“No member of Josephson family will be permitted to attend any School events as a guest of another student, including this Saturday’s graduation. Any attempt by any member of the Josephson family to enter the premises of The Archer School for Girls will be trespassing and will result in their removal from the premises by security and/or law enforcement.”
This ban, contained in a letter sent to the Josephsons in May 2014 is an astonishing display of arrogance and vindictiveness. The ban is still in effect, as ongoing evidence of the lengths Elizabeth English was willing to go to prove her power and intimidate Archer parents who have the temerity to challenge her authority. Note the ban explicitly includes “all family members”. In another passage, the letter explicitly names two Josephson daughters who had graduated from Archer. Since Michael Josephson has six sisters and three brothers and dozens of nieces and nephews the ban includes an awful lot of people who are subject to forcible removal. On its face, the ban also includes the extended family of the Josephsons.
Apparently, Ms. English believes that Archer is her private domain and that she can do whatever she wants to punish Anne and Michael’s children (as well as all their other relatives). This belief demonstrates her hubris and the fact that she is willing to harm completely un-involved people demonstes her malice. This action, condoned by the Board of Trustees and implemented by Archer’s lawyers, is hard to describe without using terms like “petty”, “malicious” and “vindictive”.
Ms. English clearly did not have the lawful authority to declare nor enforce such a ban and she and the school could be subject to assault or false imprisonment charges if she tried to enforce it — but that’s not the point. The point is that she is so enthralled with her power that she thinks she has unlimited authority and she is reckless about subjecting the school to another round of expensive and embarrassing litigation.
Each member of the Josephson family have a right to bring a new legal action in court to demand revocation of this ban (none signed the pernicious arbitration clause). The two adult Josephson daughters, both of who received awards and honors on their graduation, have a particularly compelling case as they have been prevented from visiting their former teachers and attending events on campus.
This action was a major provocation that escalated the lawsuit. It was intended to, and did in fact, inflict great emotional harm on the two daughters involved in the lawsuit. Keep in mind, Archer’s lawyer sent the letter banning them from appearing on campus just 2 days before graduation knowing that both of the Josephson daughters were invited to and excited about attending the Archer graduation ceremonies of “best friends”. If there is any doubt about the intention, note the ban explicitly included “this Saturday’s graduation”.
Seeking to stave off still another wound to their children, Michael Josephson promptly wrote an urgent email to the Board members (see letter below) asking them to repudiate the decision before the graduation. He even offered to post a substantial cash bond to assure that neither daughter would do or say anything to offend Ms. English. The Board, confirming their complicity (as they did before in rejecting Josephsons’ request that they investigate their serious allegations) chose to ratify the decision by doing nothing.
Here’s the letter Mr. Josephson wrote the board members and several follow-up letters by the lawyers:
Date: May 29, 2014 at 7:44:47 PM PDT
To: all members of the Archer Board of Trustees
Subject: URGENT ACTION REQUIRED
Dear Member of the ARCHER Board of Trustees,
Since there is great urgency in you receiving this letter at once and ambiguity and confusion as to whether Mr. Walter is your personal legal representative for purposes of the lawsuit filed yesterday that names you personally as a defendant (he informed my attorney that he was not authorized to accept service of process on your behalf), I am writing you personally as still one more urgent issue has arisen that justifies and requires attention of each board member. A few hours ago, I received the attached letter sent to our attorney by Mr. Walter which includes the following passage:
“In light of the repeated false attacks on the School by the Josephsons, Archer can no longer trust them to be on School premises. As Archer’s campus is private property, please advise your clients – Anne Josephson, Michael Josephson, [Child 1] and [Child 2] – that their permission to be on School property has been revoked and they are no longer permitted to enter School property at any time for any reason.
Additionally, please also inform Anne and Michael Josephson that Abrielle Josephson and Samara Josephson are also no longer permitted to be on campus. [Emphasis in original]. Further, no member of Josephson family will be permitted to attend any School events as a guest of another student, including this Saturday’s graduation. Any attempt by any member of the Josephson family to enter the premises of The Archer School For Girls will be trespassing and will result in their removal from the premises by security and/or law enforcement.”
I don’t know whether you saw it, knew of it before it was sent, or otherwise approved of this action to banish the Josephsons from Archer, but I sincerely and respectfully suggest this action serves no legitimate institutional purpose and it is so inflammatory that, it may provide an insurmountable barrier to any future settlement, especially if endorsed by you and fellow board members should you choose inaction rather than intervention.
