Friday, July 27, 2007

Portrait of Financial Terrorists

In a recent post, we outlined the monstrous legal bills the Hoover, Alabama, school system is facing because of an investigation of possible irregularities in grading of athletes.

But how does a regular person handle such legal expenses? What if you are regular middle-class folks who get sued and your homeowner's insurance will not cover it? That's what my wife and I faced.

When I was sued, I called a Birmingham lawyer who was well known for handling property-related matters. He was a partner at a downtown Birmingham firm and took the case. An associate handled most of the work, but the costs were still steep. The partner charged $200 an hour and the associate charged $150. That was seven years ago, so I'm sure their rates have gone up.

(By the way, this pair has since moved to a different firm; much more about them in future posts. I used to think that if you went to a reputable firm and paid major bucks, you would get honest and whole-hearted legal representation. Boy, was I wrong about that.)

Considering how long legal proceedings draw out, and how much time it takes to prepare major documents such as motions for summary judgment, you are talking serious dollars in a hurry.
And the dollars get really serious when the judge is cheating you, causing a bogus case to last five or six times longer than it should have, by law.

How does this affect a regular person? It can ruin your financial picture and put you at risk of losing your home. I remember getting monthly legal bills that were in the four figures. And my wife and I both got almost physically ill when we had to go to the mailbox. What's coming today, we wondered, a godawful bill or another bogus ruling from this so-called judge?

I recently summoned the courage to look back at the monthly legal bills we received during the time I was represented by this firm. Four bills were in the quadruple digits, with one over $2,000 and another just shy of that mark. One included a charge of $800 for "research" that I never authorized and was never told about in advance. It also was for research that would have been totally unnecessary if we'd had an honest judge.

In all, we spent almost $12,000 with this firm, and they could not manage to get a clearly fraudulent case dismissed. Heck, Chucky the ground squirrel who lives in our backyard could have gotten this case dismissed. He told me so just the other day. "Man, you have the worst luck with lawyers," he said, as he dug his 35th hole in our yard. "Remind me not to get a recommendation from you next time I need a pre-nup." (I gather Chucky's had bad luck with the ladies. Thank God, I've been pretty lucky in that regard. At least my wife tells me so on a regular basis.)

What did I get from my "high-class" lawyers? Well, they refused to file a clear counterclaim and lied to me about it in the process. When it became clear that these "barristers" were more interested in pleasing a corrupt judge than representing me, I fired them and went with a solo practitioner. He charged $4,500 up front and wound up doing almost nothing on the case, telling copious lies as well. By the time I wised up and figured out how to represent myself, we were almost $17,000 in the hole, with zero to show for it.

I will provide many more details on these lawyers and their "non-actions" on my behalf in future posts. But for now, my point is to show the devastating financial consequences the most bogus of lawsuits can have for middle-class people. And the whole thing can do a number on your mental and physical health--not to mention your credit report.

Judges, I'm sure, are well aware of how expensive it is to hire a lawyer. And I'm sure these judges knew, based on our address, that we are not wealthy. I'm convinced that the whole point of the multiple unlawful rulings in my case was this: The judges, J. Michael Joiner and G. Dan Reeves of Shelby County, wanted to put so much financial stress on my wife and me that we would cave and give them whatever twisted outcome they wanted. I'm also convinced that the lawyers we were paying so handsomely knew all about it--and did nothing.

I call it financial terrorism, and my research indicates a lot of state judges practice it. One of my goals with Legal Schnauzer is to show that terrorists come in many varieties. They don't all have dark skin and names like Osama or Abdul. Some of them are unctuous white guys wearing robes, with good old American names like Mike and Dan and Ron. And some of them are regular lawyers, with common names like Bill and Jesse and Michael and Richard.

You already know how some terrorists operate. We'll soon be showing you exactly how judicial terrorists conduct their dirty deeds.

We'll also show you the financial devastation they leave in their wake.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I do not have a lot of experience with financial terrorists, but terrorists masquerading as journalists are something I know about. Remember the faux-news-people who printed every one the dirty little Republican rumor about bill and Hillary Clinton. They soon became stenographers the Ken Starr Office of Smears. Well they now have a wannabe hound dog at the Mobile Register.

This little pit bull named Eddie has been in bed for years with fellow native Mobilian Bill Pryor. When Don and I were going to Murphy High School Bill’s father, Holcombe, was a few Blocks away directing the band and McGill Institute, then an all boys’ Catholic school. It was great band. Nobody could match him. I don’t know where Eddie went to school. But there is definitely some connection. Either to Pryor or Don. Maybe it is some old feud between the Currans and the Siegelmans

But something is fishy when you have a reporter living in Mobile writing about the most progressive, forward looking governor I our history being brought down by a bunch of out of controlled prosecutors being directed by a neo-fascist college dropout from his office at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

When the mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent left the offices The Daily Planet he turned a super hero flying across the sky off to save the world. Now we have a once jovial hack writer on the sports desk morphing into a yellow journalist the likes of which we have not seen since the first half of the last century. Eddie is far from being a super hero.

All good journalists have source – some on the record and some anonymous like deep Throat. There are rumors afloat that our little pit bull reporter has developed a source in the US Attorney office in Montgomery. I wonder if his wife knows about his alleged nocturnal communications with this as yet unnamed lovely. Maybe she should be called Deep Bedsheets for the time being. We could ask Leura Canary, but she probably would claim executive privilege.