#InreGondor has enough moving parts at this point that a summary thread for anyone coming to this fresh seems like a good idea.
For those not familiar: Paul Davis is a Texas attorney who attended the Jan. 6 insurrection.
He was, of course, summarily fired. star-telegram.com/news/local/art…
He reacted to his firing with an outpouring of remorse and contrition, apologizing for participating in undermining democracy and bringing shame to his nation.

LOL, just kidding, he filed a lawsuit to overturn the election. courtlistener.com/docket/2934754…
Gondor has gone through a couple of iteration since that first Complaint, but it's worth remarking that the Original Complaint is Paul's most focused effort.

It is a 54-page long rambling mishmash of false claims and incorrect legal analysis, and that's our high water mark.
Paul makes one basic allegation: Every state, in one way or another, has ignored the requirements of the Help America Vote Act ("HAVA"), and therefore the 2020 election is illegitimate and Trump should get a do-over.
We can get into why this is a crackpot theory down the line, but on its own it is a forgettable bit of post-election sour grapes litigation.

Then Paul made himself SPECTACULAR.
On Jan. 23, four days after filing his initial suit, he filed his Amended Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order.

In it, he makes the legal argument that the Court has the authority to appoint a Steward to oversee the government, just like in Lord of the Rings.
Citing Lord of the Rings as legal precedent for overturning the US government made Paul Davis an international sensation. In one fell swoop Davis distinguished himself as the World Champion of bad lawyering.

You can read the entire Motion here. storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.usco…
We should note for the sake of completeness that his Amended Motion actually incorporates sections of his original Motion for TRO by reference in order to get around the length restrictions in the local rules. Here's that original Motion.
If it wasn't obvious from his citing the laws of Middle Earth as precedent for overturning an election, Davis is hilariously out of his depth when it comes to election law.

What he lacks in quality, however, he tries to makes up for in quantity.
One day after filing the Gondor TRO he files yet ANOTHER motion to amend his request, which you can read about here:
Along with his Amended Amended TRO, Davis also decides to perjure himself, giving us one of his more eye-rolling versions of a story about why he was "actually" at the Jan. 6 insurrection - to gather evidence. 🙄
It should be kind of obvious, but the Gondor case is more of a psychological affair than a legal one.

The legal aspects of it are just motivated reasoning, projections of his own emotional injuries.
My case in point for this is Davis's next filing: A memorandum in support of the TRO motion.

It is not, at its heart, any kind of legal document. It is an answer to the question, "Who hurt you, Paul?" And that answer is, "Roger Sollenberger." storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.usco…
First of all, let's note that this filing is the closest Paul will ever get to a self-aware analysis of the merits of his case.
The argument, such as it is, amounts to "the media are being mean to me and to my expert, John Steven Vanderbol, so the Court should do a coup."
I bring this up at this point because Vanderbol is pretty important to the goings-on in this case. Let's add him to our main cast of characters.
A big part of Paul's case hinges on Vanderbol as the lead "expert." Expert here is used loosely - the filings make some pretty grandiose claims about his accomplishments, but none of them relate to election law.
In addition to being a wildly successful businessman, Vanderbol is also a scumbag who is currently dodging child support.

We know this because Davis is also his attorney in that case.
In addition to painting his own client in the worst light possible, Davis's brief reveals that Vanderbol claims to have essentially no money to pay child support, and blames his wife for this because - Vbol says - she is blocking him form accessing his "intellectual property."
I'll note for her benefit that Vbol's wife doesn't actually appear to be doing any such thing.

There is a vaguely worded order about some marital assets, but nothing about it appears to actually be stopping Vbol from paying his bills or child support.
What's more interesting about Vbol's case, though, is that it identifies him as having founded a "charity" that put him at odds with his previous attorney, which is why he failed to appear at some of the hearings. More on this in a second.
The judge for Gondor is Judge Albright, a Trump appointee. No doubt this is the reason Davis filed his case in the Waco division, despite both Davis and Vbol being from Dallas/FW.

At this point we are 10 filings in, and Albright is OVER IT.
Completely unprompted, Albright issues an order to show cause why Gondor shouldn't be dismissed outright. storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.usco…
The order is short, to the point: Tell us why you have a private cause of action under HAVA (which doesn't private cause of action) or Section 1983 (which doesn't apply to federal officials) or be dismissed.

