Updated: Apr 18, 2021
Curious how left-wing Internet cabals prey on corporate cowardice, inflict terror, and destroy the reputations and livelihoods of private citizens who exercise their fundamental First Amendment right to criticize anti-American Marxist movements, and how even "conservative" corporate America is complicit? Look no further.
Last week I was planning on covering the final week of the Derek Chauvin trial on Facebook just like I did the two weeks before. On April 5, 2021 I had received notice of various motions filed by the defendants in my personal litigation against the parties that maliciously conspired to destroy my career. I scanned over the legal arguments and figured I would put off responding until the Chauvin trial was over as the rote arguments were familiar and would be relatively easy to counter.
While I was downloading the Defendants' filings last Monday, I noticed for the first time that their Motion to Transfer Venue was nearly 30 pages long. Typically when a party files a venue motion, particularly when suit has already been filed in the correct venue like it is has been in my case, it's not 30 pages long and attorneys drafting the motion typically attach one affidavit from each defendant explaining why an alternative venue might be more convenient.
However, in this particular Motion to Transfer, Defendants included affidavits from my former employer, Wainwright, Pope, & McMeekin, P.C. (WPM) -- not parties to this litigation -- purporting to provide sworn testimony addressing matters far beyond what is relevant and appropriate for a Rule 12(b)(3) venue motion. Essentially the Defendants' inclusion of affidavits from my former bosses -- who, as you will probably deduce, have a long and ... interesting ... relationship with one of the Defendants -- was a tactic designed to prejudice me before the court by providing unexamined and easily impeached sworn testimony aimed at tanking the elements of the legal claims I make in my lawsuit.
While providing sworn testimony on matters that are irrelevant to venue is low, I'll give the Defendants' attorney a pass since he was probably not aware that my former employer had communicated with me several times about my termination over the last 9 months, including in writing. Indeed, my former employer's prior communications to me about the circumstances of my termination and about their communications with the Defendants pertaining to my termination -- including a September 1, 2020 letter written six months before these March 24, 2021 venue affidavits and signed by all three of my former bosses -- have "evolved" numerous times. More than that, WPM's prior conflicting and anachronistic statements issued to me about my termination over the last 9 months completely undermine their sworn March 24, 2021 testimony. Prior to now, I have not discussed many of the gritty details surrounding my termination, as I was giving my former employer the benefit of the doubt believing that they acted out of cowardice since the overwhelming objective evidence strongly suggests that their hasty, unprincipled, less than 24 hour decision to terminate my employment of eleven years -- and the manner in which they went about doing it -- was coerced by predatory Internet activists engaging in tortious conduct and relying upon my former employer's unsophisticated understanding of social media. However, now that they are clearly defense witnesses impeaching themselves in the hopes of handicapping my lawsuit, I'll let their conduct speak for itself. In case you are interested in seeing the Defendants' Motion to Transfer Venue with the affidavits from my former employer, those are linked here. My full legal response along with my affidavit and supporting exhibits are linked here. What follows is word-for-word from my sworn affidavit that I filed on Friday, April 16, 2021. The only difference between this and what is linked above is that screenshots of the exhibits will be included as they are referenced in the affidavit:
AFFIDAVIT OF DANIEL S. FLICKINGER
Personally appeared before me the affiant, known to me, who after being duly sworn, testified as follows:
My name is Daniel S. Flickinger. I am over the age of 19, I am competent to testify, and I have personal knowledge of the foregoing. I am lawyer who has been licensed to practice law in the State of Alabama since September 25, 2009, and I am the Plaintiff in Flickinger v. King, et. al., 58-CV-2021-900032.
I was hired by Wainwright, Pope, & McMeekin, P.C. (hereinafter, “WPM”) in September 2009 approximately 2 weeks prior to receiving confirmation of passing the Alabama State Bar exam. I was employed full time for WPM for nearly 11 years practicing primarily in the area of worker’s compensation defense, and my last full day of employment for the firm was on July 28, 2020. I received numerous pay raises and bonuses for my work performance while employed at WPM, most recently in January 2020.
I was called late on the evening of June 9, 2020 sometime after 9:00pm by WPM’s managing partner, Lonnie D. Wainwright (hereinafter “LDW”), and I was informed that Lawrence T. King (hereinafter “LTK”) had texted LDW social media “posts” allegedly associated with me. Shortly before this phone call at 9:14 PM I received a Tweet from @KingSimmonsPC attached as Exhibit A, the official and then-public Twitter account of King Simmons Ford & Spree, PC (hereinafter, “KSFS”), containing a large eyes emoji – two large eyes conveying that he was stalking me. This was the only correspondence I have ever received from Defendants in this matter up to their filings in this litigation. Up until June 9, 2020, I had no idea LTK or KFSF were active on social media.
