Thursday, September 18, 2008

Winnebago: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. " Chapter 7

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." This line is from Henry VI, part 2, by William Shakespeare.
Of course, Will never heard of Winnebago. But this line should have rung in my head like a great bell, the instant we started talking about hiring a lawyer.
In our naivte, we thought that any reasonable person who heard our story would agree that we had a grievance.
We wrote a letter to Winnebago, chronicling our woes, and asked that the purchase contract be rescinded.
Winnebago refused.
We contacted McClain's RV, with the same request.
McClain's refused.

So we went to talk to a lawyer.
Finding a lawyer who handles this type of case was a journey in itself. Most lawyers we talked to were not interested once they found out that there were no excessive damages in the offing. They are more interested in handling cases on contingency, and taking a third or more of the settlement.

We finally found a lawyer who would listen to our story. His immediate response was that we had a solid case.
He said he has never lost a case against Winnebago.
He told us that it would probably cost around $15,000, maybe as much as $20,000.
He was only interested in clients who would commit to going the distance, no matter what.

We talked.
We prayed.
We asked advice from family and friends.

We hired the lawyer, and he filed a suit against Winnebago, McClain's, Freightliner, and the extended warranty company, Coach-Net.

We waited.
And waited.
And waited.

It's been two years and ten months since we started this journey through the legal system.

Some years ago I read a novel, Bleak House, by Charles Dickens. Bleak House is the story of a lawsuit filed in London. The suit wended its way through the British legal system for many years. When it was finally settled, the whole estate which was the subject of the lawsuit had been consumed by legal fees.

I can now identify with the characters in Bleak House.

This case had consumed our time, our energy, and our resources. We have nothing left.

We are in the process of negotiating a settlement which offers neither fairness nor justice.

We are settling for less than we want, less than we deserve, less than we can really afford to lose, because of the amount of money that has been sucked up by the lawyers, the mediator (also a lawyer), and the cost of keeping the Winnebago at least minimally functional.

We are out of patience, and out of money.

The proposal states that we will not reveal the conditions of the settlement by any means, whether by telling others, writing a book, e-mailing, or blogging.

So this will be my last entry about Winnebago.

Let me finish with an admonition: learn from our misfortunes and our mistakes.

Now I have to think of something else to blog about.

I'm sure something will occur to me eventually.

Maybe the fifth wheel travel trailer we are considering...