This is the most interest the judge has shown to date in the case.
In response Davis files a Amended Complaint to moot the order to show cause, as well as a response to the Court arguing that his Amended Complaint moots the Order to Show Cause.

Now, this is permissible. Every plaintiff gets one "free" bite at the amendment apple - F.R.C.P. 15, which allows one amendment as a matter of course.

Davis uses his to transform his complaint into a full-on class action.
As little as Davis has demonstrated himself to know about election law, Davis proves to know even LESS about class actions.

Which forces him to amend again just a few days later: storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.usco…
Now, credit where it is due, Davis did do precisely one thing right with these amended complaints: He mooted the very narrow issues that the court raised in the Order to Show Cause.
Instead of a HAVA/1983 action, he is now arguing that he possesses a Bivens action - a form of constitutional complaint against a federal officer.
Again, we can get into why this is still BS down the line - and it is a total crock. Let's put a pin in the legal arguments though, because this is where Gondor skips the rails.
Up to now Davis has had a quiet co-counsel, attorney Kellye SoRelle. They even claim in some filings to have formed a firm together, Davis SoRelle P.C., at some point after Davis is fired by Goosehead.
On Feb. 19, just three days after their last amended complaint, Davis files a pair of absolute bombshells.

First, a motion to withdraw as the attorney of record for a host of the plaintiffs, while retaining some of the others: storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.usco…
And second a motion to voluntarily dismiss the "Davis Plaintiffs" out of the case.

From the filings it is clear that Davis and SoRelle have had a disagreement, which Davis at first characterizes as one over "strategy."

And by strategy, he pretty clearly means "money."
How do we know they split over money? Because Davis can't keep his fool mouth shut to save his own hide.

The SoRelle plaintiffs file a fairly innocuous motion for additional time to engage counsel, and Davis files what even for him was a spectacularly foolish response.
This response is a work of art.

First, he claims he has worked 450 on Gondor pro bono. Remember, at this point we are only 34 days in, and nothing that would take that kind of time has actually occurred yet.
Usually you put in those major hours during discovery or motion practice, and later on in trial prep.

But we aren't even to the stage where he has served any defendants. It's just him on his lonesome, apparently not sleeping for a month over a case where NOTHINGS HAPPENED YET.
More importantly though, Davis tells us that the source of the "strategy" dispute is who gets to control the cash.

He claims a "group" called M90USA has offered to fund the suit, but they couldn't agree who would control the money.
Davis carefully avoids telling the court who the "management" of M90USA is, which makes sense because there isn't any. No such group actually exists in any meaningful sense.

To the extent it exists at all it does so only in the mind of Vanderbol, our expert from earlier.
That's right, Vanderbol, of the "poor me, I've got no money, don't make me pay child support" is somehow funding this suit, or at least Davis's part of it.

We know this because Davis's fool arse included the following in his filing in VBol's child support action:
So M90USA is just Vbol, or perhaps Vbol and some of his looney friends - it's not clear, and I don't believe they have ever actually filed for any form of incorporation that would allow us to find out.
To recap: We are a month in, and in that time Paul Davis has done almost nothing but repeatedly shoot himself in the foot.
At the time it seemed like this first Gondor case might carry on even without Paul, but not so, sadly.

Apparently SoRelle is better at this "grifting" thing than Paul is and doesn't just do this stuff for no money.
Not to worry! Paul Davis doesn't know the meaning of the words "quit," or "lost cause," of "treasonous shitstack."

In fact, Paul Davis doesn't know the meaning of a lot of words, but that isn't going to stop him from being the worst lawyer he possibly can be.
Before we move on though, let's at least drop in some of the BONKERS exhibits Paul dropped into his motion to request sanctions against his former clients for the grievous harm of... asking for more time after he quit.
Again: This is an exhibit Davis included in a court filing *on purpose.*

He apparently feels it is necessary that the court know that he is ruining his own dang life by bringing this tomfoolery.
And that's a wrap on Gondor I, with one minor caveat. No one is left in the case to actually litigate it, but even though no one was ever served the Gov. and SOS of Georgia did file a motion to dismiss in the case, which is pending.
Paul wasn't going to let a little thing like humiliating, utter defeat get in the way of his big plan to re-install Trump in the White House though.

No, Paul forges on - on to Gondor II!

At this point, Paul has the entire legal profession mocking his incompetence. But as we will see, that's not going to stop Paul at all.

