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Why this?


Only once have I hired a lawyer to sue anyone. It was fifteen years ago and I was suing my former wife. Somehow the $2,000 I paid the lawyer disappeared without any consequence. Now I am on the verge of remarrying the woman I sued then.

I say this to suggest that I am lawsuit-averse. I did not sue my former employer for age discrimination when I was laid off in 1996 at the age of 55 as several persons proposed I should do. A landlord group to which I belonged at the time began with a class-action lawsuit that was thrown out of court. It continued, successfully, as an action and propaganda machine. If you want to change the world, this is a better way to do that than lawsuits.

Nevertheless, at the age of 70, I became embroiled in several lawsuits initiated by my third wife. First, she called 911 and had me arrested for domestic assault. Second, she filed for divorce. I had no alternative but to become involved in the world of law and lawsuits. What I found was not encouraging. It was a horrible experience.

In both the case of arrest for domestic abuse and for divorce, I hired an attorney as persons who do not wish having a fool for a client are encouraged to do. That was a waste of money. I have no particular beef with the attorneys I hired; however, I achieved better results on my own. I “foolishly” represented myself. The significance here is that I saw the situation both from the standpoint of being a party to the lawsuit and of being the architect of legal strategy to deal with it. This gives an advantage with respect to story-telling.

As a legal amateur, I saw the situation from a layman’s perspective. I approached the legal issues as a layman might and, therefore, made mistakes. It might help both for other amateurs to know how the world of law differs from theirs and for lawyers to know how a layman, their client, might view the situation.

Because I am a writer, I naturally wanted to write up these experiences in court as I would any other adventure. Beyond this, I wanted to create an extra resource for persons who might want to represent themselves in court. Therefore, I included all the principal documents submitted to the court so that self-represented persons would have a model of submissions before them. I would have benefited from having such models when I submitted documents to the court.

Readers should be cautioned, however, that, because I am an amateur, my documents may not be the best models to be used. A professional attorney would know how to draft something better. But something is better than nothing and the price is right.

That said, I would invite you vicariously to delve into the murky world of Minnesota lawsuits and feel the muck.

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a civic duty

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