Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More updates...

Jenn reminded me that I forgot to update all of you on what is going on with the movers I'm suing.

So, to be quick, I looked more into the statute that I'll be suing under and apparently I have to send a 30 day demand letter before I file the claim.  The 30 day demand letter basically cites the statute, explains the problem, explains why the problem falls under the statute, and explains the relief I am seeking.  So I sent that on Friday, via Certified Mail with a return receipt so I have proof of when it went out and when it was received, and now they have 30 days to offer a reasonable, good faith settlement.  If they don't, then I'll take the case to court and then I am entitled to double or triple damages for their failure to offer a good faith settlement.  So there you go, that's my progress as of right now.

Oh, and I stepped into a hairy situation by being treasurer of Phi Alpha Delta, apparently the last treasurer either was not organized or was not informed of unilateral spending decisions so we have less money than he thought we have from SBA, which is the school organization that kind of oversees all the other organizations and distributes the activities funds to the groups (part of tuition is to pay an activities fund, that's where that money comes from).  Luckily all the money from fundraising is present and accounted for so we're kind of okay, but I had to jump in and say that all future expenses absolutely have to go through me since our funds are already limited and we have to make it all the way through next summer.  And I'm going to push for some major fundraising activities.  So, I'm fixing it.  But it caused me a fair amount of stress yesterday after I officially took on my position.

So, there's that.  I'd better listen in class now... =P
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Lots going on...

I've been trying to write a post for days, and then I get distracted or run out of time or something.

The most recent development in my life is that I joined Phi Alpha Delta, the international law fraternity. Almost at the same time, I became Treasurer of our chapter. I ran unopposed, probably because most law students don't like numbers. So anyway, I'm excited about that. There are lots of social events and stuff, but also a lot of opportunities for networking because it's so huge. Anyway, since I'm short on time, if you want to know more about what I joined go here.

Other than that, Vanessa and I had a housewarming on Saturday. It was quiet but I had fun with my closest friends. Considering the headache I had most of yesterday, maybe too much

Of course, school has been pretty crazy. I think it's actually settling down a bit soon though. I have to take the MPRE on Nov. 8th, my professional responsibility exam is two days before that (which is really prep for the MPRE but still) so that's going to leave me feeling a bit insane for a couple weeks. But once that's over then one class is done and I only have one other exam. For my LF class I have a paper that explains the project that my students will be taking over in January. When it's all done it gets distributed to them so they understand the background law they need to know to get going with the project. I think I'm in a good place with that, I just need to fill out some of my research on my next draft and then I should be at the final editing stage.

Oh, and teaching the class has been such a wonderful experience. My students are such a fantastic group. I'm sad to be leaving them at the end of the quarter, but I hope that after I'm done being their teacher some of them will look to me as a friend, like I've done with my LFs. They all like to tell me how wonderful I am so I think that's probably likely. =)

Anyway, I have a bit more reading to do before bed, but I needed a break so I wanted to get this out there. Time to get back to it. I can't wait to go back to work...even if it is just an internship.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's too hot in here for this!

Oh Mraz, we do love you.  But my goodness, it was much too hot in that theater to play such a slow set!  I was getting sleepy!  That lovely voice is just too soothing.

Oh, here's something weird though.  So apparently I read his mind.  Seriously.  He had just finished a couple songs on various electric guitars, and then he picked up an accoustic again.  He hadn't played a single note, he was just holding it, turning the knobs a bit, putting the capo on, and talking to Toca.  But I suddenly thought, "hmm, I wonder if he's about to play Unfold."  And then he did.  It was weird.  I frightened Megan and Christine with my sudden excitement that I somehow predicted he would play that song.  And then they were like, "what song?"  Sigh.  These newbie Mraz people who don't have those old coffee shop tracks...who also apparently didn't buy the live album which has a lot of my favorite coffee shop tracks.  So then I had to explain that it's my second favorite song of his ever (first is 0% Interest) so then they listened really closely.  Afterwards they said they really liked that one and wanted me to pass it along to them.  Yay, spreading the Mraz love.

Anyway, so since Jenn was not present to give you all the rundown of what he did in this set, I shall do it for her.

Make it Mine
Common Pleasure
If It Kills Me
Life is Wonderful
Details in the Fabric
Live High
Only Human
I'm Yours
(pretends to leave before encore)
Lucky - with Lisa Hannigan, the opening act
No Stopping Us
Beautiful Mess

So yes, as you can see...certainly there are the good high energy songs in there, but it definitely was a bit of a slower set tonight.  Which was beautiful, but like I said, it was freaking hot in there so it kind of made me want to curl up and sleep.  Hmm...Jason singing me to sleep...not such a bad idea... =)