I asked LDW if there was a problem and stated that I did not say anything that I could not defend. LDW stated that he understood as LDW and I frequently discussed culture and politics throughout the entire length of my employment, even as recently as the previous Thursday on June 4, 2020 when we discussed via cell phone the toxicology results of George Floyd’s Hennepin County Autopsy report that had been released on June 1, 2020 and the mass riots over a factually unsupported narrative about race being responsible for George Floyd’s death. Lonnie never communicated that such topics were “incendiary or offensive or intolerant.” In any event, not disclosing what information was contained in LTK’s texts, LDW stated that I should “lock down” my social media accounts, and that we would discuss the following day.
The following day I had a deposition in Moulton, Alabama followed by a settlement hearing for a case pending in Mobile County that I conducted remotely in my car. Like a normal workday during the height of COVID-19 lockdowns, LDW called to discuss various cases that were currently in litigation, and he also asked me if I would be coming by the office later in the day. I informed him that I intended to as I typically dropped by the office to switch files after days on the road.
When I arrived at WPM’s office located 3000 Riverchase Blvd, Suite 975, Birmingham, AL 35244 in the early evening, I noticed that Linda W. Pope (“LWP”) and Steven T. McMeekin (“STM”) were there as well. This struck me as odd as the entire office had been working almost entirely remotely since early April 2020 due the alleged risks associated with COVID-19 spread. As I had not seen LWP in person for nearly 3 months, I greeted her in the hallway on the way to my office, and she ignored me.
After unloading my files, I walked to LDW’s office to ask about LTK’s texts. After some brief chitchat ending with me asking to see LTK’s texts, LDW instructed me to “hold on,” and proceeded to leave his office and return several minutes later with LWP and STM. LWP immediately began loudly berating me proclaiming numerous times “How could you do this to us!?” and “We’re good people!” At that point, other than for LDW telling me the night before about LTK’s texts allegedly containing my posts, the content of which had not been disclosed to me, I did not know what, if any, specific social media posts personal to me that she was talking about or how my personal social media posts were connected to the firm. LDW proceeded to discuss how some unnamed individuals on an unnamed “board of trustees” possibly connected to unnamed firm clients were increasingly interested in “diversity,” and I asked what, if anything, did any social media posts allegedly associated with me have to do with “diversity” or undermining the concept of “diversity.” No answer was provided, but the subject changed when LWP asked me “what would [a black insurance adjuster named Tarsha] think about [my] posts?” Still not entirely aware of or having been presented with any specific posts that were allegedly problematic, this question struck me as odd, and I encouraged the firm to ask her since Tarsha is a fellow American citizen whose livelihood relies on homes and businesses not being looted and burned down by rioters incited by false narratives.
LWP went on to explain that because she, LDW, and STM were purportedly known to be “good people” and longtime friends with LTK – gesturing towards LDW and STM -- she was provided assurances by LTK and others whom she did not specifically name that posts allegedly associated with me would not be spread around the “list serve” – the “list serve” referring to the private list server groups accessible to members of the plaintiff attorney lobbying group, Alabama Association for Justice.
At this point, while I was in tears and apologizing profusely to the firm for having no intent to harm the firm, and still not aware of how any of my personal social media posts were linked to the firm, I was informed by LDW that I should resign, or else the firm had “other options.” Since I handled numerous cases for the firm as well as administered many of the firm’s accounts including its email, VOIP, website, and research accounts, and I was frequently relied upon to resolve IT related issues, most recently while staff were working with new and unfamiliar laptops remotely, I was told that I was expected to work full-time until the end of August 2020 while simultaneously expected to seek new employment.
LDW suggested that I relocate my family, who have spent and enjoyed nearly our entire lives in the Birmingham area, to another city or state, as I was being blacklisted and would no longer be able to practice in the same area of law – the only law that I had practiced for my entire legal career. LDW instructed me to tell prospective future employers “that I was looking to do something different” if asked why I was leaving WPM. At this time, I was not “looking to do something different,” and I refuse to lie on any job applications or interviews when answering questions regarding reasons for separation. LDW promised to provide glowing recommendations in exchange for relating this story to prospective employers.
