The Dark Knight Returns

An attorney from Metropolis, Mr. James Olsen, called me with a judgment he obtained  against a former client of his, Lex Luthor. Luthor was accused of defrauding consumers with a deceptive business practice, and also faced criminal charges. Luthor retained Olsen to defend him. Because of Olsen’s savvy, he was able to insulate Luthor from every civil and criminal claim against him. Of course, Olsen wasn’t paid, despite Luthor’s promises to the contrary. So, Olsen sued Luthor in Metropolis. Luthor then hired another attorney, Mr. Zod, to fend off Olsen’s actions, but Olsen’s persistence ultimately yielded a judgment entered against Luthor for almost $100,000. However, unfortunately for Olsen, Zod’s delays allowed Luthor to secret his assets to Gotham City. So, Olsen began his search for an attorney in Gotham, and after what he later advised me was a stringent and painstaking interview process, he selected me out of all the Super Heroes in the Justice League, and engaged me to enforce the judgment.

We took the Metropolis judgment, and docketed it in Gotham. It took about seven months to get the judgment entered. Olsen was irate with me and my staff, questioning what we had done. I had to explain to him that while Metropolis courts worked efficiently, Gotham did not have that level of speed. Seven months was average for this jurisdiction. Olsen, while still upset, seemed to understand.

We tried everything in my utility belt, and ascertained that Luthor had nothing we could attach. He rented an apartment, and had no real estate in his name. He owned no car, living in an area of Gotham where he took public transportation everywhere. He maintained less than $2750 in his bank account, which is less than the minimum exemption amount. He was a 1099 employee below the income threshold, so the employer did not have to comply with the wage garnishment.

All of this made Olsen extremely upset with my office. He began attacking my staff with incredulous disbelief that we had found no assets. I even looked to the more unusual devices. Right next to the Bat-Shark Repellant, I sought to subpoena a family member. looked to see if there was someone he was hiding behind. He had no spouse nor child to whom he was relying on for support, so I had no one to subpoena to show some kind of fraud. I even tried to subpoena the employer to demonstrate that the 1099 status was a device to avoid creditors. They first responded by alleging that Luthor was an out-of-state salesperson, so they had to keep him as a 1099 employee. When I pushed for more information, they declined further response, directing me to contact their corporate headquarters in Starling City, where the judgment we docketed in Gotham was not recognized. Other than looking to docket the judgment in Starling City, I did not see any other option, and we told Olsen that things looked bleak. Olsen was furious, and ripped into my staff via email. I advised him that if he was interested in seeking other counsel, we would cooperate with any substitution that he wanted.

Five minutes later, I saw an email from a fellow member of the Justice League, that I was copied on, which read: “Dear Mr. Olsen, Unfortunately, while I am in Gotham, I do not enforce judgments against individuals, only corporations. However, I can recommend you to someone else, the best in the League. I refer you to Timothy Wan. I am Ccing him on this email so he can introduce himself. Sincerely, Aquaman”

I didn’t respond to that ego-stroke immediately. I wasn’t sure what to say, other than to thank Aquaman.

About an hour later, I received a phone call from Mr. Olsen. He stated that in the last hour, he actually contacted three members of the Justice League, and all three recommended that he come to me. His tone changed, and he was apologetic.

Unfortunately, we never collected anything from Luthor. But I look forward to the day that I can work with Olsen, because his tenacity might be useful should I have an adversary who is in Metropolis.

Timothy Wan is the Senior Partner of the firm Smith Carroad Levy Wan & Parikh, in Commack, New York, and can be reached at twan@smithcarroad.com. Tim has tried to recreate events, locales and conversations from memories of them. In order to maintain their anonymity in some instances, Tim has changed the names of individuals and places, and may have changed some identifying characteristics and details. Any resemblance to actual persons, Leagues, or actual events is purely not coincidental.

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