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Miscellaneous Gripes

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Grievance against drunk jerk Ronnie Lee Artis, Jr.; his fat-mouthed wife Ericka Artis or Erica Artis; Officer Harris; Prince George's County Police; crooked and/or incompetent Patricia T. Wilson, claims adjustor for Fleming & Hall Administrators, Inc.; slimy Tony R. Hill, claims representative for sham Hudson Insurance Company by Fleming and Hall Administrators. This is a letter I typed up for friend Velissa Greene who was smashed from behind by drunk jerk Ronnie Lee Artis, Jr. at a stop light. In spite of two police on the scene and numerous witnesses, Velissa never got a penny out his insurance company. All he had to do was tell Hudson insurance that she hit him - and that was good enough. Never mind his smashed front and her smashed rear. So if you want an insurance company that will believe all your lies without question, sign up with Hudson Insurance Company. For her troubles Velissa was also verbally abused by drunk jerk Ronnie Lee's wife Ericka. Stand by your drunk jerk... Of course, this letter produced no results or action of any sort. Why should it? Prince George's County Police get paid just as much for doing nothing as for doing something. If you want to call or write drunk jerk Ronnie Lee Artis, Jr. and thank him for showing us the way in modern responsibility avoidance, his number is 202-562-2351. His address is 4309 3rd Street SE #102; Washington DC 20032. Call Keystone Insurance 301-423-5700 to get in on this deal. Smash everybody in sight and just say, "It wun't me!" Guaranteed to work. Call Tony R. Hill at 1-800-210-9998 ext. 114, and Patricia T. Wilson at 1-800-210-9998 ext 111.

5636 Whitfield Chapel Rd, Apt 204
Lanham, MD 20706
September 19 2000

Officer Harris
Prince George's County Police, Dist. III
7600 Barlowe Road
Palmer Park, MD 20785

Dear Officer Harris,

First of all, if there are several Officers Harris, I'm sorry for the confusion, but I trust the Officer Harris who responded to the accident discussed here will recognize it easily enough.

My car was hit from behind by a belligerant man named Ronnie Lee Artis, Jr. while I was stopped for a light at the intersection of Silver Hill Road and Walker Mill Road [Prince George's County, Maryland] on July 20 2002 at 7:00 pm. Motorists at the intersection saw Artis's D.C. plates and observed his behavior and told me I should definitely call 911, which I did. (I presume there is a record of the 911 call.) A high-ranking officer in a civilian car on his way to a meeting stopped and waited until you arrived. (When Artis saw the first officer arrive, he asked me if I had any mints or gum, obviously in an attempt to cover the alcohol on his breath.) Artis had no documents - registration, insurance, etc. - of any sort with him. When Artis could produce no documents, you entered some information on a P.G.C. Form 2301 ("Other Driver's Information", etc.). Since this was the first accident I was ever involved in, I was not familiar with procedures, and I thought this was a police report.

I recently received the enclosed letter from Artis's insurance company, informing me that they decline my claim for damages, basically because Artis claims that I hit him. This in spite of the fact that Patricia T. Wilson (claims adjustor for Fleming & Hall Administrators, Inc. by Hudson Insurance Company) spoke with you about the accident, and their own insurance examiner came out to document the damage to the rear end of my car.

As this is obviously a matter of many hundreds of dollars of repair work, I am very upset at this outcome. I suspect the insurance company has wasted much more money in their dishonest effort fighting my claim, than they would have needed to pay if they had simply acted honestly.

Does a police report exist? I called the station and was told that no report could be found in the computer, but I don't know if I gave the precise intersection on the phone. If a report does not exist, can one be produced at this time based on memory (yours and the first officer's) and existing documentation (including the 911 call)?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.