Also at this time, my wife and I were expecting our second child in October 2020. I had previously discussed this with every member of the firm, who were also well-aware of the difficult pregnancies and devastating pregnancy losses my wife and I had experienced throughout the course of my nearly 11-year employment. LDW made clear multiple times that the firm had “other options” and stated that the resignation option would be in my “best interest.” Backed into a corner, and still not fully aware of what prompted the members of WPM to decide in less than 24 hours to terminate my employment of nearly 11 years, I submitted. The ambush that ended in my termination was far from voluntary. A July 25, 2020 Tweet on being “told to resign” authored by LTK and KSFS is attached as Exhibit B. LTK and KSFS – employment law lawyers according to their website -- describe this process as being “fired.”
LDW went on to state that he did not understand social media, was not on social media, and that social media “is not real” – despite just having fired me based on my alleged social media activity. I asked the firm if they had reviewed any of KSFS’s offensive and belligerent Tweets posted publicly under the name @KingSimmonsPC, some of which I discovered immediately after navigating to @KingSimmonsPC Twitter profile upon receiving the predatory large eyes emoji from LTK and KSFS the night before. LDW reminded me that he – LDW – was not on social media. LDW and LWP further remarked that because LTK is a Democrat, he can say whatever he wants. At this point during the meeting, I had asked multiple times to see LTK’s purported text messages. LWP and STM eventually informed me that they had “already deleted them,” but LDW finally assented to showing me an image on his iPhone. On his device was a professional image of me appropriated from WPM’s website. This image was located above another image of a social media profile allegedly associated with me but containing a professional photograph from WPM’s website photoshopped as the profile picture and containing my name along with WPM’s name that had also been photoshopped into the description to the right of the professional profile picture – images and information that I had never shared on any personal social media posts or profiles. Situated next to these images was text that was apparently appropriated from a June 4, 2020 post that I authored on my personal Facebook account reading: “Things I think about: If I were a seven-time felon, with my most recent prison stint stemming from robbing and holding a pregnant woman at gunpoint in her home, would I choose to die in a fentanyl and methamphetamine numbed strangulation if it meant being worshiped in a nationwide funeral and my family receiving millions of dollars? Purely hypothetical.”
What was once a Facebook post authored in my personal capacity as a private citizen was insidiously and deliberately transformed by others into something that was not my own. A personal Facebook post originally authored in my name only with a profile photograph depicting me sporting a mustache and holding my toddler son while playing a video game was fraudulently transformed into an official social media post of a corporation.
Obviously the text of the hypothetical referred to George Floyd and was based upon information publicly available about George Floyd’s prior criminal record, his drug use immediately preceding his arrest as confirmed in the Hennepin County Autopsy report and subsequently confirmed repeatedly by lay witnesses, medical examiners, and experts throughout the nationally televised Derek Chauvin Minnesota criminal trial that began airing on March 29, 2021, the Floyd family’s receipt of millions of dollars in GoFundMe donations (nearly $15,000,000.00 to-date), and the fact that Floyd received numerous heavily attended, nationally televised funerals during COVID lockdowns while regular citizens were restricted by local governments from holding even small funerals for otherwise law-abiding loved-ones.
Surrounding this doctored portrayal of a fake professional social media account alleged to be associated with me were remarks such as “calling out businesses that support racism,” and comments falsely maligning me as a “racist” along with, I would come to find out, numerous other belligerent profanities, obscenities, and false accusations referring to me. One commentor apparently remarked that I was a lawyer who had done “ethical damage” simply for describing a hypothetical.
I was shocked and immediately struck by how LTK and KSFS did not direct this information to my attention while texting the firm the night before. I explained to WPM that nothing about the text of the doctored social media account alleged to be associated with me was racist, and that I had never used any professional photographs from the firm’s website or the firm’s name or information on any of my personal social media accounts or posts. The facial reactions of LDW and LWP were that of surprise upon learning that this false portrayal of a personal social media post as a corporate social media post that was texted to them by LTK and KSFS was not my own doing. STM was seated 90 degrees to my right so I did not observe his reaction. I also explained that I was clearly being targeted and that I intended to take action against those who falsely targeted me.
