported by her “to the Washington State
Bar Association and to law enforcement authorities for
engaging in criminal conduct (fraud).” Id.
case was filed on November 9, 2017. Dkt. #1. Although
Plaintiff Ferguson's claims have since been dismissed,
see Dkt. #39, Defendant Waid has asserted
counterclaims, including a claim of defamation, see
Dkt. #6. On March 29, 2018, Ms. Ferguson moved for summary
judgment dismissal of the defamation counterclaim. Dkt. #58.
On April 20, 2018, Mr. Waid moved for summary judgment in
favor of this counterclaim. Dkt. #77.
Plaintiff's 88-Page Declaration
initial matter, the Court will address Ms. Ferguson's
88-page “Facts Declaration” attached to her
Motion. Dkt. #58-1. This declaration is filed in addition to
three other declarations setting forth dozens of exhibits.
See Dkts. #59-61. Mr. Waid argues that “in her
88-page declaration, Plaintiff improperly attempts to
circumvent the 24-page limit for a summary judgment motion;
improperly includes arguments; improperly testifies to facts
on which she has no personal knowledge; [and] improperly
testifies to third-parties' hearsay. . .” Dkt. #73
at 3. The Court has reviewed the declaration and agrees with
each of these points. Ms. Ferguson has previously struggled
to file this Motion within the required 24-page limit,
see Dkts. #38 and #41. The Court issued an Order
denying her request for over-length briefing. Dkt. #57. Ms.
Ferguson has violated this Order by attaching a declaration
with additional pages of argument.
Court further notes that Ms. Ferguson, in her briefing,
improperly cites to this declaration (and her exhibits) as a
whole rather than pointing to specific pages. See,
e.g., Dkt. #58 at 7 n.14 (to support the statement
“[h]e lied to the court, and he lied to his client,
” Ms. Ferguson cites to “Ferguson Decl.,
¶¶ 14-69, Exhibits A-Z, Ex. 1-9.”);
id. at 8 n.16 (citing “Ferguson Decl.,
¶¶ 157-169, Exs. J-O, see also, Ex. F”). Mr.
Waid requests that the Court strike portions of this
declaration. Dkt. #73 at 4.
to the Local Civil Rules, parties must support factual
assertions with a citation to the record, including a pin
cite to the relevant page or pages. See LCR 10(e)(6)
(“In all cases where the court is to review the
proceedings of an administrative agency, transcripts,
deposition testimony, etc., the parties shall, insofar as
possible, cite the page and line of any part of the
transcript or record to which their pleadings, motions[, ] or
other filings refer.”); see also Carmen v. San
Francisco Unified Sch. Dist., 237 F.3d 1026, 1030-1031
(9th Cir. 2001) (“The district court need not examine
the entire file for evidence establishing a genuine issue of
fact, where the evidence is not set forth in the opposing
papers with adequate references so that it could conveniently
be found.”); Jaurequi v. Carter Mfg. Co., 173
F.3d 1076, 1085 (8th Cir. 1999) (“[A] district court is
not ‘obligated to wade through and search the entire
record for some specific facts which might support the
nonmoving party's claim.'”) (internal citation
omitted); Ragas v. Tenn. Gas Pipeline Co., 136 F.3d
455, 458 (5th Cir. 1998) (“‘Rule 56 does not
impose upon the district court a duty to sift through the
record in search of evidence to support a party's
opposition to summary judgment.'”) (internal
citation omitted); United States v. Dunkel, 927 F.2d
955, 956 (7th Cir. 1991) (“Judges are not like pigs,
hunting for truffles buried in briefs.”).
all of the above, the Court finds that it need not rely on
the contents of this Declaration for purposes of ruling on
this Motion, but has reviewed it in the interest of justice
and declines to strike any portion of Ms. Ferguson's
Declaration at this time. The Court warns Ms. Ferguson not to
repeat the above procedural mistakes in future filings, and
that any further violations of the ...