MATRIX FORUM SHOPS ITS DEFAMATION LAWSUIT
Updated: Mar 23, 2018
By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published on March 22, 2018
On March 20, 2018, I published an article on how the defamation lawsuit filed by Montgomery-based “dirty tricks” firm Matrix, LLC, against Donald V. Watkins, P.C. (“DVWPC”), and me has stalled because Matrix has been unable to serve the named defendants in the case with a copy of the Summons and Complaint. To this day, Matrix has failed to call my office and request an appointment to serve these legal documents on the defendants. Instead, Matrix has used nefarious and ineffective service of process methods by inept private process servers.
On March 2, 2018, a Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court denied Matrix’s motion to serve the defendants by publication. In doing so, the Court cited Matrix's failure to meet the basic requirements of Alabama state law on service of process for defendants that are domiciled in the state.
In addition to its failure to serve the Summons and Complaint on the defendants, plaintiffs Matrix and Joe Perkins have engaged in impermissible forum shopping by filing their lawsuit in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court. In paragraph 6 of their Complaint, the plaintiffs knowingly and falsely alleged that, “Defendant Donald V. Watkins, P.C. is an Alabama corporation doing business at all times relevant hereto in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.” The purpose of this false allegation was to establish venue in Tuscaloosa County where Perkins believes he enjoys special status as a native son and a “good ole boy.”
While DVWPC is an Alabama corporation headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, DVWPC has no offices in Tuscaloosa County. It has no bank accounts in Tuscaloosa County. It has no business license in Tuscaloosa County. It has no clients in Tuscaloosa County. It is not a member of any professional associations in Tuscaloosa County. It conducts no business whatsoever in Tuscaloosa County.
In paragraph 5 of the Complaint, Matrix and Perkins alleged that I am “an individual over the age of nineteen and [a] citizen of the State of Alabama.” They failed to tell the Court that: (a) I am a legal resident of Jefferson County, (b) I vote in Jefferson County, and (c) my permanent address for income tax filing purposes is Jefferson County.
The news articles at the center of Matrix’s defamation lawsuit against DVWPC and me were written in Birmingham and/or Atlanta. None of these articles was written by DVWPC.
All of the articles in question were published on my personal Facebook page under my personal First Amendment right of freedom of speech to comment on matters of significant public interest (i.e., the Megan Rondini rape case) involving: (a) public officials like (i) Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy, (ii) the two Sheriff’s Department investigators who investigated Megan's rape case, (iii) former Tuscaloosa County DA Lyn Head and current DA Hays Webb, and (iv) Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall; (b) The University of Alabama; and (c) Terry Jackson “Sweet T” Bunn, Jr., the man identified by Megan Rondini in a 2015 police report as the rape "suspect".
Last November, Matrix launched a “dirty tricks” website called “deadbeatdonald.” It was designed to discredit me. To its credit, the Tuscaloosa News declined to print an ad Matrix tried to place through a third party that advertised this website, which truncated and distorted, in a very negative way, a handful of legal cases involving my 44-year business career. On November 5, 2017, I published a Facebook article that described the website as a "smear campaign" and debunked each matter listed by the website's sponsors.
Matrix’s forum shopping is impermissible under Alabama law. Matrix is headquartered in Montgomery County. It has a satellite office in Jefferson County. When Matrix filed its lawsuit in Tuscaloosa County, it knew or should have known that Tuscaloosa County was an improper venue for its lawsuit.
To make matters worse, Matrix’s law firm in this case has a conflict of interest in representing the plaintiffs. The defendants have not waived this conflict of interest. Furthermore, the defendants have never been consulted by Matrix's law firm about this conflict of interest.
The good thing about Matrix's lawsuit is this: The case will provide the public with a unique opportunity to see and smell Matrix’s history of dirty tricks in the business and political world. It will also provide the defendants with a wonderful opportunity to drill down on Matrix's corporate, political, and regulated utility clients in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.
We look forward to reporting on these clients are and identifying what dirty tricks Matrix has performed for each one. We must always remember that the best disinfectant for dirty tricks is the bright spotlight of transparency. We will bring plenty of transparency to this legal fight.
Finally, Matrix is accustomed to hunting and killing off adversaries by ruining their business and personal reputations through clandestine dirty tricks. This is one case where the proverbial “rabbit has got the gun”, and he knows how to shoot it (figuratively speaking).
PHOTO: In 2014, Yellowhammer News named Joe Perkins, a/k/a "The Matrix Man", as the 15th most powerful and influential person in Alabama because Matrix is "the closest thing Alabama politics has to a non-government secret agency." Matrix's defamation lawsuit will give the public a wonderful opportunity to find out what these "secrets" are.