When I first started “Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer” it was solely for the purpose of coping with the situation….getting from one day to the next…and processing. Wow, processing has been very hard. In April, we will be closing in on 2 years… I STILL have days when I ask myself if this really happened? I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that here in the United States, lawsuit abuse runs rampant.
We are not as free as we think we are in this country. The current state of our legal system is a huge problem that must be addressed before it’s too late.
So I’ve vented… I still get angry but life is slowly starting to return to normal. What is next?
Now that I have over 100 posts under my belt, I think of the type of person who may stumble upon my blog. I think of the people dragged into the legal system who don’t belong there. I’m think of the people who are learning about the legal system for the first time because they themselves have been initiated into the world of lawsuit abuse.
I flashback to my first week in the legal system, terrified of this perfect stranger with license to practice law who can’t keep me locked in simply by filing paperwork. All I could do was search and search for information because I had NO IDEA what the hell I was doing! While I slowly started to learn about frivolous lawsuits, I didn’t feel that there was enough information from the viewpoint of the victim. I don’t like to use the word victim, but at that point in my journey that is exactly what I was.
So to those of you being initiated into the world of frivolous litigation, welcome. Your life will never be the same. This experience will change you, forever. Hopefully, I can share some nuggets of wisdom that will make your ride less bumpy.
- Give your self a 24-48 hour freakout period and do what ever it is you need to do to safely get out the anger, frustration and sadness. Start thinking about ways to channel this productively.
- That being said, MAKE SURE YOU ANSWER BY THE DATE GIVEN. It is perfectly acceptable to tell the courts that you need time to find legal counsel.
- In the event you can’t afford legal services, you can get a court appointed attorney. Their skill level varies…many might be handling their first case. It is perfectly acceptable to request a new attorney if you are not comfortable with the one appointed. Check out Legal Aid or any of legal clinics in your area.
- If your case is frivolous, understand that there is an ulterior motive behind the filing that is different then what is on paper. I wish I could go back in time and tell my previous self this. When I was first sued, I really thought the guy was after $10,000,000. I spent day after day wondering how the hell I would come up with that kind of money… even though I did nothing wrong and the fact I was in this situation was unacceptable. That’s how scary it was. While I can’t comment on an ulterior motive I can make an observation… the man who sued me now has a P!NK Tribute Band… his former friend and bandmate, however, does not.
- Decide if you want to fight or if you want to give the person what they want to make them go away…this is a personal choice. In my case I actually tried to appease the man who sued me, only to be threatened with a second lawsuit. So for me, the choice of fighting was made for me…
- Understand that many frivolous cases are filed with the intention of it never actually going before a judge. My case took close to two years to get there and my legal fees are over $12,000. The multiple “settlement” offers I got from the Plaintiff were rather insulting(even more insulting then the content of the 112 page complaint) , I couldn’t accept them out of respect for myself.
- If you do fight, it may be one of the most difficult journeys of your life. Just know that you are fighting not just for yourself, but for the greater good of the country and humanity.
- If you are fighting… identify every single frivolous expense in your life… this may be Starbucks Coffee, tabloid magazines…get a second job if you need to. Strip down to the basics and accept… this is life now. It may not be your life forever, just for now.
- It is absolutely acceptable to talk about your case. Stick to the facts. In the event you speak to the media (most frivolous filers do not want their cases in the papers… they are coming from a position of using scare tactics and often perceive the defendant as weaker.) Be honest about how this has affected you. Don’t name call. Stay on the high road if you can. Your not in the wrong here.
- FUNDRAISE YOUR LEGAL FEES!!!! There are a lot of people that want to see this type of behavior in the legal system stop and will be happy to donate a few bucks to the cause. I used Indiegogo the first time. They were great. For the second fundraiser, I will most likely be using Funded Justice. Fundraising is a lot of work, it was a full time job for me.
- Check out organizations such as The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, Faces of Lawsuit Abuse, Legal Aid. It’s great to have support from friends and family… finding support from organizations that understand the culture of lawsuit abuse is very valuable.
- Take the time to learn the legal lingo (say that six times fast)! Read the document back to front. It might make you cross eyed the first time(s) around. Yes, legalese is a secret society language that takes years of training to learn. This is by design. Do what you can. Learn what it is you are actually getting sued for (It took me months to figure that one out). Don’t be afraid of the words or the paperwork. Embrace it. Even if you can only learn one word at a time. Your world and mind) will expand. I never thought in a million years that I would ever have any ties to a court case or the legal system. Now, I am actually considering law school or a second career in politics if “rockstar” doesn’t work out. Maybe I’ll do both. We’ll see.
- Take the time to get grounded, centered. Walk in nature, meditate. Pet a cat or a dog. Read a good book. Make time for yourself. Do one thing you enjoy everyday. Breathe, it’s going to be OK. When you get through this, you can pass on your story to help create positive change in the legal system.
- Speaking of, if you find your situation as unacceptable as I found mine, contact your local senator or council person. A lot of people may be dismissive. I myself will not be shutting up until I see change (sorry Findlaw.com!)
- As my lawyer told me, “Think positive thoughts”.
So there you go… these are all things that I wish someone had told me when I was first getting sued as I was entering a whole new world and learning about the dark underbelly of our “Justice” system. If you find this useful… please share, comment, or like! Thanks so much for taking the time to read it!