Wondering How Suburban Express Is Doing In Lawsuit Brought By Illinois Attorney General? Really Fucking Bad!

from the like-super,-super-bad dept

Back in May, we wrote about Suburban Express, the comically awful bussing company that works the University of Illinois-Champaign to Chicago circuit and is owned by Dennis Toeppen, being sued by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Why it was sued by the state will require you going through the backlinks above, but can more succinctly be expressed in the following math equation:

(legal threats against a redditor for negative reviews) x 2 +(doxxing complaining customers) + (lawsuits filed against customers for complaining) - (rescinding those lawsuits) + (refiling those same lawsuits again) + (Toeppen being arrested for harassing his critics) + (filing more lawsuits) x (sending out a racist email advertisement promising that you won't see Chinese people on its busses) = well, hello there, federal court

Okay, fine, so the equation wasn't all that succinct. Still, the answer to why Madigan sued is essentially because Surburban Express likely violated all kinds of laws in doing the above. Madigan's suit alleged a dizzying array of violations of civil rights and consumer protection laws, as well as Illinois law on civil rights. Toeppen stands accused of harassment of customers for leaving the company negative reviews, arbitrary refusal of service based on not liking customers for a variety of reasons including racial reasons, and having internal and external communications, such as the advertisement that ridicules Asians and Jews, because every bigot entree basically just comes with a Jewish piece of parsley. In all, Madigan included 182 pages of exhibits backing up her accusations.

So, how's it going?

Well, pretty fucking bad for Toeppen and Suburban Express, it turns out. Ken White lays out a summary of what's occurred with the suit thus far.

It's not looking promising for Toeppen or Suburban Express in court. They agreed to a Temporary Restraining Order barring them from publishing the personal identifying information of customers, required them to take down the personal identifying information they already published, revise their lawsuits to redact gratuitously filed personal identifying information, and stop retaliating against customers for online reviews. Toeppen and Suburban Express agreed to have that order extended a few times, and now the AG wants to make it into a more long-term injunction. Meanwhile the attorney for Suburban Express and Toeppen wants to quit, citing strategic disputes and non-payment. Toeppen is falling back on the game-winning strategy of semi-coherent attacks on the media.

That last bit takes the form of a bizarre attack on The News Gazette. After reporting on the case, the News Gazette received a brief and vague bit of pushback directly from Toeppen as to its reporting about Toeppen's lawyer looking to exit the case. As per usual with Toeppen, the interaction was long on bombast and short on anything worthwhile.

After this article was published, Toeppen emailed The News-Gazette to criticize its reporting.

"Don't try to report on things you do not understand and are unwilling to research," he wrote. "Your reporting on this matter has been idiotic in the extreme."

A News-Gazette email asking for clarification bounced back with an error saying the sender's email address had been rejected.

"You're wrong, but I won't explain how, and I'll block your email address right after I send this!" is about as useless an interaction as I can think of. None of that changes the News Gazette's reporting about Toeppen's attorney seeking to no longer represent Suburban Express over both strategic issues and a lack of payment from Toeppen, not to mention that Suburban Express' insurance company is asking the court to declare that it doesn't have to pay for the lawsuit, essentially because the policy doesn't cover Toeppen being an asshole.

The Hartford has denied coverage, Long said, and Manufacturers Alliance Insurance Company denied coverage and filed a lawsuit against Toeppen and Allerton Charter Coach, which operates as a contractor for Suburban Express.

It's seeking a decision from the court on whether it correctly denied coverage, arguing that policies Allerton and Toeppen have exclude coverage when the damages result from intentional misconduct, as Madigan's lawsuit alleges.

Now, look, I know it might seem like I'm actively rooting against Toeppen and Suburban Express and for Madigan to at the very least make an example of them, but it only looks that way because it's absolutely true and I have no interest in pretending otherwise. The level of harassment and vitriol Toeppen has displayed, all because people don't want him to run his business as though this was Montgomery circa 1955.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2018 @ 8:20pm

    So, when do you and Ken White receive your emails from Toeppen?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 20 Jul 2018 @ 9:36pm

      Re:

      Well if any shows up, we'll likely get to see. (and get to point amd laught at its contents)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 21 Jul 2018 @ 2:26am

        'Nuh-uh, your article was wrong because reasons!'

        Sadly if his response to the News-Gazette is any indication any such email would likely be too short to get much entertainment out of it.

        Mind, I do hope he takes a swing at it, as 'yet another putz sends TD a threat under the hilariously flawed idea that it will cow them into silence' articles are always worth a chuckle.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JarHead, 20 Jul 2018 @ 10:40pm

    (legal threats against a redditor for negative reviews) x 2 +(doxxing complaining customers) + (lawsuits filed against customers for complaining) - (rescinding those lawsuits) + (refiling those same lawsuits again) + (Toeppen being arrested for harassing his critics) + (filing more lawsuits) x (sending out a racist email advertisement promising that you won't see Chinese people on its busses) = well, hello there, federal court

    That's an entertaining way to summarize a very bad behavior

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Jul 2018 @ 10:57pm

    And this is why your parents told you to stand up to bullies, it isn't an easy path as they will try to bully you more but in the end they discover there is a price for bullying.

    Hell at this point the KKK could brand a busline to zip college kids around & market using the line 'Only half as racist as Suburban Express' & disrupt the market.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Jul 2018 @ 11:27pm

    Make up your mind

    "Don't try to report on things you do not understand and are unwilling to research," he wrote. "Your reporting on this matter has been idiotic in the extreme."

    First he goes off on them for not researching the topic enough, then he followed through with an accusation that would seem to imply that they did plenty of research.

