Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The New Journey............. Enter the Homeless.....

Part One

It was the beginning of summer when I encountered the homeless people in the park. Before I realized their status there, I had become involved in a conversation with the woman as we began to talk about horses. With all of the pressure of the lawsuit on me such a conversation just didn't happen without some form of mention of it and Storm. That's when this woman volunteered the information she was a paralegal and she would like to help me with my paperwork if she could.

After I invited them home to camp in our back yard, I now had a valuable resource available to me. I really wanted not to exploit that situation so I only asked questions of her when I was really stumped or feeling particularly insecure.

When I did ask those questions it would lead to quite a conversation and there was usually more in it that just the information I had requested. Sometimes my eyes wanted to cross just listening to her ramblings on the legal system but I hung in there trying to figure out how what she said pertained to my case.

There was just so much information there and much of it beyond my scope of comprehension at this point but I knew by listening I'd pick up something useful. I also got more of a feel for this new venture I'd embarked upon. I figured feel for whatever you do is important, not just in dealing with horses. Any kind of feel about the legal system was going to be better than the awkwardness of that first court hearing. Her insights were appreciated in more ways than I can say.

In addition to her stories of cases she's worked, she helped me with many issues both for my case and legal work in general. She showed me how I should be organizing my legal documents so that I could easily reference them later and even explained the different types of court documents to me.

I hadn't really thought of things in terms of pleadings and motions but with her advice, I sorted them that way and got a binder to keep them all together in a reverse sequence. Now I know that pleadings are request for the court do do something. Motions are either denied and accepted or can be partially denied or accepted but they are the court's response to pleadings. If you make a pleading, it should end up with some kind of motion.

Although I must admit I have not completed the index of those documents as instructed. I did sort my paperwork as she described. The purpose was, if I needed them for reference or court requested proof, I had all my information right at my finger tips with an easy method to locate each document . That way I wouldn't waste valuable time searching for what I needed and believe me this still all sucks up so much time you don't want to be searching for anything you don't have to.

I already understood I needed to be filing a proof of service with the court but this woman helped me see how those fit in with the rest of my records. They had seemed almost inconsequential to me but when it comes to deadlines they are a very important part of the process and determining compliance. Since things can and do get lost at the court or getting to the opposing attorney, proof of service is a very important part of this process.

It soon became clear all the stacks of paper everywhere all over my desk and dining room table really needed to have some rhyme or reason to them. Now with her help I began to see how to accomplish that. I had stacks of triplicated evidence sitting waiting to be labelled and other stacks of evidence waiting to see where it fit specifically into my case. While I knew what I wanted to prove with that evidence, I didn't necessarily understand how to accomplish that part yet.

There were lots of those stacks with unseen question marks on them. I figured by the time I began putting things into place, it would become more obvious where those pieces fit. In the meantime just looking at them was overwhelming. Getting this input from the paralegal was a big first step in seeing an end to the dilemma of all this paperwork and where it all went.

It was also from her I learned that the court was not going to be interested in just the facts. I have known of lawsuits being settled because of money and not justice but I guess I had no idea how widespread the practice is. If I wanted not to be one of those statistics consumed by the money gods, I needed to be sure I got the right amount of pressure applied to BG and WF to get this thing settled out of court if I could. Even if that didn't happen, I needed to be careful of how I went about using elements that could drive the costs up beyone my reach. Experts and sworn affidavits among other things could be cost prohibitive.

I also learned I should be expecting BG and WF's attorney to manipulate the system whatever way possible. Even though the judge had instructed her to keep things moving, that didn't mean she would do that in a manner that helped me. The odds were she would use it in a manner to exploit my lack of understanding of the process and still get done only what she needed so she didn't get sanctioned by the court. If I didn't want to be caught in that trap, I needed to get more aggressive in my pursuit of discovery.

She also taught me about legal precedence. If I wanted to be successful I better get looking for it and lots of it to support my case because, according to my guest, decisions are made based on past precedence not truth. The odds were the judge would not really even look at the details of my case as much as he would look for my use of precedence to prove I had a right to the evidence I used.

It took a while for me to understand how I was to use precedence within my case but at least I now knew I needed to use that as an element of my case if I wanted my evidence to be considered at all. It was so frustrating to think that what was right was not as important as some judge from the past deciding if I could use it.

I already knew from the law librarians that I would need to write a brief for my trial. Wendy had found a suitable example of one for me to use when she visited the law library with me. The sample helped me see what kind of job that would be and to know I would need to allow myself plenty of time to write such a thing. It was within the context of a brief I began to see how precedence fit into my case.

Looking for precedence I began doing research on the Internet and began finding documents to support what I needed in my case. Those documents also helped me to see how to incorporate this new information within my paperwork both for the brief and for other court documents too.

Ideally items used for precedence would be from cases of animal law. If that wasn't possible, the next best thing would be cases using the same causes of action as in my case. Opening this door looking for precedence made me more aware of what a cause of action was and how they worked within the case.

