Continued (from Day 17)…
As we sat around our kitchen table, it became clearer that our lawyers were depending on us to make the final decision as to whether or not we would settle our case out of court and for how much. This was a lot to work through with about a week until our mediation date.
I remember the shock I felt as our lead lawyer said, “We’ll put in a ten million dollar demand.” I was up getting a snack or a drink, and I turned to him and said something like this: “A demand letter? Are you serious? You mean adults really act like that? That’s normal for our judicial system to act like that? Adults are demanding money from other adults?”
He looked stunned at my reaction. He replied very seriously, “I have never had anyone in my entire career question that before. Yes, that is how it is done.”
“Well, for our case, please do not demand anything. We need time to think about this, and we need to ask the Lord what He wants us to do. Please do not submit any demand letter until we give you the go and the amount.”
We had his word.
We did not even know how much we needed to request. We had not calculated anything. We had our homework ahead of us.
But, I knew that God is a God of justice, and it was my goal to find the justice for both parties (them and us). I did not believe that God would bless us with the victory if our hearts were in any way seeking to take advantage of the situation. God is a God over the rich and poor alike. He’s their God too. Though they are a corporation, they are made up of people, and I felt it very important that we proceed with justice, for both parties, at the forefront of our cause.
We reviewed the scenarios just to make sure we understood what they were advising us to do.
We also found out, for the first time, we owed the insurance company and state of Texas back everything that had been spent on our behalf, should we win any award or settlement. This totaled around $245k. If we lost, we would not owe any of it back. I had asked repeatedly for our attorney’s expense reports (before this meeting) to see how much our expenses were thus far. I never received any reply on this. They estimated about $60k in expenses while at our house.
So, with us owing about $300k back, should we win, it made perfect sense what they were advising us. If the offer was low, go to court. If the offer was around one million, consider it… pay back what we owe and take the difference and do something with it to try to get immediate help for our family and “build a bridge”, instead of chancing it to go to court. (The attorneys were still seeming to be of the opinion we had a 50/50 chance if we went to trial. Our case was one of the most difficult ones the oldest attorneys had ever seen with the questions of who was at fault.)
“So, you are saying that if they offer something like $200k, we won’t take that and you will be with us to court?” I asked.
“Well, I will not be able to be at court. I am retiring. I can get you through mediation and then just be available for emergencies. It will be the other two lawyers that can go with you. What do you guys think?” The lead lawyer, the one we had waited years to work with us on our case, said in reply.
The middle guy looked to the attorney that first approached us, the one that walked me down the aisle.
“Yes, we will be with you. It is your decision. We will go to court with you.” He was solid. I felt assured.
I made the offer for them to eat lunch with us, or at least take something to go, but none of them wanted to do that. They had to get right back on a plane and fly back. They were at our house about an hour. (I’ll admit I did feel insulted as we had never spoken with them before, they came in very quickly, and then they were headed right back out. It did not feel like they really cared about us personally at all.)
I double checked all the details: that we were supposed to come up with an amount of what we would settle for, and that they would not put any sort of demand letter out there until they heard a figure from us.
All was set. The two lawyers left, and I think that is the day that the other one stayed to do some filming of our personal story (to show to the jury).
What a whirlwind meeting that was. It felt like a huge life decision was in our lap. We only got one chance at this, and I did not want to make a mistake. How would we know what to do?
At a time like this, the only thing you can do is seek truth and walk by it. That truth is God. But, how do we get God to tell us what to do – without a shadow of a doubt?
We decided to do three things that made a huge difference in the outcome of our case:
- We worked diligently to do our own homework and figure out how much money we wanted/needed, if it was up to us. We set our concrete goal.
- We worked diligently to search the Bible for all Scriptures that pertained to us writing a petition for this victory.
- We asked God for help. We asked for Him to give us a number. We also asked Him for a specific sign so we would know that He was with us at the mediation.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” [Phl 4:6-7 NKJV]
(To Be Continued…)
(This series of posts, Countdown of Hope, is not related to my family in any way. For the introduction to the story of the anonymous family I am posting for, please see http://jodykwaddell.wordpress.com/countdown-of-hope/ .)