Dream of: 08 February 1995 "Hearing In New Orleans"

I had been sued by a woman who looked and acted very much like Ms. Bell (a former legal client). Like Bell, this woman was probably in her late 30s, black, and slender. When I had first begun dealing with the woman, I had noted the similarities and I had hesitated to get involved with her, but I had anyway, and now I was suffering the consequences.

Daffin (a female Dallas attorney) had also been sued by the woman, and I had already talked to Daffin about the case. Slowly I realized today was the last day for filing an answer to the lawsuit which had been filed against me, and that Daffin was supposed to pick me up to go to court with her for a court hearing to be held at 4 o'clock. I looked at the clock, saw that it was already 3:30, and flew into a panic. I wasn't even near ready. Daffin was already late and I thought she would arrive any minute.

I was in a large, two-story, frame house where I was living with Carolina, who was also here in another room. I shouted to Carolina that I had to get ready and that I was going to be late. I decided I wasn't even going to take a bath, but just go as I was, even though I was fairly scroungy-looking.

***

While I was upstairs, getting ready, I slowly realized it wasn't as late as I had thought; it was only ten minutes until three. I might even have time for a bath. Wheat was sitting at a desk downstairs, and he was supposed to help me get the papers ready for the court. I needed to file a general denial; it must be filed before 4 o'clock today. I had already prepared the general denial, but now I thought perhaps I should include more than the general denial in my answer.

I thought how when I had written the answer, I had stated that this was how I "pled", and I wondered if "pled" was the right word. Since the document was a "pleading", I thought "pled" was correct.

I also realized it actually was Ms. Bell who had sued me. I figured I could settle the lawsuit by offering her $1,000; but I decided I wasn't going to do that. I thought I had made a mistake the first time she had sued me and I had settled it by paying her $2,000, even though I didn't think I had done anything wrong. If I paid her off again, she could sue me again, and this might never have an end.

I also recalled that in the first law suit, Ms. Bell had signed a settlement agreement stating that she freed me from all claims and liabilities whatsoever. However I thought the agreement only pertained to the subject of the first lawsuit. Nevertheless, I needed to review that settlement agreement, and perhaps bring it up in this lawsuit.

The present lawsuit concerned a brown paper bag of clothes which I had bought. I saw the bag sitting on a bed in the room, and I realized I had never even looked through it. I walked over to the bag, picked it up and dumped its contents out on the bed. An assortment of clothes tumbled in a heap on the bed. I rummaged through the clothes and saw that they all appeared to be new, although I thought they might be off-sizes. Some dresses appeared to be in the lot and I held one up. I was surprised to see that what I held up were two dresses which were sewn together on one side. They looked brand new and I thought they might fit Carolina, once they were separated. I looked at the sizes. One was size three and one was size seven. I thought the three was too small, but that Carolina might be able to wear the seven.

I picked up another set of two dresses. They all looked nice, with thin waists and ankle length. I thought at least we might have gotten something from our dealings with Ms. Bell, although I bitterly reflected that this was small recompense for the money and time she was going to end up costing me.

Rummaging more through the pile, I pulled out a hanger with perhaps a dozen black ties hanging on it. The ties looked quite nice and they all appeared to be new. I thought I could wear them, and thought I would take them down to Wheat to see what he thought.

As soon as I thought about Wheat, I remembered I had to get ready for the hearing. Suddenly I also realized I had made a big mistake. The hearing wasn't going to be in downtown Dallas which I could reach in 30 minutes. The hearing was going to be in New Orleans!

***

I was downstairs, standing beside my father who was sitting at a desk. It was he instead of Wheat who was going to help me with the hearing. He was on the phone talking with someone in New Orleans. I thought if I could quickly fax my answer to a lawyer in New Orleans, then the lawyer could take the answer to the courthouse, file it for me, and appear in court for me. The hearing today was only going to be a preliminary hearing and my presence wasn't necessary anyway. I thought how upset Ms. Bell would be when she saw that she had driven all the way to New Orleans from Dallas, and that I hadn't had to appear.

However, time was running out and we had to act immediately or I might lose the whole case by default. Then I would have to go back to the judge and ask him to set aside the default judgment. That could prove to me a major problem.

I had my answer in my hand and was ready to fax it, but my father was having a problem communicating on the phone. He was trying to speak with a lawyer named Cook whom he knew in New Orleans. I asked my father to give the phone to me, which he did. But when I listened, I could only hear a busy signal. I handed the phone back to my father and told him there was only a busy signal on it. He began shouting into the phone. Apparently the person on the other end actually was there, but it was necessary to shout over the busy signal in order for him to be able to hear.

I was becoming very worried. Time was running out and I feared that no one would be able to make it to the courthouse on time.

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