She Only LOOKS Harmless...

OT: anything goes!

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She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Broomstick » 2013-11-08 09:32pm

First, let's review a few posts:

Borgholio wrote:
Broomstick wrote:What a dumb, fucking cunt my former employer is.

She walked into court owing me $550. She walked out owing $3770. If she fails to pay within 30 days we can ask for an arrest warrant and she can go to jail.

She could have prevented all this eight or nine months ago simply by paying my goddamned wages.

I'm guessing that it's because Broomstick came in prepared, and her former employer came in unprepared and overconfident. Probably disrespected the judge too...that'll do it all on it's own.

Yes, I was incredibly prepared. I don't know if my former employer was prepared or not... and I'll get to that in a bit. Definitely there was some disrespect for the judge, or perhaps more accurately, disrespect for the court.

A court of law is about order and orderliness. Part of the “game” is following proper procedures and forms. Just as the judges and other court officials have specified uniforms (in the US, judges wear robes. In England, they wear wigs. Etc.) so do those appear before them. You need to dress in something a little bit formal. That's why I put on an actual dress for the first time in years. My spouse, who was along purely for moral support and would spend the entire proceedings in the audience area, asked the lawyer if he should wear formal wear or if clean jeans and shirt would be OK (lawyer said it was OK for him to dress down, since he would not actually appear before the judge). It's an acknowledgment that this is a formal proceeding.

Now, this was small claims court. SCC is intended to be, for lack of a better term, simplified so that private citizens can settle civil matters under a certain dollar amount for less time, expense, and need for legal counsel. Indeed, in some jurisdictions you are not permitted to have a lawyer with you during proceedings (in my state you can go on your own, have a lawyer with you, or have a lawyer go in your place but I don't want to bog down in rules). I chose to hire a lawyer because I am aware of my limitations in these matters. Other people can and do choose to go it alone and can be quite successful (or crash and burn).

SCC is less formal, but it is still a real court. You are still standing in front of a real judge. The outcomes will still be legal determinations. While not everyone has really great clothing everyone has access to SCC. It's also not uncommon for lower income people to come to the courthouse from work and then need to return to work, but if you need a certain "uniform" for work then that's one thing. Dressing like a slob for no good reason is a different thing. So, in the waiting area there were tradesmen in their work clothes, and some folks who were clearly down on their luck. However, it's always better to dress up rather than down. Look the best you can. Remember this, as down the line it will be mentioned again.

Another this is that you have to be there on time. The court system has a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. Nonetheless, if you are told “be at Superior Court 4 at 9 am on November 8, 2013” then you damn well better BE there at 9 am. The judge that day had 15 cases to hear and those 15 had to be crammed into 8 hours (with a lunch and bathroom breaks for the judge at least). That's an average of 30 minutes a case, and don't piss the judge off by being the asshat who dragged a case out and required others to be squeezed even smaller.

And if you don't show up you lose. Period. When you file the claim they tell you that, in writing. If you don't show up your case will be dismissed and/or a summary judgment will be made against you.

bilateralrope wrote:
Broomstick wrote:First rule of court is don't piss off the judge.

I'm guessing the counter-suit was the first thing to break that rule.

Nope. Counter-claims are pretty routine. What you list as cause in your counter-claim might piss of f the judge, but simply filing one, no.

bilateralrope wrote:
Broomstick wrote:I spent two days sharpening my lawyer's tongue... :twisted:

The details of this sound interesting.

I'll do my best to make it a fascinating adventure, probably in installments.

Eternal_Freedom wrote:Winning in court has one big advantage over flaming on SDN, you get money at the end.

Well.... we still have to collect the money.
Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice


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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby bilateralrope » 2013-11-08 09:48pm

Broomstick wrote:Nope. Counter-claims are pretty routine. What you list as cause in your counter-claim might piss of f the judge, but simply filing one, no.


I'm guessing the contents of her counter-claim were ones that pissed of the judge as the things in her counter-claim did not sound like things that someone who respected the court process would claim unless they had really good reason to. It also sounds like she either didn't have a competent lawyer or she wasn't listening to the lawyers advise.

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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Ralin » 2013-11-09 01:04am

I'm still not clear on why she didn't pay you your wages to begin with.

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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Broomstick » 2013-11-09 05:36am

bilateralrope wrote:
Broomstick wrote:Nope. Counter-claims are pretty routine. What you list as cause in your counter-claim might piss of f the judge, but simply filing one, no.

I'm guessing the contents of her counter-claim were ones that pissed of the judge as the things in her counter-claim did not sound like things that someone who respected the court process would claim unless they had really good reason to.

They were a bit ridiculous. In fact, upthread in venting I even touched on them. Essentially, she was wanting $6,000 for "distress" upon being sued, and for having to take time off work. Well, of course being sued is a source of stress, but unless you can prove some unusual level of stress far in excess of normal that's just the breaks, kid. Not being paid my wages and having to not just take time off work but look for another fucking job is way more stressful than simply being sued. We're in court, you have to PROVE your statements (which, again, is sort of like a flame war here except less actual swearing and the consequences can have a significant real-world impact).

When the judge was going through the steps of the whole process and got to the page with the counter-claim list of "grievances" she literally rolled her eyes at it. Of course, by that time she was already unhappy with the defending party.

It also sounds like she either didn't have a competent lawyer or she wasn't listening to the lawyers advise.

She doesn't have a lawyer at all. We found out at the hearing that she had asked for a continuance (that is, rescheduling the hearing for a later date) specifically because she was having trouble finding a lawyer. Apparently none are willing to take her case.

You see, MY lawyer took this in part because he has some assurance of getting paid. Either we would win, and the loser would pay his fee, or if we lost I had a job and income and sufficient (if meager) resources to see that he would be paid. I might have to work out a payment plan and do it in monthly installments but I would do it. Believe me, my lawyer and I had that discussion very early on, he is entirely aware of my financial situation, and I offered to provide him references that even in my impoverished state I still paid my debts. The other party has a history of not paying people, that's why she's being dragged into court, right? The Labor Board has ruled against her not once but at least twice, saying no, she didn't pay her employees. She is being sued for not paying someone who worked for her. What lawyer in his right mind is going to work for such a person unless she can pay his fee in advance? And that's the problem - she apparently can't cough up the bucks, or is unwilling to do so. So no one will take her case.

Ralin wrote:I'm still not clear on why she didn't pay you your wages to begin with.

She thought she could get away with it.

