This thing just won’t end. In our last three posts on the subject, we were examining the latest bunch of pleadings filed after the trial by David Coppedge, the creationist who claims he was wrongfully demoted and later fired by his employer because he was promoting Intelligent Design (ID) on the job. Coppedge used to work as a computer technician for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is part of Caltech. He also maintains a creationist website:Creation-Evolution Headlines — which was recently moved here.
When the trial ended, the judge told JPL-Caltech to write up a final decision document that rules against Coppedge on all counts, and Coppedge is objecting to that proposed order. We reviewed most of his latest pleadings; perhaps we’ll never get to the last two. Our most recent post was David Coppedge’s Last Stand, Part 3.
Now we’ve learned that there are yet more post-trial pleadings that have been added to the archive maintained by our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), located here: NCSE’s Coppedge archive. They’re all pdf files, and they’re scans of the originals so we can’t cut and paste.
Okay, let’s look at the new stuff. The first is from JPL-Caltech. They’re responding to Coppedge’s recent blizzard of pleadings. It’s captioned Reponse to Plaintiff’s Objections to Defendant’s Proposed Statement of Decision. We note with supreme relief that it’s only four pages long. It says, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
… Plaintiff [Coppedge] has used his Objections to Proposed Statement of Decision (“Objections”) as an attempt to retry his case after the Court has ruled against him following a six-week trial and extensive post-trial briefing. This is not a proper or acceptable use of Objections to a statement of decision.
Then they cite and quote from the rules regarding a proposed statement of decision and objections thereto, and they say:
… [Coppedge] had a right to file objections. However, Plaintiff’s “Objections” are not objections; they are a re-trial on paper, in which Plaintiff attacks virtually every finding of fact and conclusion of law in Defendant’s Proposed Statement. Simply put, what Plaintiff wants is not clarification of Defendant’s Proposed Statement, but rather, for the Court to change its mind and rule in his favor.
That’s pretty much how we see it too. The pleading ends with this eloquent statement:
Defendant [JPL-Caltech] respectfully requests that the Court disregard Plaintiff’s meritless and burdensome Objections, and enter Defendant’s Proposed Statement of Decision and Proposed Judgment.
Very well said indeed! And now we come to the other new pleading. It’s from Coppedge, dated two days after and responding to the foregoing. It has a wonderful title: Plaintiff’s Objection to Defendant’s Objection to Plaintiff’s Objections to Defendant’s Proposed Statement of Decision. It’s ten pages long, and says:
Defendant’s [JPL-Caltech’s] mischaracterizing Plaintiff’s Objections to Defendant’s Proposed Statement of Decision as an attempt to retry the facts is mere sophistry.
Sophistry! Skipping some technical argument about the rules, Coppedge continues:
Defendant’s howls do little to disguise the deficiencies in it’s Proposed Statement. Practically every proposed finding of fact and conclusion of law proposed by Defendant shows Defendant to have omitted material facts or stated them in such a way as to draw confusion.
What follows is an example — a discussion of what a catastrophic, horrendous, and monumental event it was to remove Coppedge from his position as Team Lead of the computer maintenance section. Then he continues:
Because practically every proposed finding is defective, it would be impossible to explain their defects comprehensively here.
But despite the impossibility, he gives a few more examples. These were all discussed in depth in Coppedge’s prior batch of pleadings, so we won’t bother with them. Skipping a page or two we come to this:
The final point within this mysterious cluster of facts is that Coppedge tried to defend himself. The evidence shows the DVDs concerned the topic of intelligent design. The written warning specifically identified the DVDs as objectionable (without specifiying a reason). This fact is only relevant to show that Coppedge sought to disabuse his supervisors of their ignorant assumption that the DVDs contained objectionable material. What is Defendant’s purpose for asserting it? No clear answer comes to mind.
Could the answer be — gasp! — prejudice by Big Science against intelligent design? O the injustice!
The pleading wraps up with a justification for all that Coppedge has been filing lately:
With as many factual and legal issues asserted in Defendant’s Proposed Statement of Decision, Plaintiff could not in good conscience risk waiver for appellate review by failing to pinpoint alleged deficiencies in the Proposed Statement of Decision so the Court could focus on the facts and issues Plaintiff contends were not resolved or the resolution of which is ambiguous.
So there you are. Coppedge is doing this as a matter of conscience. Perhaps now the court will sign the decision document prepared by JPL and then this mess can proceed to the appellate phase. At some point in the distant future, it will all be over.
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