Friday, August 22, 2014

Legal pie in the face

Chef #1 Tom and "Lisa" joined by Joel....get ready, set, aim, throw!

"Betsy" (avatar) has a pie of her own to throw

Back in Sderot, we are under fire only enough to have to run into the bomb shelter from time to time. It is relatively quiet for now. So I am back here again at my regular desk.

Meanwhile, I understand that a legal pie-slinging event happened overnight, in which various lawyers in a triangular arrangement undertook a secret discussion of my legal situation. I haven't yet learned what they said, but it must have been very interesting for them to compare and contrast the pies that each side wants to throw upon the others' faces, and perhaps also pies that they did throw or that they threatened to throw in the presence of the judge sometime soon. Or pies that they offered to catch! 

I have fallen into silence and now emerge a little, with allegory, about my subpoena legal situation. Silence has fallen because I was finally able to engage a lawyer equal to the task of facing off nicely with Toyota's lawyers at Skadden and now also with one from Bowman & Brooke. My brilliant, kind, but also quite savvy lawyer, may God bless him, got a nice running start from the facts that I wrote down when I was trying to be my own lawyer. I had been determined to be my own lawyer but was prvented by a few things. For one, California federal court rules prevent a non-lawyer from filing papers electronically. (Yes, its "back to the past" for us po' folk who have no lawyer.) So my only option from 7,600 miles away was to hire a local California "filing service" to send a guy on a bicycle with the papers to the courthouse and hand them over to the court clerk that way. Over the counter. And the cost of that, plus the cost of distributing the papers to all the many involved law firms, came to an astronomical price far exceeding the amount of cash that I can muster right now. But as I was learning of this road block, I also realized that I didn't know enough practical law to tell when dear Kevin and his fierce colleagues at Skadden were being total bullies or were being reasonable and ordinary. Lawyers at that level have their own kinds of negotiating games and everyone of course knows what they are and takes it in stride. But I did not think it wise or good for the public interest to play around on a playing field where I don't know the rules and the tactics. And so I decided that it was time for a bonafide lawyer. The upside of all this "law school" is that I did learn a lot about the legal processes, and I gained much empathy for SUA survivors who suffer through them for years after having lost loved ones.

If the preliminary pie-slinging does not resolve the outstanding issues, then we will see each other in court and the pies will get bigger and much more sour. If we get into court, it is SO PUBLIC. It is certainly good for the public interest to cast some sunshine on shadowy legal processes.  But just like for many plaintiffs with SUA lawsuits, it is not a simple decision to roll the dice in court.  So we will see.