It was also through her that I realized that there were holes in the way I had done the initial paperwork for my lawsuit. By now I had put enough pieces together to realize that not only were BG and WF in breach of contract but there were other causes of action available to me. I had been under the impression I could add such things after my replevin hearing and I had done so in my reply to their counterclaim. Now I was questioning if what I'd done was appropriate. If it wasn't, I wanted to get the situation fixed or I would have no recourse under the law.

Her knowledge base led me to the fact I could amend my complaint. Of course, I had to find the precedence to support my request but with it I should be able to fix what I had left undone in my initial complaint. Doing so would allow me to put the kind of legal pressure onto BG and WF that they had been trying to put on me.

I knew to this point they pretty much still viewed me as the "fool" representing herself. Even if BG had been somewhat deflated in court, there still had been nothing to show them that I could really handle this conflict they had designed to trap me. The only way that would happen was for me to show more understanding of this system than I had up to now.

Because I was so aware that BG and WF would manipulate whatever information they could get to counter the truth, I had been very protective about exposing my cards. That's why I hadn't posted here about what was going on and it's why I was not telling most people what I was up to. While this kept my evidence safe from their manipulations, it didn't allow their attorney to know what they were up against which meant she really couldn't make an informed decision about what this case could cost.

Unfortunately cost seems to be everything in the legal system. It is the driving motivator behind all settlements. I'm sure WF and BG had continued by filing a counterclaim because they believed they could pressure me into submission with little cost to themselves based on their attorney's assessment of the case.

If I had any plans of winning this thing, I was going to have to figure out a game plan that protected my evidence AND showed them I had command of this ordeal. For me that translated to filling up the holes I had created as well as closing doors so BG and WF couldn't continued with their lies.

To be continued..............

A Light Bulb Moment.....

This picture is Tag. I'm thinking this boy wants to be a reiner. Now if I could just get some time on him, we'd find out if that's possible. Someone stop the rain!

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  1. Gorgeous picture.
    I'm glad you were finding people who could help you find your way in the legal quagmire you were in. I also have found that what is right doesn't always matter to the courts if you don't have the funds behind you. Sucks but unfortunately it is what it is.

  2. Gorgeous horse. It seems like fate that this woman showed up just when you needed someone to help you. I have a feeling that you are going to surprise everyone with your expertise when you get to court!

  3. What an excellent resource to find!

  4. So many challenges and things to learn in a heck of a hurry. Glad some things came together to help . And sheer determination on your part

  5. Nicole, I was grateful for the help as well. It sure made things a lot less stressful.

    Arlene, I think fate was kind to me a number of times and I thank God for that.

    Dom, she came along at just the right time and I think I cam along at the right time for them as well.

    fern, My determination certaily powered this thing but I was very grateful for the help.

  6. Gosh Tag looks like he really wants to rock and roll. What a cutey pie!
    Glad you found someone to help you out with all that legal jargon.Sounds very complicated. Figers crossed for you

  7. I still think it's amazing that you two found each other right when you needed each other and were able to work out a trade. Up until I got involved in the horse world, everything had to be paid for with money. Trading was never a possibility. Now I'm discovering that there are people who are willing to work out a trade. Years ago a Native American man wanted my book of poems, but didn't have the cash to spare, so I just gave him a copy of my book. He found me the next week and handed me a wooden bead that he hand-carved, and to this day I wear that around my neck.

  8. you can call it fate, you can call it God, you can call it karma...

    but this is just another one of those things that indicate that help is available when you open your heart. If you had ignored or disdained them, you would have lost out on a resource that was critical in your journey.

    But you didn't, and you got just as much from the experience as they did.

    Good for you - stuff like that has got to give you a little hope that the world isn't against you Every Single Day. Hope is important.

  9. It's kind of like you two "saved" each other in some fashion. (0:
    It's nice to know that there are good poeple out there!!


  10. Sally, yes, he does, doesn't he. I think he'd really like it if we ever get the chance.

    It certainly looked complicated in the beginning but once I had it figured out, it made perfect sense. Funny how that happens.

    NuzzMuzz, we didn't technically work out of trade. I helped them and they helped me. Had they not had something to offer, I would still have brought them home.

    Pretty cool you got a hand carved bead. That's a treasure.

    Enginerd, welcome! And you're so right about hope. It is important.

    Nikker, I guess you could say that. They were lovely people. We were glad we could help them.

  11. Funny how things work out in the strangest ways sometimes. Proof that there is always someone or something watching out for us when we do things right.

    Good deeds always bring rewards, even if you have to wait for them. When they arrive, sometimes they are far more than you ever would have expected or guessed.

  12. I'm loving that picture!!

    I agree with Nicole... I don't have much experience with the legal system, but it seems the more money you have, the better you're going to do, whether you're in the right or not.

    It's great you've founds such a helpful individual!!

  13. That was such a godsend finding someone who could help you. How wonderful that you helped them out too.