Integris Mortgage followup

2007-03-23 21:27

Integris Mortgage finally got around to hiring lawyers. I suspect they’re paying a lot of money, because these guys sure love to write stuff.

Not that it’s always good stuff, mind. But there’s a fair bit of it. Consider the following from the definitions section of their recently-provided Interrogatories:

“Communication” means any transfer of information, ideas, opinions, or thoughts by any means at any time or place or under any circumstance.

So, say, gravity. Gravity is a transfer of information, yes?

But it gets funnier. Here’s one that made me laugh out loud:

The words concern or concerning include referring to, eluding to, responding to, relating to, connected with, commenting on, with respect, about, regarding, discussing, showing, recording, describing, mentioning, reflecting, analyzing, constituting, evidencing, or pertaining to.

I am pretty sure the only typo in there is theirs. Certainly, there is an obvious typo. But wait, typo’s the wrong word. That’s just a plain spelling error, and a funny one. Guys, if you’ve never seen a word written, you should probably look it up before using it. Just a thought.

Some of the writing covers a broad range of topics. For instance, consider the scope of Interrogatory 9:

9. Identify what purpose the facsimile machine identified in Paragraph 2 of the Complaint is used for and whether it is personal or business use. Also, provide the date of purchase and all numbers that are or have been associated with your fax machine.

Contrast this with the much narrower focus of Interrogatory 12:

12. Describe for what purposes the facsimile machine identified in Paragraph 2 is used.

Now, generally, when you see shoddy work like this, with insanely burdensome demands for documents or information, the conclusion is simple; the attorneys want to make money. A lot of money. Since defense attorneys don’t get awards in court, the way they make money is to spend time. Their goal is to rack up the billable hours. That’s why, rather than asking for, say, faxes in some way related to the case, they want every junk fax I’ve gotten. You know, all 1,392 of them (as of last count, not including any that were tossed before I started saving them up in the late 90s).

Do they need those faxes? No. Are they related to the case? No. Can they charge a fairly hefty chunk of pocket change per hour to have some gormless intern grovel over them hoping to find proof … oh, wait. That’s not the point; it’s not to look for evidence, it’s to get billable hours. He’s not looking for anything; he’s just “examing evidence”. $150/hour, please. Company check only.

The funny thing is, we’re only talking about 11 faxes. Even given the clear admission that they knew that they were using fax advertising, that only gets us $1,500 per fax plus attorney’s fees. At $16,500 plus fees, the whole case would be settled, and we’d be done… I don’t know if they’ve spent that much on defense yet, but if they keep going, they will. Ironically, the defense counsel in this case and I have common interest here, albeit for different reasons. We both want Integris to pay as much as possible. Me, because I don’t think they’ll stop faxing if they can get away with it. (The seven or more faxes I got from them after my first call to them suggest this, certainly.) The defense counsel, because sharkskin briefcases don’t buy themselves.

But hey, common cause is common cause.

Peter Seebach



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