Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Americans love lawyer jokes, I suspect, because many lawyers have proven to be brazenly dishonest -- and my brother, David Shuler, provides a classic example

David Shuler
How are an apple and a lawyer alike? They both look good hanging from a tree.

Now that's funny; in fact, I'm having trouble wiping the smile off my face. So why do we love lawyer jokes so much? Here is my best guess: Lawyers, or at least quite a few of them, have demonstrated a unique "talent" for dishonesty -- and they often charge us outlandish fees while they lie to us.

It's unfortunate to say this, but my own brother -- Springfield, Missouri, attorney David Shuler -- provides a classic example. I grew up in a family where I thought everyone had a strong sense of right and wrong. David has proven me wrong about that. Consider this from an e-mail he sent me, dated 8/25/15. It came after I had served him with a counterclaim I had filed in the eviction lawsuit filed against me by landlord Trent Cowherd. I only served David because Cowherd had filed a baseless lawsuit against our mother, Gondy Shuler, because she was co-signor on our lease, and David was (at least on the surface) representing her:

I appreciate you sending me a copy of your pleadings. Your counterclaim seems to indicate that I somehow want to be involved in your legal proceedings. Nothing could be further from the truth. For some reason, people keep contacting me regarding issues they are having with you. Maybe it is because I have a law degree and they think I will know what to do. . . . 

Roger, I have no hard feelings toward you and I wanted to make it clear that I have never wanted to be involved in your business. For some reason, people keep calling me about you and I am stupid and think I can help.

I will likely see you in court on Thursday, but unless absolutely necessary, you will have no further contact from me.

Again, I wish you the best.

He wishes me the best? He's never wanted to be involved in my business? Does this guy reside on Planet Lie-A-Tron? We invite you to check out the document embedded at the end of this post. It's a letter David wrote to Kelly Halford Rose, the judge in our eviction case. He wrote it four days before he wrote the e-mail noted above.

In the first paragraph, he trashes me repeatedly, falsely claiming I had refused to pay rent or move out of our duplex apartment. We now know that Cowherd could not commence eviction proceedings, under Missouri law, until our rent had been late for at least one month -- and ours was late by five days. Does David mention that to Judge Halford? Nope, he's too busy making my wife, Carol, and me sound like squatters.

In the second paragraph, David makes it clear that he really is not representing my mother. He is trying to help Cowherd regain possession of property that, by law, it is not entitled to regain. Translation: David wishes me "the best," but he's doing his damnedest to make Carol and me homeless; he doesn't want to be involved in my business, but he is making every effort to be involved in our business -- by aligning himself against us (and with an unethical landlord and a corrupt judge).

Most normal people cannot imagine lying like that, particularly about fairly important matters of shelter. Most normal people cannot imagine being that two-faced. But quite a few lawyers can do it -- and David Shuler is one of them.


Anonymous said...

David must not be too sharp. Can't imagine any lawyer writing that letter, addressing it to the judge, and having it put in the record.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how the Missouri code of ethics reads, but David flat-out states that he's going to assist Trent Cowherd against you. I thought a lawyer was supposed to represent his own client and not someone else in the litigation. It's hard to say he's anything but dishonest.

legalschnauzer said...

Agreed, @8:50. That's the biggest thing that raised eyebrows with me. That's dishonest, hideously corrupt, just mind-blowing.

Anonymous said...

Did someone drop David on his head as a child?

legalschnauzer said...

This is from the same e-mail I've quoted recently. Says David:

"My only involvement with Cowherd was to let them know that Mom had requested that I represent her interest. She simply wants her financial obligation to end. Cowherd's people asked if I would assist them in getting service upon you in that they said you would not come to the door. I told them that I would not do so for two reasons. First, serving you is their problem, not mine . . . "

So he claims to have little or no involvement with Cowherd, then four days later, he admits he's trying to help them regain possession of their property, which they weren't entitled to repossess under the law.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine writing a letter like that about anyone. But writing it about your brother? And sending it to a judge, in a case where your brother and sister-in-law's shelter is at stake?

That's one of the lowest things I've ever heard of.

legalschnauzer said...

Carol and I have had a lot of lowdown things done to us over the past 17 years, but this might be the lowest, especially when you consider a family member did it.

It's particularly amazing because I thought I always had a good relationship with David (and my other siblings, too). I guarantee there is no one who truthfully can claim I've ever said anything unpleasant about David or did anything harmful to David (or any of my other siblings) -- until it became clear he was stabbing me in the back, and saying awful things about Carol. I've been a good big brother, and a letter like this is the "thanks" I get.