Which is really fucking stupid. I know Europeans are sometimes surprised that the vast majority of American workers don't have employment contracts. It's because we don't need them. Failure to pay your employees is theft under the law. Judges view you as an asshat for doing this. Lawyers won't take your case on the civil side (which is where I'm at) because, hey, you don't pay the people who work for you so they won't work for you. If it gets to the actual criminal side (which is where this cunt is headed if she keeps screwing up) you are well and truly fucked because the only kind of lawyer you're likely to get is a court-appointed public defender because, hey, the other guys don't work for free. Now, there are some excellent and dedicated PD's out there but the law is heavily weighted against employers who don't pay employees. I mean, look at this case - the penalties multiplied seven fold by the end of the hearing.

Intelligent employers make payroll. Most small business people I've know pay their employees FIRST, before they pay themselves. If they can't, it's over.

The thing is, the employees have to step forward and speak up. I have no doubt she's done this to other people, I even have some names. But some of her other employees were, to be blunt, as stupid as she is, poorly educated, and/or had some sketchy legal issues themselves that either made them reluctant to step forward or afraid to get involved with the legal system or they just plain didn't know their rights. What happened here is that I'm squeaky-clean legally, I do know my rights, and I'm not afraid to stand up to her.

So, she came up short, decided to save money by not paying people, and it came back to bite her on the ass.

Let me skip to the consequences she now faces.

- Instead of owing me $500 and some change, she now owes me $3700 and some change
(actually, she owes that to both the lawyer and me because she is now on the hook for his fees, but that's just details)
- We have to allow a little bit of time for her to pay on her own, but if she fails to do so the following WILL occur:
-- we ask for bench warrant to be issued. That means that, if the sheriff department is being real nice to us they go out to her home, cuff her, and make her do the perp walk to the county jail. Even if they aren't (they're too busy catching bigger fish) if she is ever pulled over for the tiniest traffic issue, or does anything to come to the attention of the police and they decide to run her ID looking for things like warrants, she will be arrested and thrown into jail for a minimum of 30 days. Yes, this was a civil trial but a judge has ordered her to pay and refusing to obey a court order earns you jail time, even in a civil matter.
-- we go to the bank where the company has its accounts, present the court's documentation, and TAKE the money. Even if that reduces all accounts to zero. In other words, we can clean out the company accounts.
-- if there is no money left in the accounts (or she moves them elsewhere) we then go the actual place of business and TAKE the assets, the machinery and tools, and oh, yes, empty the cash register.
-- if there are no assets left (remember, I'm not the only one with a grievance here, other parties might get there first) then it depends on the legal structure of the company. If she is NOT incorporated (and it looks like she isn't) then we go after her personal assets.
---- we can attach a lien to her house. That means she can neither sell nor refinance until she pays us, and while I'm not 100% familar with the details its not good for her. We're not that enthused because getting the money that way might take a long time.
---- we can take her car (except it may be her car is not in her name and she is not the legal owner, but that's another story)
---- this is the one I really like: she has a 40 hour a week job working for someone else. We can garnish her paycheck. Delicious irony, I can legally take HER paycheck to replace mine.
---- we can claim any other asset of value up to the value of what she owes us.

And THAT is why she is a fucking dumb cunt: she has put herself in a situation where someone can legally take her stuff away from her. For a $500 debt.

And what's even worse is that we are not the only ones going through this process. There are other people she owes money to, whom she has cheated. It looks I'm the first to complete a lawsuit but I'm not the last.

Of course, there IS paperwork we'd have to file to actually DO any of that, there are rules to follow. But there really is a genuine possibility that one day I can walk into her store, go to the cash register, empty it out into a shopping bag, and walk out the door with every goddamned penny, people in these cases have actually done that. And laughed on the way out the door. Or, if I'm feeling merciful, maybe just walk in daily and take $100 out of the register until I'm paid back so she can keep the business going - except that business is circling the drain so why the hell would I be merciful?

This is why MOST employers, if they lose at the Labor Board stage and get a lawsuit filed against them pony up - because you don't want a pissed-off former employee in a situation where they can take your shit away. But hey, stupidity has its own rewards.
Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice


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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Broomstick » 2013-11-09 07:42am

Preparing to go to Court

So, the Indiana Board of Labor has told my former employer that she has to pay me the wages she owes me. Yay! The problem is that said former employer refuses to pay. Now what?

Well, I actually did have a few choices. I could keep calling her/writing letters and so forth but, realistically, that wasn't going to work. Obviously the bitch doesn't regard my noise-making as anything she needs to worry about.

Hmm... well, I could take her to court. Given the amount, it would be small claims court which means I don't have to hire a lawyer. I can, but I don't have to.

Or I could hire a lawyer for some real legal advice. Granted, I'm officially poor, but NOT having sound legal advice can be more expensive than paying for some in advance. I know I'm not a lawyer, and I realize I don't know what I don't know here, I could really screw up. I don't fix my own car because I'm not a mechanic. I don't screw around with the wiring in my house because I'm not an electrician. Why the hell would I attempt to take someone to court without any real legal advice? I'm not a lawyer, so it might be time to hire one.

I opted to hire a lawyer. I did so not so much with the intention of having a lawyer represent me but rather to get an initial dose of legal advice and options. The tricky bit here was that I have no prior experience shopping for a lawyer, and neither do most of my family (what can I say? We're boring and don't get into trouble much). Fortunately, these days we have the internet. I searched for lawyers in northwest Indiana with experience in labor law. As usual, I wound up with a couple pages of hits. I went down the list and eliminated companies that specialized in representing employers and/or large companies. The result was 8 or 9 lawyers or firms. I did a little more refining of the list and fired off e-mails to half of those outlining my problem.

I have to say, this is where learning to write succinctly and clearly pays off. I got three responses back I felt were “canned” (including one that was obviously a form letter poorly completed, leading to some slightly weird sentences in it) and two that were very much written by a human being. Now, my case isn't particularly large, it's not important in the larger scheme of things although, of course, it's very important to me. I did contact some legal firms, but I got the impression that my case could easily be lost in the crowd of clients. I did some more research (yay, internet!) on the two responses I got that were by actual human beings and not form responses. Of the two, one of them was licensed to work in both Indiana and Illinois, which I felt was an asset since my former employer does work in the northwest suburbs of Chicago for her main income and thus if we had to cross the state line chasing her I could use the same guy instead of having to seek another lawyer. He also had experience with taking on and winning small-scale labor and wage disputes such as mine.

So I contacted this gentleman again and we started discussing whether or not he'd take my case, fees and how to pay them, and so on. After a couple exchanges he agreed to take the case.