LDW went on to discuss a recent sermon at his church counseling me to seek to engage in conversations about culture and politics in person – which I did with him, among many others, including clients, frequently -- rather than on social media, and that he “fears for his grandsons’ futures.” Incidentally, LTK served as a moderator for a publicly streamed event in late August 2020 called “Birmingham Lawyers for Peace Present: Finding Peace in a Fractious Nation,” in which LTK extolled the virtues of direct, face-to-face dialogue with lawyers of opposing political outlooks. In front of the camera, LTK enthusiastically pontificated in religious overtones about “breaking bread” with political adversaries. However, having been the recipient of LTK and KSFS’s predatory large eyes emoji Tweet two months prior while they proceeded to publish malicious and defamatory texts alleged to be associated with me behind my back to my employer, LTK’s representations on camera were clearly hypocritical performance theater.
I was a private citizen at the time of this incident. At the time of this incident, other than a handful of posts, my Facebook account information was private, viewable only to my approximately 700 or so Facebook “friends.” If one would have searched for my personal Facebook account by name at that time, my personal profile would not have been displayed on even the first page of search results. I never advertised or shared my employment information on my personal Facebook account. I decided to switch my Facebook profile to “public” after my last day of employment with WPM in order to defend my maliciously tarnished reputation by demonstrating that I have never made any racist remarks.
I am deeply opposed to all forms of racism and ethnic partiality, including, but not limited to overt racism (e.g., when President Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. says, “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black”), as well as the more subtle forms of the soft bigotry of low expectations directed at ethnic minorities practiced overwhelmingly by the American political left. For instance, my criticisms of movements like Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (“BLM”) have nothing to do with the ethnicity of the participants and everything to do with this movement’s publicly avowed Marxist ideology. When BLM promotes the message that “silence is complicity” as LTK and KSFS have repeated publicly via Twitter (Exhibit C) or “you are either a racist or an anti-racist” (overt Marxist sophistry promulgated by Ibram X. Kendi and promoted by LTK’s church’s council of bishops, and, in turn, by LTK and KSFS on Twitter (Exhibit D)), these individuals and groups psychologically manipulate unwary citizens who do not want to be considered “complicit” into repeating unsubstantiated and unproven narratives surrounding tragic events like the death of George Floyd – evidence-free narratives like George Floyd’s death is the product of “systemic racism.” Because these ideologies are rooted in fallacious Marxist ideology and inherently cannot survive rational criticism, adherents of these movements form online cancel mobs designed to falsely malign critics as “racists” in a concerted effort to punish critics by getting them fired from their jobs and making them fearful of exercising their First Amendment rights in the future.
Indeed, my criticisms of leftist ideology and my ability to debate leftists drew compliments over the years from WPM’s clients, some of whom I was “friends” with on social media, and who would discuss around the partners of WPM during client visits their admiration for my willingness to engage with and dismantle authoritarian left-wing ideology. WPM was well-aware of my viewpoints, that I discussed my viewpoints on social media and with clients who whole-heartedly agreed with them, yet flipped on a switch in deciding to terminate my employment in less than 24 hours when a handful Internet bullies decided to doctor my personal social media activity and falsely accuse me of being a “racist.”
My Twitter account “@dflick” was very limited at that time. Occasionally I would post on left-wing journalists’ Twitter threads, particularly when I began witnessing panic and disinformation about COVID-19 being spread by purported journalists at the Alabama Political Reporter. My Twitter account at the time of this incident had little more than 50 “followers.” Most of my limited personal Twitter activity involved responding to misleading claims authored by left-wing journalists and calling out hypocrisy when their pseudo-journalistic activity involved harassing private Alabama citizens and business owners caught without masks. In fact, the large eyes emoji Tweet sent to me late on the evening of June 9, 2020 by @KingSimmonsPC (Exhibit A) was in reference to one of my replies to an Alabama Political Reporter employee’s (Josh Moon) thread where COVID-19 mask advocates were wishing death upon a female who either owned an Alabama business or was shopping at an Alabama business, and who refused to wear a mask. It was obvious that LTK and KSFS had spied sufficiently far back into my Twitter history to know that I did not use WPM’s information or professional photographs in conjunction with my personal Twitter account and posts as a private citizen before texting WPM on the night of June 9, 2020.
I learned in late July 2020 that LTK – whose firm’s Twitter account was entirely public and hyperlinked to KSFS’s official website (that is, until I emailed LTK and KSFS a courtesy copy of my lawsuit on the evening of January 20, 2021) -- was/is a “follower” of the Alabama Political Reporter and its left-wing activist contingent of purported journalists. A small sampling of tweets from @KingSimmonsPC describing what they think of those who do not conform with their COVID-19 masking and political orthodoxy are attached as Exhibit E. For example, on June 11, 2020 @KingSimmonsPC Tweeted “THOSE THAT DON’T LOVE THEIR NEIGHBOR ARE DOOMED ETERNALLY!” in response to one of former president Donald Trump’s tweets warning about the risks of repeating history when history is erased.
