Thursday, March 10, 2011

The New Journey........... A Light Bulb Moment......

Part One

I know you're probably getting as overwhelmed by legal jargon as I was at the time. The three friends who were my normal support were getting pretty sick of it too, I suspect. Although I have to give them credit, they hung in there and listened to me mull the information over and over and over again until I finally figured out how to make each piece work for me.

There were so many times I was asked, "Are you sure this is worth it?" that I couldn't even guess a number. My answer was always the same. There was no way I was going to quit on this although I sure could have used a day off every now and then.

Unfortunately for me, I didn't have the option to just ski working on it for the day. Because BG and WF had filed their counterclaim, if I didn't follow through, the court would automatically rule in their favor even though they were the ones trying to cheat me. If I wanted to get my horse back I had to get the legal things figured out so I could get my paperwork correct and filed with the court meeting my deadlines.

The most frustrating part about the legal system is its vagueness and yet, that vagueness is a very important part of the system. Laws are written to cover all possible situations that might pertain to them. Wording is such to purposely not limit applications. The lawmakers want their laws to be applied across a broad set of circumstances. I suspect the purpose of this is so that there don't need to be so many laws although sometimes I really felt like the sole purpose was to make me crazy.

The result of this vagueness is you can look at something and immediately question, "How does this relate to me?" I can't even tell you how many times I would find the information I was searching for in the law or court rules only to ask myself that question. Finding my way from the vagueness of the law to how it worked for my case was a stretch. I felt like a blind person fumbling around in the dark hoping for something I recognized.

I began to see the way to do this was to manipulate the law to suit my purpose. Manipulation is not my thing but clearly an important part of the legal system. Stretching boundaries to fit scenarios seems to be the law of the land. I found if I could interject my truth within the parameters of the law that's what I should do and not worry if the law had been applied that way before. What was important was that it was still the truth and it looked to me like it fit within the guidelines required by the court. Then the court could decide it it worked or it didn't.

If I made a mistake, there would be ways to fix them. Listening closely to a reason for rejection would usually expose the correct route to take.

Obviously, it wouldn't be good to stretch an interpretation so far no one could see my point of view but me. However, if my observation was something that might make sense to the "reasonable man" the door was open for me to use it. This was particularly important when it came to evidence I had in my possession since there is a burden to prove that evidence is in fact real. Just saying it is does not satisfy the court, and in many situations a foundation must be built to get evidence admitted at trial.

While I was trying to sort all of this stuff out, I was also still trying to figure out how to pin BG and WF down with the resources available to me in discovery. Even though I still didn't understand Admissions and Interrogatories, I knew they were probably very important to my case, even if the local court rules had not made provisions for me to use them. Because they were used in most rules of evidence, they must be important components of discovery. I just was not getting what they were or how I would use them.

To understand my confusion about these two vehicles for gathering evidence, I submit the definition of each.

The definition for a request for admissions as it pertains to discovery is "a list of questions which are similar in some respects to interrogatories, but different in form and purpose. Each "question" is in the form of a declarative statement which the answering party must then either admit, deny, or state in detail why s/he can neither admit nor deny the truthfulness of the statement (e.g. for lack of knowledge, etc.).

The definition for interrogatories is "In law, interrogatories (also known as requests for further information) are a formal set of written questions propounded by one litigant and required to be answered by an adversary, in order to clarify matters of fact and help to determine in advance what facts will be presented at any trial in the case."

How would you make either of these work in this case?

Each time I read these definitions over, I swear my eyes crossed and my mind turned to mush. I just couldn't get how I was supposed to make these things work for me but I was equally convinced they were the key to getting BG and WF on the ropes.

All this angst sent me to the homeless woman now living in my back yard. I knew she must understand about admissions and interrogatories and how they worked to prove a case. Gradually, with her help they changed from being mind blowing legal terms to powerful weapons. For the first time in weeks, I began to get a picture of how to use those tools in supporting my case.

What my guest said to me that triggered my final understanding of how these items would work in my case, I cannot say. She sure didn't direct me to use them as I did. What I can say is ,until those many talks with my now resident paralegal happened, these definitions in and of themselves just did not click for me. Then suddenly one day as we were talking, yet again about them, the light bulb went on and I knew what I must do.

Because I had researched the laws and found that discovery was indeed limited within the Pierce County District Court as told to me by that attorney, I knew I needed to seek the court's permission to be able to utilize Admission and Interrogatories in my discovery process. That meant I needed to figure out more paperwork to make a "pleading" to the court for additional discovery.

I decided if I must go back to the judge, I might as well kill two birds with one stone. I would not just seek to expand discovery but I would request leave of the court (specific verbage I learned from my paralegal advsor) to correct the mistakes I'd made on my first filing. I immediately began working on my paperwork so I could go to the judge for both issues.

I knew the provision that allowed me to seek permission from the court for additional means of discovery had specifically stated the court would not allow any blanket requests. I did not, however, understand exactly what that meant. My understanding of how the elements of discovery could be used was so limited, I thought the request I was making was within the constraints of that rule.

I got my paperwork done within a couple of days and headed back to the District Court. I found out when I took them that I had been wrong. The court clerk took my paperwork straight to the judge and minutes later I had my response. "The court required specific requests for information before it would make a ruling." I decided the best way to do that was to just provide to the court exactly what it was I wanted from BG and WF.

That might sound pretty simple but considering all the pieces to this puzzle there were, I knew I needed to be searching for information to contradict what they had said or to get them to say things that contradicted what their documents both to me and to the court said.