Now, the time line for all this is as follows: I started getting missing or bouncing paychecks starting in March. I tried through April and May to negotiate with the employer on my own. In May, when it became apparent that was not going to work and she was blowing me off I went to the Board of Labor. By June 10 they had made a determination in my favor and ordered her to pay by June 24th. Which did not happen. I attempted contact again, only to find out they were paying OTHER people (even if only intermittently) but she was furious I'd gone to the Labor Board instead of dealing with her (yeah, let's just ignore the fact I'd TRIED “dealing” with her and she blew me off). I got some bullshit “promises”, none of which I believed, and I told her so. I spent July shopping for a lawyer. By August I had selected my guy and we were discussing what to do next.

Neither the lawyer nor I were enthused about a court hearing. They are a pain in the butt, generate stress, drive up costs... He suggested a “demand to pay” letter, or what I call a “scary lawyer letter”, which I definitely thought was worth a try. So the lawyer wrote up a letter saying you have to pay my client and if you don't the following will happen, then he listed the legal remedies we intended to purse and estimated the penalty costs.

This yielded a $500 check by the beginning of August. Yay! So I then wrote my lawyer a check for $75 as that was the agreed upon fee for writing the letter and delivering it (as the place of business was about two blocks from his office he hand-delivered it. This means the store manager actually met my lawyer face to face a couple months before I did, as until yesterday all our dealings were by phone and e-mail). From my viewpoint it was money well spent because I wouldn't have had any of that money without having a lawyer to look scary.

Then the lawyer wrote another scary letter saying, basically, thank you for coming to your senses and writing us a check (this was after the check cleared the bank... I was a bit nervous given that there was a history of non-sufficient funds checks). Now give us the rest of the money or else the following things will happen, and the following penalties are estimated.

Then the former employer told us to fuck off.

Well, not exactly. What she said was, oh, you know, Broomstick actually owes ME money, she's a lying, deceitful person, and when will you send ME a check for what that lying, deceitful bitch owes me. Alright, she didn't say “bitch”, but that's the sense of it.

After I stopped the stream of yelling and profanity and cooled down for a day or two I called my lawyer again and said is it time to sue the bitch? (Yes, that time I actually said "bitch", it was a private conversation.) We discussed the pros and cons and decided to proceed with the lawsuit.

Meanwhile Former Employer sends my lawyer a spreadsheet purporting to prove I owed her money.

This actually turned out to be pretty damn funny in the end. It basically telegraphed what she was going to argue, and how. It also showed just how fucking shitty her recordkeeping was. I was like bring it on, bitch. You want to take this back to the first of the year? I've got all my records back to fucking 2011, from the first day I started working for you, including two prior bounced paychecks and all sorts of bullshittery regarding hours and payment I'd had to work out with her in the past.

Then her partner sent a letter saying no, I'm not actually a part-owner of this business. Nope. Just an employee. Which was a little bizarre, given that this woman had always claimed to be a business partner and said she had put $20,000 into the business and so forth... but it turns out she had been foolish enough to hand over $20k to the bleeding cunt without getting any paper trail so no, she wasn't legally part-owner at all. Despite putting capital into the company and working her ass off. Yes, she's stupid. She's poorly educated (high school drop out), ignorant, and basically got her time, money, and labor ripped off by the cunt, who seemed to be determined to either lay the blame for everything on her “partner” or, failing that, making sure that the “partner” was going down in flames with her.

I mentioned to my lawyer that that letter was probably the smartest thing I'd seen the store manager do for a long, long time. I had also filled him in on the power structure at the company and some of the shit that had gone on. We weren't bringing any of that to court, but it was useful background.

And then my spouse got sick... got really sick... got passed-out-in-the-hallway-with-a-high-fever sick. So I was dealing with him being ill, working full time, AND trying to deal with this legal issue. September was not my favorite month this year. I told the lawyer to go ahead and file a goddamned lawsuit in Porter County, Indiana (he had determined that was the proper jurisdiction – see, that's one reason you hire a lawyer, so you bring the suit in the correct place. My first guess had been wrong.) I sent him the necessary money to pay the filing fee and he went and filed. We listed both the fucking cunt and the store manager as defendants because the legal situation with the “partner” wasn't public or entirely clear. In between all the other September chaos I got my signed and proper notification of the suit and the date, time, location of the hearing date and presiding judge. November 8, 9 am, Superior Court 4 in Porter County, Indiana. I put it on my calender, notified my current employer that I would need some time off work for that, and went back to taking care of the spouse. Whose health problems continued into October, including some minor surgery on October 16. (He's much better now, by the way. Problem resolved, apparently.)

And THAT is when I finally looked really carefully at the former employer's spreadsheet.

You see, part of getting ready to sue someone is the pre-hearing crap you need to research and make copies of. SCC is a one-time hearing. You have to go in front of the judge, make your case, and deliver your evidence all at once. If you're smart (and I am) you get all your ducks in a row and go in with everything you can to support your claim.

So, while digging up every single paystub I ever received from this yahoo and making copies of a bounced check and bank statements and copying all sorts of other shit I finally looked at that spreadsheet. Then back at my records. Then I said “oh shit”. Because, goddamnit, she didn't owe me as much money as I thought she did.

Of course, there's the matter of her waiting until SEPTEMBER to bring all this up instead of saying back in MAY when she was asked to justify not paying me... but that's because it probably took her that long to get her shitty paperwork in order. It ranks right up there with her excuse that she didn't pay me because I was only part time in April. I didn't claim to be full time in April and it doesn't make a fucking bit of difference, you have to pay your part time people, too.

I also noted she claimed that the bounced check was good (it wasn't) and also claimed to have sent me five other checks I'd never received and suspected never existed. So, she STILL owed me money, it was just that the amount was only half what I thought it was.

Oops.

And I only figured this out a week before the court date.

Oops.

So I called my lawyer, apologized profusely, and said, basically, now what?

He asked me some very penetrating questions about all of it and said he'd come up with something and call me the next day. I then twitched through the next 24 hours.

He said there were basically two ways to approach this:
1) We had a Labor Board amount and we could say “this is what the Labor Board said I should get, so we're asking for it even though there might still be some discrepancies.” And if the judge was feeling generous he might say OK, you can have that plus penalties, court costs, etc. On the other hand, that could make us look greedy and that might piss off the judge. You don't want to piss off the judge.
2) We could 'fess up that we had erred in our calculations, but point out that the fucking cunt (well, of course we'd use her real name in court) waited SIX GODDAMNED MONTHS before bringing this up, and that I had had to deal with a family health emergency which delayed my finding the issue, we're sorry, but we're HONEST PEOPLE so, OK, this is what I'm actually entitled to can I please get this? Which makes us look very reasonable and rational and honest. Which, as a general rule, makes judges happy. You want a happy judge. And then we point out that the fucking cunt had shitty paperwork, sloppy business practices, and oh, by the way, was lying about these checks here.