Heck, I'm largely responsible for my sister meeting her husband. (His brother and I played on the same 9th-grade basketball team at Glendale High School, and they met at one of our games. The brother, Mike Simkins, and I pretty much caused them to meet.) Everything my sister has -- husband, children, grandchildren, etc. -- grew directly from her brother-in-law and me. I worked my fanny off to become good enough to play four years of high school basketball. During my freshman year at Glendale, I played every day against Tom Shultz, who went on to Vanderbilt and probably still is the best player ever to come from SW Missouri. He was a white guy who actually could jump. I played with and against several guys who went on to play at the Division level and even played against a guy who later became a teammate of Magic Johnson's.

My basketball days didn't just happen automatically -- and I was always a year ahead of myself in school (I graduated at 17) and competed against guys who mostly were 1-2 years older than me. I worked for it just like I worked to have a wife, a career, a house. But has my sister stood up for me, said a single encouraging word? Nope. At some point, she and her husband defriended me on Facebook, I guess because I'm a (hold on to your hats) a Democrat. What a nice show of gratefulness.

My mother has said numerous times that I was a child who never caused her a moment of trouble. And that's true. I've heard Carol's parents say the same thing about her. And I know from having attended a high-school reunion with her, that Carol's classmates adored her.

Yet, according to David our mother wanted to assist a corrupt landlord against Carol and me. It's like being around pod people -- you sort of recognize the outer shell, but underneath that, you don't recognize a thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you are willing to put this kind of personal material out there. I, too, am a product of a dysfunctional family, but I would be too embarrassed to write truthfully about it.

legalschnauzer said...

I hear you, @10:09. Here's the funny thing: I AM embarrassed. If we can get this legal junk behind us and get our lives back on track, I'm thinking seriously of changing my name. I'm ashamed to be connected to the name "Shuler," and I would like to disassociate myself from it. It's Carol's name, too, and I will have to see how she feels about that. But she'd probably rather have a last name like "Rape" or "Kill," anything other than Shuler.

Anonymous said...

You played against Magic Johnson? Cool.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:41 --

Sorry, I must not have been clear. I played against a guy who later became a teammate of Magic's. My senior year, our team played against Parkway North, out of St. Louis, in a holiday tournament. Parkway's best player was a guard named Terry Donnelly, and he would sign with Michigan State. Magic was from East Lansing, MI, and went to Michigan State. He and Terry Donnelly were the starting guards on the Spartans national championship team -- the one that beat Larry Bird and Indiana State. (You can look it up!) A lot of people think that Magic v. Bird game caused the popularity of college basketball to skyrocket. Terry Donnelly was in the middle of it, and I (plus all of Kickapoo High teammates) have a distant connection to him.

To make the story slightly less romantic, I didn't get off the bench in the Parkway game. I was usually the 8th or 9th guy, and I think we only used 6-7 players in that game. So I didn't actually play against Terry Donnelly, Magic Johnson's future teammate, but my team played against him -- and I could have gone in at any minute!

BTW, have I mentioned that I went to the same high school as Brad Pitt? (Hah!)

Anonymous said...

Q: What do you call 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

A: A good start.

Anonymous said...

Any chance David played a role in cheating you out of your job at UAB?

legalschnauzer said...

11:35 --

I wouldn't be surprised by anything low down that he might be involved with.

Anonymous said...

Q: What's the difference between a jellyfish and a lawyer?

A: One's a spineless, poisonous blob. The other is a form of sea life.

e.a.f. said...

Why don't sharks eat lawyers?

Professional courtesy.

Usually when siblings go at it like this with no long outstanding issues from childhood, its about the will. It always comes down to the inheritance. In my opinion, your brother is doing a "little" preplanning regarding his inheritance.

legalschnauzer said...

Hah, great lawyer joke e.a.f. And I think you are on target about the brother thing. He's probably greedy as hell, and that drives a lot of this. If anyone in our family was going to get the tag "greedy," it would be David, for sure. The rest of us have our faults, but being greedy isn't among them -- although my mother might have become greedy, with David's help, in her twilight years.

Anonymous said...

More likely is that your mother has dementia and is being subjected to "elder abuse" by your brother, e.g. stating out of one side of his mouth that he represents her and out of the other side that his sole purpose is to protect Cowherd.

Anonymous said...

I've wondered about that, too, @2:30. It's been more than a year since I've seen her, but when I was last in her presence, I didn't notice any signs of dementia, but I'm hardly a professional in that area. No question she is being played by my brother, as are other members of my family -- at least that's my guess.