Velissa Greene

Grievance against HMI Regency nursing school in Washington, D.C., on the border with Maryland. It's a den of thieves with little apparent regard for actually teaching nursing. I sent these letters to the Maryland Board of Nursing because I thought HMI Regency was in Maryland. My friend Velissa Greene went there because HMI is accredited for nursing in Maryland. In addition to the incidents described in the two letters below, I have just (Oct 2004) learned about HMI's latest shakedown. Velissa collapsed with blood clots in her leg during a "clinical" class, very near the end of the course. That prevented her from finishing the course, and also from continuing with her job as a medicine aide. The loss of work caused insurmountable financial problems and Velissa moved to Indianapolis to live with family members. Trying to pick up the pieces and continue with nursing school in Indiana, she asked HMI Regency for a transcript. The response: give us four thousand bucks first. Apparently it's in the fine print in the contract somewhere that HMI continues to receive money from a student even after the student terminates. Almost dying is not an excuse for terminating. Anyone considering HMI Regency for nursing courses, beware.

Mar 6 2004
Nayna C. Philipsen, J.D., Ph.D., RN
Director of Education, Examination, and Research
Maryland Board of Nursing
4140 Patterson Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215

Dear Dr. Philipsen,

In the most recent "Medical/Surgical II" course finishing up last week at HMI Regency School (in the Silver Spring area), the instructor failed 20 out of 37 students. That was after expelling three of the original 40 students based on unfounded charges. All of the failed students had been performing very well prior to "Medical/Surgical II"; they had to to have gotten there.

This same instructor never once taught from the required - and expensive - textbook. Her quizzes were unreasonably long for the allotted time, something like 50 questions in 20 minutes. In at least one case, she started a quiz when there wasn't even that much time left in the class session. Needless to say, the best and brightest failed the quizzes regularly.

This same instructor blew off virtually all questions from her students. In other classes, a question often results in a lively dialog involving the whole class.

This same instructor refused to distribute instructor evaluation forms to her students at the end of the "Medical/Surgical I" course. In all other classes, the students are encouraged to evaluate their teachers.

About a year ago, this same instructor had even gotten HMI banished from doing clinical course work at Providence Hospital for a year because of her arrogant and intrusive behavior at the hospital. Providence told her she could never set foot inside the hospital again, even as a patient.

I have a friend who is remarkably even-keeled and unflappable who was in this class. There was one incident when she picked up her dropped pencil from the floor during a quiz and was threated with expulsion if it happened again. In spite of all these efforts to smash her down she refused to cave in. With raising a child and working a full time job in a nursing home, you can imagine she rarely got more than a couple of hours of sleep. On the final exam, she got a 91, the third highest grade in the class. Blindly crunching the numbers, her score for the class was 74. She failed by one "point". Nine hundred more dollars up in smoke; her LPN pushed back even more months. The director of HMI herself was dismayed that such a prize student was failed. What's galling is that, in any other field of study, schools would be throwing money at her just to have her. In at least one case (that I know of) when she accompanied a nursing home patient who was rushed to the adjoining hospital, her answers to the doctor's questions were so on the ball that he had to ask, "Are you the nurse???" When told no, he implored her to get back to nursing school and finish it up as soon as possible. (Her studies had been interrupted a few years ago because school, work and raising a child was too much.)

I view the teaching system of such an instructor in this way: the students scrape and claw their way up the side of a cliff while the "instructor" stands on top not only denying all assistance but stomping on their fingers for good measure. The ones who do manage to pull themselves up over the ledge under such adverse conditions win a certificate. Some might argue that this "teaching" technique produces the best students. I would argue that a good teacher does everything within her means to pass on to the students what they need to know, not withhold it from them.

I wasn't in the class, but I'm sure I have a good idea of what the test questions were like. I helped my friend load up the cd that came with her text book on a computer. The cd had thousands of practice test questions. I was somewhat sickened by what I saw. The multiple-choice questions were what I call "all around the mulberry bush". Someone was very obviously proud of her ability to take a simple, straightforward question and make it as indirect and obscure as possible. I remember one, for example, that required the student to know that a nurse risked being charged with assault if she told an unmanageable patient he might have to be restrained. After reading the question over many times, I could never quite figure out if it were asking about the threat or the action. Is it necessary that a question on something so straightforward be turned into a word puzzle first? One of the reasons HMI is so supportive of this particular instructor is that she is some big deal who makes questions for state tests. The way my friend put it to her instructor regarding her test questions, "If you want to talk about the pen, first you talk about the floor and then the walls and then the ceiling and then the rug and then the desk before you get to the pen." The instructor chuckled knowingly. I'm used to this in other so-called "academic" subjects, not that I condone it anywhere, but is there any reason education and testing in nursing shouldn't be as direct and as down-to-earth as possible?

