Saturday, May 02, 2009

What to Do.



I have so many things to write about, and absolutely no time lately, so this is going to be messy. Actually, no it's not. I'll stick to this one topic and then write more tomorrow.

So, a couple of people have suggested to me that I should file a civil suit against the cabdriver. I never responded, because... well, I don't know.

But the fact is, I did file a civil suit. I filed it on the last day possible. It took that long to make up my mind. Sometimes, I was just so desperate to have the whole thing put behind me, that I didn't even want to contemplate any further litigation. Then, other times, I felt so exhausted and so tired and so sad and so stripped of my old self because of this that I got pissed off, and wanted to do everything to make anyone responsible pay for the damages they had caused.

I never in my wildest dreams imagined the cabdriver would be acquitted.

And now. I'm faced with this other thing. This lawsuit. I sort of put it in the back of my mind, the idea of having to go through depositions etc.. because all you hear about is how long civil lawsuits take to be resolved. I figured that I wouldn't even have to do a deposition for a year or so. When I was way less actively freaked out by the whole thing. I was wrong.

I got a phone call from my attorney on Friday telling me that my deposition would be in roughly a week.

I'm not ready to go through this again. Like, at all. It's too soon. Right? This might kill me.

Or, should I be happy it's now and suck it up and not be such a baby? Now, when I am still fucked up about the trial, that way, I can heal from it all at once and never ever ever have to look back once it's all done. Unless of course I have to testify in a civil trial. Which apparently rarely happens. But it might. But what if this is the thing that breaks me completely? It hasn't exactly been the best last few months, and anyone who knows me can pretty much attest that I've been more awful than usual to be around. Will this make me worse or better? I don't know if I have the stamina to feel worse than I do now, let alone how I felt three months ago. But, i don't know.

I don't know what to do. Should I go forward with this lawsuit, or should I back down? Someone just tell me what to do.

Oh, and the reason I am not directly asking anyone, is because I want voluntary answers. That's the best thing about blogs. You never have to comment. You can just pretend you never read this.

I have good and funny stuff to write about, too. And Stolen Lines, which apparently no one is digging this month's quote. It's just going to have to wait a day or so.

so anyway. feel free to tell me what to do. i want to know.

27 comments:

Molly said...

I don't know you personally, but I have been reading your blog for a little while now (which makes me sound like a creeper, but I'm not!) Anyway, the thing is, you come off as a strong, kick-ass kind of lady. I think you can handle the civil suit, but it's also totally understandable why you wouldn't want to go through with it. I guess, the point I'm trying to make, is that you're strong, stronger than what you've giving yourself credit for in this post. Good luck making a decision. Which ever you decide will be the right choice.

Kristine said...

I apologize in advance for the profanity I’m about to use.

Absolutely move forward. Move forward and kick some fucking ass. He’s a piece of shit who doesn’t deserve any peace. He got peace after he was acquitted, take it away from him. Give it one more chance to get yourself some justice in this. And when you win and even if he doesn’t have a dime to his name, you still win. And if for some God awful reason you lose, you still took away his peace for at least a little while longer. I also think it’s good that it’s happening fast. Two difficult chapters (that by the way you are totally strong enough to handle) back to back. Done. Then try to close the book and fight your way to move forward. Sorry for the stupid metaphor. Just an internet-non-real-life friend sending you her super-bossy opinions.

Scott Rose said...

This is an unfortunate position to be in because this mother fucker should have been convicted in the criminal lawsuit. But I think you should go forward with it. I know you, and I know you're strong enough to handle this again. If anything, you'll be even stronger this time around. Not that getting financial payment (is that the only possible outcome of a civil lawsuit?) will fix the past, but I think you want to make sure that you fully explore all possible options to TRY to bring about SOME TINY bit of justice here. I think you want to make sure that you make this guy's life as much of a living hell as humanly possible. Even if he gets off the hook again, you certainly don't want to look back and regret the opportunity you had to make sure that you fucked with him as much as possible. Sorry, I've steered off into negative emotionland, but I want to kill this mother fucker.

Shelley said...

Go forward. I represent survivors in situations like these (in civil suits), and the depo will not be as bad as you think it will be. Not fun, sure, but better than you think. It will go by quickly. You can take breaks when you need to and talk with your attorney when you need to.

You don't have to go to his depo, although you probably ought to (you have the right.) And once it's done, it is done. Chances are good that you will never have to tell the story again, since most cases settle.

