Judge orders meeting in Tamara Greene case
Detroit — A federal judge has ordered attorneys in the Tamara “Strawberry” Greene case to meet at the courthouse Monday to hash out a schedule for taking the remaining depositions in the case.
Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen said he has no plans to extend a July 30 deadline for taking sworn statements from witnesses in the civil lawsuit.
“Although counsel may find it difficult to conclude their discovery efforts before the looming deadline, it is their obligation to do so, and the court has no intention of relieving them of this obligation,” Rosen said in a four-page order issued today.
Greene, an exotic dancer linked to a rumored stripper party at the mayor’s Manoogian Mansion in the fall of 2002, was shot to death in Detroit on April 30, 2003. Her family is suing the city of Detroit and former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, alleging they obstructed the investigation of her still unsolved murder. The defendants deny the allegations.
Depositions that have not yet been taken include those of Kilpatrick; his wife, Carlita; his father, Bernard; and his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty.
Norman Yatooma, the lawyer for Greene’s family, said in a court filing last week that lawyers for the defendants are dragging their feet on scheduling the depositions and trying to run out the clock. He asked Rosen to hand down a deposition schedule as a court order.
But Rosen said he would issue no such order. “This is a matter that must be handled by counsel themselves, negotiating in good faith and with a firm commitment to meet the deadlines set by the court,” he said.
But he ordered the attorneys to a courthouse conference room Monday to give some impetus to the scheduling process. He wants the attorneys to meet, set a schedule and present it to the court, which he will then embody in a court order.
Rosen said U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen will be available at the courthouse Monday should problems arise during the scheduling session.
The case is expected to go to trial early next year.