|Petition for Mandamus
Reply to Judge Berrigan's Response to Petition for Writ of Mandamus
(Docket No. 99-30614 In Re: Bernofsky)
June 24, 1999
Charles R. Fulbruge, III
Clerk of Court
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
600 Camp Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Re: Case No. 99-30614 In Re: Bernofsky
Dear Mr. Fulbruge:
In her response of June 21, 1999 to the above petition, Judge Ginger Berrigan failed to address or deny any of the alleged facts or actions that justify her disqualification. Instead, she attempted to divert attention from the core issue by belittling my search for representation, threatening my counsel, and denigrating me. Her comments compel a reply.
First, there is nothing untoward in attempting to locate legal counsel through advertising. For the record, I advertised in the ABA Journal, Louisiana Bar Journal, and three other highly-regarded legal publications. I placed no advertising on the internet. My personal Web site, for which I alone am responsible, contains reprints of selected court documents, other factual information, and commentary on issues related to my lawsuits against Tulane. It is intended for family members, attorneys, and anyone else seeking information about these lawsuits. Its existence is wholly immaterial to any issue raised in the above-referenced petition.
Second, Mr. Victor Farrugia, my counsel, was retained solely to represent me in District Court in Case No. 98-cv-1792 c/w 98-cv-2102, irrespective of the presiding judge. I want to emphasize that Mr. Farrugia was neither retained nor had any hand in my efforts to seek recusal. I did not request or receive advice from him or any other attorney in this matter. I assumed the full responsibility of seeking recusal on a pro se basis after realizing that my retention of legal counsel was hampered by attorneys' fears of retaliation for complaining about a judge.
Judge Berrigan, after expressing her desire that my new counsel lay the recusal issue "to rest," pointed out that Mr. Farrugia litigates other employment discrimination cases in her Court. This is nothing less than a threat of possible retaliation. The intimidation of my counsel, whether overt or implied, constitutes unwarranted and improper conduct by Judge Berrigan and is an additional ground for disqualification.
Third, Judge Berrigan's assessment of my psychological state of mind is subjective and prejudicial. Moreover, her patronizing comments about my "problems" and the implication that they are not the fault of others reveals that she has already formed an opinion in this matter long before the case comes to trial. This, too, is ground for disqualification.
Finally, I have filed a formal complaint of judicial misconduct and now seek recusal in a petition for a writ of mandamus in which I detail Judge Berrigan's activities that compel disqualification. In response, Judge Berrigan has been unable to dispute any of the allegations brought against her. With her partisanship exposed and her integrity impugned, no reasonable person would believe that Judge Berrigan "...do[es] not harbor any ill will towards Dr. Bernofsky." Her desperate attachment to my case in the face of these "distractions" suggests that Judge Berrigan has some vital interest in the case, and perhaps an ulterior motive. At the very least, her impartiality has been irrevocably injured by these events, for which recusal is the proper remedy.
In conclusion, Judge Berrigan's continuing presence as trial judge in the matter now before her is a dagger in the heart of justice. As a citizen entitled to equal justice under the law, I ask the Court to grant the relief for which I have petitioned.
Yours truly,s/ Carl Bernofsky
Tel: (504) 486-4639
cc: Hon. Ginger Berrigan, Judge
Victor R. Farrugia, Esq.
Julie D. Livaudais, Esq.
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