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-   -   Request Assistance with $1.57 Mil Tort (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=78962)

mikehaas 12-17-2007 9:31 AM

Request Assistance with $1.57 Mil Tort
 
This thread is very old but I have been asked if there was a resolution. See latest post.

Subject: Request Assistance with $1.57 Mil Tort

(Many thanks to kestryll for giving me permission to post this here.)

My fellow Calgunners,

For those who do not know me, my name is Mike Haas, an NRA Benefactor member, and I have been working closely with NRA's top staff in the Golden State for over a decade. As a volunteer, I run/manage/donate the majority of electronic services that NRA utilizes in California. (The California NRA Members' Councils are 100% volunteer and receive no funding from Fairfax.) That includes developing and maintaining (at no cost, with my own fat fingers) most "smart" services provided by http://calnra.com/ - including:

- the CalNRA Homepage - http://calnra.com/
- the CalNRA "Legs" page - http://calnra.com/legs.shtml
- the CalNRA exportable "Mini box" - http://calnra.com/importlegs.shtml
- the CalNRA "Life Clock" - http://calnra.com/lifeclock/
- the CalNRA "volunteer" service - http://calnra.com/volunteer/
- the CalNRA "CAL-ERT" system - http://e-govmail.com/cgi-bin/subscri...rscouncils.com

I also provide a wealth of "internal" electronic services that help NRA staff manage the California NRA Members' Councils volunteers all across the state, such as...
- A private email messaging system
- An associated internal management system used by the NRA staff administrator (Paul Payne) as well as Members' Councils officers

I am also the webmaster for the Fifty Caliber Institute...
http://fiftycal.org/
...co-founder and webmaster for Project Bore Snake...
http://projectboresnake.org/
...and other things (see full sig below.)

In 2006, I joined calguns.net and introduced the powerhouses here to California NRA, basically initiating a strong, highly-positive association that continues today. I'm not as active here as in 2006 because now, key calgunners themselves work DIRECTLY with NRA staff and attorneys - but none of that existed in early 2006. To my knowledge, no other forum has this kind of association with NRA and none COULD, such is the intense negativism that permeates those places. Calguns has always been more about DOING rather than WHINING and that was noticed by NRA. That's why they asked me to become a part of your community and build that bridge.

I apologize for that "mini resume", but before I ask for help, I though a bit of introduction was in order for calgunners who came on on board since then.

Now, I've never asked my fellow activists for anything but to support NRA and respond when you receive NRA's "Calls to Action." As noted, Calgunners responded wonderfully (especially after August 16, 2006, eh? :-) - better than any other group I can think of.

But today I am involved in a legal matter that, while it doesn't involve guns or Second Amendment freedoms or NRA, threatens to cause myself and my family great harm.

My wife Dianne and our small family business (a dog grooming shop in Richmond, CA) has been sued for $1.57 million dollars in a totally groundless tort action. It all started over a parking dispute, believe it or not. When that ended badly for this party, the harrassment began. This person subsequently spent 5 years trying to put us out of business by making unfounded complaints to various county agencies (Business Licensing, Zoning, Animal Control, Environmental Hazards, etc). Every complaint was investigated and our business given a clean bill of health on all counts. It got to the point where the government officials would apologize for showing up yet again - "Understand, we have to investigate all complaints" - and some even became our customers. In all those visits, we were never cited for a single violation and every county agency came to appreciate us a solid citizens running a credible, upstanding business.

The county eventually suggested non-binding arbitration. We agreed. The "plaintiff" stomped out of the meeting after voicing that his goal was to put us out of business (we remained to negotiate in good faith, but the negotiators could not coax him to return.)

Eventually, we learned the county told this person SOMETHING that caused the problems to cease for 2 years (we know a meeting was held with the county supe). Until a few weeks ago, that is. Believe me, you can't imagine what it's like to be sitting at home watching TV, cuddled up with your loved one after a good dinner, and then have a process server knock at the door with a summons for a $1.57 million lawsuit. It takes the shine off dessert, that's for sure.

