Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Abe Lincoln: Discourage litigation…


So when I left the meeting Monday with the Apartment Manager, I left her with this compromise…. “If you give back $400 of the $500 of deposit money, our family will be happy and we will drop the matter.  Not because we feel that mom and dad owe you anything for damage, there was no damage, but because we are willing to pay $100 to stay out of court….no use in dragging mom and dad to court over this.  Anything less than $400, and we will see you in court, and you will lose.”   Her reply was, I need to talk to Corporate about this.  All of this after I talked to her about the law, and showed her a few pictures and got her to admit that yes, we left the apartment very clean, but she still felt that we needed to pay for painting and carpet cleaning despite what the law said.
I’ve been a manager long enough to know that within many organizations there is red tape that one has to deal with...that there are company rules.  I empathized with the apartment manager, I realize that she is just following company rules and guidelines…yet I also had read enough about California tenant laws to know that they did not have a leg to stand on.  However, by offering this compromise, even one which we as a family did not necessarily feel we had any obligation to do, it was hoped that the mere act would probably bring a conclusion to this entire dilemma.  She could tell Corporate that they, we can keep $100 and end the threat of litigation.  We (family) would feel good that we got $400 back instead of less than $200.  Yes, the compromise was heavily weighted on our side, but I know that we had the law on our side…but I would happily pay $100 just to keep mom and dad out of court.
Well, this morning dad received a call from the manager, and she said that they will accept our compromise and that they will be issuing a $400 refund to them.  Dad thanked her, but he let her know that we he and mom are agreeing to this compromise to stay out of court even though they (mom and dad) felt that they deserved all of their refund back.  She (the manager) just had to stick it to him by saying that she felt they (apartment complex) had followed company procedure and were in the right.  Dad countered by saying, “But are following the law, not company procedures….”  She went on to assure him that the check would arrive within 21 days, but dad reminded her that by law they did not have that long….we will see how long it takes them to issue the $400 check.   Now everyone who knows me knows where I get it from….


Got an email from my good friend “Joe” in Pine Bluff yesterday who reminded me that “Dave does well in court. (heh-heh)”.  This was in reference to when the Public Library I was director of “had” to sue the Mayor of the City to get them (the city) to vacate a portion of the Library they were using as a court room.  To make a very long story short….City was in a jam and we allowed them to rent an area in the bottom of our three story Main Library to use for a District Court for what we were told would be “a short time period” (turned out to be 7+ years).  State law changed, and District Courts were suddenly allowed to arraign people charged with a felony -- suddenly we had shackled prisoners hauled into this court area within feet of the front door where children were entering the Library.  We legally ended the lease, but they would not leave.  We then evicted them, they still did not move out and they stopped paying rent.  We ended up “having to” take the matter to court.  After a full day trial, the jury was out for less than 10 minutes, and came back with a unanimous verdict in favor of the Library.  We did all we could in that ordeal to come to a favorable compromise for both sides….but in that case, the Mayor did not follow Abe’s advice…he did not budge, and it cost the city money, cost many of us a lot of time and cost him in loss of respect from the community.  Thank goodness for Pine Bluff’s sake that he is no longer the Mayor, and I feel things are getting better….


….but the news of this 107 year old man who was shot dead by police after he fired upon the police is not helping the matter, it seems to be a tragic chain of events with a terrible outcome for all…terrible for the friends and family of the man, terrible for the police, and terrible for the city in general.


  1. Glad it worked out for your parents. Apartment complexes are famous for finding dirt where it doesn't exist.

  2. I do believe in compromise; good work done by you and your dad. As a business manager, many times over, I also feel the lady apartment manager was 'squeezed' in the middle. It'a apparent she believed you were serious with your "see you in Court" attitude and urged the 'company' to be willing to compromise too.
    Since I'm writing on the 11th I'd like to add my thoughts and prayers to those of others who are remembering their loved ones lost.


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