Groshek vs. Goliath: Manifestation Machine’s Cory Groshek Takes FCRA Class Actions to Supreme Court On Behalf of 40,000 Other Job Applicants and Employees
GREEN BAY, Wis., Oct. 31, 2017 (Manifestation Machine) — Cory Groshek, founder of personal growth and development brand Manifestation Machine, and author of children’s book “Breaking Away: Book One of the Rabylon Series” (ISBN: 978-1946029003), has announced he is taking a pair of Class Action lawsuits he filed against Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and Time Warner Cable Inc. (a subsidiary of Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR)) in early 2015, pursuant to the employment-related provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
On Monday, October 30, 2017, following what Groshek deems to have been the erroneous dismissal of his FCRA-based lawsuits at the hands of several lower Federal Courts, attorneys for Groshek filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court, requesting that the Court reverse the decision of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed an earlier dismissal of Groshek’s cases over his alleged lack of “Article III standing”, a prerequisite for bringing suit in Federal Court.
Groshek’s Petition for Writ of Certioari to the Supreme Court can be viewed in its entirety at the following link: https://www.manifestationmachine.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Cory-Groshek-Petition-for-Writ-of-Certiorari.pdf
MAKING A STATEMENT
In a statement, Groshek had the following to say about the situation:
“The 7th Circuit, in affirming the dismissal of my lawsuits on August 1, 2017, completely disregarded the fact that, as a pre-condition of employment, both Great Lakes and Time Warner Cable forced me and my fellow job applicants, of which there are 40,000-plus of us, to sign away our rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Not only that, but in an affront to Congress, the ‘checks and balances’ inherent in our democratic-republic form of government, and, dare I say, everything our justice system stands for, they have ‘legislated from the bench’ by reading things into the law which are simply not there, abused their authority by making unsupported assumptions about me they had no right to make, and effectively, unilaterally nullified Federal Law by declaring that I, as someone who has suffered the exact type of harm the FCRA was designed to protect people like me from, have no right to pursue a lawsuit, let alone to have my day in court.”
In the case of Great Lakes, before Groshek could even be offered a job, he was required to sign a hard copy document entitled “Disclosure and Release of Information Authorization”, which included the following release language:
“I release all parties for all liability for any damage that may result from furnishing information, including my providing my birth date to Verifications, Inc. if requested, and this authorization to Great Lakes and Verifications, Inc.”
In the case of Time Warner Cable, shortly after receiving an offer of employment, Groshek was required to sign an electronic document entitled “Background Check” (and subtitled “Background Check Authorization”), which included the following release language:
“I hereby release from liability all persons and organizations furnishing references or other information.”
A LACK OF LIABILITY RUNS AFOUL OF THE LAW
Both of the above documents, according to Groshek, clearly violated section § 1681b(b)(2)(A) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which states that prior to a company, such as Great Lakes or Time Warner Cable, running a background check (referred to as a “consumer report” under the law) on a job applicant or employee, they must make “a clear and conspicuous disclosure…in writing to the consumer” (another word for “job applicant or employee”) “at any time before the report is procured or caused to be procured, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure, that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes.”
This, Groshek says, is precisely what both Great Lakes and Time Warner Cable failed to do, prior to running their allegedly illegal background checks on over 40,000 job applicants. Accordingly, Groshek says that both companies willfully violated the law, putting them potentially on the hook for between $100 and $1,000 in statutory damages per violation, plus uncapped punitive damages and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
Adding insult to injury, according to Groshek’s Petition, is the fact that, contrary to a false statement given to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by Great Lakes for an article entitled “’Professional plaintiff’ uses credit law to threaten companies, win $230,000 in settlements”, whereby Great Lakes officials incorrectly stated, “There is absolutely no indication that anyone was harmed or confused by the [release of liability language],” Great Lakes used inaccurate information contained in Groshek’s consumer report, which “misrepresented a non-criminal civil ordinance violation as a criminal misdemeanor”, to deny him employment.