Of course, we've retained an attorney (thanks, hoffmang for the referrals!) Now, every suit is dangerous, but we hope the reckless aspect of this one quickly becomes evident to the court in pre-trial motions and it never gets to trial. And, if we're successful warding off this attack, we'll have our own gameplan to implement.

So - I finally get to it. Want to help? We are by no means wealthy and I don't have a Legal Defense Fund established (don't really think the issue warrants one) but there is an easy, fun way you can help us and yourself (as a shooter) at the same time...

You see, my small business is http://AmmoGuide.com/ - a reloading website I created nearly 5 years ago when I became dissatisfied with then-existing online reloading websites. So, as a software engineer and professional web designer, I built the website *I* wanted to use and quit working in the (very stressful!) financial industry. A year's subscription is less than $20. AmmoGuide does MANY things you can't find anywhere else and I'm very proud of it.

If you wish to help, why not try AmmoGuide? Then we both can win. :-) Check the site out here in DEMO mode...
http://ammoguide.com/

Thanks friends, for taking the time to read this and again, to Kestryll for giving me permission to post this here.

Mike Haas
NRA Benefactor Member, volunteering as...
Electronic Communications Director, NRA Members' Councils of California
http://NRAMembersCouncils.com/ - aka http://calnra.com/
President, NRA Members' Council of West Contra Costa County
NRA-ILA EVC, CA Congressional District 7
Also, Webmaster for...
Fifty Caliber Institute (FCI), http://fiftycal.org/
California Association of Firearm Retailers (CAFR), http://cafr.biz/
Owner and Author, http://AmmoGuide.com/
Co-founder, http://E-GovMail.com/
Co-founder, http://ProjectBoreSnake.org/ (PLEASE SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!)
------------------------------------
You may enjoy some of my personal web sites...
------------------------------------
http://AmmoGuide.com/?article=lifeclock0707
http://PatriotBoxers.com/haas/MikesArt/
http://PatriotBoxers.com/
http://NRAWinningTeam.com/

tankerman 12-17-2007 10:26 AM

Sorry to hear about you legal troubles. Are you looking for direct donations or will signing up for "Ammoguide" provide a sufficient cash supply to handle this lawsuit?

I hope when this is all over that you have an opportunity to return the favor, by sueing the Sh-t out of that obsessed idiot that's harrassing you.

mikehaas 12-17-2007 10:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tankerman (Post 886084)
Sorry to hear about you legal troubles. Are you looking for direct donations or will signing up for "Ammoguide" accomplish the same thing?

I hope when this is all over that you have an opportunity to return the favor, by sueing the Sh-t out of that obsessed idiot that's harrassing you.

Thanks. Not seeking direct donations, just getting more subscriptions to AmmoGuide will help at this stage. (If it gets to trail, that will probably change as costs will zoom, as most here know well.)

Mike

nhanson 12-17-2007 2:11 PM

I already subscribe!
Great web site and invaluable if you are a Hand Loader.

Thanks
Enjoy

BigMac 12-17-2007 3:03 PM

I had never seen that site before!

I just signed up. Now I'd like to upgrade to a paid account.. but your hiding the damn link for th emoney part...

Never hide the link for "pay here" ;)

mikehaas 12-17-2007 3:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigMac (Post 886648)
I had never seen that site before!

I just signed up. Now I'd like to upgrade to a paid account.. but your hiding the damn link for th emoney part...

Never hide the link for "pay here" ;)

Sorry for the confusion (and thanks for the kudos and your support!) If you are logged into the free account you created, you should see "Subscribe Now" and "Subscribe Here" links and buttons on virtually every page. For example, under the "Buy" menu.

Or just login here using the free account you created:
http://ammoguide.com/cgi-bin/aijoin.cgi
(You'' see the big "Subscribe" button in the middle of the window.)

Yeah, I've tried to make AmmoGuide the very best ammo website out there. It's the most affordable of all commercial websites and none of them do what AmmoGuide does. The real deal is under the "Tools" menu.

Mike

Kestryll 12-17-2007 3:40 PM

Do you take paypal on the site?

Can'thavenuthingood 12-17-2007 3:46 PM

I've been thinking about getting into some reloading for the last few months and this works. I remember being on your sight a few years ago and snooping around then.

