Saturday, June 11, 2011

Yes. That's my mark.

My time on the witness stand is over.  In continuation of this week's theme and to cap our nearly 3 year drama, I had studied, researched, and prepared for countless hours for my turn to tell my story.  In the end, it all went so fast I didn't get a chance to relay all of the damning, smoking gun stuff I had accumulated.  Shifty threw me some softball questions he had shared with me in advance, so, I knew what was coming   His 30 minutes of questioning and confirming of my earlier deposition was fairly routine.  He did throw in a few last minute questions that surprised me only in the fact I didn't know they were coming and knocked me off center a bit as I had mentally prepared the sequence of events, but, it really was no big deal.  Then, I got to go face-to-face with Ms. Ding-a-Ling.  And it was game on. 

During this whole ordeal, I have been cast as one of either "instigators" or "ringleaders" of the plaintiffs.  (I actually prefer the term "Head 'Mo-Fo' in Charge", but, feel that may be a bit disrespectful in a courtroom setting which relates to another incident, but, I digress.)   Ms. Ding-a-Ling  approached the podium with her disorganized book of shit loaded for bear with her fangs bared.  I knew this was coming and felt confident, so, really wasn't too fazed over the whole event.  I was prepared to tell the truth and had proof to back it up.   Instead of opening me with a "Good Morning" or other type of  greeting, she immediately launches into a, "Now isn't it true......." line of questioning that puts a spin on an incident to make her client look favorable.  If you ever encounter a lawyer phrasing a question as "isn't it true?", I recommend you listen very carefully before answering because it most probably is not.  For the next approximate 30 minutes, we parried back and forth  and I held my ground consistently.  Then, out came the documents.

The whole basis of this lawsuit has been the denial of documents that pertain to a homeowners association.  State laws require that members be able to view them and examine them with reasonable advance notice.  I and my fellow plaintiffs have not ever been able to do so because they NEVER GOD DAMN EXISTED!   She gave me an exhibit "labeled as defendants number xx" and announced that it was a copy of an email sent to me by her client with a response by me in return.   I answered it looked similar to something I had.  "Similar?!  What do you mean similar?  This is an email with your response.  Is it your testimony that you have never seen or was not sent this document?" Now, her voice went up a full octave and the decibel level had risen a few points as well on that question.  I pulled out my copy and answered that it was indeed similar, but, not identical as mine had an additional paragraph from her client that had been removed that changed the whole meaning of the document.  Other than the deletion, the balance was the same.  I have to admit she didn't visibly flinch, but it definitely caught her off guard.  She immediately pulled out another document and asked me to authenticate it.  "Well, this one is different as well as it deletes your involvement in some of these incidents as well."  "My involvement??"  "Yes, see here.  My copy says these were "drafted by the attorney to protect", etc.  Your copy doesn't have the words, 'by the attorney'."  It was at this point the light went on that most of the shit she had copies of from the idiot developer have been doctored.   Like Lt. Tragg from the old Perry Mason series, I knew which document was mine.   The discovery earlier by other plaintiffs of this same type of behavior definitely was showing a pattern.  And I don't think she wanted to continue to be embarrassed. 

In the end, I was told it was the first time most people had seen a witness actually do better with the defense attorney that with their own attorney.  (I am not sure that was a compliment.) Shifty said I did a good job, but, that I owed the judge an apology.  I asked why and he mentioned that I had referred to the judge as "That guy".  Now, I do remember the comment as it was in the heat of testimony and I was feeling a bit frustrated with  Ms. Ding-a-Ling.  I was trying to explain something to her that she had been badgering me over and I started to speak faster and did indeed say that;  not to imply his lack of importance, rather, as a reference to whom were were speaking.  Anyway, after my testimony, I did make an apology in court to the judge for my comment and explained there was certainly no disrespect intended.     He graciously accepted it and that was the end of it.  I imagine he has been called worse before.

We're STILL not done.  We resume next Thursday and hopefully will be done then or on Friday.  Shifty won't commit  to a guess whether we will win or not, but, he does give a good pep talk.  I can't see how we will lose, but I am sure the other side feels the same.  I wish this was over.

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