DENIAL OF EMPLOYMENT GIVES WAY TO RESENTMENT
Taking his allegations further, Groshek, within the first few pages of the Petition, insinuates that Great Lakes’ adverse employment action was not simply a matter of them not wanting to hire him for what could be considered legitimate reasons, but rather a matter of them retaliating against him over his claims that their actions were in violation of the FCRA—claims that he made via e-mail to Great Lakes’ Human Resources Staffing Manager, Peggy S. Beer, days before Great Lakes formally denied him employment via the combination of what the FCRA refers to as a “pre-adverse action” notice and “adverse action” notice, which were sent to Groshek just two days apart from each other.
As Groshek’s Petition specifically states on Page 10:
“Great Lakes, after obtaining Groshek’s consumer report, decided not to hire him based upon information in the consumer report,” the Petition states. “Additionally, Great Lakes, following Groshek’s advising them that its disclosure violates the FCRA, refused to hire him. At this point, it is unclear whether the reason for the refusal to hire was information in his consumer report or Great Lakes’ retaliation for Groshek’s exercise of his FCRA rights, or a combination of the two.”
Furthermore, from page 28 of the Petition:
“In the present case, Great Lakes denied Groshek employment based in whole or in part on information contained in the consumer report they unlawfully obtained on him for employment purposes. Information in Groshek’s consumer report was inaccurate in that it misrepresented a non-criminal civil ordinance violation as a criminal misdemeanor, a fact which would have, had Groshek chosen to pursue a slightly different legal path, enabled Groshek to file a complaint over not only Respondent’s deficient and unlawful disclosure, but the erroneous consumer report they relied upon in denying him employment as well. Had Groshek known, at the time he was required to authorize Respondent’s unlawful consumer report on him, that Respondent would use inaccurate information in the report to deny him employment, he would not have authorized the procurement of the report.”
When it comes to how Groshek feels about the lies he says that Great Lakes has told about him to the media, he doesn’t mince words.
“If I were Great Lakes, I would stop lying about me right now,” says Groshek, “because if they don’t, they should know that this statement I’m making today doesn’t even scratch the surface of how expertly I can expose them for the malicious, lying dirt-bags they really are. I’ve told them once and I will tell them again, I have a nearly hour-long audio recording of the entire in-person interaction I had with the HR lady responsible for denying me employment, Peggy S. Beer, dated February 21, 2014, which I’ve been sitting on for the last two years plus, and I’m more than happy to ‘leak’ it to the media and the public, if that’s what it takes to shut my opponents up or, at the very least, publicly humiliate them. As a matter of fact, I will go on the record, right here and right now, as saying that if I hear a single peep out of either Great Lakes or Time Warner Cable, in response to my Supreme Court Petition, whereby they lie about me even one more time, the recording is being released, along with a full transcript so people can read along with it, right here on ManifestationMachine.com.”
GROSHEK V. GOLIATH
In light of the foregoing, it should come as no surprise that Groshek frames his consolidated Supreme Court case against Great Lake and Time Warner Cable less as the fight of a so-called “Professional Plaintiff” against a pair of helpless, hapless victims than as a David-versus-Goliath’esque battle of Biblical proportions.
“Forget Groshek versus Great Lakes or Groshek versus Time Warner Cable, this is Groshek versus Goliath,” says Groshek. “This is the ‘little guy’ versus a multi-billion-dollar, corporate behemoth with an army of attorneys and more money than God, and it is a classic example of an uber-powerful employer throwing its weight around and retaliating against employees they believe have neither the legal expertise nor the financial means to fight them.”
In the landmark Supreme Court case of Robins v. Spokeo, the Supreme Court made clear that for someone such as Groshek to have standing to bring suit in Federal Court over alleged violations of the FCRA, he or she would need to plausibly allege that they’ve suffered a “concrete injury” as a result of such a violation. This type of injury, which, legally-speaking, is not the same thing as “actual damages” (which refers to a specific and quantifiable type of harm, such as lost wages), has been defined by the Supreme Court as an injury which is “actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical”, or “real” as opposed to “abstract”, albeit it not necessarily “tangible.”