We decided to go with option two. It was too late to change our initial paperwork, where we asked for $6,000 (the maximum award in SCC in Indiana) but we could, during the hearing, say that in our review of both the defendant’s information and ours we were revising the amount owed because, you know, we're honest people. We'd still LIKE the maximum award, but we are OK with that being adjusted in light of this new information.

And I went back to generating reams of paper copies of everything.

You see, keeping records is important. I'm not going to claim I have a super duper kick ass filing system at home because I don't. Actually, what I have is a box where I throw Important Papers until, after a few months go by, I finally get around to filing it in broad categories. The result is that while things aren't terribly organized I do know where to find stuff and, after a bit of sorting, I can produce whatever documentation I need. The point is, I have the documents I need to back up my statements. I can prove what I say. This is hugely important when legal issues come up.

Due to both working some freelance stuff on the side, and the company's appallingly slack paperwork practices, I had, from the very first week, kept a log of my hours at this company. I still have that. And a paper-and-pen log is admissible evidence, particularly as I clearly had not suddenly started generating this in March but had YEARS of doing this, even prior to this job, and had been using it to calculate my taxes for all of those years. I also had all my paystubs from this company – which, by the way, showed missing information, inaccurate hours, and improperly calculated tax withholding (have I mentioned shitty business practices yet?) I had copies of the bad check.

I made copies of all of this.

I also informed my lawyer of as much background information I could on these people so if/when he was questioning them he could have some notion of how to lean on them, trip them up, and so forth. Yes, that is how the game is played. Like I said, it's a lot like an internet flame war.

My lawyer then drew up a strategy. No joke, he wrote two pages on what would happen in the court room, what questions would likely be asked, how we would answer them (truthfully, of course, but without volunteering more information than necessary), what questions he'd ask the other party, and so forth. My role was to let him lead and not say anything unless asked a direct question. Yes, I was delegating my flaming to someone else, but that someone else was good enough at it to do it for a living. Go lawyer!

So, yesterday morning I got up early, put on the outfit I'd picked out the night before (one of my best dresses, newly shined shoes, extra attention to hair, switch things like wallet and keys from my blue jeans to an actual purse, etc.), gathered up the documents I'd spent most of the week assembling, including four hours of last-minute double-checking the night before, climbed into our pickup (it's currently our most reliable of the two vehicles), and the spouse and I drove to the Porter County courthouse for the Big Day.

[To be continued....}
Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice


A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby mr friendly guy » 2013-11-09 08:55am

Wow. This makes for interesting reading. Great that it seems to be working in your favour especially in light of your circumstances.
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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Ahriman238 » 2013-11-09 09:35am

I'm really glad this worked out for you, Broom.

Both my father and elder brother are lawyers. I remember this one time I got a traffic ticket (went straight in a right turn only lane) and they insisted I fight it. So I walk into my ticket hearing in a decent suit, with a lawyer, a witness (my fiance wanted to provide emotional support, I had to claim her as a witness to get her into the room, and she was there when I got ticketed anyway) and a big intimidating binder (full of paperwork for work, something to do while I waited to be seen.) The judge gave a cursory hearing to both sides and let me off with a warning, and I'm convinced this was because of the trappings.

Of course, I was clearly in the wrong in this case. But I've never let myself get trapped in that lane at that intersection again.
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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby bilateralrope » 2013-11-09 04:15pm

Broomstick wrote:I know Europeans are sometimes surprised that the vast majority of American workers don't have employment contracts. It's because we don't need them. Failure to pay your employees is theft under the law.

A big part of a written employment contract is that it easily proves that the employee was working for the employer, how much they should be paid, and various other details the courts like to know. How do the US courts handle cases where the employer denies that the employee was working for them or the dispute is over the pay rate ?

Neither the lawyer nor I were enthused about a court hearing.

I've often heard that good lawyers will do what they can to avoid court hearings.

improperly calculated tax withholding

Is the judge likely to call up IRD and suggest they might want to take a look at this ?

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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Napoleon the Clown » 2013-11-09 07:42pm

Employment isn't contracted, but you do need to fill out tax forms so that your income is proven to the IRS. Employers have to send out a full statement at the end of every year (January 31st, IIRC) for the prior year's wages. If an employer doesn't have their employees sign the tax forms upon hiring they can get in quite a lot of trouble, including with the IRS, I would think. There not be a contract saying "This is what you'll be paid and these are your job responsibilities" in all cases, but there's still documentation that you work for a company and how much they pay you. Mostly for tax documentation, though it's gonna still be good in a court of law.

Pissing off the IRS is, of course, a very bad idea. They tend to not be particularly kind to people they think are cheating on their taxes.
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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Thanas » 2013-11-09 10:10pm

Holy Crap, Broomstick. I had no idea this was going on. That whole ordeal must have been very stressful for you.


I'm glad that you got your money.
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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Teebs » 2013-11-10 07:05am

Congratulations on your well-deserved win Broomstick.

bilateralrope wrote:I've often heard that good lawyers will do what they can to avoid court hearings.


Court hearings are *expensive* and there's always an element of risk to them. Obviously it depends on how complex the case is, but for anything even vaguely complicated they involve a lot of preparation, which means a lot of pricey lawyer time. Most cases that get that far are not clear slam dunks one way or another - if they were the losing side would probably have made a reasonable settlement offer. Even when a case does look like a clear win for one side, there's always the risk of a bad decision. In the UK at least, the costs factor can be even worse because if you lose you'll be paying the other side's costs too. Or, if the other side has no money, then you'll be on the hook for all of your costs because they won't be able to pay them regardless of any award.

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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Broomstick » 2013-11-10 07:17am

bilateralrope wrote:
Broomstick wrote:I know Europeans are sometimes surprised that the vast majority of American workers don't have employment contracts. It's because we don't need them. Failure to pay your employees is theft under the law.

A big part of a written employment contract is that it easily proves that the employee was working for the employer, how much they should be paid, and various other details the courts like to know. How do the US courts handle cases where the employer denies that the employee was working for them or the dispute is over the pay rate ?

These days most people are paid by check or direct deposit. Even if it's not an official payroll check, if there is a record of payment of any sort between the alleged employer and the alleged employee it establishes a relationship of some sort.