Around 8:30am on June 11, 2020, the morning after I was informed of my termination, LDW called stating that he was “checking on” me. He explained in apologetic tones that he “hated what’s happening to [me].” Later that morning my wife and I had an anatomy scan for our second child who was due in October 2020. We learned for the first time that he had a potentially life-threatening genetic condition, and that -- best case scenario -- he would be born with certain deformities and physical limitations due to missing the radius bone in each of his arms. We learned after his birth that he has a condition diagnosed as thrombocytopenia absent radius syndrome (TARs). His arms and hands are deformed due to the missing bones, and his condition has required, in addition to several emergency hospital visits, life-saving and expensive ($300 total co-pay each week) weekly platelet transfusions since his October 14, 2020 birth. In addition to my family’s 70% loss of income experienced as a result of my tortiously orchestrated coerced termination and blacklisting, having myself been added along with our newborn son and other toddler son to my wife’s partially subsidized employment insurance has resulted in an additional approximately $300 per month loss of income. On the evening of June 12, 2020, the day after my wife and I learned the news about our son, LDW called to “check on” me again. He expressed his thoughts and prayers, and I informed LDW that, as the firm’s website administrator, and in accordance with the firm’s perceived reputation damage directly caused by the malicious, fraudulent, and defamatory conduct of third parties, I had removed my information from the firm’s website. LDW thanked me for this.
Over the next month I continued to work full time. LDW would frequently call to discuss cases and compliment me on what a “good job” I was doing. I began to think that due to the typically short memory of Internet bullies, along with the fact that the falsely labeled “racist” personal social media post that was fraudulently doctored to look like an official WPM post was a spot-on assessment of the then-current political and cultural climate where, for example, black gangs in places like Chicago were actively attempting to initiate and film police-involved violent encounters in order to elicit national attention and GoFundMe donations, WPM would reconsider its rushed decision to terminate my employment.
This hope was put to rest after receiving a phone call from LDW during the second half of July 2020. He asked, “how is your job hunt going?” I replied, “not well.” After that point, I resolved to determine the extent of LTK’s and KSFS’s involvement in my termination as they were the only parties that I knew for a fact up to that point that had published doctored social media activity and defamatory statements alleged to be associated with me to WPM.
I was able to locate KSFS’s public Twitter feed as it was linked from KSFS’s official website. I learned for the first time in mid-to-late July 2020 that KSFS had authored a conveniently timed favorable Tweet about WPM at 3:34pm on June 11, 2020 – the day after WPM informed me of my termination. KSFS’s Tweet is attached as Exhibit F. The Tweet reads:
“We represent a lot of hurt workers across Alabama, & spar w/lots of great defense lawyers. Those @ Wainwright, Pope & McMeekin (2 of whom I’ve known for well over 34 years) are as diligent, fair, upright, honest, & ethical as are found anywhere. Felt like saying it. #RESPECT.”
Based upon my review of @KingSimmonsPC’s then-public Twitter feed, this was the only time that LTK or KSFS had ever complimented a worker’s compensation defense firm since the Twitter account’s inception in January 2017. His Tweet also seemed out-of-place in the middle of dozens upon dozens of “incendiary or offensive or intolerant” – stating it mildly -- anti-conservative and anti-Trump Tweets. As LTK had been friends with LDW “for well over 34 years,” he would have been well-aware that LDW – managing partner of WPM -- purported to be a Rush Limbaugh listening, Trump supporting conservative.
LTK and KSFS authored another Tweet on July 25, 2020 previously attached as Exhibit B that uncannily described the circumstances of my termination:
“He was FIRED. Period. That’s what ‘told to resign’ means. Stop giving him cover.”
At that point having reviewed those Tweets and dozens, if not hundreds, more (thirteen of which are attached as part of Exhibit E) authored by LTK and KSFS that explained the hostility and malice directed towards those of my political bent that would inspire the publishing of doctored social media posts littered with defamatory remarks about me and falsely linked to my employment to my employer behind my back, I sent a spoliation letter to LTK and KSFS on Sunday night, July 26, 2020, attached as Exhibit G. Also, having stumbled upon the Faustian bargain that was struck by WPM – my termination in exchange for a “favorable” social media comment -- I felt betrayed and no longer welcome at WPM, so I cleaned out my office that evening, leaving printouts of some of LTK’s and KSFS’s Tweets on my desk. I planned to work remotely for the remainder of my employment term.
