Friday, April 15, 2011

TNJ........... A Little Weekend Stewing.........

Part One

That Friday night I read the letter and the settlement offer from BG and WF's attorney over and over. I read it silently. I read it out loud. I read parts of it to friends. Everyone I shared it with thought I should jump at it but that's not how I saw it.

The only good thing about it as far as I was concerned was that I got my horse back. The rest of it was just a bunch of legalese designed to make them look good and to put an end to this thing without costing them anymore than they'd already paid.

By now I had a real sense of what my relationship with BG and WF had cost me, my family, my business and my horses. I knew enough to believe if it was possible to go back and do the whole thing over, I would not. It would never even have been a consideration knowing what I know now. All this thing did was cost me, period.

It had cost me and my business two years of my life, two years of my horses lives too. Not only were the horses two years older, the ones he had worked with were no longer clean slates. I had wanted horses safe to ride and what I got were horses with issues. We had gone backwards, not forward. That 20/20 vision of hindsight had changed my view of BG and his talents. My horses clearly reflected the new perspective. I was left with the mess to clean up from the damage he had done and I was just angry enough to want to see that he paid for what he'd done to my dream. The real question was that even possible.

Looking at this settlement offer, I knew what I would do had I not had a lawyer at this point. I would have countered this offer. I wanted BG and WF to take some form of responsibility for messing with me and my herd. I would have been willing to take the risk they might decline and we'd go to trial. For me, a decision made in court would mean definite vindication. There would be no BS claiming they were in the right in the legal documents. There would be a judgement according to the law.

At this point with my realization that BG's own accounting sheet disputed his claims, I was very comfortable that I could win at trial. All those warnings that court is unpredictable just didn't seem realistic considering how poorly WF and BG had concocted their story. By now I was clearly seeing the visual aids it would take for the court to easily get the picture I saw. I knew I could create them from my evidence and I was willing to take the risk I would win at trial.

The only problem with that was that I now had the attorney in my corner. While his expertise was much welcomed, it changed things now with a settlement offer on the table. Any kind of counter that might have been palatable to them would be devoured by attorney's fees so there was no point.

Also, I had to consider the possibilities of never being able to collect damages even with a judgement and the new element of attorneys fees. While getting a judgement complete with damages might sound good, collecting on it could definitely be something else. If I couldn't collect from BG and WF, I needed to be prepared to be coming up with attorney fees myself. Although I already knew my attorney was prepared to work with me on how I got that done, I needed to be aware of how long that obligation might be hanging over my head and how stressful that might be as well.

Even considering that, there was one very big stumbling block for me in this settlement offer. A confidentiality agreement was included as part of the settlement. The way I read the clause it was about the actual settlement agreement. However, if there was any room what so ever that it could spill over into the other details of this case, I was not interested. It was a matter of principle to me that I be able to talk about what BG and WF did in this case. I would take whatever risks I must not to be bound to secrecy about this whole mess. They'd been telling their side of the story for months and I wasn't going to be deprived of telling mine.

I scanned the settlement offer into a pdf file and sent it off in an email to my attorney. I explained my concerns to him and waited for the weekend to end so I could consult with "my legal counsel" before I made my decision. I already knew from this man that he would be ok with me continuing on principle because so far that's all he'd been able to see was my principles and that's why he'd taken my case. If I wanted to continue on despite the settlement offer, I expected it would not change his offer of help one iota.

I knew the attorney would explain to me there is a court rule that says if a settlement offer is declined, even if that party wins at trial, they must pay attorneys fees for the losing side if the final order does not exceed the amount of the offer. I had no fear of this clause because it was clear with damages I would have no problem satisfying that requirement.

While at this time I didn't know how to compute the damages to my business and my horses, I was confident that my equine attorney knew exactly how to go about getting those numbers and substantiating them for the court. Getting a larger settlement from the court than their offer would be easy enough on damages alone without even considering the triple damages for fraud and unfair business practices. I had more than enough evidence to easily prove both of those causes of action as well as the others I had to file in my amended complaint.

It wasn't until late Sunday that I realized it was Labor Day weekend. Then I was a bit panicked about this whole situation because I had thought I had two days to touch bases with my attorney. I knew having only one business day to make contact with him could be difficult. I had my mind made up if I did not have his input about the confidentiality clause, I would turn down their settlement offer.

As the time ticked away, I found myself continuing to read that letter over and over again. Doing so fueled the fire driving me to hold BG and WF accountable for what they did. I knew the clause "my clients will have to pursue their own discovery requests, responding to yours, and additional costs will be incurred which will of course be avoided if the case settles........" was designed to intimidate me so that I would settle but if their attorney thought the idea of them making discovery requests scared me, she couldn't be more wrong. Once we were locked into the discovery process, there wasn't anything that would give me more pleasure that finally showing my hand. I was actually looking forward to it.

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

A Little Expert Perspective....

This little tank is Scandalous Legend. At the time this pic was taken he was just about a month old, if you can believe that. That white in his nostrils isn't a marking, it's milk.

Visit Blog Village and vote daily for this blog Here They are now measuring the rankings by votes out, so if you find my blog on the site, please click that link too to improve my rankings. TY


  1. Another awesome picture! I very much can see this as a mug or something, with the saying "Got Milk?". I love it. If you do make something I definitely want to order one!

  2. Wow I definitely learned something new today. I never knew that the winning side could still end up paying the losers fees if the total was less than the settlement offer.
    I am in complete agreement with you about the confidentiality part. I don't think that anyone should be silenced from telling the truth.
    I'm so, so looking forward to tomorrows edition!

  3. Yeah, after they trashed your reputation, you should not have to remain silent about the injustices.

  4. I can see where this letter and offer of settlement could make you mad. Seems that they finally came to their senses and realized they could lose the case so they must have figured they'd cut their losses and give you back your horse. Which to tell the truth I would probably have taken just to get the horse back. But the clause requiring you to keep your mouth shut, well that would have angered me so I can see where you're coming from not taking the deal.

    Cute guy with the milk on his nose.

  5. That is a super cute picture.

    What you said about confidentiality is interesting. I settled a lawsuit once with a vet and I signed a confidentiality agreement even though I was doing them a huge favor to only ask for my money back and no damages. There were no lawyers involved. They paid it as quick as we could get a pen out and sign.

  6. Gorgeous colt! I would be incensed as well about the confidentiality clause ! these people had been spewing their rhetoric to all that would listen for how long and you were expected to take your horse and quietly fade into the sunset????

  7. That photo was just the pick me up I needed after this weekend.

  8. I know, on one hand, I would want them to pay, but on the other hand, the cost. I would feel exactly as you do, and would want things to be made "right" and make them pay, even out of principle!