To recap from here and here, we are reminded of the crippling, self-destructive idiocy of one Patrick Ross who:
- made up defamatory crap about me
- bragged about making up defamatory crap about me explicitly to ruin my reputation
- published that defamatory crap for month after month
- laughed uproariously when served with a Notice of Libel
- boasted about how much he looked forward to the court case
- ignored both the original Statement of Claim, and the subsequent charitable extension we gave him to file a statement of defense
- never filed a defense after all, which handed to me an $85,000 judgment for malicious defamation
How we doing so far? Because, as hard as it might be to believe ...
… it just gets stupider.
(Aside: I had totally overlooked mentioning that one of Patrick Ross’ more boneheaded moves was to openly brag to my lawyer as to how he intended to drag out this entire process as long and painfully as possible, for the sole purpose of driving up my legal fees. I’m not sure that ever came up in court but, if it did, I’m betting it didn’t do Patrick any favours. Judges are kinda like that. Anyway, onward.)
So it was November 23, 2010, and me with my handy-dandy $85,000 judgment, and you’d think that that was pretty much the end of the story.
And you would be wrong.
Because it gets so much stupider.
Because now I had to collect, and that’s where things got complicated.
On the one hand, the fact that mine was a default judgment worked massively in my favour, given that Patrick Ross’ incapacitating imbecility allowed my studly lawyer to present my side in court unopposed. On the other hand, the fact that Patrick Ross hadn’t bothered to submit a defense and had never hired a lawyer and had apparently disappeared from view meant that I now had to track him down in order to start extracting chunks of flesh — something that had never occurred to me.
In any event, I had no legal obligation to jump on this immediately so I took a couple weeks to tidy up some projects, and on December 3, 2010, I officially retained a law firm in Calgary to effect the process of collection (given that I needed Alberta representation to take care of phase two). But it’s what happened in the meantime that was so enlightening.
Within hours of the November 23, 2010 announcement of my crushing legal victory over the forces of stupid, my thorough and savage legal ass-kicking of Patrick Ross was the talk of the Canadian bloggysphere; oh, yes, it was. There was much mirth, merriment and schadenfreuding from people who had put up with Patrick’s abuse for years, and who were now giggling themselves senseless over his delightful comeuppance. But that’s not the important part.
No, the important part is that, within a day, there’s no doubt that Patrick Ross knew about it as well. Despite the fact that he was not responding to e-mails or returning phone calls, there is no way that a narcissistic sociopath like Patrick Ross wouldn’t have noticed the spectacular spike in blog traffic as a result of the blog announcement sending people over to his cesspool of a blog to gloat over his totally self-inflicted misfortune. So file that away — there’s no way Patrick was unaware that his life had just turned into utter shash.
In any event, because it was a default judgment, it was necessary to serve it on Patrick for it to take effect, and this is where reality dealt yours truly a crushing blow. Patrick was nowhere to be found — a process server who went to his last known address was told he wasn’t there anymore. No Patrick. No replies to e-mails. No answers to phone calls. Passing strange behaviour for someone who had gloated about how much he’d looked forward to stomping me in court. Ah, well. The search was on.
At this point, we need to make a teeny digression and get all legalistic again. Bear with me — this is important and you’ll thank me for it later.
Under Canadian law, once you’re found in default and judgment is levied against you, well, you’re pretty much screwed. You can’t appeal. You have no normal legal recourse. It’s over, baby. Well, almost.
Your only option is to try to overturn the default, whose effect it is to simply let you back into the game. It’s not an appeal, and it’s not a discussion of the merits of the case. It’s simply a request that one be allowed to set aside the judgment and be allowed to go to court after all. That’s it. That’s the only chance you have. But there are three things that have to be true for any court to even begin to entertain a request like that:
- You need to have a good reason for having blown the deadline,
- Once you learn of the judgment, you must try to overturn it as speedily and expeditiously as possible, and
- You have to show that you have a defense that is at least not total rubbish.
I think you see Patrick’s problem here. First, he has no remotely believable excuse for missing the filing deadline. We’d been more than accommodating, and he’d pooched it. One could also argue that, even if he were allowed back into court, he couldn’t possibly justify his vicious and prolonged libel. Ah, but it was the second prong above that was going to be particularly problematic for poor Patrick.
Remember, there was absolutely no doubt that Patrick knew of the judgment within hours of it being posted. He could not possibly have missed all that cruel and taunting laughter from coast to coast to coast. Yet he did nothing. But wait ... it gets worse.
For the next three months, we searched in vain. And, once again, there is no doubt that Patrick knew we were looking for him, but he carefully kept his head down. And while he must have thought he was being devilishly clever, I think you can see the hole he was digging for himself. You can either keep running, or you can desperately try to overturn that gosh-darned default judgment. Sadly, you can’t do both.
Then came the day of Wednesday, March 30, 2011, and the infamous blog post that changed everything.
To be continued ... Part Four