Friday, March 11, 2011

The New Journey............ MY Discovery Process.....

Part One

Because of my conversation with the equine attorney referred to me by my friend, I already had realized that I probably should go outside the scope of this case to seek evidence that would show the true nature of BG and WF. How they normally conducted business could reflect on their procedures in this case. Maybe there was a pattern of behavior that would expose inconsistencies between our business dealings and their norm. If that was the case, it could be something that would work for me.

I began to look at what I already knew with a fresh perspective. What did they do to protect themselves and what did they NOT do for the same reason? Were the inconsistencies in what was written and what wasn't for particular purposes? Were their normal business practices reputable or did they take short cuts with the law there too? Answers to these questions could help show the court who BG and WF really were.

In their court documents they had submitted as evidence both a written boarding agreement for their horse business and a written purchase agreement for the boxer puppy through their dog breeding business. Was there a method to their choice of what they had written and what wasn't? AND wasn't it convenient that the one transaction that really had value, a $S30,000 horse was not written, when $300 board was? What did that mean? What about the fact I had actually seen paper documenting what horses were worked each day and that paperwork did not show up in the evidence? Could it mean that paperwork DID NOT support their claims?

As I went through this process in my mind, those stacks of evidence all over my dining room table migrated into piles for specific designations. Each piece there represented some proof that disputed their claims. Yet how each piece should be used in court was still not clear so I shuffled paperwork, I moved piles, I added notations to the top of stacks. How was I going to make all of this work for me and what did I need from them to fill in the gaps to expose them for the frauds they were.

I realized in these ponderings that part of the answers lay right under my nose in those pieces of evidence from BG and WF themselves. How much of that paperwork could I use to support my claims?

Because they had included the boarding agreement and the sales agreement on the boxer puppy, that opened the door for me to request their business records for both businesses. I knew from lots of courtroom drama both on and off the TV that once that door is opened, it cannot be closed. They had introduced those items themselves and I was entitled to know what else was behind them in those businesses. I couldn't help but think there were many secrets there. I even easily found precedence to support my right to acquire such material.

There were other documents that had already been introduced as exhibits for the court as well that had purposes that worked for me. The copy of the registration papers I had signed along with the paperwork they had received from the registry requesting the duplicate registration certificate so transfer could be completed was part of the exhibits they'd filed with the court. That registry paperwork showed the postmarked date when WF and BG sent the original paperwork to the registry for transfer. I already had copies of the emails, including the one dated the day before, that clearly stated the horse was NOT paid for yet and that his claims that it was were unfounded. Didn't that prove intent on their part.

Well, then there's that issue of foundation. To get those emails into evidence, a foundation must be laid. Part of my discovery process needed to be asking for the pieces that would help lay those foundations.

There was another piece of registry paperwork included in their exhibits that really didn't belong there. It was a computer print out of a transfer of another horse. Because this paperwork had shown up in the court documents, this door was also open for me to explore. How did this transaction have any bearing on my case?

I knew that horse, a half-Arabian mare, had been "given" to them so WF could show her. However, they were not supposed to be able to sell that horse. If they ever decided they didn't want the mare, they were supposed to return her to the woman they got her from. Was this all written down in a contractual form? Or were BG and WF on "their honor" to meet these terms? No paperwork might imply a regular pattern of not writing down what they could later profit from better without paperwork.

While this was only a question about this mare at this time, I did have knowledge of another arrangement over a horse that was not written. That situation was indeed exploited by BG and WF. Because there was no written documentation, they took advantage and got more than they were entitled to AND I had the other party willing to testify.

Then there was that accounting sheet that had been done by BG (according to WF) to explain how they had paid for the horse. Aside from the general accounting of horses worked, there were other anomalies in that paperwork that I thought showed how shady BG and WF really were. Any work to gather evidence against BG and WF would certainly include questions to clarify the charges on that sheet.

Since there was little truth in that sheet, the devil was in the details. While the details piece by piece didn't really look like much, all together they would tell the story BG and WF didn't want told. I needed to get BG and WF to own some of those details or even to deny them. It really didn't matter which because I had evidence to support those details. If they agreed with me, it would support what I said. If they didn't, well, I had proof what I said was true so I'd have them in a lie. It was a simple as that. Lets seek out what we can to nail them down to each and every truth one way or the other. That was my task at hand.

When I looked at the sheet was I saw was all the things that were not there. The individual horses that had been worked. The days they hadn't been worked and so on. Sure, I knew all of this information and I had some evidence to prove it. Now I needed anything I could gather from BG and WF to support or deny would be like an added bonus. Once I began to see the possibilities, my mind raced with the ways to make it work. All those details would add up to a sum BG and WF hadn't counted on.

I know I am still keeping this accounting sheet information in the vague generalities that BG used. To better understand this evidence and what I needed to add to it, the details are needed. I will add my examination of this accounting sheet in its own post or maybe two after I have finished this explanation of how I went about building my list of things I wanted to acquire in the discovery process.

Looking for evidence that pointed to the discrepancies in their story and to their true character was what I needed from BG and WF. But how was I going to get that? I already knew what all those lies were but I needed things to help the court know.

To do that I needed to find something in discovery, if I could, to tie to each and every lie of theirs and each and every truth of mine. I began building a list of the pieces of my puzzle, what each said to me, what I wanted it to say to the court and what I thought it would take to prove each piece was true. My thoughts began to travel between documents, admissions and interrogatories and how they could work for me to support the pieces of my puzzle so I could expose BG and WF.

As I worked on this task, I could hear BG and WF in my head. Their reactions to me helped me to see more things and it went on from there. Listening to what they'd been saying all these months, even years with WF, helped me to know their weaknesses and their patterns. I made sure my discovery requests would expose both of those thing.

