Monday, April 4, 2011

TNJ............. A Legal Response from Opposing Counsel........

Part One

The Monday after I got home for the C-Fair Charity Horse Show was pretty much a crash day for me. After running for six days straight my mind was mush and really I could not think. I just sat in a chair and vegged.

Then that Tuesday was the day from H*LL as I said goodbye to Solidare. I had known the whole time I was gone this was what was waiting for me when I got home. It made even the lawsuit pale in comparison.

Wednesday I had to pull myself together and get focused for my hearing the following afternoon. I knew I needed to be more proficient speaking to the judge than I had been at that first hearing. I couldn't afford to get tongue tied or have my lips stuck to my teeth. The only advocate I had was me so I immersed myself in my paperwork playing possible communications with the judge over in my head.

With the afternoon mail came the defense attorney's opposition to the motion for expansion of discovery I had filed with the court. I could tell from the contents of the document that she had not been amused by my attempts to gather evidence for my case. She claimed my requests were "overly burdensome and clearly designed to harass the defendants and needlessly increase the cost of litigating this manner."

That was, of course, news to me. I had no idea about costs. I thought the whole point of requesting documents, admissions and interrogatories was to keep costs down by avoiding more expensive things like extensive use of court reporters for sworn testimony and such. It was my understanding the more a case relied on the testimony of witnesses the more expensive a case could become. Trading paper back and forth and answering simple statements should make things less expensive not more.

Their attorney did provide a list of what was allowed by the local court rules that was very informative. There were provisions for five standard form interrogatories, three standard form requests for production of documents, plus an additional five requests for production of documents without permissions of the court. I could see from those rules that I could probably have requested most of what I needed specifically that way instead of how I had done them. There were, however, only provisions for 15 admissions with subparts which sure wouldn't have worked for me, not with the way I saw the admissions should be used anyway.

Looking at her paperwork it was the admissions I had worked so diligently on that gave her the biggest fits. Although I was reading a court document, I could clearly hear the frustration in her voice. In bold letters her paperwork stated "564 requests for admission is an abuse and the defendants should not be required to respond." She claimed she had not even had a chance to read all of the requests but that some of them were clearly frivolous and irrelevant.

For instance, request no 277 states," MiKael Caillier responded to that email that BG as X Arabian does not charge clients for show fees or lesson fees." and no 278 states "MiKael Caillier further responded “how could you think that the amount of training in those months from when we started this agreement to when your mother got sick would have been anywhere near enough to pay off a $30,000 debt.” She is asking the defendants to admit or deny statements that she herself allegedly made in written emails. This is ridiculous. The plaintiff's intent is clearly that the defendants be forced to spend so much time and effort in defending this suit that they will have exorbitant attorney fees and be prevented from continuing on in their defense."

"The plaintiff's production requests include requests for the defendant's personal tax returns, and the tax returns for their two businesses, neither of which are a part of this suit. These requests are completely irrelevant as to whether the plaintiffs received the disputed $20,000 remaining payment for the horse. In the event the court allows additional discovery, the defendants do not waive their right to object to relevance of the discovery. The vast majority of the additional discovery appears to be completely irrelevant to the legal and factual issues presented in this case. "

She went on in a summary to ask the court to weigh the factors set forth in the local court rules and deny my motion for expanded discovery. Stating "the facts of the case do not warrant additional discovery and the discovery requested, "particularly the 564 requests for admissions is a form of harassment."

I must admit I looked at her responses in wonder. Was she ignorant or was this just her manipulations of the legal system to defend her clients? I really had to wonder. Certainly she must know by including copies of the documents I had signed from both of their business that she herself had opened the door to those records. If they had no bearing on the case, why had she included them? Why were those documents even included in her own exhibits if they had nothing to do with this case? Didn't she realize that training horses is X Arabians and the boxer puppy was indeed part of X Primier Boxers? It seemed to me that BG and WF's attorney was either making a lot of mistakes or she was as loose with the truth as her clients were.

Clearly the thing that had pushed her buttons the most was those admissions. Calling them irrelevant made me wonder what she was up to. She was so ticked off by them she had mentioned them in bold three different times in her paperwork. Nothing else I wanted got the kind of response from her that the admissions did. Even the tax records had been mentioned only once. I had clearly hit a nerve.

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

The Discovery Motions Hearing.......

The last foal from my third foal crop was out of the midget mare, Lilly and, of course, by Legs. Hope is a beautiful, elegant filly who had always captured the hearts of visitors. Definitely a princess, Hope has a quiet charisma that doesn't take the haughty boasting of a mare like Dare or Scarlet. Hope has always been a lady and she captured my heart in about thirty seconds flat.

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  1. Such a cutie! But I'm partial to a horse named Hope to start with. Love the picture.

  2. I'm as utterly confused as you with the attorneys response. The only thing I can think of for her to claim increase of costs is if her office was going to be the ones doing all the work to get the paperwork together. And I agree with you that how can she claim the stable and boxer businesses were irrelevant if she provided the paperwork FROM THOSE BUSINESSES in their exhibits! Crazy!