Signed up now:D

Don't let the bastards wear you down.

Vick

m24armorer 12-17-2007 4:25 PM

Mike, I have known you for years.

pm me.

mikehaas 12-17-2007 4:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kestryll (Post 886712)
Do you take paypal on the site?

Sorry, no. But I guarrentee the credit card interface is as secure as possible - I pay enough for the SSL certificate.

Mike

5968 12-17-2007 8:25 PM

Looks cool. Sorry to hear about your legal problems.

artherd 12-18-2007 1:09 AM

Mike, you have PM, and the entire force of calguns.net behind you.
-Ben.

WokMaster1 12-18-2007 7:41 AM

Mike, not trying to rattle my wok here or trying to sound bloodthirsty but looks like you need more than membership signups to fight this lawsuit. I'm going thru one right now & will be in court come May 2008. Avg of $30-50K a month just on discoveries & depositions. I'm so looking forward to the trail date when the cost is going to double that.

mikehaas 12-18-2007 8:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WokMaster1 (Post 887992)
Mike, not trying to rattle my wok here or trying to sound bloodthirsty but looks like you need more than membership signups to fight this lawsuit. I'm going thru one right now & will be in court come May 2008. Avg of $30-50K a month just on discoveries & depositions. I'm so looking forward to the trail date when the cost is going to double that.

My legally-burdened big brother, best of luck and everything else one needs to squeeze the truth from the trial system. In my case (hmm... first time I ever used that phrase LITERALLY), the plaintiff doesn't have standing to file most of the causes of action (one must be a government entity to sue for those) and the ones that are left are 100% groundless. If there ever was a case designed to be dispensed with in pre-trial motions, this would seem to be it. There's more reason to be hopeful that this will not get to trial, but I'd rather not go into detail.

This is why I'm not sounding more of an alarm. Indeed, the kind of situation you describe is the kind of situation this person hoped to create for us. It's still a very stressful situation as it is. We're actually 3 weeks into it - until we spoke to some attorneys, we were expecting near financial ruin. Still could happen, and you'll probably hear me screaming as I go swirling down the drain, but the assigned judge is supposed to be no-nonsense, which we are counting on. It should be pretty easy to make the case that this person is trying to abuse the court system just as he abused the local governmental processes and resources for YEARS.

After hearing your situation, I'm somewhat embarrased to have posted a thread. Your situation sounds much more complicated. Can I offer you a FREE year subscription at AmmoGuide? (And if I can crawl out from under this, maybe more help?)

Mike

Creeping Incrementalism 12-19-2007 9:30 PM

Mike,

Is all your load data from you & your users, or do you have other sources? Do "official" loads from component company manuals get entered in?

Could I enter in my own data, but for my own viewing only? (Just to use for my own personal comparison to other cartridges?)

Are your users friendly in answering beginner questions about progressive presses and loading? All I've done is single stage loading, and only for a particular bolt action rifle, but want to try loading on a progressive for semi-autos.

Thanks, and good luck getting the suit dismissed quickly & inexpensively.

Davidwhitewolf 12-19-2007 10:01 PM

I'm sorry to hear about both of you gentlemen's legal troubles.

For those who might be reading this thread and fretting about how to protect themselves in case their own businesses are ever sued, I would like to strongly suggest purchasing insurance -- and NOT just general liability insurance, which is what most businesses get. If your business is incorporated you may think that you are "insulated" from personal liability for the corporation's actions -- perhaps so, but you still have to go into court to defend yourself and prove it, and that costs big bucks. And here's the big surprise -- YOUR GENERAL LIABILITY POLICY WILL NOT PAY FOR THAT DEFENSE. :eek:

What you need is Directors' and Officers' Liability Insurance ("D&O" for short). It is a separate animal from other types of insurance. I'm an attorney with several corporate clients and am also in-house counsel for a couple of nonprofit corporations. I've seen first-hand what happens to corporate officers & directors who are sued when the company has D&O, and when it does not. The difference is like a dream vs. a nightmare.

If you haven't been sued before, and your corporation hasn't either, D&O can be relatively cheap. Shop around.