I heard nothing from the WPM partners on Monday, July 27, 2020. I received a call form LDW on the morning of July 28, 2020. He asked whether I planned to work from the office over the next month, and I informed him that I would be working remotely since I no longer felt welcome at WPM. Lonnie at first attempted to play coy and feign like he did not know what I was talking about, bombarding me with questions about why I had already cleaned out my office. I asked numerous times that rather than discussing over the phone, I desired to meet with all three members of the firm in person to discuss LTK’s and KSFS’s involvement in my termination, preferably in a public place to reduce the likelihood of being subjected to another berating by LWP.
LDW then admitted that he reviewed the printouts of LTK’s and KSFS’ Tweets that I left on my desk and immediately began defending LTK and KSFS, stating that LTK authored the June 11, 2020 Tweet because of their long-time personal friendship. He further stated he had discussed with LTK beforehand that LTK and KSFS would author the June 11, 2020 Tweet as a way to generate “positive press” for WPM. LDW repeated this version of the genesis of LTK’s June 11, 2020 multiple times during the phone call while attempting to tap me for information that I made clear I did not want to discuss with only one of the firm’s partners over the phone. LDW implored me to give LTK “the benefit of the doubt.” I responded, “Like y’all did to me?” The phone call ended with LDW stating that he would assemble STM and LWP to meet with me later in the day at one of the public conference rooms at the Galleria Tower located at 3000 Riverchase Parkway, Birmingham, AL 35244. He stated that he would call me back with a time to meet.
Rather than receiving the promised call back with a meeting time, I received an email from LDW late in the afternoon of July 28, 2020 stating that WPM “[did] not think any further meeting will be productive.” I was instructed to produce a file list and turn in all of my office equipment and administrator passwords by noon the following day, July 29, 2020, and that if I complied with this sudden deadline, the firm would continue to pay me through the end of August. I fully cooperated with the transition, which included assisting an IT consultant that was hired in 2019 over the next few days with transitioning administrative duties for the WPM accounts that I administered on behalf of the firm. I requested that the firm allow me access to my work email while I continued assisting the firm with the transition and withdrawing from cases, but they immediately cut me off without notice as soon as I provided my password to the IT consultant.
Around mid-September 2020, I received a letter from WPM dated September 1, 2020 attached as Exhibit H indicating that LTK and KSFS had discussed my July 26, 2020 spoliation letter with WPM, and that WPM desired that I not pursue litigation against LTK and KSFS. The second and seventh paragraphs of the letter describe WPM’s decision to terminate my employment in their own words, which was consistent with what transpired during the ambush conducted by LDW, LWP, and STM on the evening of June 10, 2020, yet completely inconsistent with their March 24, 2021 boilerplate affidavits:
“A social media post you made about George Floyd was posted to another Facebook page by someone who used your picture from the WPM website. Apparently, the person who posted that picture and your post to that Facebook page commented that you were a lawyer and ‘he works at Wainwright, Pope, & McMeekin, P.C.’ That Facebook page is titled, ‘CALLING OUT ALABAMA BUSINESSES THAT SUPPORT RACISM.’ We have learned that Facebook Group is private but claims to have over 1,500 members. In this Facebook group your social media post was linked to our firm and apparently labeled us as a business that supports racism…
…As we discussed when we met, you are entitled to have opinions and to make posts. Unfortunately, the posts you made were linked to WPM and in our opinion placed our reputation and business in jeopardy.”
The letter went on to defend LTK’s actions and describe the friendship between LTK and WPM, going so far as to claim that LTK was attempting to “help [me].” WPM stated in the letter that LTK or KSFS were not members of the private “CALLING OUT ALABAMA BUSINESSES THAT SUPPORT RACISM” Facebook group. Notably they neglected to mention how LTK or KSFS became privy to the information within this purportedly “private” group of which they were allegedly not members – something I would later partially piece together in my own investigation. The letter stated that LTK “sent screenshots to us.” It further provided a defense of @KingSimmonsPC’s June 11, 2020 “favorable” Tweet and a description of its creation that was inconsistent with what LDW previously described to me multiple times over the phone one month earlier on July 28, 2020. The letter stated:
“You left a copy on your desk of [LTK’s] Tweet about the respect he has for WPM. After [LTK] posted the Tweet he told [LDW] that he did that and solicited some ‘likes’ in attempt to get some positive posts about our firm because of his concern about public perception of our law firm as a result of your post.”
