What a gorgeous morning today, while I was doing my rounds! The ground looked like it was covered in frost, but it wasn’t frost. We were having an ever so slight snowfall, and it was making the very air glitter and sparkle!
I couldn’t resist trying for some shots of snowflakes on spruce needles. My phone can take some very good photos, but it doesn’t do zoom very well. Unfortunately, zooming in was the only way I could get right in there without creating a shadow. This one turned out pretty good, though!
I waited until shortly after noon before heading out to the court office to file my defense against the lawsuit our vandal has made against us. Well. Not “us”. Just me. Which I’m good with. I doubt he even remembers the names of the rest of my family well enough to spell them.
The last couple of times I was there, I had some minor issues with the mask mandate. The first time, there was no one in the lobby, and I just told the clerk in the office that I was medically exempt. The second time, there was a pair of sheriffs on duty and, while my exemption was accepted, the guy I spoke to clearly didn’t believe me. So this time, I put my face shield on before going in, just in case, even though I shouldn’t have to wear even that. The mandates say nothing about face shields.
There were no sheriffs in the lobby this time. I am pretty sure this is because court is in session only in the mornings. The chairs were even back in the lobby!
There was already someone in the office, and someone else in a chair (three chairs, right next to each other… no attempt at physical distancing at all!). It was an older gentleman, filling out some paperwork, with his mask under his nose. 😀 I took advantage of the wait and made a quick dash to the bathroom. When I came out, the first guy in the chair was in the office, and there was a different older gentleman sitting in one of the other chairs, filling out paperwork, with his mask under his chin.
It looks like the court office is being more reasonable about things.
When it was my turn to go in, the clerk seemed to do a double take when she saw me, but said absolutely nothing about my shield. I think she just didn’t expect it. The face shield is shielding me more from being hassled, than anything else!
I had pretty much everything ready before I came in, so all I needed to do was sign and date the form in front of her. She double checked everything was in order, did her own stamping, dating and so on. It took hardly any time at all, even with her having to disappear in the back to check on things. She apologized, explaining that she was still new to the job and wanted to make sure of things. Which was just fine by me! Then she made a couple of copies; one for me and one for me to serve our vandal with. She also gave me a declaration of service form. We talked a bit about that, because I wasn’t quite sure how I was to do that. Since I plan to serve via registered mail, I just need to keep an eye on the tracking number online. Once it shows that our vandal has signed for it, I can fill out the form (I should be able to print out proof of pick up), then go back and file it.
This is for a February teleconference court date. I have my own court date with him in 4 days, and that will be in person. It looks like I’ll be going to that building 3 times in one week. I suppose I could file the declaration of service on the same day as court, but I wouldn’t want to wait that long if he, say, picked it up tomorrow (which is not assured; we drive in to get our mail only once or twice a week, and I think that’s pretty common out here). Plus, I know that once the court session is done, I’m unlikely to have the sanity points to deal with anything else! I expect him to fight the restraining order, of course. Likely, that will mean a trial date will be set. However, the judge may decide to make a decision right then and there, too. Considering the type of restraining order I am applying for includes “fear of property damage”, which he has already done, there is no ambiguity for my concerns on that part, so it is a real possibility. It would certainly save the court time.
It’s unlikely but, after seeing my defense, it’s entirely possible he’ll drop the suit against me. Especially with the list of things my brother could potentially sue him for, topping an estimated $45,000. Replacement value would easily double, possibly even triple, that amount. The fact that he was already given the opportunity to remove anything he could prove was his, more than 2 years ago, is probably all a judge would need to throw it out.
Ah, well. It will be what it will be.
I’d come prepared with an envelope, so as soon as I was done at the court office, I got our vandal’s copy ready and went to the post office to mail it. I’ve already checked the tracking number, and can tell that all the postmaster had to do was print out a pick up card and tuck it into his mail box. I had some concern that it would have to be sent to the city for processing, first! 😀 Actually, I had more concern that I might run into him at the post office, which has happened before.
I am sorry that this has all had to get to the level of the courts, but now that it has, I really hope this will finally put a stop to the things he’s been doing. A restraining order is just a piece of paper, but it’s better than nothing, and gives the police more authority to act, if he does something stupid again.
All we can do it take it one step at a time.