I believe this might be why The Lying Thieving Cunt (TLTC) wanted to pay pretty much everyone in cash, as that can be done without leaving a paper trail …. BUT -

It's hard NOT to leave traces. Did the alleged employee ever sign for a delivery? Did the alleged employee ever sign a daily balance sheet? (At this shop – yes, because it was often the case one person worked a shop, so even those paid wholly in cash left signatures on some of the paperwork). Are there any written schedules with the person's name? A name tag? Are other employees willing to testify this person worked at that location? (in the case of this shop, yes, some of us are willing to do just that, whether in the form of a letter or even in court). Did the alleged employee have regular cash deposits indicating some form of employment?

While not as straightforward as a written employment contract all of the above do indicate employment.

Amount of wages is a slightly different issue, but if there is a record of regular payments and hours worked the usual wage can be determined from that. There is a legal minimum wage, of course. There is also information out there about the average wages for a multitude of professions, by geographical area, so a judge might use that as a basis to determine back wages if the situation can not be resolved otherwise.

Neither the lawyer nor I were enthused about a court hearing.

I've often heard that good lawyers will do what they can to avoid court hearings.

Any time you go in front of a judge you risk losing. A good lawyer minimizes risk for the client. The other thing is that the lawyer risks doing unpaid work. For the hours my lawyer put into this he would normally get $1200. He thinks he may actually get half that, though if the collections end of this goes well it might not be that bad. We're currently negotiating a contingency arrangement where, of anything collected, he gets 1/3 and I get 2/3 which is a fairly typical arrangement. If you do the math it looks like he would actually get more than his usual fee from that, but take into account doing collections will take even more of his time. If things go very yes, we all come out ahead (well, not TLTC but that's the point) but things seldom go perfectly and this bitch has a history of non-cooperation and payment avoidance.

improperly calculated tax withholding

Is the judge likely to call up IRD and suggest they might want to take a look at this ?

As we never proceeded to presenting that stack of evidence in court (I'll write out that part of the adventure in a bit) no, the judge is unaware of that. We, however, are free to pass that on to the IRS. My lawyer has a contact in the treasury department, and one of my spouse's former students is an IRS auditor. The downside is that once the Feds get ahold of her ass they'll take their money first before tossing the bitch in jail.

After I get what's mine, though, it is VERY tempting. If nothing else, I'll need to find and present any evidence of wrong-doing in a coherent manner, which means scrutiny of what I have yet again. I'll have to do that anyway for my taxes, but I don't have to do that immediately. Goodness knows, anything I'd submit to the IRS had better be as accurate as possible, because it opens up the possibility they'll want to examine ME. Especially if she gives us more shit, though, I'll feel an incenstive to fuck her up. I also know she's altered the wiring in her part of the building without proper city permits. And she's stealing from her employer. And she may have committed fraud and various other things. Yes, I know some of the skeletons in her closet.

Napoleon the Clown wrote:Employment isn't contracted, but you do need to fill out tax forms so that your income is proven to the IRS. Employers have to send out a full statement at the end of every year (January 31st, IIRC) for the prior year's wages.

And they have to issue tax documents for their employees and contractors. I'm currently asking my accountant how to handle this situation where my employer's records are faulty, and I also anticipate she either won't send me my form (it's called a W2) or it will be inaccurate. Most likely, I'll need to fill out yet another form stating what I believe to be the truth and hang on to any original documentation of mine for seven years or so – but since I had to get all that together for the court hearing most of the work for that should already be done.

If an employer doesn't have their employees sign the tax forms upon hiring they can get in quite a lot of trouble, including with the IRS, I would think.

Absolutely. Independent contractors don't require this, in that case the worker assumes all responsibilities for tax, but who is and isn't an independent contractor has definite legal definitions. TLTC would often excuse her cash payments by saying “you can hire anyone as an independent contractor” but in fact that is NOT true. Not one person working in that shop would come close to meeting the legal definition of an independent contractor. Falsely claiming someone is an IC, by the way, is also seen as a legal offense though I'm not up on all the details of that.

You can opt to take full responsibility for your own taxes, that is, you're paid gross wages by your employer and you take all tax responsibilities on your own shoulder. I once had an employer (a different one) who kept fucking up my state tax withholding (their account couldn't wrap her head around the rules for employees who worked in a different state than where the company was located) so I did exactly that – but it required the generation of a legal document to do so. Then I paid my state taxes on a quarterly basis the whole time I worked for them. Doing that, however, requires a mutual agreement between employer and employee and, as I said, a legal document. None of that exists in the case of TLTC.

There not be a contract saying "This is what you'll be paid and these are your job responsibilities" in all cases, but there's still documentation that you work for a company and how much they pay you. Mostly for tax documentation, though it's gonna still be good in a court of law.

Yep. The court system was also happy to accept my hand written log of work hours, bad penmanship and all.

Pissing off the IRS is, of course, a very bad idea. They tend to not be particularly kind to people they think are cheating on their taxes.

That is quite an understatement. “Not kind” indeed! In other news, the air is rather thin in interplanetary space and liquid nitrogen is somewhat cooler than room temperature...

Thanas wrote:Holy Crap, Broomstick. I had no idea this was going on. That whole ordeal must have been very stressful for you.

Yes, it was pretty bad. I didn't mention most of this because it's bad form to discuss a legal matter before it goes to court. I don't know if anyone noticed just how often I was posting at 2 am or 3 am but I did have trouble sleeping some nights over the past couple months. My anxiety levels were such that I actually discussed it with my doctor at my last visit but my health seems intact.

I'm glad that you got your money.

We got a judgment. We still have to collect... but fortunately for me, my lawyer does collections. Actually, that's no accident, that was yet another reason I hired him. One of the things he'll be doing is registering the decision in Illinois so that if we wind up going after her paycheck there will be minimal obstacles, and he knows the legal collection practices in both Indiana and Illinois. But more on that in the next installment.

Teebs wrote:
bilateralrope wrote:I've often heard that good lawyers will do what they can to avoid court hearings.

Court hearings are *expensive* and there's always an element of risk to them. Obviously it depends on how complex the case is, but for anything even vaguely complicated they involve a lot of preparation, which means a lot of pricey lawyer time. Most cases that get that far are not clear slam dunks one way or another - if they were the losing side would probably have made a reasonable settlement offer. Even when a case does look like a clear win for one side, there's always the risk of a bad decision. In the UK at least, the costs factor can be even worse because if you lose you'll be paying the other side's costs too. Or, if the other side has no money, then you'll be on the hook for all of your costs because they won't be able to pay them regardless of any award.

