Sunday, March 6, 2011

The New Journey............. Unexpected Input............

Part One

Not long after we had been to court for our first hearing, I got a call from one of my horse friends. She was calling to tell me that I should "keep the faith, " in her words. She wanted me to know there were lots of people in the industry locally rooting for me in my lawsuit. According to her, people I didn't even know were pulling for me to get my horse back. Ya gotta love that grapevine, it doesn't miss a thing, even though I was pretty much keeping the details of this case to myself.

After all of BG's comments about people not liking me, it was good to hear what he had said was not true. The more time that passed since I'd had to listen to anymore of BG's statements, the more I realized what a lie they had been. Others say he manipulated whatever he heard to make it look like people were always saying bad things about me, when in fact he must have been working hard to come up with some comment he could twist in his mind to suit his own needs.

While I didn't get specifics from my conversation with this friend that I could use for court, I did get enough information to know that there really were a lot of people watching what was happening. Some of those people had done business with WF in the past and had a very bitter taste in their mouths.

That information helped me to take a different view than I had of this situation up to now. I realized I needed to broaden my vision of what would work for me as evidence. This case was very much a he said/she said thing and how it was decided was going to be based on the integrity of the individuals.

Determining someones integrity is not necessarily just gleaned from one situation. Anything reflecting a lack of character would be helpful in the process of showing the court whose version of the story really had merit. The court rules do make provisions for such kinds of cases so there was room for me to acquire information I would need.

A few days later I got another call from this same friend. This time she had the name and number of an attorney who did equine cases. The person who'd given her the number had worked with this guy and he'd done her case on a contingency. If he would do that for me I would be willing to step aside and have a lawyer take over my case.

This attorney was at least in our state and really not all that far from me so I decided I would give him a call asap. He confirmed what the other equine attorney had said, this case was difficult and going to be quite expensive. He also suspected that WF and BG did not have the assets to pay the kind of damages this case entitled me to. He suggested I might want to keep that in mind in my pursuit of this.

Was the horse really worth it to me? My response to him had been it really wasn't about money. It was about doing what was right. I felt that letting them get away with this only encouraged their behavior and I wanted no part of that. I am not an enabler. I believe that all people, even those in my family and myself, need to be accountable for inappropriate behavior. If they were held accountable more often, maybe they'd think twice before they tried to manipulate someone to take advantage in the future. One can only hope.

Because of the expense that would be involved, this attorney wasn't willing to take on such a case without a retainer. Although the amount of his retainer was half of what the other attorney wanted, It was still not within my reach.

I did have a lengthy conversation with this man and he played devil's advocate with me as I explained my case to him. His version of how things could be interpreted helped me be more aware of what I needed to be doing and what I needed to be watching for as I built my case.

I remember him saying "So what ? You had an oral contract. " when I mentioned I had been doing at least half of the work, if not more when you count the grooming, on any given day.

I also clearly remember my response to him."Well, it is my understanding that to be valid the components of an oral contract must be agreed upon by both sides. If you think I agreed to do half or more of the work while he got paid for all of it, you are mistaken. I doubt that any sane person would agree to such terms, to work 8 to 12 hour days while the person they worked with got all the pay, let alone a 63 year old woman like me. "

I clearly remember his laugh of delight at my answer. The next words from his mouth were, "Have you ever thought about law school? You sure have what it takes to be a lawyer." I reminded him again of my age and told him I thought I would probably be dead before I could finish up as a law clerk so really what was the point.

He told me what I already suspected that the hard part was going to be getting the judge and/or jury to understand the case without putting them to sleep. He told me it would be important to keep things as visual as possible to keep their attention and make my points. The details would just bore them to death if I couldn't find a simple way to present them. He recommended I use as many pictures as I could and charts and graphs, anything that would work to bring things to simple terms and make them more interesting.

It was also through this lawyer that I became aware I was overlooking an important component of the local court rules. When he heard I had filed in district court he said "That's too bad. Discovery is so limited in district court. That could be tough on your case."

I have always been a good listener. I really pay attention to the words people use and how they say them. I don't want to get lost thinking they are telling me what I already know and miss something I don't know. I think really listening to what people say helps to see their point of view, can show what they know that you might not, or what they really think.

By paying attention to BG's responses in his emails to me and even their court documents, I had a good idea what his arguments were going to be. Now with this attorney's statement about discovery, I realized I needed to do some more research because it sounded like things were not as I believed them to be in regards to discovery.

