Friday, December 10, 2010

Why some court cases are prolonged

A reader comments:
what on earth happened between you and your ex to create such mistrust and hostility? something else must have happened that you are not sharing. seldom to never does someone get themselves into this position while faultless.
I am afraid that this comment misunderstands the legal system.

The recent popular movie The Social Network tells the story of Facebook, and how it has been plagued by lawsuits from former associates who claim to have been cheated based on some oral (and unwritten) understandings. In the end of the movie, the company pays them all off, regardless of the merits of their claims.

But the claims have not been resolved. Just last Sunday on CBS TV News 60 Minutes, the Winklevoss twins were explaining how they think that they have been cheated, and how they want more money in addition to the settlement of $100M or so that they already received.

The movie gives the impression that Zuckerberg made some cold business decisions that were essential for Facebook's success. His associates missed out on one of the biggest booms in business history, and they are unhappy about it.

I have no idea whether there is any merit to the twins' claims. But I do know that, the way our legal system works, it does not necessarily have anything to do with mistrust, hostility, and fault. All of the litigation can be explained by the simple fact that the twins can hire contingency lawyers, and they can keep suing until the courts eventually force them to stop. The twins have nothing to lose by suing, and Facebook has the deep pockets. It is as simple as that.

A reader does not understand the analogy, so I will spell it out.

My ex-wife first demanded sole custody in June 2004. She has occasionally gotten temporary orders in her favor, but all of her claims were ultimately disproved at trials. The only permanent orders have been for 50-50 custody. She continues to ask for sole custody, even tho her own witness acknowledges that he could find no merit to her accusations.

She will continue to make bogus legal claims as long as she can profit by doing so. I have currently been cut off from my kids, and I will continue to bring legal motions to see my kids as long as I am the legal father and I have the legal right to see my kids.

The point of the analogy is that you do not have to understand the merits of the twins' claims in order to understand why the litigation seems to go on forever. And you do not have to understand the merits of my ex-wife's claims to understand why our court case has no end to it. It is a defect in our legal system. I could be the world's best dad or the world's worst. But unless the court is going to make some determination and stick to it, then there can be no end to the litigation.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I understand your analogy here...
are you likening yourself to the twins, where you have nothing to lose by continually litigating your case, although there may be no merit, and your ex has the deep pockets?

George said...

I added a couple of paragraphs to spell out the analogy.

Anonymous said...

That makes sense, thank you.

So what I guess I don't understand is why you don't have a good attorney? Seems like if I were you I'd hire a good attorney and be on the offense instead of letting your ex keep you on the defense all the time. I'm sure you know who the effective ones are from spending so much time in court.

George said...

You might also suggest that Zuckerberg get better attorneys. If only it were that simple, he would.

Anonymous said...

If Zuckerberg didn't have attorneys he'd be steamrolled by all of the contingency sharks and would be penniless.

I've been following your blog for quite some time, and I think that if you had an attorney your situation would be different, and much better for you. I understand that you're a very smart guy, and likely smarter than every attorney in Santa Cruz, but it doesn't mean that you can do better for your case in a court of law than they could. Far from it. This country was founded with courts and lawyers, and as corrupt and biased as the system may seem, it's how it's been for a long time and not going to change in the near future. You've seen first hand how the attorneys work together and with the court system. At the point that you're at now, I don't know how easily your situation can be fixed, but had you had a good attorney I don't think this would have gone on so long nor would you be in this position. Not that I'm an advocate for lawyers, in fact I think that some parties do better pro per... I just think in your case you should have a good lawyer. And you're one of the rare few who could actually afford one, so it just makes no sense to me why you would choose to be self-represented. Yes, your ex is also pro per, but she has a law degree. It takes a certain kind.

Anyway, I'm likely going to stop reading your blog, as it's extremely frustrating sometimes and I feel bad for you. But knowing that you don't have an attorney makes me understand your situation a bit more, as backwards as that is. I'd love to see your situation turn around, and check here to see if any progress is made. I'm just convinced now that it won't happen unless you lawyer up. If you do, and this story turns around, it would be a really interesting case-study on how effective a good lawyer can be.

Anonymous said...

So I've thought some more on this and here's my best hypothesis...

If you are fighting for custody, and you cannot afford a lawyer, the judge (and the system) will do their best to accommodate you and help you. This is especially true if the other party does have an attorney.

However, if you can afford an attorney, but choose not to have one, the judge is going to assume that either:
A) You think you're above the system and don't need an attorney.
B) Your children aren't important enough to you to warrant the cost of an attorney.

At that point the cards are stacked against you. Remember that the judges and all of those that are affiliated with the court are married to the system and believe it is best for everyone. If you hate it, oppose it, or feel above it (or they think you do) then the system will be used against you...

Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

"If you are fighting for custody, and you cannot afford a lawyer, the judge (and the system) will do their best to accommodate you and help you. This is especially true if the other party does have an attorney."

Absolutely untrue, at least in Santa Cruz County. If you are a male, you're toast. Unless you have several attorneys from out of the area and have your own business to hide assets, but they'll still take the kids away as leverage because they know what's best for the children esp if the mother wants that, she needs no real evidence, just "I'm afraid". That's the reality. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and there are no checks and balances in the family law system at all here. Just a symptom of larger corrosion and corruption w/in the entire legal system and industry.

Anonymous said...

I think you are misrepresenting your case. If your case is as strong as you present, the courts ultimately should have seen things your way. Instead, you and your ex have managed to drag court proceedings out for - how many years? I doubt you'll stop even after the kids are 18.

George said...

And if my case were really so bad, then I should have been found unfit by now. But I only have temporary orders after 6 years of litigation.