CONFUSION OVER AN ALLEGED LACK OF CONFUSION
Despite Groshek’s belief that he has plausibly alleged a “concrete” informational injury, in the form of Great Lakes and Time Warner Cable having deprived him of the FCRA-compliant disclosures he believes he was entitled to, prior to employment-related consumer reports being pulled on him, as well as a “concrete” privacy injury, stemming from the invasion of his privacy he claims ensued the moment the companies pulled such reports on him in violation of the law, the 7th Circuit disagreed with Groshek and upheld the dismissal of his lawsuits, based in large part on the grounds that he had not formally claimed to have been “confused” by either Great Lakes’ or Time Warner Cable’s disclosures. This, Groshek says, is where the 7th Circuit made what Groshek believes to have been their most egregious error.
“The statutory language of the FCRA says absolutely nothing about ‘confusion’ being a prerequisite to bringing suit under the law,” says Groshek. “All this is, in my opinion, is an attempt, on the 7th Circuit’s part, to ‘legislate from the bench’—in other words, to change the plain meaning of the law’s language—so as to erect legal barriers that Congress never intended to be erected before ‘private attorneys general’ like me, and to restrict injured peoples’ access to the legal system.”
POOR JUDGMENTAL PREVENTS JUSTICE FROM PREVAILING
Going beyond the 7th Circuit, Groshek also has some choice words for Pamela Pepper, the District Court Judge who dismissed his original suit against Time Warner Cable in the Eastern District of Wisconsin (Case No. 15-C-157).
“As for Pamela Pepper, it is quite clear, if one reads her Decision and Order against me, dated August 9, 2016, that she not only took what I said in Time Warner Cable’s deposition of me completely out of context, but that she also conflated my use of the term ‘actual damages’ with the term ‘concrete harm’, a term which, by the way, appears not one time in the entire transcript of the deposition. Accordingly, her actions reek of impropriety. Furthermore, her poor judgment suggests that, like the Judges on the 7th Circuit who would take over my case for her months later, she apparently had no intent of enforcing the law as written and only of coming up with some excuse, laughable as it was, to get my case off her docket. I just don’t see how you could see it any other way.”
The part of Pepper’s Decision and Order Groshek refers to reads as follows:
‘…in his October 7, 2015 deposition, when defense counsel asked him if he was aware of anything in that might entitle him to actual damages, the plaintiff responded, “I do not know of any actual damages that I am claiming nor do I believe I’ve ever actually claimed actual damages against [the defendant] nor do I intend to.” Dkt. No. 59-2 at 18 (deposition page 115), lines 9-11. In short, he has not alleged a concrete harm.”
A reading of the actual transcript of Time Warner Cable’s deposition of Groshek reveals that Pepper has, just as Groshek claims, taken his deposition testimony out of context and that she has also used the terms “actual damages” and “concrete harm” interchangeably, as if they have the same meaning, when they, in fact, mean two entirely different things. Furthermore, the transcript reveals that in using the term “actual damages” during the deposition, Groshek went out of his way to define the term as he understood it at the time, and quite tellingly (albeit it not surprisingly, given the circumstances), it is not the same as the Supreme Court’s definition of the term ‘concrete injury’.
AN INJURIOUS EXCHANGE
An exchange between Time Warner Cable’s attorney, Joseph Ozmer, and Groshek during the deposition proceeded as follows, beginning with page 113, and continuing through page 115, of the 139-page deposition transcript:
Ozmer: Do you have any understanding of what actual damage under the FCRA is?
Groshek: I can only speak as to what I believe it is. I can’t say for certain what it actually is. My belief is that actual damage, for example, would be if Time Warner Cable had not hired me as a result of something that came up in a background check and as a result of something, say, that was in the background check, that could be damage — actual damage.
Ozmer: Okay. And based on that understanding that you just gave me, do you believe that you suffered any actual damage, in your understanding of what you just said, based on any of the alleged violations that you identified in Exhibit 7?