Paul essentially copy/pastes his latest class action version of the Gondor I, but subs in a new set of lead plaintiffs.

This is ironic for reasons that become obvious once you read the complaint. Namely:
"The People's Lawsuit," as Paul chooses to call it throughout, is less of a legal complaint and more of an extended screed about one particular TIME magazine article.
This carries on for *fifteen* more pages. He read one article in TIME magazine and thought he had blown this whole conspiracy WIDE. OPEN.
And in a display of superior legal writing that only Paul Davis could have accomplished, he ends his 23-page introduction with a "Conclusion to Introduction."

He as a *conclusion* for his *introduction.* And it s TWO PAGES LONG.
Gondor II doesn't even begin to describe the parties to the dispute until page 25, at which point he has to use exhibits to list out everyone he is suing - which includes every member of congress, every governor, secretaries of state, two Dem. committees, the RNC ...
and, most baffling of all, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, the social media magnates behind Facebook and Twitter.
Equally baffling: Biden/Harris and the executive branch are not named.

He's out here asking for a TRO to overturn the US government, and he hasn't even joined the parties his TRO will effect.
Unlike his original complaint, which you may recall was focused in on one basic allegation - breaches of HAVA - The People's Lawsuit is a smorgasbord of tenuously related conservative complaints that vaguely have to do with the election.
For instance, this section vaguely accusing Chuck Schumer of conspiring with "Defendant M.J. Hager."
Now, two problems with that:

1) Big picture, congressmen enjoy absolute immunity for the laws they choose to pass, and this entire section is basically a complaint that "congress passed laws I don't like."
Congress has sovereign immunity from such suits.

“Congressmen and their aides are immune from liability for their actions within the `legislative sphere,'” Eastland v. United States Servicemen's Fund, 421 U.S. 491, 510 (1975).
2) M.J. Hager isn't a defendant. She's not in congress.

Paul Davis doesn't even know who the hell he's suing at this point.
The Complaint carries on in this way, spitting out vague allegations against various public and private figures for about 12 pages.

Finally, on page 42 he gets around to telling us how he thinks this spaghetti of facts he has spilled on the dirty floor adds up to a gourmet meal.
This is what we call in legal writing circles a "badly written complaint."

It should not take 2/3 of the complaint before we find out how this mishmash is supposed to add up to a lawsuit.
To wit: Two counts under 42 USC 1983 (one for interfering with their rights to a republican form of government, one for alleged 1A violations), one count for of conspiracy to violate 42 USC 1985, one for "neglect to prevent" a 42 USC 1986 action, and pair of Bivens claims.
Appended to the end of all that (none of which actually states anything approach to a valid cause of action), Davis spends his last eight pages explaining why he should be granted an injunction.
His main argument - and I am not making this up - a Biden presidency means a higher price of oil, and that is good for our enemies in Russia and the Middle East.
This thread hasn't quite been finished yet - I still have to cover his hilarious bungling of the process for getting service issued (perhaps the most basic administrative task there is in a lawsuit), his improper service on the defendants, and the improper default judgments...
But I got busy, so we will have to cover those tonight.
Ok, where were we? Right! Gondor II had just dropped, Feb. 22.

It was still frigid temperatures in Texas, which was just getting over the massive winter storm knocking out power to much of the state.
I'm not going to deconstruct every argument why Gondor II is a terrible legal argument. There are so, so many.

At least one great lawyer has already done a live-tweet thread breaking it all down, so I'm throwing down the link to that thread:
I guess we can at least run through a few of the problems that *literally every lawyer except Paul* saw with his suit.
Laches: Laches is a legal doctrine that requires you to bring suits in a timely manner. In election suits, laches requires you to bring your issues with election policy to the court's attention before the election (you can't wait and see if you win and complain if you don't.)
Political question: The courts do not rule on cases that are better left to the political branches. Whether the outcome of an election should be certified by congress is pretty much the definition of a political question.
Standing: Courts won't rule on a case unless the party bringing it is personally affected in some way. This gets a little complex, but we call this doctrine "standing." It's a constitutional requirement - court's literally cannot allow themselves to hear a case w/o standing.
Part of standing is that you have to show "particularized injury." That means you have to be injured in some way that a regular old voter is not.