Muzz 12-20-2007 1:31 PM

Man that sucks...please do not let worry consume you, your wife, or the business. These things drag on so long that to give it one moments thought above what is actually necessary is a waste of life. Speaking from experience, although not to the tune of $1.7M, just incorporate it into your life like the mortgage or car payment. You don't worry about those every day but they are ever-present, right? Same deal. Tough to do at first, but it'll happen.

mikehaas 12-24-2007 4:57 AM

(Sorry for the few days absence - just busy! Thanks for the inquiries and ESPECIALLY for those that have subscribed for a year.)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Creeping Incrementalism (Post 891467)
Mike,

Is all your load data from you & your users, or do you have other sources? Do "official" loads from component company manuals get entered in?

Copyrighted load data (like that in manuals) should NOT be entered. When I started offering load data in 2004, I imported several free, uncopyrighted loadsets from major manufacturers. For about the last 2 years, all load data has been entered by subscribers. Now over 14,000 VENDOR-INDEPENDANT loads on the site.

Quote:

Could I enter in my own data, but for my own viewing only? (Just to use for my own personal comparison to other cartridges?)
Yes, the "AmmoGuide Load Editor" lets you block and restore access for any of your loads anytime. Also, your loads, as well as those of others you "bookmark", automatically show up in your personal "Favorites" loads list. That, plus AmmoGuide's "load list filters" make load management a snap.

And since you mention comparing rounds, AmmoGuide has both VISUAL and BALLISTIC Comparison Tools. The VISUAL tool is available only to paid subscribers. But the Ballistic Comparison Tool (which allows you to compare individual loads as well as average cartridge performance) is free, here:
http://ammoguide.com/?tool=bcompare

Quote:

Are your users friendly in answering beginner questions about progressive presses and loading? All I've done is single stage loading, and only for a particular bolt action rifle, but want to try loading on a progressive for semi-autos.
The friendliest. No kidding.. As a pay site, I feel a responsibility to keep the forum comfortable for every subscriber and my subscribers help me do it. Forum rules stipulate NO DISRESPECT, no exceptions. The forum members are VERY helpful and eager to answer questions. The forum doesn't have different sections - no need - it's all about shooting. BTW, the forum can be read by anyone, feel free to check it out here:
http://ammoguide.com/cgi-bin/aiforum.cgi
(Just click on the "Enter as DEMO" button if you don't have an account.)

Quote:

Thanks, and good luck getting the suit dismissed quickly & inexpensively.
Gratias Amigo. i think we're on pretty firm ground but one can never predict what the courts will do. Thank YOU for taking a look at AmmoGuide.

BTW - for Christmas, I gave AmmoGuide members a new installment of questions (25 at a time, 125 there now) in the Cartridge Challenge...
http://ammoguide.com/gfx/challenge2.jpg
...It's an educational and entertaining firearms/ammo quiz packaged as a friendly competition - nothing like it anywhere else. Available to both FREE and paid members. To enjoy it...

(1) Create a free account here if you don't have one already:
http://ammoguide.com/cgi-bin/newmyag.cgi

(2) Login here and get started:
http://ammoguide.com/cgi-bin/quiz.cgi
(Or, if already logged in, click on "Cartridge Challenge" under the "Information" menu.)

(One needs to have their own account because the score is kept in your profile.)

Mike

mikehaas 12-24-2007 5:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Davidwhitewolf (Post 891534)
I'm sorry to hear about both of you gentlemen's legal troubles.

For those who might be reading this thread and fretting about how to protect themselves in case their own businesses are ever sued, I would like to strongly suggest purchasing insurance -- and NOT just general liability insurance, which is what most businesses get. If your business is incorporated you may think that you are "insulated" from personal liability for the corporation's actions -- perhaps so, but you still have to go into court to defend yourself and prove it, and that costs big bucks. And here's the big surprise -- YOUR GENERAL LIABILITY POLICY WILL NOT PAY FOR THAT DEFENSE. :eek:

What you need is Directors' and Officers' Liability Insurance ("D&O" for short). It is a separate animal from other types of insurance. I'm an attorney with several corporate clients and am also in-house counsel for a couple of nonprofit corporations. I've seen first-hand what happens to corporate officers & directors who are sued when the company has D&O, and when it does not. The difference is like a dream vs. a nightmare.