Donald Sauter

Letter 2:

July 7, 2004
Nayna Philipsen
Maryland Board of Nursing
4140 Patterson Ave.
Baltimore, Maryland 21215-2254

Dear Ms. Philipsen,

Thanks for taking the trouble to respond to my letter about a friend of mine at HMI Regency's nursing school. . . .

Sorry about my confusion over the location of the school. It's right on the D.C.-Maryland border. Plus, I knew my friend chose it because it is accredited (if that's the proper word) for practice in Maryland. I would have guessed for that to be the case, it must be answerable to some agency in Maryland.

I wasn't actually asking for you or anyone to assist my friend. I mostly wanted to make a general point about what I see as an over-emphasis in the schools and in the textbooks and tests on thought processes irrelevant to solid LPN skills.

Anyone, student or faculty, at HMI would have recognized the student, Velissa Greene, and the teacher, Tina L., in my letter. The reason the students did not feel it was worth the effort taking their complaints about Tina (I never got the last name exactly - something like "Litty"?) is that Tina told them, "There is not a thing you can do," the implication being that she and Ms. Browning were tight. That may or may not have been the case, but it came to a crashing halt when Ms. Browning gave Tina 4 hours to pack up and get out. Tina was found out accepting extra money from some students in return for more detailed information about test contents. When Tina was fired, the students had a party. But the damage was already done, not only for Velissa, but for 16 others in her class. I can't say how much damage she caused in other classes.

For what it's worth, HMI is still being a big pain in the neck. Velissa says they keep adding more and more courses to the requirements, trying to look superior to the other schools, but certainly more for the money. Students who started the same time at other schools have long since graduated on gone on to nursing positions.

Donald Sauter

Grievance against Lorenzo Wooten; 2404 Henson Valley Way; Fort Washington, MD 20744. Slimeball Lorenzo Wooten sold me a used computer. We had negotiated a return policy: return within 7 days with a $15 restocking fee. I could not make use of the computer since BASIC wouldn't run on it and couldn't install my word processor. Slimeball Wooten reneged on the return policy.

In my youthful ignorance, I initiated a small claims suit, knowing it was an open-and-shut case, having a written contract signed by both of us. What I didn't know then was what a joke the courts were even in small claims cases. From my very first visit to the courtroom the judge joked with every plaintiff about what the plaintiff could expect to come away with in the best case - a piece of paper saying he won, "suitable for framing," hahaha. Apparently I wasn't the only deluded soul who thought the justice system had means of extracting payment from the losers. In retrospect, how unbelievably dumb can people be?

Slimeball Wooten apparently already knew the system - when you're sued, you don't even have to show up the first two times you're "ordered" to appear in court. The plaintiff does, but not the defendant. You see, you have to allow for the possibility that the defendant was deathly ill during that hour, or had to tend to some emergency, such as rushing his grandmother to the hospital to deliver quintuplets. Remember, with our system of justice, anything that isn't impossible has to be given equal weight with any other likelihood. Still, without slimeball Wooten present, I obtained a judgment in my favor.

Our justice system apparently needs to stand up and show its guts at some point, so the rule is, after the first two absences, a summons is issued with a "body attachment". This means that if the defendant doesn't show up the third time, he is liable for arrest. Thinking about that a little further, you tell me how likely the police of Prince George's County, Maryland, are to go that far down the list to find somebody to haul somebody in. There are many hundreds - thousands? - of outstanding warrants for arrests in Prince George's County at any time. And they're gonna knock down the door of somebody who didn't show up for a small claims case? Never mind the follow-up question, what would they do with him if they did haul him in? Send him home in 20 minutes?

However, even slimeball Wooten was terrorized by the third summons and showed up for that one. Keep in mind I had already wasted two days of my life at the courthouse, never mind all the costs and jumping through paperwork hoops to keep it rolling. BUT... at this point the court hearing is no longer about the case at hand, Wooten reneging on the contract, but has become a "show cause order for contempt". The defendant is to give (make up) excuses for not appearing earlier. In actuality, what happens is, the judge sends the plaintiff and defendant out in the hall to work it out themselves. For crying out loud, is that what a year's worth of time wasted, aggravation, and court fees, boils down to? Just what in tarnation is our justice system for???