Paul's supposed class is *every American.* He literally wrote particularized injury OUT of his complaint.
11A immunity. The 11th amendment gives immunity to state governments sued by private individuals in federal court. Remember, he's suing 50 governors and 50 Sec's of State - all of whom are absolutely immune to his suit under the constitution.
Sovereign immunity. As we said above, you cannot sue a legislator for a claim arising out of their conduct in the "legislative sphere."
Personal jurisdiction. A court only has jurisdiction over individuals whose conduct touches their physical jurisdiction. A Texan can't be hauled into court in Ohio for a car wreck with another Texan. That's a Texas case.
I'm willing to bet relatively few of the 600+defendants have ever been to the Western District of Texas, and the law is clear that their conduct isn't sufficient contact for Paul to avail himself of WDTX's jurisdition.
And these are all just the procedural problems. We haven't even talked about the merits of his case. But this is a bird that doesn't fly, a dog that don't hunt.

Half the fun of Gondor is that it is low impact - no risk of it actually succeeding. So let's enjoy this train wreck.
And a train wreck it is, pretty much immediately. You'll recall that the docket in Gondor I is pretty sparse.

Other than Davis constantly amending his own pleadings as he realizes they are defective there wasn't anything going on.
Davis changes his approach with Gondor II. He is really gonna make it happen this time. And that starts with serving process on the defendants.

You are probably familiar with service of process. Guy shows up, hands you papers, says "you've been served."
Lots of people get offended by that process - "those jerks served me at work!" or whatever - but it is actually a fairly essential function. Until you have been served there is no case - it cannot proceed at all until the defendant is served.
Service of process is also a fairly simple, administrative task. The rules lay out in detail where the defendants may be served, how, and by whom.

You give the court the paperwork, they issue a summons, you get it served. Simple. Unless you are Paul Davis.
Paul starts on February 23, day after filing suit. He asks the court for three summonses right away. Well, kind of three summonses.

What he actually files is paperwork for one summons to the US attorney for WDTX, one summons for Jack Dorsey...
TEN summonses for Nancy Pelosi, and apparently because he felt like had amply summonsed everyone else by serving Nancy ten times, just one summons each for every member of the House and every member of the Senate.
*Collectively.* Every member of the house as one unit, and every member of the senate as one unit. Each c/o their respective Sergeant at Arms.

These are uh... not valid methods of service, to put it lightly.
It took Davis about three days to figure this out though, and he goes back for yet ANOTHER summons on Pelosi on the 26th.

What follows is a flurry of attempts to get valid summonses issued.
Now, a litigator will typically get summonses issued all in one go. You give the court a list, they print you the summonses. Easy peasy.
It takes Davis no less than seventy-seven attempts. At some point in early April the clerk's office actually calls him to tell him how this whole thing actually works.

We know because the docket says so:
It isn't until April 14, almost two full months into this dog and pony show, that Davis actually manages to acquire what he thinks are all the necessary summonses.

What *he thinks* are all the necessary summonses.
Now, in the midst of all of this Paul is on what amounts to a very small publicity tour promoting the unsinkability of the S.S. Gondor.

We have video of this talk, and I wish I could find it (I'll link it in the thread if someone else knows where it is). He talks about how he basically hasn't slept in a month and how he thinks he has been given divine inspiration - ideas, they just come to him out of nowhere!
Now, any sane individual might think "That's the Dunning-Kruger talking," but not Paul.
He also ramps the grift into high gear. Or as high a gear as things get with Paul.

His fake charity sets up a web page and Vbol starts a "podcast" to hawk their message. It's not much of a podcast, and I won't link it.
Imagine two guys who you are absolutely certain use a picture of themselves in sunglasses inside a car as their avatar. Now imagine those guys poorly discussing a lawsuit for an hour. That's the podcast.
His most immediate concern during this period, obviously, is that he doesn't actually know how to get all these summonses he spent Glowing star78 docket entriesGlowing star requesting into the hands of the actual defendants.
Any normal person would say "a process server." Paul has a better plan: He takes to Gab and Parler to ask for volunteers to join him on a bus to Washington D.C. where they are going to "Serve the Swamp."
Now, if your immediate thought was "isn't it a bad idea for a guy who was just at the Jan. 6 insurrection to go running around Washington D.C. aggressively hunting down members of Congress?" well my friend, you put more thought into this than Davis did.
For real: This was a thing Paul advertised. I'm not making this up.
I'm willing to bet no one actually signed up though, because it takes just a few days for plans to change.