The deal with being a defendant in a civil suit is that they don't ever win. No matter what, they pay out money in fees and spend time in proceedings - this is the only way you have now to make this f*cker pay. Don't miss the opportunity.

My two cents, anyway. :)

Legally Fabulous said...

My heart breaks for you.... seriously, that sucks.

But I agree with what the above commenters said... don't give him peace. You're stronger than you think you are.

Good luck, let us know what you decide.

five tomatoes said...

I tend to agree with Shelley, but Grace, don't do anything you don't think you can handle. I think you are a strong woman and can handle this, but if it truly would break you, you don't HAVE to do this.

rem said...

You know how i feel, pretty girl. GO forward. Don't give him a minute of peace. Why should he have any? You don't.

newduck said...

I think you should go after this bastard because he needs to pay for what he did. (I also selfishly want to believe that there is some justice in this world.) On the other hand, it's easy for me to say that - I'm not the one who has to go through the deposition and the suit. That said, you've been through hell, and you shouldn't be expected to fight through any more than you've already been through.

That wasn't very helpful, was it? I guess I think you should do what you want to do, but if you're on the line, I would say go after him.

Butterflyfish said...

Can I just ditto New Duck? Ok, I am doing that.

Also, I'm in finals hell but will do the stolen lines thereafter. Its a good one

ArmyGirl said...

Take it from someone that has been in a painful, personal civil suit for over 5 years...it is not simple. You've seen what has happened to me over the years.

I love you and have been with you since the beginning so I am going to say I think it's time to stop. There is a time to put things behind you and move forward. This has been a very difficult lesson for me because I (like you) regard myself as a strong woman with the ability to take care of myself. The pain you are experiencing won't go away when you win the civil suit. It is a place you have to get to in your heart and mind.

However, you know, I'll support whatever you decide.

Matthew said...

Judging by the size of the kitty picture, I knew this would be a pretty significant post.
Lots of good thoughts here, but i think I better chat with you in person about this one.

You've got no shortage of guts, babe!

Shantelle said...

I have a hard time not picturing this dramatic scene in Law and Order where the cabbie, after months of sticking to his story through the criminal trial then dancing a jig when acquitted, suddenly cannot handle it anymore in his deposition and just cops to the whole thing, tears streaming down his face. And then you pick up a letter opener and shove into his.... well you get the idea. I wish life and law were actually like Law and Order sometimes. I think you will know when it is time to stop. If it drags on and on and is horrible, you can call it quits and feel no shame. Every minute of stress and discomfort that man feels is worth something, but it isn't worth losing yourself over. I say stick it to him, but the minute you can't handle it just walk away. Keep us posted, best of luck.

Layla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lyricist said...

Will you wake up five years from now and wish you had gone forward? Only you know the answer to that. And if the answer is yes -- then continue the suit.

This isn't about him. It's about what you need to move forward.

A civil suit won't be the same as the trial. To begin with you have a much higher chance of winning. But it will be hard. No easy answer on this. I would go forward-not because you are driven by anger -- but because if you win it will be a lot harder for this guy to harm someone else in his cab.

And you can do anything you want with the judgment...donate it to a survivor organization...help process rape kits...or help fund education and outreach efforts.

Jax said...

I agree with the bulk of commenters, Grace. Go after him. I also agree that he should have lost in the criminal suit, but since he didn't, this is another shot to bring him to justice. I don't know you and cannot relate to what you went through and therefore I can't tell you with certainty what I'd do. But I CAN say if you look back in 15 years and wonder if you could have won this and put a mark on this bastard's record that will forever taint his life and activities from here forward, I say DO IT. But, I also dont want you to lose yourself in the process so do what's best for you. Like I said, I don't know you personally other than in the blog world, but I'm pulling for you and will definitely support whatever you decide to do. Sending hugs from the lower midwest.

Anonymous said...

I, too, have been involved in a civil suit but I am the defendant. And, believe me, it is awful. ANd I am not liable. It is a bullshit suit and I will eventually win. BUt it is costing me a fortune to defend and makes my life miserable and has basically put my life on hold for 2 years. So....I say, make him feel that way cause you will make him miserable for at least two years and he will have to spend even more money to defend it and anything you can do to make him suffer is worth it. ANd I think you need the closure to finally put this to be once and for all - win or lose.

Overflowing Brain said...