To-date LTK’s June 11, 2020 Tweet garnered exactly three likes from three worker’s compensation plaintiff lawyers that WPM already had regular and cordial dealings with – Gina Coggin, Jon Lewis, and the Nomberg law firm.
The last paragraph of WPM’s September 1, 2020 reads:
“This whole situation is unfortunate. We have always liked you and appreciated your service to our firm. We hope this letter will help you see that [LTK’s] only role in this situation was to try to help us by alerting us to information that could have been very harmful to WPM. He also tried to help us, which in turn was an attempt to help you, by attempting to stop the negative perception of our firm by posting something positive about the firm.”
All three members of the firm, LDW, LWP, and STM personally signed the September 1, 2020 letter. My October 13, 2020 reply to WPM’s September 1, 2020 letter instructing them to pull their heads out of the sand and perform a cursory look at some of LTK’s and KSFS’s then-public Twitter posts is attached as Exhibit I.
Subsequently I was able to gain limited access to view some of the malicious activity within the “CALLING OUT ALABAMA BUSINESSES THAT SUPPORT RACISM” private Facebook group. Many of the comments in the thread pertaining to me that was started by a persona going by the name “Jackie Brown” had already been deleted or hidden, and I could not find the doctored post that was texted to LDW by LTK and revealed to me during the June 10, 2020 meeting. However, it was instantly clear that the cabal’s purpose for doxing me, doctoring my personal social activity, and falsely maligning me as a “racist” was to coerce my employer into terminating my employment. See June 17, 2020 post from “Shawn Avery,” attached as Exhibit J reading:
“Now that [Daniel Flickinger] has been erased, I want to say that the firm he worked for has a great reputation in town and they are honest, professional, kind people. Good on them for such a fast and definitive response.”
Around the Summer 2020 timeframe when @KingSimmonsPC Twitter account was still publicly accessible, a Twitter user going by the name “Shawn Avery” was interacting in threads with @KingSimmonsPC. The language from Shawn Avery rewarding WPM for my coerced termination tracked closely with the favorable language contained in the out-of-place and conveniently timed June 11, 2020 Tweet authored by LTK and KSFS. So far I have been unable to determine the physical identities of “Shawn Avery” and “Jackie Brown,” although I suspect these personas may be associated with another local openly Democrat personal injury lawyer who has used a fake Facebook account under the name “Michael Irons” to spy on me.
The characterization of my termination as a “voluntary resignation” contained in the March 24, 2021 boilerplate affidavits of LDW, LWP, and STM represents a total revisionist history of the series of intentionally tortious and malicious conduct that coerced WPM into ending my employment. As demonstrated, WPM, in furtherance of their bizarrely close relationship with LTK and KSFS, are impeaching themselves in an attempt to shield their avowed “friends” of “34 years” from liability. WPM is likewise attempting to rehabilitate its purported “seriously” held “reputation” from its own unprincipled and cowardly conduct demonstrated by the firm’s caving to the predations of a handful of Internet bullies in less than 24 hours while simultaneously handicapping my ability to defend myself by repeatedly changing their story, despite WPM having profited off of my loyal employment and well-founded and defensible viewpoints for over a decade – rational viewpoints devoid of racism that WPM were fully aware that I held and expressed – rational viewpoints that inspired self-described “progressives” and other Internet activists to resort to deceptive and defamatory tactics designed to punish and harm me for properly exercising my fundamental right of free speech as a private citizen.
WPM moved from its office previously located in Homewood, AL to its current office located at 3000 Riverchase Galleria, Suite 975, Birmingham, AL 35244 in Hoover, AL in May 2015. I was employed full-time by WPM for the entire time the firm was located in Hoover until the last time I stepped foot in WPM’s office on July 29, 2020. From this location, while the physical distance to reach the Jefferson County Circuit Courthouse is less than the distance to the Shelby County Circuit Courthouse, the travel time to reach a courtroom in Shelby County is oftentimes shorter, more convenient, and always more reliably predictable than that of traveling to Jefferson County Circuit Court.