According to Davis he was praying when, wouldn'tchaknowit, a process server answered his prayers by calling him and offering to get his suit served.
This being a divine intervention no doubt the process server was going to do it for free, right?

So Paul starts soliciting donations so he can get his suit served. Probably a better idea than trying to re-storm the Capitol, but not a great look for the movement that promised to serve the swamp.
Now, the thing about service of process is that you actually have to get the summonses into the right hands. You can't just show up at Facebook HQ and summons Zuckerberg. That's not a thing.
Which of course means that's EXACTLY what Davis proceeds to do.

1 Hacker Way. Facebook HQ.
We don't know yet just how bad his service of process attempts were, but it appears he may have done this for DOZENS of defendants.

His service of process is wildly, catastrophically improper. Again: the easy, administrative part of the case, and he can't handle it.
But the worst thing a scumbag lawyer who didn't want to get absolutely reamed out on an ethics complaint could do would be to then turn around and request a default judgment (I bet you can see where this is going...)
A default judgment is exactly what it sounds like - the other party got served, they didn't show up, so you win by default.

Now, a couple of notes:
1) It is usually improper to get a default judgment when some of the defendants have entered appearances, namely when you are alleging they are jointly liable. Like in say, a grand conspiracy to overthrow a government with a phony election.
2) A default judgment can be issued by the clerk of the court and not a judge, but that is only for defaults judgments for money damages. Not where you are seeking injunctive relieve, and doubly not when you injunctive relief is the appointment of the Steward of Gondor.
So when late May rolls around and Paul starts filing returns of service showing that people are missing answer deadlines, eyebrows get raised...
Predictions that pay off, well, pretty much immediately.
The motions are all pretty much the same: He asks for a default judgment based on a return of service for a return of service with an affidavit showing that he mailed it to a certain address, return receipt requested. storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.usco…
Which, again, is a valid way of serving people!

But it actually has to be received by that person. And you guys... I don't think that's Mark Zuckerberg's signature.
The clerk does what clerks do though. They push the paper, and Paul gets his default judgments. Not default judgments *for* anything, as he conspicuously leaves the relief requested out. But default judgments.
Now, we only have this second hand, but it appears to be Paul's theory that even an invalid default judgment can preclude a defendant from disputing the facts of the case.

That is... colossally wrong.
Which is also right around the time that the Motions to Set Aside Default Judgment start filtering in. Because you can't just serve some random guy named "Bill Medley" and declare you have served the Republican National Committee.
He does extract some concessions from the DNC though: In return for not opposing their Motion to Set Aside he gets extra time on their motion for default.

I doubt they cared though, since - as we went through above - his suit is fatally defective in half a dozen ways.
DNC's Motion to Dismiss*, sorry, not motion for default.
Speaking of Motions to Dismiss, we also now have two: One from Georgia and one from Ohio. We can probably expect dozens more in the coming weeks unless the judge intervenes again with another show cause order.
Ohio's gets in more hits - lack of standing, 11th amendment immunity, lack of personal jurisdiction over the defendants, the political question doctrine - but they also try to argue the merits. You can find it here: storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.usco…
Georgia's is the same length, goes straight for the throat: Just the best arguments, the really devastating ones. No argument of the merits, just the reasons why this thing gets tossed YESTERDAY. Here's Georgia's: storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.usco…
And that more or less brings us up to date. Paul has half a dozen default judgments he obtained improperly and can do nothing with, his case is on life support while the court decides what to do with the MTDs, he's still got no job, he sold his house, his fiancee left him...
Those last three are not jokes btw, they are actual things that happened in the course of this that I forgot to mention when I got wrapped up in the legal side of things.

I'd almost feel bad for him if he weren't a treasonweasel.
To summarize, the case has been going like this:

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More from @firedtxlawyer

7 Jun
The latest in #InreGondor: Plaintiffs agree to vacating the default judgment against two Democratic political committees in return for extra time to respond to their forthcoming motions to dismiss.

A reasonable move by the committees. They save themselves the expense of litigating an opposed motion to vacate the default judgment and give up nothing meaningful in return - extra time to on the MTD will not let Davis resolve the massive jurisdictional issues w/ his case.
Typically a federal MTD is filed before answering. Because Davis half-arsed the service on his defendants many of them are going to end up in technical defaults.
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