We are presenting for your consumption an outline of the facts of an arbitration that started in 2003, yes 12 years ago. Sometimes these issues follow you for a very long time and this should come as a warning to small business. And the warning is this. If someone out there believes you have assets, somebody will see if they can craft a lawsuit to try to take…to steal…your hard earned possessions. In this case, the profiteer was M, a former manager of one of my companies, encouraged by his girlfriend Sandra Ware. The major mistake we made in our relationship with M was to turn the other cheek. When we discovered that M and one of our senior managers was setting up a competing business in violation of their agreement, we should have terminated him that very day. Once we allowed him to stay for a period of time, we were destined to incur a lot of money to pursue our damages and to defend his baseless claims.
And so this is a warning to business to not turn the other cheek if you can avoid it. As much as your morality, like mine, pushes you to forgive and move forward with caution, be warned. You just cannot do it. There are just too many M’s.
But baseless claims need to survive and to do so in an arbitration you need an arbitrator who wants to rule against you. And to accomplish that you need an arbitrator that does not understand the facts, cannot process the technical points, wants to look the other way to prolong the arbitration or in one way shape or form simply wants to support one person over the other, to hell with the facts. And so this is a warning that arbitration is just too dangerous. You are better off in court.
And beyond these aforementioned warnings, I also must warn you that everyone but you wants the arbitration to proceed, with all its attachments, because there is some form of substantial economic gain. The arbitrator gets paid. Your attorney gets paid. The other attorney gets paid (although that attorney may have taken the case on a contingency). One of the reasons M’s attorneys left so often was that they did not think they would win. And so this is also a warning to business that everyone else involved wants this case and arbitration to go on for years because they are making a lot of money off of you. The arbitration cost us $175,000 before I said enough and took over. So you lose even if you prevail on the merits of the case.
Now if you end up finding yourself in the circumstance that an arbitrator’s former partner now steps into a lawsuit, you have reason to be skeptical. By that point the arbitrator knows that his former partner will only get paid if you lose. The only way the opposing lawyers wins is for you to lose. The writing is on the wall. The facts do not matter. And so this blog also attempts to point out that even though the facts do not matter anymore for this arbitration, they do matter. And they do matter forever.
The only way the facts can be suppressed is for one party or another to claim that the sensitive facts of the case are confidential and cannot be revealed. Trials are public record. Most discovery is public record, at least if presented in court. So one way that the facts can be suppressed is for one side to try to claim that it is suppressed and seek to remove it from public consumption. Now in our case we did have a protective order, the point of which was to protect our confidential information form being published by M or his attorneys. Likewise confidential information provided to us from M…personal property, like a computer, or his personal tax returns, these things should remain confidential and they have. We will not publish that information. However, our information we own.
As I noted now, Linda Marshall has threatened a lawsuit against me personally for publishing the facts of this arbitration. You will have to decide if you agree with my conclusions by evaluating the evidence we provide. I cannot waiver from the necessity of shining a light on what I believe is corrupt. This must be done.
But there is more to this extended relationship with Linda Marshall. We had filed an ethics complaint against her many years ago, pointing out the outright dishonest testimony from M and his destruction of property we had a right to. That was by design. But of course there was more and that was our very real belief that Marshall was engaged in private conversations with arbitrator Crow during the arbitration. That is a no no.
Recently, this last year or so, Marshall has been pursuing a lawsuit against me personally for the judgment she has against my now dead company. Linda did not kill it. It died for other reasons. And I don’t want to discount the fact that the litigation against M would have killed most small businesses. Still, there is a process that debtors need to go through if they want to collect a debt from an out of business corporation. A corporation is organized so that shareholders are not held liable for the debts of their company.
But out of a very real interest to cost me personally even more money, Linda filed a lawsuit against me. She did not bother to even do her due diligence to determine if that was appropriate. And the allegation that was published was fraud, claiming that I defrauded the unsecured creditors. It’s not the case. But she did this to publicly tarnish my reputation because I had years ago filed an ethics complaint. And remember the unsecured creditor in this case is Linda Marshall. M has a very small piece of this pie now. Still the business is closed. It’s gone. I have not taken anything from it.
Linda Marshall used the litigation process to simply cost me money, knowing there was no merit. This is my opinion. She could have reviewed the financial documents we would have gladly provided. She did not, choosing instead to take an unfounded position. There seems to be an understanding that folks like Linda can claim in her lawsuit the object of their disdain committed fraud or anything else, without any evidence, and yet are up in arms when we fight back by doing what we are doing here, which is to dissect this case from the beginning, to publish our findings and to allow you the opportunity to learn from our experience.
And of course we filed another Ethics complaint with the Oregon State Bar. This complaint is bigger than just this case however. The last time we filed a complaint against an attorney other than Marshall it was against an attorney by the name of Bud Bailey. The Bar took no action. A short time later however he was suspended for six months or so. And so we have some experience with attorneys filing punitive actions because they have the license to do so and believe further that the Bar will do nothing to stop them, even though part of the Bar’s obligation is to protect the public from attorneys violating their Code of Ethics. And I believe Linda violated the Bar’s Code of Ethics, by using the opportunity to file a lawsuit without merit with the sole purpose of using the litigation process to punish me. Same can be said for Sandra Ware. I’m sure that Linda and Sandra are sitting around thinking about how to strike again.
And now it will become even more important for Linda to win. And a Judge looking at our case will know that we filed this complaint and may want to find in Linda’s favor to assist her beating my Ethics Complaint. It’s the classic vicious circle. The bait is on the hook. And the bait has always been taken. I don’t understand why they want the blog down, but they do.
In my case it also appears that the State Bar is either looking the other way or encouraging punitive lawsuits and that may be the classic movie shot, a fade away starting with the Oregon State Bar logo on top of their Tigard location to the opening scene in a Portland Federal Courtroom. Th Bar has taken some action. They are investigating. And Linda has hired an attorney to file another Lawsuit.
Libel or Defamation? By me? No. It’s up to you to decide. And by the way Linda, this blog is not really about you. It is about the abuse of power vested in people who are not skilled to handle it, not balanced enough, not educated enough, not ethical enough. There will always be Linda Marshall’s. We can’t legislate out dishonestly. But we can shine a light on a litigation structure where absolute power corrupts absolutely.