Groshek: In terms of losing a job as a result of a background check, I did not suffer any of that type of, as you put it, damage, no.
Ozmer: Based on your research and your experience as a plaintiff in other FCRA cases, you understand that the FCRA distinguishes between statutory damages that you might be able to get for a violation of your statutory rights and actual damage where you’re actually harmed by a violation of the FCRA? You do understand that the statute distinguishes that, correct?
Groshek: I understand that there are certain remedies in the law provided for actual — in terms of actual damages versus statutory and they’re kept separate. I do know that.
Ozmer: Are you aware of anything in this case, the Time Warner Cable case, that might entitle you to remedies for actual damages as opposed to remedies for statutory violation and transgressing on your statutory rights?
Groshek: A I do not know of any actual damages that I am claiming nor do I believe I’ve ever actually claimed actual damages against Time Warner Cable nor do I intend to.
Ozmer: Okay. That short circuits us right there. You’re not claiming actual damages against Time Warner Cable, correct?
Groshek: No. Only statutory, as you called, punitive damages and any other remedies that I would be allowed in terms of the violation that I’m alleging here.
Judging by the above, it is undeniable that Groshek and Ozmer’s conversation about ‘actual damages’ was not, as Pepper’s Decision and Order erroneously suggested, a discussion about the term ‘concrete injury’, which, in fact, did not become a widely-used term in FCRA-related litigation until after the Supreme Court had ruled in Robins v. Spokeo, but rather the type of real-world damages that one could conceivably suffer as the result of an employer’s violation of the FCRA.
A POTENTIAL ABUSE OF AUTHORITY?
Being that Pepper was undoubtedly in possession of Groshek’s complete deposition transcript prior to her ruling in his case, and assuming that Pepper is a reasonably intelligent and qualified Judge, let alone an Honorable one, the situation begs a burning question: Why would Pepper go so far out of her way to twist the words of a man who spoke so candidly under oath, in a sworn deposition no less?
If you were to ask Groshek, he would tell you it’s quite possibly because the Judge was compromised prior to her taking his case over from the late Judge Rudolph T. Randa of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who died on September 15, 2016, not long after declaring, in a Decision and Order dated July 31, 2015, that Time Warner Cable’s FCRA-mandated disclosure was in willful violation of the law.
“Could any logical, rational, or reasonable person really, truly buy, for even a minute, that this Judge, who had just recently taken over my case from Rudolph Randa, could have simply made an innocent error in distorting what I said during my deposition the way she did?” says Groshek. “Let’s be real: Judges are not stupid people; they are not ignorant people, generally. They know the law, they know how depositions work, and they know very well how important it is to not misinterpret or, worse, misrepresent witness testimony, such as mine. Yet here we are, looking at a Judge who not only took my words out of context, but twisted them, so as to give the public the wrongful impression that I’d admitted to having suffered no ‘concrete injury’ at the hands of Time Warner Cable, when, in fact, everything I’ve said to date suggests the exact opposite. And in that regard, I’d say she’s no better than the so-called journalist that defamed me in June of 2016.”
BAD REPORTING AND A GOOD REPUTATION COLLIDE
The ‘so-called journalist’ Groshek refers to is Jacob Carpenter, a former writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel who is now employed by another Gannett property, the Houston Chronicle. In the aforementioned article entitled “’Professional plaintiff’ uses credit law to threaten companies, win $230,000 in settlements”, published on June 25, 2016, Carpenter made several of what Groshek claims were defamatory, false statements of fact about him, including that Groshek hadn’t had “any intention of keeping a job long-term” when he’d applied for jobs with any of the employers he’d applied to over an 18-month stretch, that Groshek had “admitted to threatening more than 40 companies — including about 15 headquartered in Wisconsin — with class-action lawsuits, leading to claims that he is extorting businesses for technical violations of the federal law”, that Groshek had “threatened to file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all of [Time Warner Cable’s] recent hires”, and that Groshek had “threatened to sue Goodwill Industries and a small business that helps veterans get jobs” as well as “six companies in Brown County, including a resort located two miles from his house”.
