Dream of: 03 January 1997 "The Quiet Guy"

I had just sat down with some members of my family to watch a television show which we had all been looking forward to seeing. But just as the show started, the telephone rang. Normally I didn't answer the telephone myself, but let it be picked up by my answering service or answering machine. However, for some reason, this time, I decided to go ahead and answer the phone, and I walked over to where the phone was sitting, to the right of the television, and picked up the receiver.

Almost immediately I regretted having answered it. A woman on the other end, obviously upset and distraught, began asking me if I could be the attorney for someone. I quickly broke into her speech, and explained that I was no longer taking on any new legal cases, that I hadn't taken on any new cases for quite a while. The woman, whom I pictured as being a blonde (probably in her mid 30s), seemed to understand, but added that she was calling for the person who needed representation because the person was a "quiet guy."

The way she said "quiet guy" piqued my interest. She had used the term almost as if it was some kind of rare medical condition. I had never heard of such a condition, and I found myself asking the woman if she could tell me a little about the case.

She seemed a little surprised that I had just told her I didn't take on new clients, and then had asked her about the case, but she began explaining anyway. She said the "quiet guy" to whom she was referring was a woman, the sister of her husband. I was surprised by that, because I had thought the "quiet guy" would be a man. I also asked her to repeat what she had said about the relationship – her husband's sister – to be sure I had understood her.

She continued on to explain that her husband's sister had a condition which caused her (the husband's sister) to want to be left completely alone. As the woman described the condition, it sounded as if a person who had the condition could only be around people whom the person chose to be around, but that the person would normally only chose a small number of people, and would only be around those people for limited times. The afflicted person simply couldn't stand to be around people more than that.

The woman went on to explain that in this case, the husband's sister had been seeing a certain man for a while, but then she had told the man the she no longer wanted to see him. The problem was that the man was persisting in contacting the husband's sister and trying to see her. Nothing the husband's sister could do seemed to stop the man from bothering her, and the husband's sister was at her wit's end, with her condition and all, and she had reached the point where she saw no other choice but to call a lawyer.

I had listened to the whole story with increasing interest. I was debating what to tell the woman, and finally I told her to have the husband's sister call me. The woman seemed very surprised that I was saying this, and she asked me if I intended to represent the husband's sister. I told her I hadn't yet decided that I would do that, that I had meant what I had said about not taking on new clients. However I explained that in rare cases, I would still take on a case. This might be such a situation.

I explained to her that stopping the man from bothering her husband's sister was a two-step process. First it would be necessary to obtain a restraining order. Then, after we had obtained the restraining order, if the man still persisted, the second step was to have him arrested and incarcerated.

I was thinking to myself that this was not a difficult legal process. It would take some time and effort on my part, but it was something that I was surely able to do. I didn't particularly want to get involved in this matter, but there seemed to be a principle here that was close and dear to me: the right to be left alone. I went on to explain to the woman on the phone that if there was one thing that was certain under the law of Texas, it was that everyone had the right to be left alone. This right was something I truly believed in. In fact, it was perhaps the most important legal concept I had. And in this case, the right to be left alone was particularly important due to the medical condition of the person. So even though I didn't want to get involved, the details of the case seemed to be such that I felt compelled to at least talk to the husband's sister about the matter. After talking with her, then I would make my final decision.

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