Traffic to downtown Birmingham where the Jefferson County Circuit Courthouse is located is often gridlocked, inconsistent, and unpredictable. Upon arriving to the Jefferson County Circuit courthouse, it can take significant time to locate reasonably priced parking. To avoid spending significant time searching for parking near the Jefferson County courthouse, lawyers are often relegated to parking nearly 2 blocks away in the paid Boutwell Auditorium parking deck. This requires a lengthy walk while dressed for court and carrying file material. Once finally reaching the Jefferson County Circuit Courthouse entrance, lawyers can expect long lines for security checkpoints. On the other hand, parking at the courthouse in Shelby County is free and located conveniently near the courthouse entrance. I live in Hoover within seven minutes of WPM’s office, and it is significantly more convenient to travel to the Shelby County Courthouse than to the Jefferson County Courthouse. Additionally, while working at WPM, lawyers at the firm including myself would often carpool when traveling to visit clients located south of Birmingham and meet at a location adjacent to Valleydale Road near managing partner LDW’s Shelby County residence and home office. Prior to COVID-19 lockdowns LDW and I were fully equipped with laptops and other equipment to conduct firm business from any location. Even prior to COVID, LDW would periodically conduct firm business from his home office located in Shelby County, Alabama, where he was working almost exclusively while not traveling during the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns. LDW’s Shelby County residence is where he would have been located when he called me after 9:00pm on June 9, 2010 after receiving the text messages made the basis of this lawsuit from LTK and KSFS. Indeed, based on the timing of LDW’s call and LTK’s and KSFS’s predatory 9:14pm Tweet to me, the entire tortious transaction initiated by LTK and KSFS that led to my coerced termination occurred exclusively in Shelby County.
Once WPM transitioned to remote work protocol for COVID-19 in early April 2020, LWP and STM were also issued laptops making remote work viable for every lawyer at the firm. Furthermore, clients and office staff were provided cell phone numbers for all attorneys so that client communications and day-to-day operations were in no way tethered to a physical office. LTK and KSFS were likewise equipped for “remote work” and “before required” per their July 9, 2020 Tweet attached as Exhibit K. Regardless, as courtroom litigators practicing primarily in the area of worker’s compensation across virtually the entire state of Alabama, lawyers at WPM are no strangers to frequent travel and conducting firm business from virtually anywhere.
Furthermore, it was unwritten WPM policy to file a motion to transfer venue to Shelby County in any worker’s compensation case initially filed in Jefferson County if there was any set of circumstances that would render a venue transfer cognizable. WPM also frequently employed a tactic well-known to the Alabama worker’s compensation bar informally called “jump filing.” When WPM lawyers became aware of a potentially contentious or serious worker’s compensation claim in pre-litigation, and venue was cognizable in both Jefferson County and Shelby County, it was common practice to file a motion for declaratory judgment in the name of the defendant employer or worker’s compensation insurance provider in Shelby County before the claimant could file suit in Jefferson County so as to increase the likelihood of keeping litigation within Shelby County. Indeed, during my time at WPM, not only was attending court in Shelby County never burdensome or inconvenient for lawyers at WPM, attending court in Shelby County was preferred.
As a fruit of KSFS and WPM’s avowed deep and abiding “friendship,” WPM was one of the few, if only, defense firms invited to LTK’s and KSFS’s annual shrimp boil, which takes place at one of LTK’s and KSFS’s offices located at 500 Cahaba River Road, Suite 100, Birmingham, AL 35243. This particular office out of the three KSFS statewide offices is located less than a half mile from the Shelby County / Jefferson County border, where it likewise sits within relatively close proximity to LTK’s Shelby County residence located further Southeast down US Highway 280. As a former employee of WPM, I attended this event on multiple occasions when my schedule permitted. Each time I attended, I personally witnessed various Jefferson County Circuit judges at this event speaking cordially to LTK. Notwithstanding the fact that LTK and KSFS have already admitted that venue is proper in Shelby County where suit is currently and properly pending, in the interest of justice and fairness after now having experienced the receiving end of the lengths by which LTK’s defense firm cronies who self-identify as “good people” are willing to go to defend LTK and KSFS, I strongly desire a fair trial that carries no chance of being refereed by one of LTK’s personal judicial contacts.
Finally, as a matter of efficiency and pragmatism, despite extensive data now available about COVID-19 where states such as New York and California that enforced and maintained strict mask mandates and lockdowns experienced worse COVID outcomes than those of similarly sized states such as Texas and Florida that remained largely open and far less restrictive during contemporaneous timeframes of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jefferson County continues to enforce strict mask mandates and remote “Zoom” hearings in court proceedings. These unnecessary and futile protocols will delay and handicap litigation in this matter by limiting the parties’ ability to cross-examine and observe the demeanor of witnesses in a case where in-person cross-examination will be vital.
Further affiant sayeth not.