Some of my missives and columns here in this esteemed publication often deal with Judges with an agenda, or attorneys who act unprofessionally in the Courtroom. Today, my Tale from the Front is a little bit different than the others, as this time, there was no real injustice done. Well, not to my office, not my client. But maybe to “Mrs. Brady.”
This Tale began with a routine medical bill collection case, where a patient whom I shall refer to as “Alice”, went to the emergency room with a cut on her hand. Apparently, she got the cut on the job, while working in her profession, house cleaning large homes on the East End of Long Island. When she arrived in the hospital, she presented the emergency contact information of Mr. Brady, although it wasn’t the Brady home she was cleaning at the time. She was treated, and discharged. She never presented any insurance, and never made any payment. As such, the hospital referred the case to us for suit. After commencing suit, Alice failed to respond, and we entered a default judgment.
In the enforcement of the judgment, we located a bank account with an excess of $150,000 in it, held by joint tenant, Mr. Brady. Within hours of being notified of the restraint on the account, we were contacted by an attorney, none other than Mr. Brady himself. In the call, Mr. Brady was irate, yelling, screaming, with language that would make him wash Bobby’s mouth out with laundry detergent.
As I searched in our computer system for Alice’s case, I noticed that we actually had two other cases against her as well. One was a $6,000 judgment on behalf of the family planning and reproductive care center of the hospital. The other was for an unpaid emergency room bill, which we were waiting for the signed verification back from our client. This case was a result of a motor vehicle accident, where Alice was the passenger of a car that was involved in a collision in Queens County. At 2:00 in the morning. And the driver of the car was Mr. Brady. (For those unfamiliar with New York geography, Queens is hours away from the East End of Long Island). And interestingly, there was no insurance presented, motor vehicle, or otherwise. On the caption of the not-yet-served pleadings, both Alice and Mr. Brady were named. I advised Mr. Brady of this pending action, and Mr. Brady’s tenor changed from anger and venom, to muted desperation.
“Did you serve it yet?” he asked.
“Not yet.” I responded.
“I‘ll admit to service. Can you send it to my office?”
“What the address of your office?”
“123 Main Street. Queens.”
“Sure. We can mail it to your office. But why don’t we just work out a deal to settle all three cases?”
“That sounds like a good idea, Mr. Wan. But you haven’t sent anything to my house, have you?”
“Just the initial demand letter.”
Mr. Brady then spewed a stream of obscenities as if he had just eaten Sam the Butcher’s unrefrigerated week-old pork sausage. When he settled down emotionally, he offered to settle. “Look, let’s settle these cases. I’ll pay the full balance on all the cases. But you must stipulate to keep all these matters confidential, and use only my office address for all correspondence.”
I agreed, of course, representing the client.
Mr. Brady promptly paid off all three cases, and we never sent anything else to his house.
Mr. Brady is just lucky that he didn’t get into that car accident by running into a fire hydrant in front of his house, nor that he ever smoked cigars with Alice under his desk.
Timothy Wan knows that in the “Brady Bunch”, Mr. Brady was an architect, not an attorney. It’s a pop-culture allegory, stop being such a pedant
Timothy Wan is happy to have made pop culture references to three sports, three movies, one television show, two books, and a cartoon.
(Originally published in Debt3 Magazine, March 2010)