Monday, September 20, 2010

Wrapping Up a Difficult Summer........a Big Drain....

The most draining trial of this year started when things began to unravel in a business relationship clear back in January. I began to doubt my journey and to lose focus on what really mattered. The realization I had made such a mistake in judgement that my dream was now in danger of crashing and burning had me doubting most everything I did. As things went downhill so seemed to go my determination at least in the beginning of the decline.

Once it became obvious in late May that a legal battle was what it was going to take to preserve my reputation, something sparked in me even if the flame of belief in myself didn't burn bright. I dove in head first and the journey consumed me. At least by that point I had realized, like Solildare, I was not going to give up no matter what came my way so I dug in and fought with the vengeance this battle deserved. Most every waking hour I was buried in legal books or pouring over the facts trying to understand how I was going to get myself out of this mess I'd created by not trusting my instincts in the first place.

Acting "pro se" with little understanding of the legal process for a civil suit was a monumental task. I have experience with the legal system back from those days when my daughter was molested. I knew from that experience that truth does not always win out and that understanding the system and what one must do within its framework is far more important than truth. Still I had to hold tightly to my belief that the truth would win out IF I could get it before the court according to court rules instead of human logic. A sad commentary on our legal system but one all too true.

The importance of understanding the demands of the court was obviously my biggest challenge right from the start. I figured my opponents would think I didn't have a prayer against an attorney but I needed to believe that I did. I think watching Solidare's daily struggles helped me keep faith in myself and in the truth so I could hang in and fight.

During this time I had little contact with the outside world. I had little contact with my horses for someone who has thirty of them. A brief ride on Legs and checking in on Solidare and her colt were pretty much it for me. Then I was back into survival mode. The focus of my business totally changed from training horses so I could get them into the show ring to preserving the reputation I'd worked so hard to attain. I worked on this case nearly every waking hour and many hours that were supposed to be devoted to sleep. To say I lived, breathed and slept it would be an understatement. It consumed me.

Those I did have contact with during these months probably grew sick to death of hearing the details as I mulled them over and over in my mind, in conversation and in written form in emails. The facts I knew and the way "they" represented them churned around in my brain upside down and backwards and every way in between as I tried to see all the angles to find all the ways to support the truth. Bouncing the information off my friends helped expose the holes in "their" version, helped me understand what had happened and how I could prove I had been taken. The pieces slowly fell into place and I began to see that I probably could prevail if I was diligent with the process demanded by the court.

I think the biggest problem with being successful as a pro se was the way the law is structured. The rules are vague so they can accommodate more different types of scenarios (causes of action to be specific). Descriptions must be open to interpretation to fit all the nefarious ways that human beings can do wrong to one another. Reading between those lines is what makes lawyers rich and those who need them poor and, of course, manipulating them is big too.

Manipulation is not something I'm good at, nor do I ever want to be so I was definitely disadvantaged there. Truth and manipulation are not good bedfellows and yet they are the foundation of our legal system. This was a realization I was really saddened to see. It was important to me to prevail without stooping to their level and yet I had to work within this structure that was so foreign to me.

Finding a way to navigate through the quagmire was a daunting task. I studied. I read and I reread. I did searches on the internet. The homeless woman living in my back yard answered questions as best she could.

It was really from her I learned about the need to have case law to support my perspective. After discussions with her on how the law works, I'd do searches on past cases to see how case law determined how trials turned out. Over and over I read Supreme Court decisions where judges mentioned what would have worked for a pro se that didn't because the appropriate case law was not referenced or the case law that was referenced didn't support the argument. Fortunately it was in that process I began to find the case law that would work for me.

Getting Through

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  1. You have had a very rough year and I feel for you. Hopefully you've rounded the bend and things will start looking up from now on. You deserve some good luck for a change!

  2. I never realized that you were so wrapped up in legal issues this summer! I think you did a good job maintaining your sanity. I hope all went/is going well on the case.

  3. Sounds like a real quagmire, glad you found help and support tthrough it from the homeless ladty and your friends. I hope the outcome was/is postive

  4. smazourek, boy, you're right about that, it has been a rough year. Hopefully, we're on the upswing.

    Fantastyk Voyager, oh yes, I've been up to my eyeballs in a legal mess and I did manage to stay sane although I wonder if Dave would agree with that. LOL

    fern, I think that's what surprised me the most. You'd think "right" would be all that maattered but rules and precedents are more important than right. It was a sad education.

  5. I came within a hair of making a very foolish business decision involving a "friend" several years ago. Gotta give my thanks to God that He stopped me from following through with it, 'cause it would have made one heck of a mess. I sure hope everything turns (turned?) out all right for you!

  6. wow - that is a daunting thing to deal with. Good for you for diving in headfirst and doing your best to understand the system...not that the "system" is all that helpful or just...

    How amazing that the homeless woman living in the backyard had some education in what you needed help with??? Still amazed by all of that...

    I hope things work out for the best for you.

  7. My heart hurts for you. I have had an eye opening summer as well. My mother went from a let me hold your horse, give me the brush, horse show mom one weekend, and the next had 3 craniotomy surgeries. Adjusting to life with her living with me has been hard for my family - but I wouldn't change a thing.
    Looking at the dates your problem started - is this about your past "trainer"?

  8. Jen, good for you avoiding the mess. I wish I could say that. Life would be a lot different now if I had.

    Laura, you just know how things are going to work out sometimes. I, too, was amazed at the homeless woman's arrival on the scene when I needed her.

    Connie, what a trial you are going through. I know about the challenges you face. I hope your mother is on the road to recovery.

    Glad you put the "trainer" in quotes because that's how it needs to be, but yes, your observations are correct. Maybe with a little distance I will feel like telling the whole story. It is so convoluted and painful I just don't want to go there now.

  9. I hope the case is resolved to your satisfaction and soon.