    Which is it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 21 Jul 2018 @ 12:26am

    You're being unfair.

    Now, look, I know it might seem like I'm actively rooting against Toeppen and Suburban Express and for Madigan to at the very least make an example of them, but it only looks that way because it's absolutely true and I have no interest in pretending otherwise. The level of harassment and vitriol Toeppen has displayed, all because people don't want him to run his business as though this was Montgomery circa 1955.

    Toeppen was openly discriminating against Chinese and Jews, not blacks (apologies for not using the politically correct skin color characterization of the day: the 1955 term would have been "negroes").

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2018 @ 8:50am

    When you run afoul of perhaps the most corrupt state in the union, you know you're in a special level of scumbaggery.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 21 Jul 2018 @ 9:01am

    Hopefully

    Hopefully the next bus ride Toeppen gets is to the slammer. What an asshat. He just keeps digging.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 21 Jul 2018 @ 11:58am

    I you want to be racist DO IT PROPERLY

    Ban them all from driving your bus..
    Base it on religion, race, color, Heredity, and Any other ODD BALL, idiotic, Stupid, Comment you can create, or was created Long ago..

    I hope you understand..THERE WONT BE ANY RIDERS ON THE BUS..

    Go Ahead, and put Pictures of all the political Mass murders in the windows..And really scare the people...And get Rocks thrown at your bus.

    Being nasty and mean, and STUPID is easy..Go for it, if you like being KNOWN as nasty and mean and stupid.

    then go back into history and LEARN, how and why those name were created, used, ABUSED..and MOST have no meaning or reasoning..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2018 @ 7:56pm

    Re: apartamento manizales chipre,

    Sorry I don't speak deported, could you translate into english?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    John Smith, 22 Jul 2018 @ 12:43am

    The slanted language here is incredible. Definitely not the way journalists used to speak, but this is 2018.

    As for Ken White, let's see how well his "snark" holds up in the next few months. I'm guessing it won't. This little lawyer-echo-chamber has convinced itself of many things which others might challenge.

    Anyone who is wagering on their ability to convince the entire world to ignore something is not likely to have a positive long-term outcome.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 Jul 2018 @ 3:18am

      Re:

      It's a little late in the week to get a place in the funniest comments section, still, B- for effort at least.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2018 @ 6:46am

      Re:

      "Anyone who is wagering on their ability to convince the entire world to ignore something is not likely to have a positive long-term outcome."

      Perhaps trump and friends should think about this.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2018 @ 12:47pm

      Re:

      Them grapes must be pretty sour bro.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Tanner Andrews (profile), 22 Jul 2018 @ 1:42pm

      Re: John Smith, Slanted Language

      I have to admit that I am unsurprised at ``slanted language'' in a comment section. It is somewhat in the nature of comments that they contain bias and, um, commentary. You want facts, go somewhere and make up your own.

      And,

      As for Ken White, let's see how well his "snark" holds up in the next few months.

      well, I am pretty confident in Mr. White's longevity. More so than, say, in the longevity of the legal representation enjoyed by Suburban Express.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Smith, 22 Jul 2018 @ 12:44am

    Those who know libel law should take a few refresher courses on employment law. Quickly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Tanner Andrews (profile), 22 Jul 2018 @ 1:48pm

      Re: learning about employment law

      Those who know libel law should take a few refresher courses on employment law

      Sorry, not licensed in Illinois. Are you? I ask because it appears that Toeppen may need some help since his atty wants out for non-payment and his insurance does not want to provide representation. Yes, Toeppen can self-represent, but since the AG has dragged in his companies, and companies cannot, I think there may be a need up there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2018 @ 10:24pm

      Re:

      Well you tried... kind of.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Subhash, 22 Jul 2018 @ 1:09am

    Hopefully

    Hopefully the next bus ride Toeppen gets is to the slammer. What an asshat. He just keeps digging.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    IrvingEnterprise, 23 Jul 2018 @ 12:20am

    Hilarious and yet so true.. Keep up the great work on the articles

    https://irvingenterprise2016.wixsite.com/law-1

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 23 Jul 2018 @ 6:55am

    So many shooting in the foot. Maybe we have a world record here? *eats more popcorn* Real life provides more comedy than arts!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    btr1701 (profile), 23 Jul 2018 @ 11:35am

    Venue

    > Madigan's suit alleged a dizzying array of violations of
    > civil rights and consumer protection laws, as well as
    > Illinois law on civil rights.

    So I'm unclear why a suit by the ILLINOIS attorney general which alleges violations of ILLINOIS civil rights and ILLINOIS consumer protection laws is in FEDERAL court.

    Shouldn't a cause of action brought by the state, alleging violations of state law, be brought in state court?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 23 Jul 2018 @ 5:19pm

      Re: Venue

      That question was asked in the Popehat comment sections, and here's how En Passant explained it:

      The complaint includes a bevy of federal claims as well as state claims. The complaint asserts federal court jurisdiction over the state law claims, because the underlying events, parties, transactions, and injuries are the same for both the state and federal claims.

      See page 5 of the complaint:

      12. The Court has jurisdiction over the State’s Section 1981 and Consumer Review Act claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343. This Court has supplemental jurisdiction to adjudicate the State’s state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367, as the events, parties, transactions, and injuries that form the basis of the State’s federal claims are the same or related to the events, parties, transactions, and injuries that form the basis of the State’s claims arising under state law.

      So as I understand it the suit alleges several violations of federal law in addition to state law, and the violations of state law are roughly(if not actually) the same as the federal violations, such that by taking it to federal court all of the allegations can be addressed in one go rather than two cases, one for just the state, and another for just the federal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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