If you haven't been sued before, and your corporation hasn't either, D&O can be relatively cheap. Shop around.

Excellent advice. And if you're a sole proprietorship (as most businesses are), note that your homeowner's insurance will NOT cover you.

Mike

colossians323 12-24-2007 6:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Davidwhitewolf (Post 891534)
I'm sorry to hear about both of you gentlemen's legal troubles.

For those who might be reading this thread and fretting about how to protect themselves in case their own businesses are ever sued, I would like to strongly suggest purchasing insurance -- and NOT just general liability insurance, which is what most businesses get. If your business is incorporated you may think that you are "insulated" from personal liability for the corporation's actions -- perhaps so, but you still have to go into court to defend yourself and prove it, and that costs big bucks. And here's the big surprise -- YOUR GENERAL LIABILITY POLICY WILL NOT PAY FOR THAT DEFENSE. :eek:

What you need is Directors' and Officers' Liability Insurance ("D&O" for short). It is a separate animal from other types of insurance. I'm an attorney with several corporate clients and am also in-house counsel for a couple of nonprofit corporations. I've seen first-hand what happens to corporate officers & directors who are sued when the company has D&O, and when it does not. The difference is like a dream vs. a nightmare.

If you haven't been sued before, and your corporation hasn't either, D&O can be relatively cheap. Shop around.

Good advice. Thanks!!

mikehaas 12-24-2007 9:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Creeping Incrementalism (Post 891467)
Mike,

...Are your users friendly in answering beginner questions...

I offer you one friendly forum...
http://ammoguide.com/cgi-bin/aiforum.cgi?tid=1198421173

(Just click on "Enter as DEMO" on the login screen if you don't have a free or paid account yet)

BTW, I second that emotion.
http://ammoguide.com/gfx/web/christmas/tree223.gif

Mike

IPSICK 12-24-2007 10:13 AM

OK, just signed up. Good luck Mike. I had no idea AmmoGuide was your website. Even if someone's not reloading yet its a good informational website on cartridges and load development.

Santa Cruz Armory 12-24-2007 10:26 AM

I just joined as well.

Thanks Mike , and good luck!

762cavalier 12-24-2007 12:05 PM

Mike, Sorry to hear about your troubles.I love your site and am a member and will continue to be a member, as the information has proven to be very useful.

ghostwong 01-27-2008 10:17 PM

Sorry to hear about you legal troubles also. Can you take some sort of legal action against these people person for "going after you?" I'm sure there is a long paper trail on these people filing complaints. If the city and the official department declare you "clean and good to go" all the time what is the issuse? It sounds like this suit is another way to harass you. Countersue for the full amount and all the lawyer fees, time and emotional distress these people cause you . . and we will see what happens.

Good luck

mikehaas 01-28-2008 1:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ghostwong (Post 965062)
Sorry to hear about you legal troubles also. Can you take some sort of legal action against these people person for "going after you?" I'm sure there is a long paper trail on these people filing complaints. If the city and the official department declare you "clean and good to go" all the time what is the issuse? It sounds like this suit is another way to harass you. Countersue for the full amount and all the lawyer fees, time and emotional distress these people cause you . . and we will see what happens.

Good luck

Gratias Amigo. I wish I could say more, but this is a public forum. Some of the things I shouldn't say are because of common sense and other things I shouldn't say are because of good taste. Will keep the forum posted as much as I can for as long as Kestryll allows this thread to live. (Which I continue to be grateful for, Paul!)

elrcastor 08-30-2009 7:33 AM

any updates on this?

mikehaas 11-23-2010 4:40 PM

Have been asked about the resolution; thanks for the interest, especially to my fellow calgunners that subscribed to http://AmmoGuide.com/ in support. Hope you enjoyed the website.

We counter sued but settled before trial - no money in the settlement, we simply agreed to a slight change in procedures at our business (the complainer was eager to end the thing after we made HIM hire an attorney to defend against the TRO we almost got! :-)

The suit was the culmination of harrassment by a neighbor that started, 7 years earlier - get this - over a parking spot! (in our business parking lot that the neighbor had zero right to.) He stated he was intent on forcing us to move. We ignored the saddle burr for a longtime, I suppose a little too successfully, ending in being sued.