None of these statements, Groshek says, were true, and all of them were defamatory in that they portrayed Groshek not as the innocent victim of willful FCRA-violators and the consumer rights advocate he believes himself to be, but as a predatory, criminal extortionist who seeks to catch employers in the act of violating the law, solely for his own, personal gain. As a result of these statements, and others like them, Groshek has been called every name in the book by people all across the Internet and even threatened with bodily harm and death, as evidenced by a comprehensive list of all the negative reactions to Carpenter’s article, which was created by Groshek on August 6, 2016 and contains links to the web pages, online forums, and social media posts where the reactions appear.
Not content to sit back and let Carpenter have the last laugh, when it comes to maligning his good name, Groshek is swift to point out that, contrary to Carpenter’s assertion that he wasn’t interested in long-term employment, he worked for the same company, WPS Health Insurance (now WPS Health Solutions) for seven and a half consecutive years (from 2004 to 2012), followed by Lands’ End for nearly two years (from 2012 to 2014), and even for Time Warner Cable for approximately three months (from October of 2014 to January of 2015). This, Groshek says, is important to note, especially whereas he hadn’t needed to work for Time Warner Cable for three seconds, let alone three months, to bring suit against the company, yet did so anyway, which flies in the face of Carpenter and the company’s insinuations that Groshek was some kind of phony, fake, or faux job applicant.
Indeed, as the statutory language of the FCRA plainly states, legal liability under the FCRA is triggered by a company the moment the company causes a consumer report to be procured for employment purposes without having first provided a proper disclosure to the subject of the report. It is not, in any way, shape, or form, dependent upon how long an employee works for a company, or whether the employee works for a company at all, hence why Groshek was able to file suit against Great Lakes and has managed to settle FCRA-related disputes with 49 other companies, pursuant to their alleged violations of the FCRA, despite having never physically worked for most of the companies to which he’s applied.
SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS DO NOT EQUAL EXTORTION
Continuing to speak in his own defense, Groshek states that it is “patently false” that any of his private, settlement-related activities led to “claims that he is extorting businesses for technical violations of the federal law”. As a matter of fact, Groshek says, the only company that has made any sort of “claim” of extortion against him is Time Warner Cable, and even they don’t believe he’s actually an extortionist, as evidenced by the fact that for all their accusations, Groshek has yet to be charged with or convicted of any felonies.
Throwing more cold water on the company’s “tenuous theory that a pre-suit settlement demand qualifies as extortion” (Judge Rudolph Randa’s words, not ours), in a now-deleted article written about Groshek by one of Time Warner Cable’s former attorneys (who was not physically present at Groshek’s deposition, but had access to a copy of its transcript), attorney Michael Mishlove openly admitted to believing that what Groshek was engaged in was not a crime of moral turpitude, but “legal blackmail”, which was to say that he and his legal team knew that what Groshek was doing was one-hundred percent legal, yet decided to falsely accuse him of extortion anyway.
“Look, this is the pot calling the kettle black. And in this case, the pot that’s being called ‘black’, or an ‘extortionist’—me—is neither ‘black’ nor an extortionist,” says Groshek. “What we have here is nothing more than a pair of companies that we already know have violated of the law—as in, the real criminals—projecting themselves onto me, and they’re doing this because, quite frankly, they have no other defense. Many other courts, including the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which declared in August of this year, for the second time, that the lead plaintiff in Syed v. M-I has Article III standing to sue, for the same reasons I should, and based on literally the same type of situation I am in. Accordingly, my defendants have no legal legs to stand on. Their only hope of ‘getting me gone’, for lack of a better term, is to do what they’ve been doing since I sued them, which is lie about me, plant one-sided hit-pieces about me with the media, and potentially buy off legal officials who are, as far as I can tell, squarely in the pockets of their corporate benefactors.”