While this action will doubtless enhance our legal claims alleging malice (it so clearly demonstrates a willingness of Ms. English, and possibly the board, to inflict intense injury on our children in retaliation for Anne’s and my decision to seek judicial review of actions that had enormous impact on our kids), I hope you can see how it increases your potential liability significantly.
Our primary concern is the well-being of our children and I implore you as a member of the board to call an emergency meeting to instruct Ms. English to revoke this new assault designed to shame our children and deny them the simple privilege of sharing joyful experiences with their lifelong friends and former classmates.
Both daughters were invited to the graduation ceremonies. Please, please do not participate in punishing them still further by this completely unnecessary and vindictive act of Ms. English. Again you and your colleagues are in a position to prevent harm. I deeply and sincerely hope you do so rather than become complicit in still another intentional act to inflict emotional distress on two young girls. . . .
From: Brian P. Walter
Date: Fri, May 30, 2014 at 10:13 AM
Subject: Fwd: URGENT ACTION REQUIRED
To: James Kosnett
Dear Mr. Kosnett,
I am forwarding the email that your client, Michael Josephson, sent to members of the Board of Trustees. His communication is inappropriate and further evidence of his desperate attempt to justify an unjustified lawsuit. . . .
Please inform your client that he needs to show restraint and follow proper communication protocols. He has chosen to sue The Archer School for Girls, its Board of Trustees and Elizabeth English. He needs to communicate through you. If he persists in communicating directly to the defendants in this matter, serious consideration will be given to seeking a harassment restraining order against him and perhaps other action.
With respect to your email to me yesterday evening and this email from Mr. Josephson, the reason the School will not allow the Josephsons on campus is that in addition to suing The Archer School For Girls, Anne and Michael Josephson have engaged in a relentless pattern of vicious unwarranted attacks on the School and especially its highly regarded Head of School. Recently we have learned that their daughters, [Child 1 and Child 2] have also been actively spreading false and malicious statements about the School in addition to suing the School. The School will not tolerate those attacks and is certainly not going to facilitate those attacks by permitting the Josephsons to keep coming on campus so that they can continue this outrageous behavior.
It is imperative that you do everything to inform each of your clients, including Child 1 and Child 2, about the fact that they will be trespassing if they attempt to enter the premises of The Archer School For Girls. And you need to inform Mr. Josephson that he needs to cease any and all contact with Board members. Thank you.
On May 30, 2014, James Kosnett, the Josephsons’ lawyer wrote:
I have conveyed a copy of your most recent email to Mr. Josephson, and I do not envision any future circumstance where direct communication will be necessary once the issues of legal representation are resolved. You know very well that this communication was in direct response to your clients’ astonishing family-wide ban, intended among other things to inflict still further pain on the Josephson girls by forbidding them to attend the graduation ceremonies of their best friends.
Thus, if the Board was to have a chance to repudiate this decision they needed to have the information last night. If their decision to do nothing and thereby ratify still another vindictive act with no legitimate institutional purpose is based on your stated concerns that the girls will say bad or improper things, we believe this is another sham that slanders the Josephsons with no basis in fact.
Nevertheless, my clients assure you that, if the girls are permitted to attend the ceremonies they will say nothing at all about Archer, the lawsuit or anything related. Moreover my clients are willing to put up a very substantial cash bond to back this assurance.
To the best of my clients’ knowledge, their daughters never did or said what you say they did. If you will be so kind as to provide substance to these charges, such as when, to whom and what was said, my clients will look into the matter and provide guidance if it is warranted.
Frankly, my clients are confident that your clients will not, because they cannot, support this pretext to infliction of further punishment.
Similarly, will you provide any context or substance for your charge that Anne and Michael Josephson have engaged “in a relentless pattern of vicious unwarranted attacks on the School, especially the head of the school” outside the privileged context of this litigation and their offer to settle their claim?
James Victor Kosnett
From: Brian P. Walter
Date: Fri, May 30, 201
Subject: Fwd: URGENT ACTION REQUIRED
To: James Kosnett
Your email seems to miss the point of my prior communications regarding this matter. [Child 1 and Child 2] Josephson are suing Archer, Elizabeth English, and current and former trustees. The School is a private institution on private property. Entrance onto School property is a privilege. The School is not going to extend this privilege to persons who are making false and malicious allegations against it and suing it. No bond or other promise to behave will change that fact, nor will it undo the harm already perpetrated by the Josephsons.
The Josephson children (and parents) are not permitted to be on campus. Pursuant to Penal Code 602, they will be trespassing if they attempt to enter the campus.
It’s not hard to see why the Josephson’s have persisted in their action against Elizabeth English and the Board of Trustees.