Written during the 2016 Presidential campaign:
I have not said much about the presidential political campaign, mainly because I wouldn’t have had much nice to say…from the moment of the first debate, I couldn’t stand Trump’s smirky face, frankly, and then once his personality let loose, I liked his face even less. I just cannot believe we are going to be living in a country where our president (even if it’s Hillary) is someone that we have to warn our children against – you know, “If you EVER act like that, you will be punished – the president is rude, crude,” or “is a liar and a crook.” If my adult children behaved the way Trump does, I would be so ashamed, and you can bet they would hear about it.
I have a fair amount of stress in my life, and one of the most stressful things is trying to get attorneys to pay us for work we’ve done. My reporters are independent contractors, so they don’t get paid until the client pays us. Every month, we call those who are 60 days past due, and we send them statements as well. Even with all this effort, we still have people who have had unpaid invoices for over a year. Lately, I have been threatening to file ethics complaints against those who haven’t paid in a year, and that has been getting our reporters paid.
This week, though, I had a NASTY exchange with an attorney from Maryland. I call and leave a nice message that we really need to get these invoices paid or I am going to have to file an ethics complaint against him. He sends the office an email saying that the case has settled and that we need to write his bills off. You can imagine how that hit me. The reporter does the work, gives it to the client in SEVEN days, and here a year later, we’re begging to get paid, and he didn’t pay it, settled the case and now tells US to write it off?
I send him a nice but firm email explaining that we have called him, emailed and snail mailed this invoice on multiple occasions, and it is not our fault that he didn’t include these costs in his settlement statement, but that if it needs written off, it is he who should do so. In the same email string that he tells us we never sent him an invoice, he didn’t know about TWO DAYS worth of charges, that very email string reflects a conversation about 60 days after the invoices were sent in which his secretary says she had a call from me and requests another copy of the invoices, which were sent, and she responds back that they are now on his desk. And he STILL insists we didn’t send him anything and he knew nothing about it.
In sending him instructions on how to use our website to pay by charge card, this is the response I received from the email: “It won’t let me enter anything. It works about as well as your billing system. For the record I have never stiffed a court reporter and I also have never had a reporter refuse to write off a bill if circumstances warranted. You did not bill us until after the distribution had been done. The clients owe you the bill, not me. Under Maryland law I was contracting for a disclosed principal—there is no question of you having a contingent arrangement, the bill is owed by the client and because of your screw up I was prevented from deducting it from the settlement they received. The fault is all yours and you are not an honorable person and you do not conduct your business ethically, as is proven by your blackmail threat to make an unsupported, frivolous complaint against me. Now I can’t honor your 24 hour deadline because your website is screwed up. Pathetic.”
Our website was working totally fine three hours before, and worked immediately after, so I’m thinking it might be operator error? Anyway, not to belabor the point, but this goes on and on with me showing him the15+ times we had contacted him, as shown by our billing system. He then insists that we have “recreated” entries in our billing system to show things that did not happen (which is impossible, of course). He ends emails with statements like “Wouldn’t it be funny if you lost your license?” On our last exchange, he says he is going to pay it just to get me off his back, and his last words were, “Your screw-up, not mine!” I tell you, after dealing with this jerk, I was ready to drive to Maryland just to let this guy have it. I didn’t, of course, and all my correspondence was professional and direct to the point. He now says he is going to pay.
And why am I telling you this? I’m wondering, is this what our country is going to look like soon? Or does it already look like this? People going crazy over literally nothing, accusing, cursing, carrying on? Here’s what Jesus tells us: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
He also tells us to turn the other cheek, to give someone our coat if they need it, and tells us that the greatest commandment is that we love we each other as he has loved us.
I’m struggling with this thing, I’ve got to admit. Even if this guy pays, I am really inclined to turn him into the Maryland Bar anyway. I’m thinking they need to know what kind of an attorney he is, someone that goes off on random vendors with such venom and hatred. But is that just as bad as he is? I admit, I am very firm when it comes to fighting for my people. I don’t get ugly, but no one is going to use my reporters to make their case and then walk away and not pay them for it. What do you think? Turn him in anyway, or turn the other cheek?
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.