Wooten hid behind his wife in his answers to me about, where's the money? He said the house and car were in her name, at least jointly, and therefore untouchable. As if we even needed to go after the car or house for something hardly more than pocket change. He showed me there was nothing in his wallet, surprise, surprise. Slimy Wooten fought the inclusion of two rounds of court costs in the total and insisted we needed to go back into the court to ask the judge about that, and exactly what the purpose of a show cause order is.

Powerdrunk (aren't they all) Judge Schiff asked if Wooten had answered my questions. Even though Wooten's answers had been evasive and deflective, he had, literally, answered my questions. When I answered the judge, "Yes," he smashed his gavel and said case closed. And there I stood, after a year and a half of aggravation, with absolutely nothing to show for it.

I filed a motion to the court to reissue the show cause order, explaining that the judge dismissed the case before I got around to asking Wooten about his bank accounts. We had only discussed him paying me. I didn't know the return to the courtroom would end the case. The District Court of Maryland lost my first motion, and then dismissed it when I resubmitted it.

After the case was dismissed I still didn't give up. I had a lien recorded on Wooten's house. Again, in retrospect, how ridiculous to believe somebody's gonna send me a wad of money when slimeball Wooten sells his house. I also sent a letter to slimeball Wooten's wife, ol' faithful Betty Wooten, in the bizarre hope that she possessed a kernel of goodness and would urge him in the direction of doing the right thing. The incidents described here ran from late 1996 through the middle of 1998. Even with the accumulation of interest, the current judgment would probably not be more than $600 or $700. Here are a few follow-up letters. I was born with a gene for beating my head against walls, I guess.

Carole Taylor
District Court of Maryland
Courthouse Bourne Wing (v)
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772-3042

Dear Ms. Taylor,

When I had the rug pulled out from under me in a show cause hearing, you seemed sympathetic and suggested I submit a motion to reissue the show cause order, which I did that day, 4Mar98. When I heard nothing after about a month and a half, I made some calls and found out there was no record of my motion. I submitted it again on 1May98. A month later I got a notice saying the motion was denied.

The experience has been extremely frustrating and upsetting for me. The case dragged on for a year and a half, I went to court 3 times, I won my case, I have nothing to show for it - and the loser is laughing his head off.

I wanted to offer some suggestions. There's a tiny spark of hope that something useful will come out of this. Please pass this letter on to any appropriate party.

1. The court should provide clear, step-by-step guidelines on the whole procedure. The judges love to bark, "Have you read the pamphlet?" but no one could claim that it spells out how a plaintiff collects a judgment. In my case, I was taken aback somewhat at the show cause hearing when the judge told me and the defendant to go out in the hall and work it out. And then, the reason we went back into the courtroom was because the defendant, after a couple of hours of fruitless discussion, insisted we go back in and ask the judge what the purpose of a "show cause hearing" is. That's when Judge Schiff dismissed the case.

If the fact of the matter is that, "the court will do nothing to make the loser pay, and probably anything you do on your own to collect is illegal," then the pamphlet should say that prominently.

2. In my dealings with court employees I often heard, "We don't give legal advice!" They just love to say that! How they love to tell people that! If for some reason it is imperative that all legal advice be withheld from people trying to use the justice system, could we somehow make a distinction between "legal advice" and plain and simple "help" or "direction" or "guidelines"? I don't think that's unreasonable, and I promise you it's not just a semantical difference.

Thanks again for your help.

Donald Sauter

Judge Lewis
District Court of Maryland
Courthouse Bourne Wing (v)
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772-3042

Dear Judge Lewis,

I am writing regarding your suggestions passed on to me regarding steps I should take in pursuing my small claims case. In a nutshell, Judge Schiff dismissed the show cause hearing before I got any information out of the defendant.

Calling the legal aid number was fruitless. In fact, upon hearing their voice mail intro, it came back that I had called the number before at the recommendation of a court clerk when I didn't know what to do after the defendant didn't appear for the first trial (which he lost in his absence.) I also remembered the satisfaction they took in telling me they couldn't help, and this time was no different. When you tell them why you're calling, they jump right back with an enthusiastic, "We don't handle revenue-generating cases!" The Metro Legal Aid Bureau worker who gleefully fulfilled her job description duties this time was Crystal Cunningham.