As for the allegations that Groshek has threatened to sue “a small business that helps veterans get jobs” and “a resort located two miles from his house”, Groshek states that the companies being referred to are clearly Veterans Sourcing Group, which made an offer of employment to Groshek, despite him not being a veteran, and Tundra Lodge, which Groshek states, unequivocally, that he never threatened to sue, for the simple fact that they’ve never violated the FCRA, at least as far as he is aware. Accordingly, Groshek says, such allegations are, as he puts it, “just an extension of the false, misleading narrative and defamatory picture my opponents have been trying to paint of me since day one” and proof-positive that “there is really something wrong with our justice system, which is more like an injustice system, when companies like Time Warner Cable can get away with abusing the judicial process and using it not to advance their cause, but to defame their opponents with impunity.”
A STORY STRAIGHT OUT OF A DAN BROWN NOVEL
If this is all starting to sound like a story ripped from the pages of a Dan Brown novel, Groshek seconds that notion.
“This situation is so crazy, with so many Da Vinci Code-like twists and turns, that I doubt a Hollywood screenwriter could have come up with it,” says Groshek. “I mean, you take the Great Lakes denial of employment that led to me learning about the FCRA and filing suit in the first place, the subsequent FCRA violations I discovered with nearly every employer I applied with post-Great Lakes, the baseless allegations levied at me by the likes of Time Warner Cable, and the fact that the Journal Sentinel hit-piece on me was planted by someone sympathetic to Time Warner Cable, if not Time Warner Cable themselves, in the form of a ‘mysterious envelope’ that just so happened to drop into Jacob Carpenter’s lap, and you have the makings of a movie that even I would pay good money to see.”
The ’mysterious envelope’ Groshek refers to is something he first learned of the existence of upon hearing Jacob Carpenter on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter, Katie O’Connell’s Sunday podcast, “Behind the Headlines”, which aired the same weekend Carpenter’s article was published. During the podcast, and according to a transcript of the same, Carpenter had the following to say, which Groshek says directly conflicts with the false pretenses under which Carpenter had earlier attempted to coerce Groshek into doing an interview with him:
“We actually had an envelope that was left with us here in the newsroom, uh, that contained a motion that had recently been filed in the case and it didn’t have any, any notes, anything left on…uh…you know, in the envelope?—it just had that motion—and so we took that, looked up the case, read through some of the other motions, and it all started to unravel a little bit as we looked through all the different filings that had been made over the last couple years.”
The motion Carpenter refers to is Time Warner Cable’s Brief in Support of their Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction, which was filed unsealed by Time Warner Cable on May 27, 2016, in what Groshek believes to have been an obvious abuse of process and a move by the company to leak to the media cherry-picked portions of his sealed deposition, which the company felt would be most damaging to Groshek if they were to be taken out of context. And taken out of context they were, as soon as they made their way into Carpenter’s hands, which, Groshek says, “took Time Warner Cable’s malicious, defamatory words”, copied them “damn near verbatim, if not verbatim”, and then “passed them off as if they were his own, original thoughts”.
“If that isn’t the very definition of fake news,” says Groshek, “then I don’t know what is.”
THE MATH REALLY STARTS TO ADD UP
Having become aware of Carpenter’s true inspiration for his story, Groshek’s suspicions were seemingly confirmed. In his mind, not only had Carpenter’s article been planted by Time Warner Cable, but it had been planted with a very specific person for a very specific reason.
“Look, let’s put two and two together here; the math isn’t hard,” says Groshek. “On one hand, we have a defendant in one of my Class Action lawsuits, Time Warner Cable, which made clear from the get-go that they were extremely hostile towards me, as evidenced by their wild and crazy extortion accusations and the fact that they leaked my deposition to the media. On the other hand, we have Jacob Carpenter, who, far from being ‘just some guy’ who happens to be interested in criminal or legal matters, is a guy who, as it turned out, has a long, storied history of defaming other so-called ‘professional plaintiffs’ like me.”