I knew some of my questions might not seem threatening to them but they would be annoyed. If they didn't see the bigger picture and only saw the minor little details, they would probably think I was nit picking and answer without thinking. Because their lawyer didn't understand horses she wouldn't see the hidden dangers. There was a method to my madness. Many of the things I asked them to admit seemed innocent enough, just time consuming to answer, but they were a huge part of the process of pinning BG and WF down.

Some of what I wanted from discovery they were going to hate AND they were going to be livid that I had dared even ask. Particularly they weren't going to like the fact I had the right to look at all their records from their both of their businesses, including their tax records, and there were other documents too I had the right to seek.

The paperwork I was developing to take to the judge so I could request all of these things was immense. It would take me some time to put it together and while I was working on it, I kept working on the bigger picture as well. I began to see how this thing was coming together and really looking like a lawsuit. I began to think I really could take this thing to court because no court, no jury would let BG and WF keep my horse.

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

Partnerships, Horses, and More Help

I think this picture is Rose. To be honest, she and Faith look so much alike, I tend to mix them up. This angle is hard to tell for sure. Faith has a flatter topline than Rose and I think the mare in this picture drops off so that's why I'm guessing it's Rose. Don't know what to think about a woman who can't keep her own horses straight, do you??

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  1. Did you keep track of how many hours you put into all of this?

  2. Your hard work and intelligence are amazing. Not too many people could do this, but I'm sure you know that.

  3. Linda, I was writing down my hours each day. I have not added them up. I can say most times it was about 80 hours a week, sometimes more.

  4. When they are that nice I think it's a little OK to mix them up in pictures.I am betting in person you could tell them apart in a nano second!
    Huge undertaking this lawsuit became! But the "devil is in the details" right?

  5. Carol, I tend to believe that anyone could do this if they were willing to put the time into it. The difficult part was understanding the system but there are books to help with that. No one, not even a lawyer, will ever understand what happened to a person better than that person themself. I think that's a huge advantage and I made it work for me.

    fern, yupe, it was defintely the details that killed them!

  6. Great explanation of your thoughts on how you were dealing with the details. I agree with you that no one else was going to understand as well as someone with so much at stake.

  7. I bet there are other owners who can't tell their horses apart too, at least in a picture, but I'm sure you can tell who's who in person.

  8. I still give you credit for all the work you put into this lawsuit. I'm sure any of us would have done the same thing rather than let some charlatans steal our horses from us. The details is what will get them nervous and stepping on their tongues I'm guessing. I'm also thinking if you hadn't gone into so much detail the court may have gone the other way.

  9. Good thinking, looking into their behavior patterns.

  10. Nicole, I'm glad the details are making sense. I'm hoping that by going through my process it will be a roadmap for anyone who might need its someday. I'm also hoping anyone who knows of the parties involved here will be able to find the truth in this story.

    I have to look very closely at Rose and Faith to tell them apart now but I can always tells them apart in real life. When they were younger and darker it was much easier. They look so much alike in the face you would think they are full siblings instead of half sisters.

    Arlene, thanks, it was a ton of work and a huge accomplishment but I would do it again in a heart beat. The whole key to this case was definitely in the details. Their attorney was not happy. Because it was their word against mine, the only way for the court to know who to believe was to expose their lies. And of course, we all know the trouble with a lie is remembering what you said. BG and WF were not good at that. Each time their story changed. That's what I needed to show the court. My story has always been the same because it is the truth. I don't have to worry about remembering what I said all I have to do is repeat what I know, which is the truth, so the story doesn't change. Pretty simple statement but not so simple to show the court. That's why all those details were important. A lie here, a lie there, and before you know it a whole mountain of them. That mountain was the proof I was looking for.

    Dom, it turned out to be pretty interesting.

  11. 80+ hours a week in addition to everything else you have to accomplish in a day - I am more than impressed. One thing in your favor is your commitment to getting Storm back so you were willing to ferret out all these details. A lawyer, no matter how much he/she is paid, just isn't going to put that kind of time into one case. The expression, "courage of your convictions" comes to mind.

  12. I will say, the one advantage of handling your own case is that you had the time to devote to nailing down all of the details that can make or break a case in court. I do think that is one disadvantage of using an attorney...they have many cases going on at one time and it's impossible for them to keep the details straight. We have found that to be the case every single time we have had to use an attorney. My mom gets so frustrated with them. I have just gotten to the point where I write every single detail down and make sure the attorney has it in writing and in a timeline. Our attorney loves me-LOL.

    Hahahaha-on finding it occasionally difficult to tell a few horses apart. We have almost as many as you and like yours, ours are similarly bred and related. We have a pair of full sisters that look identical, until you see their face. One has a blaze, the other one doesn't. So many of the other ones would be difficult to tell apart if they were not different colors. Very similar in size, build and how they travel.

  13. Ms Martyr, I must confess I was not keeping up with my usual duties here, only the ones that really HAD to be done. Everything else went down the toilet as I focused on this case. I was the courage of my convictions that kept me going, that's for sure.

    BECG, I had learned that about attorneys as well. I think that's one of the reasons I wasn't totally put off by trying to do this myself.

    These two gray mares have different markings as well, but being gray that's not all that helpful. LOL I still can strain to see pink skin to figure out who is how sometimes but it can be hard with winter coats. I have others that look alike too and I am forever calling Patriot or Percy by Chase's name and Chase doesn't even live here anymore. But they look soooooo much alike. I guess that's how it should be if you are getting consistency in a breeding program and if you're not getting it, then you probably should change something, I would think.