I suggest court employees quit handing out the legal aid number. It only adds to the exasperation.

Your other bit of advice was to "retain counsel". I presume this means to hire a lawyer, but I don't understand what hiring a lawyer will accomplish after the case has been dismissed. Is the implication that there are further steps that I can take? The other problem, of course, is that within minutes, a lawyer would burn up the complete judgment I am owed.

I still haven't given up the last spark of hope [of course, by this time, Oct 2004, I surely have] that the system isn't as monumentally nonfunctional as it gives every appearance of being. In any event, this experience with our system of justice will be fully detailed on the World Wide Web, naming all names. Please pass this on to Judge Schiff.

Donald Sauter

I suppose that really scared them, ha!

Here's my refrigerator-buying experience in August 2004.

From: Donald Sauter
Date: 07/29/2004
Subject: Product Questions and Problems - topmountrefrig

Product Information
Product = topmountrefrig
Model = FRT18S6AQB
Serial = LA40312859
Purchase Date = 07/11/04

Comments = I am extremely disappointed in the refrigerator. I chose it because the sticker on the display model said something like, "Frigidaire's quietest model ever," and that the display model was virtually inaudible in the store. Given that all refrigerators keep food cold, the most important feature to me is silence. (I know this is true for millions of other people, too.) When the refrigerator was delivered and turned on it was, in fact, very, very quiet, although not as inaudible as the one in the store. I was pretty happy. But within hours it became as loud as a typical refrigerator, and got louder over the next few days. Additionally, there is a high-pitched whistle sound superimposed on the standard refrigerator rumble and, even though it is very low volume, it is extremely irritating (like those alarm clocks that drill your brain even though they're very quiet.) Now in your manual and on your web site you are quick to squelch complaints like mine by explaining how "normal" all the refrigerator sounds are. (Never mind that they used to be able to manufacture quiet refrigerators.) I'm also kind of aware that, for whatever reasons, the behemoth refrigerators can be much quieter than the smaller models. Still, should I have to buy twice the refrigerator I need to get a little quietness? This 18 cu. ft is already twice what I really need for myself. Is there anything you can do to make a customer happy? After all, I spent a day in 5 stores comparing models and chose the only one in the 18-20 cu. ft. range that made a claim of quietness. Thanks for your attention.

Frigidaire was kind enough to pay for the installation of a noise-reduction kit, but it made no noticeable difference. On various customer satisfaction survey cards I again expressed my unhappiness. None of that resulted in any further response or action from Frigidaire. After this communication with Frigidaire I went back to Lowe's to get the exact words off of the sticker that suckered me. It wasn't there anymore, surprise, surprise.

Here's my free advice to anyone who wants to corner the refrigerator market: develop a truly quiet refrigerator and market that feature. If it's the self-defrosting function that makes it hard, I suggest developing a model that's easy to defrost manually. Transfer the frozen items to a cooler chest; flip a switch that turns on heating elements in the walls of the freezing compartment; lift out 5 slabs of ice within seconds; dry the walls; put the frozen items back in the freezer; shut the door; done. All within minutes. While saving a hundred bucks per year in electricity. And the blessed peace...

Guitarist Alexander Dunn, of the Victoria Conservatory of Music in Victoria, British Columbia, requested the following 5 pieces for guitar & piano from my catalog of such works from the Library of Congress.

FOSSA, Francois de
W0054 Fossa op14/Rossini/Ouverture de l'Opera Elisabetta
W0055 Fossa op16/Carnicer/Duo Concertant Barbier de Seville ouverture

W0047 (12 pages) Diabelli/Isouard/Favorites Pieces de l'Opera Aschenbro"del Cendrillon
W0048 (17 pages) Diabelli//Differentes Pieces tres faciles cahier1

WEBER, Karl Maria von
W0116 (16 pages) Weber op38

This was done in two separate orders. I think the total reimbursement for the copies, postage, and my efforts, including about 5 email back-and-forths, was about $25 or less. For whatever reasons, Alex never reimbursed me.

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