I already knew about discovery back from my days of that criminal case gone wrong. Because of that, I guess I thought I understood what I was doing in this regard. I just assumed that anything I needed was within reach but now I suspected that might not be the case. I needed to be clear on that. Assuming could really cause me problems.

When I checked the local court rules of Pierce County I learned that discovery was limited to a very specific set of guidelines that were not going to be useful for this case. The scope of what I could request was so limited that it could allow BG to manipulate the facts without me being able to get more evidence from him to prove otherwise.
While I had some very good things on my own, being able to utilize the resources normally set up for discovery would have made things much easier and clearer for the court. Anytime I could prove BG and WF were not honest using their own documents was a huge plus in my corner.

I had been counting on using the normal resources available in the discovery process. It had taken me a while to understand how they would be useful to me but once I had figured that out, I was counting on them. Now I was finding that vehicles like Admissions and Interrogatories were not set up in that list allowed in the local court rules.

There were also some specific documents I wanted that were not in the scope of discovery allowed from what I could tell. There was, however, a provision allowing me to request additional elements than had been laid out in those local court rules. To get the things I needed for discovery I was going to need to go back to court and request the judge's permission to add in those elements that I required.

That meant more time on the computer looking for sample documents so I would have some frame of reference for this procedure. Again it was one of those things that sucked up all kinds of time, probably because I was not doing the search using the "right works" for the process.

I struggled with this paperwork not really knowing if there was particular wording I should be using or if the court would get the gist of what I said. With the voice of the woman from the district court ringing in my head reminding me about deadlines, I decided I would go with what I thought looked right as quickly as possible. That way if I needed to do something over, I'd have time without compromising any deadlines.

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

A Realization......

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  1. Thank God for those phone calls!! (0:

  2. What a blessing those phone calls turned into! I think its very sad that in our sue happy culture, that there are so many people getting away with such things because others can't AFFORD to sue them. Yet others can afford to file insane things. It's crazy!
    I completely agree that everyone should be accountable for their behavior.

  3. By the way keep up the good work, this journey is very riveting!

  4. Nice to hear you had people backing you up!

    And the advice from a lawyer sounds like he really wanted to help even though you didnt hire him, always nice to know those people are out there to help.

  5. Nikker, ya, that's for sure. They were both definitely helpful.

    Nicole, it does seem like those who need to be standing up for themselves aren't while others manipulate the system to work for them when the don't belong there.

    I guess I'll keep posting about it as long as people keep reading although we are getting nearer to the end.

    Crystal, I think you're right. He really did want to be helpful. I had the feeling I could call him to ask questions and I actually considered seeing if he would consider acting as a legal coach for me.

  6. It must have been a boost to your confidence to have your friend tell you about all the people rooting for you to win.

    The lawyer's advice sounds like a help to show you what direction you should take in court. It's too bad you couldn't have hired him, but you seem to be doing alright on your own.

  7. That lawyer sounds like he was a good guy and, of course, I agree with him. I'm glad your friends came to you in support--that must have been very comforting.

  8. While it meant more work, it seems great that that attorney was able to help you out and better prepare you. I agree with his assessment, from your posts you sure do know quite a lot about law now!

  9. So glad that the lawyer was willing to at least give advise and help point you in the right direction.Intersting that as many people that were "gunning for you" you seemed to find as many or more ,on your side or willing to help. Thart speaks volumes about your character and the lack of Character in BG, WF and associates

  10. Arlene, it was a boost to my confidence and helped me see I should be looking closer to see what was real and what was an illusion he'd painted for me.

    Linda, yes, I think he was one of the good guys. I was glad to have met him.

    The phone call really caught me off guard, at first. It sure did challenge those things I'd been believing and it was definitely reassuring to find out I was not as alone as I felt.

    PHM, at this point there was so much work in this case, I saw anything that helped me avoid a mistake was a godsend.

    I do have a better understanding of the law at this point but still feel pretty overwhelmed by it. But the good news is I am no longer afraid of it. That was a bonus.

    fern, I really appreciate the time this man gave to me. It made a big difference in the outcome, I think.

    In the beginning of this mess, I really felt out numbered but as time has progressed, I'm thinking that was really wasn't the reality of the situation. It would take posts and posts to cover all the incidents where others challenged what BG said about me. I am grateful for the perspective of those who took the time to help me through this journey.

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