Here in the US in these cases loser pays the court and attorney fees for the winning side, too. If the loser has no money, though, you might never collect which means neither you nor your lawyer get anything... and no one likes to work for free. Like Teebs says, there's a lot of work that goes into prepping for a hearing, but there's the risk you won't get paid for it.

A lawyer CAN ask to be paid in advance, apparently, though that is unusual. If that is done I'd expect if that person's side wins and they collect they might get reimbursed, but “pay me in advance” is usually a sign the lawyer thinks you'll lose.
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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Broomstick » 2013-11-10 09:59am

Before I resume the story of Broomstick's Day in Court a bit of background information, and a dash of history.

About six years ago an old cobbler retired. When he did so, two women bought out his two stores. At least one of them had been working for the old guy, but the point is, both women put up multiple tens of thousands of dollars to buy the business. The plan was that one of them would work in and manage the stores, and the other would continue with her regular employment but handle the paperwork and help out on the weekends. Unfortunately, neither was a particularly good business person. The paperwork was a mess, the stores were always losing money, there were employee problems, and so on. Eventually, the money ran out and then they got sued.

And that's about when the store manager discovered that there was no legal proof she had EVER owned any part of the company. She had basically handed over her entire life savings and poured six years of her life into this company thinking she owned half and discovered that in fact she owned nothing. By that time she had also taken out a car loan for the other gal (who had threatened to close down the store and leave her without a job and out on the street if she didn't – yes, that's illegal), signed the lease for one of the stores, and gone into ruinous debt.

Then, two days before she has to appear in court for the lawsuit her long-term partner, the woman she has lived with for over 25 years and who actually legally owns the house they live in, discovered that the other party in this mess had a lien against her house. This means she can't buy, she can't sell, she can't refinance, she can't access the equity in her property. Basically, the bitch has laid claim to part of her home. The partner's reaction to this was, to put it mildly, volcanic. She throws the store manager out of her house, don't come home, you don't live here anymore, etc, etc. So now store manager has not only lost her life savings, but also her home, and now has to go to court in two days. Remember this bit, because it starts to get tragic.

I found out this backstory on Thursday night and updated my lawyer that the store manager was going to be there but might well be under duress and coercion, and certainly was in distress.

Anyhow – back to Broomstick.

We arrived at the courthouse an hour early. We had allowed twice the normal travel time to get there because, dammit, we are GOING TO BE ON TIME even if there was some sort of traffic jam or detour or act of god or whatever. The spouse was driving and I could tell he was a little worked up, too, because we did, in fact, encounter a detour in downtown Valparaiso which is supplied with one-way streets and he freaked a bit but fortunately, having worked in that town for awhile, I could direct him around the blockage and we found a parking space without trouble.

This is what the courthouse looks like:
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The style is called “Greek Revival” and it's fairly common in government buildings in the US. It's actually quite attractive as these things go, and those trees around it were in full fall color, all reds and yellows.

Now, there are lots of rules around courts, and one of them is that there are no phones or electronic devices allowed inside the courthouse. As you go in there are several signs informing you of this and telling you to take that stuff back to your vehicle. Also various signs telling you to leave any sorts of weapons back in your vehicle. You enter through a metal detector, and have to put all your possessions on a conveyor belt to be x-rayed. The current courthouse dates back to the 1930's so the interior has wood doors and trim. Parts have clearly been remodeled since them but a lot of it is that era of interior.

Now, I had never actually seen my lawyer. All of our business had been conducted by phone and e-mail. He had told us to meet him on in the second floor rotunda which served as waiting area for the actual courtroom. He said he was about six foot two, would be wearing a grey suit, carrying a briefcase, and had short brown hair. I, in turn, had stated I was about five foot three and would be wearing a brown and black dress, and had waist-length braid of light brown hair. We knew the lawyer wasn't planning to arrive for at least a half an hour so we went up to the second floor to wait.

The floor had a mosaic pattern, the walls were marble veneer up to about shoulder height, and there were a few simple wooden benches to sit on. The rotunda was actually part of an inner atrium for the building that went up to the roof four stories above. You could look up and see the entrances of other courtrooms. If you refer to the picture I posted from the outside it certainly appears like each level of the building is VERY tall. Unlike some buildings, where facade might be misleading, the various levels of the interior that building really are as tall as they appear from the outside. There are only four floors in that building and other than the first level they are HUGE. It was all very imposing and orderly... which is sort of what a courthouse should be.

So we sat. And waited. And fidgeted. And waited... Other people dribbled in, about half of them, like me, clutching file folders or binders. Most were nicely dressed from office casual to business formal although a couple of tradesmen sorts had arrived in work clothes, but even those folks seemed to have made some effort to be clean and neat. This was SCC, despite the “Superior Court 4” above the door of the actual court room. There were 15 cases to be heard that day, which works out to an average of 30 minutes or so start to finish for each. As these were all civil cases of small dollar amounts, with fewer rules and requirements than higher level courts, this was apparently considered sufficient time. Just inside the door of the court room was a podium with a list of cases to be heard where plaintiffs, defendants, and lawyers were asked to sign in. My case was fourth on the list but the judge was allowed to call them in a different order than listed so yeah, being on time was important.

An American court room really is pretty much what you've seen in movies or on TV. There's a raised bit at the front where the judge sits. In front of the judge are tables where the parties to a case sit. There's a jury box to one side (unused in this case – SCC does not use juries). There is a uniformed baliff and a court reporter/clerk and, of course, both the US and the State of Indiana flags, and the seals for the Federal and state court systems up on the wall as this court room clearly served various levels of the legal system.

Behind the tables where the two parties to the dispute sit are long rows of seating for the public. There are people who simply go to court to watch the show, it is a public proceeding after all (some of these observers are actually there to keep an eye on the judges). In a situation like this, where there are multiple cases heard in a short time frame, some of the audience are people waiting to be called before the judge. Witnesses sit back there until called. And everyone is well behaved because if you aren't will be asked to leave, or removed, as necessary. In some media you see a sort of low wall or fence between the front of the court with the judge and disputing parties but in this court room there wasn't anything of the sort, just the tables then the seating behind them, in this case more 1930's era, or at least 1930's style, wooden benches. They sort of reminded me of church pews.

After I signed in I went back to the rotunda. And waited. And fidgeted. I spotted Store Manager, and I was a little puzzled that she appeared to be wearing her work jeans and a sweatshirt, which isn't exactly what one would normally wear to court, even the relatively informal (by court standards) SCC but we did not interact. Then I waited some more. And fidgeted. And waited... but yes, my lawyer did show up when he said he would and we did manage to recognize each other. My lawyer also introduced his “protege”, a man who looked about 15 years older than him who had just been officially made a lawyer two weeks prior. He was a former engineer who had decided to change his career, and was there to observe which was fine by me. Hey, I just showed up to court with TWO lawyers in tow! And I wouldn't have to pay for the other guy (who was just observing, but he definitely looked like a lawyer).