  3. Hahahahah, this just makes me laugh, I've seen other situations where folks have searched high and low to find a lawyer that was unethical enough to take their case, lol.
    Sounds like she is beginning to figure out she has a Tasmanian Devil by the tail and is realizing it is not going to be pretty, lol

  4. Yes, you definitely hit a nerve. The bold type seems unprofessional and angry. If cost were no factor, you wouldn't have had to defend yourself! You could have just gone out and got an expensive attorney and said--Don't run my bill past $500.00, or else! Did she think of all the hours you had to put in to getting your horse back? How much is that worth? Probably more than $30,000, from what you've said so far.

  5. Hope looks very elegant even as a baby.

    I like the way you got to them. The attorney figured this would be an easy win for her and the clients because you had no attorney. Too bad. After all the research and requests you made I'd say it wasn't harassment at all. I call it doing your homework to get the proper information to the court.

  6. Trying to undermine you ? by rleeatedly saying that your requests were frivolous and irrelevant , to take some wind out of your sails and reduce your confidence?

  7. Unfortunately...just a normal opposing attorney tactic. It wouldn't surprise me that she had probably forgotten about what was already provided...if she even realized what exactly she had.

    The time/cost thing is interesting. Not the first time I have heard attorney's use that claim though. I suspect the sheer number of your requests gave her the perfect opportunity to use that excuse. After all...she and her staff are highly paid professionals and here you are...with nothing better to do with your time than come up with frivolous requests. (Hope you catch the sarcasm in that ;-)

  8. Nicole, I'm pretty partial to this mare named Hope. That's for sure.

    I later learned lawyers like to monitor the answering of such documents but still in the big scheme of things these admissions were only the tip of the iceburg.

    dinkleberries, I don't know if she knew up front they had no right to this horse or not but I am pretty sure she thought the case was going to be simple. Those admissions and my other requests surely must have said otherwise.

    Linda, ya, I thought the bold type was a little weird and a bit much but it sure worked to tell me I was doing something right. I doubt she was concerned with what it might be costing me but you're so right, it was a huge cost.

    Arlene, you're so right about Hope. From a baby on up she's been elegant at each stage.

    How things get manipulated to support their view was quite educational but then I guess that's what you have to do when you don't have the truth on your side.

    fern, well if those comments were intended to know me down. It didn't work.

    BECG, I agree she may not have even realized what she had. Again I think that speaks to her not understanding equine law.

    Looking back the undo cost thing is actually mentioned in the law. It's one of the few reasons given to disallow things. Still you're right about the attitude. I think it was very much directed at me personally because I am not a lawyer. I guess it could be a good way to undermine me with the courts if it had been done in a valid way instead of just throwing phrases around hoping something stuck.

    All I saw in her document was an upset woman throwing a tantrum. I'm pretty sure that's not the look she was going for. What do you think?

  9. is there really a limit on the number of admissions? well then they could just be grouped i guess, 10 at a time would be one.

    i was shocked and confused too but then we (my man and i) thought about it. their lawyer was both playing games and being manipulative.

    is it a viable argument that a lawyer says "my clients cannot afford the amount of work involved in that many admissions"? it cannot be - if they cannot defend themselves, they will have to lose the case.

    i would have loved to see the look on her face when she saw your admissions list. uh oh, this could involve WORK.

  10. Beatiful foal, as always!

    It sounds like BG's attorney was trying her best to get some if not all of your requests dismissed. I've been through a trial before and believe you me, I learned a great deal about our legal system going through that. I also learned that some lawyers have absolutely no scruples when it comes to winning a case.

  11. The business tax records are not a part of the suit? Seriously????

    ROFL! You not only hit a nerve but it must have been her last one!

    Not only are the tax records relevant, they are a BIG part of the case. For the business to claim all of these things as income or expenses- they have to be ready willing and able to provide documentation on it all and stand behind it, should they be audited. All part of basic business practices and common sense.

    Can't wait to hear the rest. Their attorney must have been royally ticked at you for making her *gasp* work.

    So sad to have to come home from the show to deal with losing your mare. That plain sucks!

  12. lytha, limited by the local court rules but still open to request the court for more. That's what the hearing is about.

    I, too, think she was playing games and manipulating the information to suit her needs.

    If they couldn't afford an attorney, they could represent themselves, right??

    I do think those admissions caught her off guard.

    JJ, yes I think she was trying to get everything dismissed as well. and you're so right about scrouples. Very sad commentary on our legal system.

    CNJ, you're so right. I couldn't believe she was trying to argue that either. Made no sense to me.

    I'm pretty sure she thought this case was going to be simple but my admissions clearly said otherwise and I'm sure she wasn't happy about that. A lot of work, for sure.

    The situation with Solidare was very difficult. Still feels difficult months later.