I can't even begin to imagine how difficult this process must be. Because truly, it's kind of unimaginable. But, I was (much much much MUCH) more mildly sexually assaulted and I didn't report it at all. And it eats me up because I don't know that the guy didn't do the same thing to the next girl or that if I had spoken up, he might have been stopped.

So I have no doubt that this will be ridiculously difficult, but maybe you'll damage his name and his wallet enough that he won't do this again. Maybe your suffering will lead to someone else's saving? I know that sounds a little idealistic, but I think there's some truth in it somewhere.

Good luck. Much love from New Orleans.

p.s. I'm coming to town again in July. Perhaps we can imbibe more wine?

Anonymous said...

Grace, please do not walk away from the civil suit. Does the assailant/his attorney still read your blog? Well, to them: FUCK YOU. You are both boils on the backside of society. You will have your day of reckoning. Frightenend victims are remarkably resilient, assholes, so get ready. Back to you Grace: Never, ever, give up. Sorry to sound so harsh, but I am unable to coddle you about this. If I said these things to you in person they would, of course, be accompanied by a gigantic hug, or whatever form of empathic support you deem appropriate.

Anonymous said...

I say fight on. For your emotional well-being I think it may be better to get this all over with as soon as possible, but on the other hand if you don't prosecute the civil suit to the fullest you may regret it. The time for dealing with this is now, I think you will thank yourself in the long run even though it is hell now. Hopefully the cab driver has assets to satisfy a judgment as I don't know that any insurance policy would cover this scenario, but at the least you can lien any property and garnish wages, etc. That may be somewhat satisfying in the end, hopefully.

VERNACULAR said...

I read and I give a damn. But, I this is the only advice that I have to give: you know yourself better than anyone else does.

Thinking Fool said...

Beat him so he doesn't get off completely free.

obsquatch said...

You are so damn smart that I'd be a fool to chime in on any side of your decision. I just wanted you to know that I read this, read the comments, read ever line between the lines that I could make out, and I know well enough to stay away from even suggesting a course of action. You will make the right decision and it will have nothing to do with what strangers say online. Instead, it will have everything to do with what you feel is the right move. You are strong. You are smart. You are an unstoppable force.

Doris said...
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Fannie said...

Whatever you decide, I think you are stronger than you think you are, Grace.

LAwDaze said...

Dear Grace,

What do you want most to do? You don't have to go forward - you don't have to deal with or put up with anything else from this guy. You were never responsible for any of it to begin with, and you are not responsible to keep fighting this now if you are tired, finished and want to put it behind you and move on. You do not have to put yourself through any more pain.

Forget whoever recommended the civil suit - you need to consider why YOU are or may move forward from here with the suit. If it is just because a friend/lawyer/family member said you should - then reconsider. Get back to what is going on with you now. You are strong, but not always, and not invincible. You did the right thing for yourself and for other victims by pursuing the criminal case. It sucks that he was not convicted, but right now it is not about doing what's 'right' or being a role model. Right now is about you right now. Get all the in-person and on-line voices out of your head and consider why and if you want to go forward. Then make YOUR decision. Regardless of the lower burden of proof, you may not win. If you are basing your decision merely on the idea of finally 'winning' - your faith and hope are probably misplaced. Hope is good - but you have been through too much to put yourself in the position of another let down if things do not work out as they should. Do not do this for anyone but you. IF on the other hand, you are comfortable (hah! as if that could be the right term) with the odds - may win, may lose - and feel like some have posted here: win or lose, you want to keep this thing alive an haunting him as long as possible - if nothing else, you're willing to go through what you have to go through to insure that he will at least pay in attorney's fees, reputation and sleepless nights - if that drives you and gives you some small measure of satisfaction or comfort ---- then by all means, go out there and hang his ass! In making your decision, the only thing that matters is YOU - what do you want to accomplish, how much are you willing to put yourself on the line to try to get there, and in the end, will YOU think it was worthwhile? We can all give you things to think about and consider, but your decision to either put this down and walk away or deliberately chose to stay and pursue it as far as you can is a very personal one. Please do not decide based on what you think others want, need or expect. Decide based on what is best for you. You deserve that. Prayers and best wishes always.

cracked said...

You already know what you need to do. Report the one dude to the ARDC and sue the shit out of the other dude. Lesser burden of proof. Easier to win. And this time, you will be prepared for a loss, if that happens, even though it won't.

Anonymous said...

At the very least, this motherfucker will have to spend more money on a lawyer to defend himself. Again. And then if that doesn't work, I'll sue him!!