We lost the State Case.
Why? The Judge wouldn’t let the jury hear about our adverse job actions (the proof for discrimination). The jury didn’t know Pat and I had been walked out the back door. As far as the jury knew, we were still working. We were not allowed to mention it or discuss our job loss in any way, shape or form. We were not allowed to talk about our “punishment”. The judge also took the legal definition of similarly situated to the extreme, so we were not allowed to bring up comparisons between our circumstances and guys who were doing the same job.
The City’s Attorney’s began threatening to saddle our Attorneys with fees and costs (and the sanctions) to get them to settle the State and Federal cases together and demanded they drop Patricia as a client. They asked me to agree to settle with the other plaintiffs (The State Case) and drop Patricia. When I said no, they abandoned both of us and withdrew as our attorney’s. How could I settle, hang my co-plaintiff out to dry, and allow them to muddy my reputation and name and be permanently labeled “crazy” when it was a lie!? I would never be able to get another job!
They threatened the Psychologists and Psychiatrist we had hired telling them them they could lose their licenses because they were practicing “Police Psychology” without the proper license. The Psychiatrist and Psychologist we hired, paid for their own lawyers and fought with us. They both paid a heavy cost for it. We will always be grateful to them for sticking to their guns, being honest and ethical and not running off like cowards.
The State Case was settled by the other Plaintiffs, but we appealed (advantage of a two-fronted attack). Because we appealed the Judge stated in chambers that Pat and I would have to pay more money than the others (Patricia and our former attorney’s were present in Chambers when the Judge said this, and that is exactly what did happen. It’s funny, but our attorney’s were not required to pay any part of the sanctions). When The Judge put it on the official court record, he said it was because we wasted more of the court’s time. When the Judge reinstated the fine/sanctions he told our former attorneys, but we were not notified. Because no one told us, we had no idea we had a “bill” to pay.
We then get dragged into debtors court for being delinquent….
Because we were not notified we made no payment arrangements.
We were shocked and surprised when we were ordered to bring all our financial records and dragged into debtor’s court. They wanted to know if we had any jewelry, valuables or if we owned other items of value. We immediately started sending them payments while trying to negotiate payment plans. I sent them numerous payments for months, writing letters to negotiate an amount. They always responded that it wasn’t enough money, yet they cashed the checks. The other plaintiffs that settled were allowed to have $50 deducted from each of their paychecks until it was paid. We were not allowed to make $50 payments.
Debt collectors are not allowed to do this, but the City of Grand Rapids was!!
The Judge then allowed them to garnish us, even though we were paying. He signed the order!! They cleaned out my checking account three days before Christmas. The money in my account included my pay and my daughter Rachael’s Social Security Disability. Social Security Disability is exempt from garnishment by law. I had to borrow money to keep a couple checks from bouncing and I couldn’t buy Christmas presents for my kids. We fought it in court ourselves and got most of the money back but it took months. Unbeknownst to Pat they also put a Lien on her house. She later had to fight to get this removed.
By this time, we were not receiving any pay from the city, they had blocked our unemployment which we had to fight for, we were working part-time jobs for less pay and they were trying to starve us out…