Who sues? Journalists, employees and musicians

We don’t want to fight, but, by jingo, if we do,
We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men, we’ve got the money, too. – G.W. Hunt, Song

Arm yourselves for more reality-based lawsuit stories.

Clarabelle Cobb, a part-time journalist for a major news network, was fired from her job because she went on air to report a story she had gathered and written, but the network had rules restricting part-time women employees from going on-air to report their stories. And all their women reporters were part-time. Interesting…

And then the network claimed it fired Clarabelle “for cause,” a nasty phrase that denied her unemployment insurance, so she had to sue. She won.

Clarabelle is now involved in another lawsuit as trustee for a relative’s estate which had been suspiciously diminished. I love serial-litigating folk. They have stamina.

Hortense Hathaway sued an employer for a combo of harassment and comments that suggested a prejudice toward women. Although one of her female supervisors was at that time a good friend, the woman did not support Hortense and would not testify on her behalf. Hortense persisted anyway and achieved a nice financial package.

Long George McCormack
and his ever-loving wife Mazie née Mitz sued their co-op upstairs neighbor for all the usual co-op upstairs neighbor problems.

When Feet Samuels, a musician, played a gig for contractor Scoodles Shea, he hadn’t been warned by his union that Scoodles made it his practice to run out on his debts. (Which is why Feet got involved in union politics but that’s another story.) So Feet sued Scoodles for the 90 bucks he was owed for the gig. Feet reasoned that retaining a lawyer to go after $90 was perhaps overkill and sued pro se (handled everything by himself).

Here’s the creative way Feet served Scoodles: Feet’s fiancée and her father, Frankie Ferocious (his persona, not his reality), phoned Scoodles, told him they were thinking of booking his combo for her wedding so could they come to a gig he was playing just to sample his combo’s wares? They showed up at the wedding, nibbled at the buffet, and then served Scoodles with Feet’s lawsuit. (Since I was at the wedding, I can attest to the fact that Feet did not hire Scoodles.)

The lawsuit proceeded. Scoodles never showed up for anything so Feet won, by default. The deciding judge looked down upon the head of Feet and pronounced, “You know you’re wasting your time with this guy – you shouldn’t bother,” but Feet replied, “No, it’s fine, it’s kind of my hobby,” and the judge said “Okay,” and signed whatever she had to sign to get Feet out of there.

By this time Scoodles had made himself totally, legally invisible. He couldn’t be found and he’d handed all his assets over to his wife. Feet, however, was determined to serve Scoodles with the judgment, so tied on his running shoes and jogged over to Scoodles’s house. Scoodles himself opened the door. Feet served him. Scoodles look embarrassed and said, “Oh, you shouldn’t have to do this” but wasn’t embarrassed enough to pay up. Feet got otherwise musically occupied, but that was the last time he let anybody off the legal hook.

And these are just my friends and relatives who have entered or been dragged into the legal system to solve serious problems.  I’m sure you can envision yourself in one or more of those situations.

Summation

  • All sorts of people just like you and me land in situations that lead to lawsuits. (Have I said that previously? A couple of times? Sorry.)
  • Women have a harder time with lawsuits than do men.
  • Re the above, here’s a summary of the exemplary Lilly Ledbetter story: Committee on Education and Labor.
  • Some pertinent and excellent links are the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Laws & Guidance and a summary of Title VII (the serially amended act involving civil rights and employment discrimination) at title7.pdf (application/pdf Object). Brace yourself: you’ll realize how many times you’ve been discriminated against but did nothing.

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