Friday, April 21, 2017

In Default

Miami attorney and Financial Crimes consultant Kenneth Rijock, who has been front and center in exposing the criminal enterprise that is the Roosevelt Skerrit government, has been declared in default by US District Court Judge Federico Moreno in a defamation lawsuit which named him as the defendant. Mr. Rijock, who was recently sued by Canadian wealth management firm Northland Wealth Management and it's executives Arthur Salzer and Paul Mascard, failed to respond to the Summons and Complaint in the time permitted. Today April 20th, Judge Moreno issued an Order directing the Clerk to enter default.

Click to view Order to Default
The Summons, which was issued on March 28th, gave Mr. Rijock 21 days to respond, exclusive of the date he was actually served with the notice. It also noted that failure to respond may lead to a default judgement, so Mr. Rojock should have known the repercussions.

Click to view Summons
On April 11th, Lazaro Ordaz, a process server in the State of Florida, submitted an affidavit to the court in which he swore under penalty of perjury that he had delivered the summons to Mr. Rijock at the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Miami on March 29th at 9:10am. Twenty-four hours later, Mr. Rijock's 21-day time clock began to tick. He screwed up.

Click to view Service Affidavit
The judge's order states that upon the clerk's entering the default, the Plaintiffs, Northland, Salzer and Mascard, may file a motion for Default Judgement against the Defendant in accordance with Rule 55(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. What does that mean for Mr. Rijock?

Rule 55(b)(1), which relates to this specific order, states;
  • "If the plaintiff's claim is for a sum certain or a sum that can be made certain by computation, the clerk - on the plaintiff's request, with an affidavit showing the amount due - must enter judgment for that amount and costs against a defendant who has been defaulted for not appearing and who is neither a minor nor an incompetent person." 

The plaintiff's in this case had asked the court for relief in excess of $15 million; it stands to reason that they will request that the court orders Rijock to pay them that amount. In addition to that, the plaintiff's could also be awarded substantial punitive damages. Mr. Rijock is in a pickle; why he failed to respond to this action against him in the 21 days he had at his disposal is bewildering. We're hoping the best for Mr. Rijock.

Click to view original Complaint
Rijock has been a thorn in the side of Roosevelt Skerrit and his mouthpiece, Senior Clownsel Anthony Astaphan over the past several months. Astaphan has sought to portray Rijock in a bad light, especially considering his sordid past. This order by Judge Moreno will undoubtedly add fuel to the vitriol being spewed by Astaphan. It is important for Dominicans however, to recognize that this is a side show and should to stay focused on what matters to us. This case against Rijock has nothing to do with Dominica and the sad state of our affairs. We must keep our eyes on what matters to us. 

This report has been updated with additional information.

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