This was a pretty tall order that needed to be accomplished in a very short time. In my research I had also come across the deadline for discovery and it looked like I was running out of time.

I had been under the mistaken assumption if they didn't ask for it, they didn't get it. From my paralegal friend I had learned if I hadn't provided it, I couldn't use it. That meant I not only needed to have everything I planned to use organized and submitted to the court but I needed to have requested everything I wanted from the other side done and approved within that fast approaching deadline or else I was sunk.

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

MY Discovery Process....

This picture is Legs getting a little down and dirty himself. Had Legs not had that injury as a foal, he'd have easily been a reining candidate.

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  1. I just love the picture. He looks like he knows he's gorgeous too!
    I'm glad you had someone that you could bounce the legal jargon off of to try and understand it. I also very much understand your worries about running out of time. In my legal issue the other side didn't give me their response until 1 day before the first trial date. But I had cashed out my retirement to pay for an attorney who helped me some what, he did something with the judge and got everything postponed another month. But there was no way I would have ever figured out what he did in time on my own. I'm very glad that you had the resources you did to help give you feedback.

  2. Can't wait for the next instalment! Keep up the good work. I think that you are doing a great job relating your journey. I think that and even though you have gotten technical we needed to hear it to better understand what you were up against. Thank you.

  3. It's so much pressure to have everything done and filed on time. My eyes would have been crossed too. Thank goodness for your guest's advice, it does sound like she was really helpful during this crisis.

    Legs is gorgeous as always.

  4. So glad I know how it turned out, yey I still feel a sympathetic knot in my gut as I read this!

  5. What a great coincidence/miracle to have a paralegal, homeless friend! That is almost too amazing to be true.

  6. I don't know how you did it, all that legal stuff is so confusing to me!! I still need to go back and catch up on some of your earlier posts that you did while I was in Scottsdale!

  7. Nicole, I thought the position in this picture was very similiar to the one I posted yesterday. Father and son.

    I would think the attorney asked for a continuance. That's how you get more time. That is what I was hoping to do posting the details. I also hope if anyone needs help with the process, what I found might help that too.

    Arlene, having her to answer questions really helped me understand which in turn helped my confidence.

    fern, I can understand that. It was a very stressful time.

    Linda, it was really was awesome and not the only time something like this happened in this journey.

  8. Wow, all this legalese makes my eyes glaze over. I can't imagine how hard and stressful this must have been for you to go through last year. And you stayed sane!

  9. God works in mysterious ways sometimes, doesn't he? That this homeless family showed up in your life at that exact moment, and that the woman turns out to be a paralegal? I'm not the most religious person on the block but even I can see His hand in this.

    I have gone back to the beginning of your blog and am up to March 2009. Knowing the outcome has made the reading even more interesting - seeing things unfold, watching for what has yet to happen.

    You did the right thing. It wasn't easy, and it wasn't quick, but it was right.

  10. Interesting that you had a paralegal in your backyard right when you needed it. The universe was looking out for you.

  11. Legs is beautiful, but then I suspect you already know that ;0>.

    It is amazing how complicated all of this is. You're doing a good job of explaining all of that jargon, but still, I can't imagine how difficult that all must have been. I think if I were in that situation, I would have felt too overwhelmed and had given up! Then again, I don't think anyone knows how they'd really respond during any given situation until they're actually forced to undergo it?

    Anyway, I'm really enjoying these posts, I anxiously await the outcome!

  12. Wow all that legal jargon throws me off too, sometimes I have to read through it a couple times then I get it. Sure was nice to have that homeless family to help you out and let you know what you needed.

  13. Fan Voyager, LOL I didn't always feel sane, I can tell you that.

    Sue, well if you believe God had a hand in this now, I suspect that belief will grow stronger as new aids reveal themselves in this journey. God was definitely on my side, I think.

    smazourek, there certainly seemed to be help coming from unexpected places.

    JJ, it's good to know I'm not so overwhelming folks with the legal crap that I'm driving them away. It was complicated and did feel very overwhelming at times.

    Thinking about poor Storm cooped up in a stall for the rest of his life and the thought of losing my dream because they'd trashed my reputation kept me motivated.

    Crystal, sometimes I had to read through the stuff dozens and dozens of time before I figured it out. I guess my interpretations must be helping if you can get it with a couple of times through. That's good. I was hoping I'd be making it more understandable for folks than it was for me.

  14. I am most impressed by the way you approached the whole legal process and must admit this is the first and only blog that I eagerly wait to read the next installment! Though I would certainly hope to never have to be in such a litigation, you make it less daunting to see how you took one step at a time and made your successful case!
    On a different note I must complement you on your horses; they are so classically Arabian - with the confirmation that makes Arabs the artist ideal! I am especially enamored of Scandalous Storm - though can certainly see why you have chosen Legacy as your Primo Sire. Thanks for an excellent read and a delightful feast for the eyes too!

  15. Just like the deadlines are a pain in the neck but also a needed thing, the vagueness of the law is the same. It can work for you or against you. It just depends on which side you are on and how you plan to use it.

    Good thing you had the paralegal friend helping you out. I cannot imgine if you hadn't.

  16. Melani, I had hoped by going through my process it would make it easier for others to see how to approach it if it ever came to that. If someone didn't have to do all the priliminary stuff it took me to figure out the step, that would take a chunk of the work away.

    Thanks for the compliment on my horses. I like classic horses. Legs has proven himself as my herd sire. Without him there would be no Storm and if you like Storm, you probably would like his full brother, Suede. Many people can't tell them apart. Personally I think the bay full brother, Patriot, is the best of the full brothers produced by Bey Aana.