The other “professional plaintiffs” Groshek refers to is really, he admits, just one man, by the name of Eddie Santana, who became infamous in the State of Florida, circa 2011-2015, due to his penchant for threatening and filing pro se lawsuits against employers over wage and labor-related disputes. Santana, who initially drew the attention of reporters through no one’s fault but his own (being that he invited the Miami New Times to do an exposé on him, apparently believing the paper would portray him in a positive light, which they did not, much to his chagrin), eventually caught the attention of Jacob Carpenter, who was, prior to a very short stint with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from mid-2016 to early-to-mid 2017, during which he wrote his piece on Groshek, employed with the Naples Daily News, another Gannett property.
Judging from the tabloid-style title of Carpenter’s debut piece on Santana, entitled “You’ve been served: Waiter wages legal fights against 10 local restaurants, hotels”, and what Groshek calls “Carpenter’s journalistic gem of an opening line” that went, “Eddie Santana, prolific litigator, sometimes-waiter and bane of Naples’ hospitality industry, is finally on the phone”, it was quite obvious, at least from Groshek’s perspective, that Carpenter doesn’t just dislike “professional plaintiffs”, “prolific litigators”, or self-styled “[Robin Hoods] of the rise-and-grind class” like Santana, he hates them. And not only does he hate them, Groshek says, but he hates them enough to do what he did to Santana, which is, according to Santana, stalk, harass, and defame him, essentially non-stop for three years.
A JOURNALISTIC HIT-MAN FOR HIRE
As soon as Groshek realized who he was dealing with in Carpenter, it became obvious to him that his media coverage wasn’t simply the result of some no-name reporter having stumbled aimlessly into a story on him, especially whereas the media had all but ignored him until Carpenter caught wind of him, but rather the result of what Groshek calls a “journalistic, hit-man for hire, who fancies himself some kind of social justice warrior” personally targeting him. As to whether Carpenter was targeting him because Time Warner Cable paid him to do so or simply because he got a kick out of doing so, Groshek can’t say for sure, but one thing he believes he knows for certain is that Carpenter’s coverage of him was no coincidence.
“Again, let’s put two and two together here,” says Groshek. “What do you think the statistical likelihood is that out of all the journalists in the entire country that could have potentially written about me, the one who did was Jacob Carpenter, who, from the looks of it, relocated from Naples, Florida to Milwaukee, Wisconsin just to write a hit-piece on me. I really don’t think it’s a coincidence that his story on me was essentially his first real story for the Journal Sentinel, or that he only stayed with the Sentinel for a year as a ‘fellow’ before moving to Houston. The guy was a hit-man for hire, plain and simple, and I’ll bet you anything you won’t hear another peep from him about me after I win my cases. That is, assuming Time Warner Cable doesn’t throw a little last-minute cash his way to stick me on their way out of the court room, right before they write a multi-million-dollar settlement check to me and my 40,000, similarly-situated friends.”
Attacking Carpenter’s integrity further, Groshek calls attention to the fact that Carpenter took it upon himself to drive all the way from Milwaukee to Green Bay, Wisconsin, in an attempt to catch Groshek in an ambush-style interview at his private residence. This, Groshek says, was a clear sign of Carpenter’s malicious intent and complete and utter lack of journalistic integrity, especially given that Groshek had ignored multiple attempts by Carpenter to contact him, prior to Carpenter trespassing on his property and showing up, quite uninvited, on his front doorstep.
“And what about his hotel stay, meals, and the cost of gas to get to Green Bay, seeing as he drove himself here?” Groshek asks. ‘I’d love to hear who paid for that and/or take a look at his bank records. And by the way, Jacob, if you’re reading this right now, you’re welcome to voluntarily turn those over to me to prove me wrong anytime you like.”
