Friday, December 12, 2008

The Jury Is In

For nearly the past two years we have been embroiled in lawsuits. First, we were sued for defamation by a local contractor after our continuing complaints against a home improvement contract completed over ten years ago. Our complaints went through the contractor, the Better Business Bureau,, a letter to their product manufacturer, and a short video spot on WKOW detailing our complaints.

After retaining an attorney to defend us in this case, we also filed a counter suit under Wisconsin's Home Improvement Practices Act. The judge, who was to preside over both cases, ruled to try our suit first. This case started this past Monday at 8:00 AM.

We have spent approximately $100,000 on attorneys in the past year and one half. If our suit were to fail we would be financially ruined. The long days in court were nerve-wracking, especially for two other reasons. First, the opposing attorney put on a very good case.(Albeit quite disingenuous) Second, there were some realities that we were not allowed to use as evidence. One is the fact that we were sued first before we countered with our own suit. Another was a letter received from our opponent's first attorney that would have easily sealed one of our claims. This week has been very tense.

The jury returned its verdict in our case about a half hour ago. They determined that we were to receive $15,000 damages by verdict (we had asked for 34)... We won! Whew!

The law that we were using in this case also provides for the winning plaintiff to receive double damages and attorney fees. In total, we should be receiving in the vicinity of $130,000. That will be enough to pay our attorneys, begin fixing the house, and enable us to eat regular meals again.

Of course, our adversary may appeal the decision. Since our lead attorney, Roy Wagner of Von Briesen and Roper out of Milwaukee, recently and successfully argued a similar case all the way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and by many is considered the best in these legal areas, we feel quite confident in our situation.

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