A courtroom also had satellite rooms around it, and we went to one to prep for the hearing. Actually, we used the jury room which, since there was no jury, was used as a meeting room on SCC days. A jury room is a small room with a table and a bunch of chairs around it and not much else. We went over the strategy again, and reviewed our various bits of evidence while the protege was sent to listen for our names being called. Which happened really quickly – apparently we were fourth on the list but the judge called us first, possibly because we had all signed in and maybe other parties hadn't, so she was going with who appeared to be present and ready.

Store Manager was already before the judge, very clearly alone, and my lawyer and I soon followed. The lawyer indicated I should have a seat at the table on our right and the other party took the left.

Now, we had been informed of the name of our judge the day after we filed our lawsuit, along with the time and location. That judge's name was very clearly a man's name. There was a female judge sitting at the front of the court. Hmm.... clearly there had been some last minute substitution. Wonder what was up with that? No matter, she's a judge, try to get on her good side, right? I am trying to ooze respect.

The judge riffles quickly through the papers in front of her and states that this is the case of [me] versus [name of former employer(s)]. We all introduce ourselves. The judge looks down at her paperwork. She looks up at us. The paper says one plaintiff two defendants. She counts one plaintiff one defendant. This clearly displeases her, but she asks in a polite, no nonsense manner where The Lying Thieving Cunt is. Alright, she uses the woman's actual name, but really, where is the this other woman?

The judge shrugged then says that TLTC had asked for continuance back on November 5. That's asking for the court date to be postponed. My lawyer and I had been entirely unaware of this. We were presented with a copy of the letter. The request had been refused, by our assigned judge. TLTC had stated she was asking for a delay because she was having trouble finding a lawyer. Well, yes, you piece of shit, if you develop a reputation for not paying the people who work for you no sane lawyer is going to work for you because, guess what, they don't work for free, either. It's not a large enough sum to risk non-payment, with a Labor Board decision in my favor her case was already weak, and the ONLY way you'd get a lawyer to take something like that on is to pay in advance. And you'd have to pay several thousand in advance, most likely more than what the actual debt is. I imagine lawyers would either tell her to pay up and avoid the hassle and cost of a court hearing, try to settle with me, or just to go fuck herself. A lawyer is not required for SCC, quite a few people voluntarily forgo hiring one, and lack of one is no obstacle to showing up. It's not a criminal case so you aren't entitled to a public defender. You can't hire a lawyer because of your reputation? Boo-fucking-hoo, get your legally bare ass in here anyway.

I suppressed my urge to laugh.

The judge looks at Store Manager and asks if she knows where TLTC is. Nope, she doesn't know. The judge looks a my lawyer and me. Do we want to wait or go to summary dismissal? Hell, no, we don't want to wait, let's go to dismissal!

Summary dismissal means “you didn't show up, you lose.”

The judge sighs.

My lawyer does says he'd like to ask Store Manager a few questions as a witness. The judge says fine and asks Store Manager to stand up and raise her right hand. Store Manager does so. The judge asks her to “swear and affirm under penalty of perjury that everything you say here is the truth”, which is a little different than the classic swearing in, and doesn't mention god even if Indiana is a heavily Christian red state. Last time I was in a court room during a hearing, as a member of a jury, they used the classic oath but that was nearly 30 years ago. I don't know if things had changed in that time, or if SCC used a different form than a higher level court. Store Manager said “I do” and sat back down.

My lawyer then turned to her and asked if she was an owner of the shop, if she had ever been an owner of the shop, if she had an financial interest in the shop... And I have to say, this woman, standing in court in clothes she'd probably been wearing for two days, who had probably been sleeping in the shop for two days after being thrown out of her home, who had been abandoned by her so-called business partner to stand alone in court, who had lost all her life savings and had poured six years of her life into a company she thought she owned, who for months had done the ethical thing by foregoing being paid so the people she believed to be her employees would be paid first, who was probably bankrupt due to debt she had taken on for what she thought were her obligations to this business, answered with remarkable dignity and composure that no, she did not own any part of this business, and never had, she was merely another employee and had no authority over the company accounts. This is what TLTC had done to someone she had called her best friend and partner. This is what she had done to someone she claimed to like. This was probably one of the most horrible weeks of Store Manager's entire life but nonetheless she had arrived on time to stand before the judge and tell the truth no matter how much it might hurt. I felt sorry for her because, really, she was more a victim of TLTC than any of the rest of us.

My lawyer's questioning was polite, respectful, and straightforward. Once he had thoroughly established that she was not and never had been an owner he said he had no further questions and sat down. The judge looked at Store Manager and said that she was dismissed from any responsibility for my wages and she was clearly not an owner. Really, my lawyer did her a favor, it is now a matter of public record that Store Manager is not liable for the company fuck ups. (Remember this, it is very important - Store Manger is legally off the hook for company fuck ups) Then the judge, who was clearly very annoyed, very politely and sincerely thanked Store Manager for showing up, for her time, for answering the questions, said she was dismissed and wished her a good day.

Store Manager didn't exactly flee but she didn't waste any time leaving. As she went we did make eye contact and nod to each other but otherwise we had no interaction. We had been friendly towards each other, and really I hold no animosity towards her.

All through this the judge was clearly getting more and more angry. TLTC had not only not shown up, she had, apparently, sent a powerless flunky as stand in and to take any flack. Judges do not like that sort of thing. If you are asked to appear in court they expect to see YOU in court or your lawyer. After the questioning was done the judge asked if TLTC had shown up. Nope, still no sign of her. It's not like she could hide, she is pushing 500 pounds if she isn't already over it (that's about 225 kg or 36 stone, depending on what weight system you use).

The judge was Very Clearly Displeased.

She announced a summary dismissal for the case, meaning WE WON! YAY US! She went to the next page of paperwork, TLTC's counterclaim. The TLTC was asking for $6,000 due to “distress” she experienced by being sued and for having to take time off work, $6,000 being the absolute maximum permitted in SCC, anything more than that requires a higher court. The judge's lip compressed into a thin, knife-edge line and she developed a fierce, slit-eyed glare worthy of a quietly furious Clint Eastwood movie character. She took a deep breath and said “this counterclaim is ridiculous. It is dismissed.” Keep in mind, throughout all this she spoke in a very moderate, largely unemotional tone but her face was a pageantry of angry expressions.

