Everything takes much longer than anticipated in México. That is especially true of legal issues. More than a year and a half since the first demanda (lawsuit) we were still struggling to pay the lawyer his due. The second demanda (lawsuit) had not been resolved. And the third demanda (lawsuit) was also at a standstill.
As both Chuchi and the perforador del pozo (well-hole driller) had approached R2 after the last court appearance, (See Demanda 3–What the….?) Super Prez decided to take advantage of that and see if we could close up once and for all these infernal demandas (lawsuits).
Super-Prez, G, the new secretary that replaced R1 who had abdicated to the U.S., me and R2 our lawyer, had a preliminary meeting. We wanted to know where we stood and what legal options we had.
G and I arrived promptly at 5. At 5:15, Super Prez called me and said he was nearly there. R2 didn’t arrive until 5:30. In the meantime, we brought G up to date on the third demanda (lawsuit).
Super-Prez stepped out for drinks and gum. While he was gone, R2 began blustering about how albañiles (bricklayers) are all drunks, that they live in crappy houses and that they never try and better their positions in life. I listened for a bit but finally had to say that my husband was a bricklayer and that my house was well constructed and we were bettering our lives. It didn’t seem to phase him. He said that there was an exception to everything and that my husband must be an exception.
Needless to say, this didn’t set a positive tone for our meeting, at least from my point of view. But, down to business.
We wanted to know what the consequences would be for Chuchi and the pozo guy should they lose. As all signs point to their loss, we wanted to know if we had anything to tempt them with so as to end this a bit earlier.
R2 said that it could be penal and incur jail time, but he wasn’t clear on how much.
Then we wanted to know what would happen if they lost and appealed the judge’s ruling. I was especially interested in this point because my father-in-law’s court case has now been moved to Guanajuato since the Moroleón police refuse to admit guilt. (See On Life and Liberty).
R2 said that either party could appeal and that the case would be moved to a higher court in Guanajuato.
We also wanted to know how much R2 was going to charge us for these 3 court cases so as to deduct that amount from any offer we made to the pozo guy.
R2 hemmed and hawed about his answer, talking about his being more than fair in waiting for money and percentage rates and how even though the case wasn‘t active that didn‘t mean he wasn‘t working on it and I don‘t remember what else. I finally stopped him and told him the reason we were interested was to have an estimate to include in our calculations, not to argue about his pay. So he gave a rough figure of $300,000, 15% of the total amount of first demanda (lawsuit), and 10% of the subsequent demandas (lawsuits).
As R2 continued his monolog on our cases, he muddled up the issues, confusing the second demanda (lawsuit) from Chuchi over water right permits and this demanda (lawsuit) over a pagaré (promissory note) of $500,000 pesos. Super Prez wanted to know if we could obligate Chuchi to pay to pozo guy, but it didn’t seem like we could.
So all in all, we thought to offer the pozo guy $500,000 minus legal expenses, thus $200,000 providing we have legal rights to the perforation. We also wanted the copies of the original permit to drill and the well study that proved that the perforation could be used as a water source. R2 thought our offer was laughable and said as much. We thought we could up the ante as much as $250,000 but we didn’t feel that it was fair that we should pay legal expenses over something not caused by us. We also would be clear in saying that we would be willing to make this deal even though the well had been drilled in an area outside the deeded area called La Yacata.
We decided that any negotiation with Chuchi would take place after we met with the pozo guy and would depend on whether or not he had the water rights permit in his possession. As Super Prez learned on good authority that those certificates had been returned to the seller after the seller had taken out a lien on Chuchi’s house, we were pretty sure he didn’t have them and, therefore, had nothing we were interested in.
R2 wanted to know why we hadn’t put a demanda against Chuchi when he had been conducting meetings when he was no longer the president of the association. (See Who’s in charge?) I said that we had tried but as the legal representative–president J– hadn’t shown up that day, the Public Ministry had shut the door in our faces. Seems like we lost the opportunity there.
Although I think we still might be able to put a counter-lawsuit against Chuchi on the basis that he endangered our properties by these legal proceedings. Those of us that are living there also are at risk of losing our homes because of his shenanigans. Plus, we still do not have running water, electricity or sewer. I will have to ask some more on this issue I think.
So, we arranged to contact the pozo guy and set up a meeting for the following week.