DECEPTION FROM THE INCEPTION
Despite Carpenter having been aware, since the “mysterious envelope” first fell into his lap, that Groshek was engaged in both public lawsuits and private settlements, Carpenter, in the run-up to his unwelcome visit to Groshek’s private residence, made absolutely no mention to Groshek of the fact that he’d intended to write not a “fair and balanced”, purely fact-based piece on him, but a piece that would rely almost entirely on statements made by Time Warner Cable and focus almost entirely on private information he should not and would not have had access to, were it not to have been for what Groshek calls, “the legal chicanery of my enemies.”
As evidenced by an e-mail sent to Groshek by Carpenter at 12:19 PM on June 9, 2016, received just weeks after Time Warner Cable had leaked Groshek’s sealed deposition to the public, Carpenter not only wasn’t honest with Groshek about his intentions, but intentionally sought to mislead him into taking part in an interview that Groshek says he is, in hindsight, very happy to have had nothing to do with.
As the e-mail read:
“My name is Jacob Carpenter, and I’m a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I’m writing to see if I might be able to speak and/or meet with you for an article about the lawsuits you’ve filed related to the FCRA. I came across some recent court filings that led to my interest, and I wanted to get in touch with you to see if I could learn more about how your lawsuits and the reasons behind them. It seems like an interesting issue you’ve touched upon, and there’s obviously merit to what you’re doing given that it looks like Great Lakes is looking to settle its class-action, but I also see there are companies that feel like you’re taking advantage of a technicality. I’d really like to hear your side of all this and more about how you got interested in the FCRA issue. If you’re able to give me a call or shoot me an email, it’s really appreciated. Would be willing to travel a little bit to meet you. Hope to hear from you in the next day or so. Thanks in advance.”
In hindsight, we now know that Carpenter decided to “travel a bit” to meet Groshek, regardless of Groshek’s acquiescence, or lack thereof, to such a meeting. It can also be reported that, according to Groshek, Carpenter trespassed on Groshek’s private property, proceeded to record him with a recording device without his consent, for the purpose of committing the alleged criminal act of defamation (a potential violation of Wisconsin wiretapping law), and then used quotes obtained from him to defame him, much to Groshek’s dismay.
“Without a doubt, Carpenter had it in for me from the start,” says Groshek. “He didn’t like Eddie Santana and he doesn’t like me, or anyone else, for that matter, who doesn’t subscribe to his idea of justice or believe what he apparently believes, which is that it’s completely acceptable for a multi-billion-dollar, corporate juggernaut like Time Warner Cable to run roughshod over its employees’ rights. I think it’s pretty clear at this point, and the evidence, I believe, speaks for itself, that this so-called reporter wasn’t assigned to my case by accident, but was hand-picked by someone—most likely Time Warner Cable—to take me out.”
IT ISN’T OVER ‘TIL IT’S OVER
Despite the foregoing, and in spite of everything he’s been through since he filed his lawsuits nearly three years ago, Groshek says that if it had been part of his opponents’ plans to intimidate him into voluntarily dropping out of his lawsuits, they’ve failed, because their personal attacks on him have only served to embolden him, as well as to assure him that he is doing the right thing by, as he puts it, “bringing these disgusting excuses for companies, and the disgusting excuses for attorneys they employ, to justice.”
In closing, Groshek has the following, direct message for his opponents’ attorneys:
“To you arrogant attorneys audacious enough to believe you’ve already beaten me; you haven’t beaten anything, except the sense into me that this isn’t over until it’s over. Make no mistake about it, I’m not going anywhere, I’m not giving up, and I will fight you until my last dying breath or until my cases are dismissed from every single court I can sue you in, whichever comes first. Having said that, I could end this right now by saying “See you in Hell’, but I won’t, because I’d rather see you at the Supreme Court, and when I do, you should keep in mind that the whole ‘David versus Goliath’ thing didn’t end too well for Goliath. But then again, how could it, when Godless heathens like you and Goliath are pitted against God-fearing, faithful people like me? You should have accepted God’s mercy and settled with me when you had the chance.”
Groshek’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari is currently pending before the Supreme Court. For more information on Groshek, his Manifestation Machine brand, or to simply stay in touch, please Like and Follow him on social media and don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list below.