Thursday, October 10, 2013

Send In the Clowns: Part 1

I told you that I was going to explain more about my "Mother of All Lawsuits", but in the meantime a little sideshow has been developing over the last few days which warrants a story of its own. It's really the sequel of a little story that played out last winter, but which I declined to blog about on the theory that I ought to try and maintain proper relations with opposing counsel. Well, that ship seems to have sailed, so I might as well tell the whole story. So let's go back to January, when Mr. Meronek filed his Motion for Summary Judgment, followed shortly by the Affidavit of Evidence filed by U of W Registrar Colin Russell.

When we appeared before the Master on the Uncontested List, I naturally stated I would be opposing the motion; so the Master moved us to the Contested List, scheduled out next appearance for the first week in February, and instructed me to file my own Affidavit of Evidence and serve it on opposing counsel before then. I got right to work on my Affidavit, and had it ready by the 21st of January. Now, up to this point I had been preparing all my documents in triplicate, taking them down to the Court to have them stamped and sworn, and then distributing copies to opposing counsel. But this time, Mr. Meronek had served me his motion via email, including the Russell Affidavit which was quite massive and had at least ten attachments. This put me to an inconvenience in terms of printing it out and binding it. So I thought I should return the favor and serve my Affidavit the same way, by email. Let Mr. Meronek print it out using his paper and ink.

There was a small complication, however: In his filings, Mr. Meronek had sworn out his affidavits in-house and PDF'd them into his email package, whereas I had to go to the court to get mine sworn, which might have set me back a few days. I wanted Mr. Meronek to have my affidavits as soon as possible, so by the time we appeared again before the Master, he wouldn't have any excuse for not having gotten started on his Brief. The sooner that was in, the sooner we'd get to argue the motion, and I didn't want any delays. So on the 15th of January I sent him my Affidavit via email as a doc file, with the following cover letter, acknowledging that I these were unofficial copies:

Dear Mr. Meronek:
Please find attached my Affidavit of Evidence, to be followed shortly in consecutive emails by the associated Exhibits. You will find the listing of Exhibits in the first Exhibit (Exhibit A) after which the remaining exhibits are numbered numerically, for reasons I hope will be understood. I will be filing them in the next day or so; please let me know if you wish me to fax you the front page with the Court's stamp as confirmation of filing. I look forward to meeting you in Court on February the 5th and perhaps you will have had time to prepare your Brief by then.
Martin Green
To make sure everything was perfectly clear, I followed up with the following:
In case you weren't sure, each exhibit consists of the email plus any attachments. Please let me know if there is any question what goes where.
 Mr. Meronek did not reply. A few days later I filed the official copies, stamped, sworn and bound, with the court, and three weeks later we appeared before Master Sharpe. The Master began by asking if all affidavits had been filed. "No, Your Honor", began Mr. Meronek. "The Material we received from Mr. Green was incomplete."

I couldn't believe it. He was complaining that I hadn't sent the stamped mini-Affidavits that go with each exhibit. I told him he'd had the material for three weeks already...why was he waiting until now, when we were in front of the Master, to make this complaint? Mr. Meronek bristled indignantly: "Mr. Green is fully aware that I have been out of the country for the last three weeks." As though he thinks I am being sent regular updates on his travel arrangments!

Master Sharpe was unimpressed by all this, and after accepting my undertaking to correct the deficiency, went on to give Mr. Meronek a deadline for filing his Motions Brief. Later, outside the courtroom, I approached Mr. Meronek. The conversation went something like this:

"So can I send you the stamped mini-affidavits for each of the exhibits?"

"I want exactly what you gave the Court."

" And you already have everything except the stamped mini-affidavits. So I can drop them off at your office?"

"I want exactly what you gave the Court."

"In other words, just the mini-affidavits?"

"I want exactly what you gave the Court."

Well, I'd had enough of this. "I don't give a damn what you want", I told him, "you'll get exactly what I give you." He strode off indignantly, and I went home to prepare a package for him. Two days later, having dropped of the package at his office, I sent him the following email:

Dear Mr. Meronek:

I trust you received the material which I dropped of at your office yesterday. I believe this corrects the deficiencies you identified on Tuesday before the Master. If you have any further difficulties with the material, please contact me.
Please let me know if Mr. Mackwood needs me to provide him with the updates as well.
marty green
What was in the package I sent him? I thought I did a pretty nice job of it. There were actually twenty-one attachments, so I sent him twenty-one numbered divider tabs, twenty-one mini-affidavits, and the first page of each of the twenty-one attachments, so there would be no confusion as to which divider tab and mini-affidavit went with which attachment. I urged him to contact me if he had any trouble figuring out how to assemble the material I had already sent him via email with the dividers and affidavits, telling him that the copy filed with the Court had been bound with Cirloc binder rings. I concluded my cover letter by telling him he could pick up the binder rings at Staples, and if he didn't have a hole-puncher at his office, his people were welcome to come to my home and use my hole-puncher.

And that's where matters rested until last week.

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