(I had received a copy of the counterclaim late last week. I said something a LOT more incendiary when I read it. My landlord heard me yelling and swearing in a different unit of the building and came over to see I was being attacked or needed help killing something. I mean, this was just bullshit – SHE was in distress? I had 1/10 of my annual income stolen. She had to take a day off work? I had to get an entirely new job! I was... a bit upset.)

The judge looked at my lawyer and asked if we had filled out a damages form yet. He said no, we had been waiting for a verdict. She nodded at that and told him to take one from the stack of forms over there and calculate the maximum penalties allowed under the law. She suggested we go to the jury room and just hand the form back to the clerk when we were done and she'd sign it. Then she squared up our stack of papers, set it aside, picked up the next stack, and called for the next case.

The lawyer and I had big shit-eating grins and we stood up. There was a minor disappointment that we hadn't gotten to use all of our wonderful evidence and demonstrate just what a lying sack of pustulant shit TLTC was, but hey, easy win. We filed out, heading for the jury room.

Just as we were exiting something caught the corner of my eye. It was TLTC lurching into the room with the aid of her cane. Something had compelled her to arrive dressed in black pants and jacket and a BRIGHT ORANGE T-SHIRT. She looked like the county fair's grand-prize pumpkin floating down the goddamned aisle. Her face was flushed red and she was panting from hauling her bulk as fast as she could into that room. “That's TLTC” I said, and everyone in my group turned around and said who? I said the large woman in the orange t-shirt. At least one of the party blinked a couple of times and said “oh.” It's a little hard to convey the sight, it was a really poor choice of color for someone with more girth than height. It was a poor choice for anything other than a traffic safety cone warning of a road hazard. I was the only one who had ever seen her before. She was infamous for never appearing no matter what, making Store Manager the face of the business. I know she saw me.

Then I turned and walked out of the room as if she had no importance whatsoever.

We really don't know what she did after that. We don't know if she tried to ask the judge to call everyone back, or just left, or what. My spouse hypothesized that she might have been there all along, in the rotunda, and had sent Store Manager in to weather the storm without realizing the consequences. Or maybe she had just been late, but entering just as we were exiting was prime-time TV drama quality timing.

So, my lawyer and I, my spouse, and his protege, sat back down in the jury room and started adding things up. Let's see... the amount she owes me... plus twice that in damages... the face value of the bad check... plus twice that in damages... plus a $500 fine... court costs... lawyer's fees... my lost time from work... my transportation costs to get to the courthouse...

There's quite a few things you can list, actually.

When we were done the sum TLTC owed me had gone from $560+ to $3770+. It had taken all of 15-20 minutes (the judge lady was nothing if not efficient). My lawyer turned in the form, the judge took a moment from the case she was hearing to glance at it and sign it, and we were done.

[to be continued]
Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice


A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2013-11-10 10:20am

That's an impressive case of "I'm a fucking idiot" on the TLTC's part. It's weird, I read abotu people like that in books and think "no way anyone can be that stupid and that cruel." Then I read this and think "Hmmm...damn. Bitch."
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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fgalkin
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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby fgalkin » 2013-11-10 11:17am

Woot, congrats on idiots being idiots. Karma is a bitch, and all that


Oh, and damn, that is an incredibly shitty thing that happened to Store Manager. Is there anything to be done to possibly make her less miserable?

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin

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Thanas
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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Thanas » 2013-11-10 11:41am

Geez.
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
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Broomstick
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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Broomstick » 2013-11-10 11:46am

fgalkin wrote:Oh, and damn, that is an incredibly shitty thing that happened to Store Manager. Is there anything to be done to possibly make her less miserable?

I haven't had any direct contact with Store Manager for months now, understandably, but we do have mutual acquaintances. People have been telling her, quite forcefully, that she really does need to get a lawyer for herself so she can extract herself from this mess with minimal further damage. In fact, that was what prompted her to write us a letter some time ago stating that she was not, actually, an owner and led to the line of questioning by my lawyer. She is now no longer legally liable for the payroll problems. That's huge. It might mean that she avoids jail time due to tax problems even if TLTC doesn't.

She might have lost $40,000, six years of her working life, and her home but she might have bought her continuing freedom on Friday. Even at her age it is possible to come back from a loss like that (although very difficult).

I am going to have to talk the finances over with my accountant just to make sure I properly pay my taxes on that income, the future award money (however much we might recover), and properly report things since, as I said, I don't anticipate getting the proper forms from TLTC. Once I do that, tell the IRS that I have to do this because my former employer is a fuck up, there is a strong possibility they're going to want to look at her books. If they do that she is fucked. The IRS is not kind. If evidence of actual fraud is uncovered it won't be just tax penalties she faces.
Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice


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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby koputusx » 2013-11-10 05:56pm

What is IRS?

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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Grandmaster Jogurt » 2013-11-10 05:56pm

The Internal Revenue Service, the bureau in charge of taxation in the US.

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Broomstick
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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Broomstick » 2013-11-10 06:39pm

More specifically, each state has its own IRS, which oversees state taxes, and then there is the Federal IRS, which oversees Federal taxes.

Really, you don't want either version knocking on your door.
Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice


A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

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Terralthra
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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Terralthra » 2013-11-10 06:43pm

Many of the state departments don't call themselves the IRS (to avoid confusion, among other things). For example, in California, it's the State Franchise Tax Board.

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SCRawl
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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby SCRawl » 2013-11-10 09:03pm

This has made for entertaining reading. I feel a little guilty saying so, if only because my entertainment was purchased with your misery, but your eventual victory makes me feel better about it. I will follow this case with interest, assuming you have the continuing inclination to share.
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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Enigma » 2013-11-10 09:15pm

Congrats Broomstick! But I'm guessing that you'd consider getting your money a better victory?
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Broomstick
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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby Broomstick » 2013-11-10 09:40pm

Of course getting the money would make the victory sweeter.

I'll write another installment soon, but there are still things to be done. I've already contacted my accountant to make sure this won't screw up my finances, I can maintain proper records, and properly pay any needed taxes on the income. I need to move forward with collections with the lawyer although there will be a delay for that.

Mostly though, today I am resting up and savoring the victory.

ETA: Don't feel guilty for enjoying the story. I enjoy telling a good tale, and this is just yet another interesting (if stressful) episode in my life, and quite far from the worst experiences I have had.
Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice


A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

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madd0ct0r
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Re: She Only LOOKS Harmless...

Postby madd0ct0r » 2013-11-11 07:56am

with these collections - you're not going to end up owning a cobbler's worth of tools and open your own shop are you? :)
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