Bonavito v. Harvard: The Greatest Pro Se Victory in 50 Years, Part 3
Pro se is Latin for “in one's own behalf”. The right to appear pro se in a civil case in Federal Court is defined by statute 28 U.S.C. § 1654.
List of the Court Venues the Case Appeared in
- New Jersey Superior Court
- United States District Court, New Jersey, before two federal judges
- United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- United States District Court, Massachusetts
- Massachusetts, Judicial Conduct Proceedings
- Massachusetts, Petition for Review of Judicial Conduct Proceedings
- United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- Supreme Court
Many consider this case the most important case concerning discrimination since, Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, which stopped racial segregation in the public school system.
The case was moved to Boston District Court in 2021. Immediately problems seemed to emerge. First was that it was extremely difficult to set up electronic filing on the federal court “Case Management/Electronic Case Files” (CM/ECF) system. By doing this the court allowed the defendant to easily file their pleadings. However, as a pro se plaintiff it was almost impossible to file any type of pleadings or motions. The federal district court judge reluctantly allowed me to file electronically on the exact day my pleadings were due.
After multiple filings by both me and the defendant, the judge set up a hearing date for April 2022. I was under the impression that this would give me the opportunity to present facts directly to the judge. However, I was in for quite a surprise.
I was warned that moving the case to Massachusetts would be very problematic. The primary reason was that Harvard is one of the biggest employers in Massachusetts and the most prominent law school that many of the judges and lawyers within the state graduated from. Filing a strong multimillion dollar discrimination case against Harvard would be very challenging. Several lawyers within Massachusetts implied that it would be impossible to get a quality law firm at any fee, and it is very likely that any judge would be extremely biased.
Of course, I thought this was ridiculous especially when I would be dealing with a federal court.
I did quickly find out that high quality law firms were reluctant to take strong cases against Harvard. The reason explained to me was they did not want to lose Harvard as a client. In addition, they did not want to lose the other educational institutions in Massachusetts, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston University. Harvard, along with the other major institutions in Massachusetts formed a type of cartel making it very tricky for lawyers or judges to have a successful law career if they did not play by Harvard’s rules.
Essentially, the defendant was making a motion to dismiss the case under rule Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); which meant they were claiming that I failed to state a claim which relief could be granted upon. The key component of filing A Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion is that the motion must be based on facts. There was no discover in the case so they could not present new evidence in their motion.
Not only did the defendant submit new documents but they also submitted false documents. Although I warned the judge multiple times during the hearing, The judge turned the Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion into a Summary Judgment based on new documents that were fraudulent.
A Summary Judgment can only be decided by the judge based on discovery, which was denied to me.
By turning the 12(b)(6) motion into a Summary Judgment the judge was illegally allowed to dismiss the case. By doing this the judge made sure I would be denied access to any discovery.Return to Video Gallery