Saturday, December 5, 2015

Fired a bad attorney; hired a good one

This is a tale of three attorneys:  one who wrote a poorly written complaint; one who failed to appreciate the crisis and opportunity this presented; and one who saw what needed to be done and took immediate action.
Just before Thanksgiving, I reread the complaint filed on my behalf, in the harsh light of the City’s response to it in their Answer and Counterclaim and their Motion for Summary Judgment and Oral Argument.  I now could see that it was lacking in research and statements of law, and was so broadly and loosely written as to be partly false.
When I know I’ve made a mistake, I stop making it.  I didn’t want this man to file another piece of paper on my behalf, not even a motion to withdraw, much less the answers to the City’s filings, both of which were due within days, by my calculations.
So I fired off an email with the three filings attached, to the attorney whom I figured I should have hired in the first place, asking if he could save my case.  He was probably already gone for Thanksgiving and would likely be out of contact until Monday.  So I spent much of Thanksgiving weekend reading rules of court and trying to figure out how to withdraw my attorney and go pro se (represent myself) in time to write and file those answers by Thursday and Friday. 
On a site called OregonCivPro.com, where they have searchable and easily readable rules, I saw an ad for the Oregon Cannabis Law Group and Andrew Deweese, the owner/builder of the site.  I sent him an email, asking for assistance in finding such rules, and saying I was interested in retaining him.
My first choice for new attorney replied late Monday morning that he’d have to read the filings I sent and would get back to me.  I sent him copies of the filings I’d done that day, withdrawing counsel and asking for a continuance.  Mr. Deweese sent an email late Monday afternoon and a text a few hours later, asking me to call him.  I arranged by text to call 11:00 AM Tuesday.
We had a good 25-minute interview, going over the case and his experience.  He said that he would contact the City’s attorney, say I was thinking about retaining him, and ask for an extension on the Answer to the 28-page Motion for Summary Judgment.  He would also send me his contract by email.
When I got home that night, I found: an exchange between him and the City’s Attorney, negotiating an extension until January 21st; his “Engagement Letter,” which was both thorough and readable; and a reminder to file the answer to the Counterclaim by Friday, so as not to default.  I signed the contract 24 hours later, Wednesday night, and asked him to write the answer for me.
While my first choice for replacement attorney was reading my paperwork, Andrew Deweese saved my sanity and my case, before he was hired, for free.  He also trusts his clients to pay him, and so doesn’t ask for a retainer deposit.  He has earned my trust and the money he will make off my case.

December 5, 2015 protest leaflet.  Published on GardenGrantsPass.blogspot.com.  Sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/grants-pass-city-manager-aaron-cubic-leave-pot-growers-alone-target-litter-and-weeds.
Read the ordinance at http://gardengrantspass.blogspot.com/2015/09/chapter-572-homegrown-and-medical.html
Support the lawsuit at www.GoFundMe.com/HomegrownDefense 

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener          541-955-9040        rycke@gardener.com