Prior to that, the party harrassed us in just about every way possible, including filing complaints with every city & county agency you can think of (it's a dog grooming business, been there for over 40 years) - zoning, health dept, environmental dept, you name it. We were never cited for anything. he kept filing complaints. The county ended up telling him they would make him pay for worker time everytime continued complaints resulted in no wrongdoing being found (and it never did). You have no idea how long it took the county to take that unusual action! It was done to alleviate THEIR problem, not mine (this complainer was now harrassing the county!)

Not being able to extract his pound of flesh that way, he turned to the courts, claiming damages of $1.57 million caused by water runoff (completely bogus claims).

Even after all we went through, we learned that it would have very difficult (and expensive) to win a malicious lawsuit case against this party. We'd have to first win the original lawsuit (never a guarrentee), then turn around and file against him. But malicious lawsuits are difficult to prove and all that is BOOCOO $$$.

I'd often heard how the court system has nothing to do with justice and after being attacked by it, I see why. It only cost the complainer whatever his filing fees were; he didn't even have an attorney. But when you're defending a business, you need representation. You're going to help an attorney pay for his Mercedes whether you like it or not (and you won't).

We were the complete victim in these events, but I COULD NOT AFFORD JUSTICE - I could barely afford to get out of the government's sights.

So that's the story. Thanks if you helped. Sorry for not updating sooner.

And thanks to Kestryll for letting me post about this non-gun issue in the first place. Paul, you have a free subscription at AmmoGuide anytime you want it.

AndrewMendez 11-23-2010 8:09 PM

Thanks for the update Mike!!

MrOrange 11-24-2010 11:22 AM

Yeppers, that's why I refuse to call it the justice system;
it's the legal system, only occasionally is justice involved.

Thanks for the update, I suppose that's about as good as you can hope for nowadays.

All together now: Tort reform! Tort reform!

(Sometimes it's nice when you get neighbors like this to be able to call a buddy and have him show up with 50 of his friends on Harleys...)

Joker64 01-29-2013 7:59 PM

What a mess.....
 
Wow, a little late in reading/replying but as I read through this it brought on that sick feeling in my gut.

In the late 90's almost the same thing happened to us in SoCal, with a neighbor. The neighbor was doing illegal activities from his home (running a business) and the city subpoenaed us to testify against him. I was out of town but my wife showed up and that began a life of hell for us for the next 5 years and over $100K in legal fees. He did the same thing as your "buddy" did, accused us of everything in the book. This guy harassed us every chance he could. He would back his truck up to our fence, spin his tires and throw dirt and rocks in our pool. The cops just made a note and basically told us there's nothing they could do.

At one point, there were over seven lawsuits filed. We sued him, his wife sued us, we sued her, he sued us for suing her, we sued him for suing us for suing her....what a freaking mess. He even tried to get us convicted of stalking him, but the judge in THAT suit said that all his "evidence" showed us "observing" his activities from our own property and that is not considered "stalking". He dismissed the case. Our attorney said we could sue him over that for frivolous harassment. Yea right.....:facepalm:

Our first lawyer was a "friend of the family" but an idiot. It culminated in us filing bankruptcy, which stays any and all court proceedings. To keep from "complicating" our lives any further, we sold our half-million $ home and left the state. My BK lawyer told us these people don't care about the courts, they only understand one thing...and that's why I had to leave....glad things worked out for you, I felt your pain.....

stilly 02-10-2013 10:21 PM

That sucks.

As a former CEO I had to deal with jackasses that had issues with their neighbors in residential tracts from time to time but nothing went this far. I hate it when people use govt. resources for crap like that. Glad this has a not so negative ending. I am gonna go check out ammoguide anyways. I might have been there before and if it si the place I AM thinking of then I will certainly subscribe. I have been wanting to put all of my loads online for a while.

BFRisk 03-18-2013 2:22 PM

I am telling you it is time for us to take our country back! Enough is enough and yes we went through our own lawsuit a few years ago, just like the above.


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