The major damper to the show tonight was this asshole that was there in the row in front of us with his family.  Now, mind you, this was a SOLD OUT show.  You'd think that everyone who was there actually wanted to be there, right?  Wrong.  This ass apparently either decided he wanted to be in on the family outing, or got dragged there (which isn't really justifiable, someone would have bought that ticket in a heartbeat).  But instead of sucking it up and being nice, he decided to not only make his family's evening miserable, but he also decided to make everyone else miserable.  First, he was talking shit about Christine after he heard her ask the girl standing up in front of us (the only person standing in the whole section) if she wouldn't mind sitting down because Christine is actually short enough that she couldn't see around the girl even if she stood up and she wanted to sit down.  She was very polite when she asked, and sure, you could tell the girl was a little bummed but it's not like she got pissed or anything.  So this guy, who's not even with this girl, leans over to her and starts talking shit.  The poor girl is now obviously uncomfortable with this strange man talking to her, and he's making Christine uncomfortable too because he's talking loudly enough that everyone around can hear.  So then later he's talking to his son next to him and keeps making fun of the people who are enjoying themselves, making fun of his son for enjoying himself, even making fun of Jason!  At one point I snapped, "do you mind?"  The only person who didn't hear me was him...which was somewhat amusing and annoying all at once.  But I think his son heard me and said something because the guy got slightly less least to me.  Well then all of a sudden after he said something to his son, the kid just says, "stop it, just stop it!" and storms off.  So then the mom goes and finds the son, the guy just stays there for a bit.  Then the son comes back, grabs his stuff and takes his mom's spot (a couple people down), the mom stood in the aisle, and the guy decided he was just going to leave (finally).  Apparently Megan heard him say "I'd rather be at Fenway."  Ha, there wasn't a game tonight, but I'm pretty sure if he thought he'd be happier sitting there all alone freezing his ass off everyone would have been better off.

What makes it even more clear how irritating he was is the fact that he really wasn't even up there for most of the show.  He had vanished during the opening act, then came back for the first couple Jason songs (that was when Christine asked the girl to sit), vanished for a while, came back around Live High or so, I snapped at him during Only Human, his son yelled at him around "I'm Yours" and then he left after that was over.  But just the few songs he was even there for just ruined that portion of the show for all of us.  And poor Christine, it was her first time seeing Mraz live!  And it was only Megan's second time!  At least it was my sixth time...but then again the reason I'm willing to see him so frequently is because every show is a little different and I like to be able to enjoy each experience.

Aside from that, it was a good night.  I had fun with my friends, it was a nice break from law school and I got to hear some lovely singing.

And now it's 12:40 am and I must go to bed.
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Here comes the future lawyer. Watch out!

So I know I didn't post about this.  I'd hoped the Better Business Bureau route would work better than it did but apparently the movers I used are accustomed to being lying bastards.

Anyway.  So when I moved back on Sept. 1st, one issue was that they wrote on the form that they worked for 4.5 hours.  They worked for 3.  Including travel time.  Now, because this was Sept. 1st in Boston and their office is in Allston (aka student central), paying for 1.5 extra hours for movers was a hell of a lot more than on any other day.  As in, $262.50.  I'm a student, I'm on a limited budget, I can't afford that.  Hell, most of you with jobs probably can't afford that.  I only hired movers in the first place because driving a moving truck in Boston when you don't drive here at all is a bad idea.  My mom and I learned that when we first got here.  So anyway, I had it all planned out so that I could pay for the movers as long as they stuck pretty close to the estimate.  They would have been right on the estimate had they actually charged me for the hours they actually worked.

So.  Anyway.  The first problem with this 4.5 hour thing is that they didn't actually bring my attention to it (clearly, knowing that I would have objected).  They just said, "okay, here's what you owe," took my card number, had me sign a million things without giving me a second to look at them (I would have insisted I get a chance to read it because as a law student I know the importance of reading before you sign but the guy was also hitting on me and as I had just moved to a somewhat isolated complex in the suburbs and I was the only one there since Vanessa wasn't moving in on the same day I wanted him out of there) and then they left.

So, they leave, I call my mom in a panic because I didn't have enough money in my account to pay for all that.  We got that worked out, blah blah, then I looked over the contract more closely and saw where they put the hours worked, where I was supposed to initial that this time was pointed out to me, and therefore noted that they, essentially, scammed me by not giving me the opportunity to double check everything and padding their hours.

I tried to call them 3 or 4 times throughout the week following.  The secretary took my messages every time, saying that the person I needed to talk to was "unavailable."  No one ever called me back.

I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.  Mind you, this company was accredited with them, which is part of why I thought it would be okay to hire them, so basically that means that they have agreed to BBB's dispute resolution methods.  So I waited for a response to my complaint.  The response I got on Tuesday basically said that they charged for 3 hours of labor and 1.5 hours of travel time.  It then said that the laborer who came told me that.  It then said that they spoke to me on the phone 4 or 5 times following the move explaining that.  Now, you all know me.  Would I lie about whether they had ever spoken to me on the phone?  No.  Am I dumb and don't understand that the travel time between apartment A and apartment B is part of my charges?  No.  Am I incapable of figuring out how many hours elapsed between a start time of 7 am to a departure time of 10 am from my new apartment after all travel time between the two apartments has been accounted for?  No.  Therefore, I am correct and they are lying bastards.

I emailed them after getting this response to my BBB complaint, explaining exactly why their response was false.  And then told them I'm not afraid to go to court.  Then a couple hours later the BBB told me that the case is being administratively closed because the company supposedly made "reasonable efforts" to resolve the issue and I'm still dissatisfied (yeah, because they're liars so of course their response made it appear as though they tried to resolve the issue) so I have been using the wonderful legal resources at my disposal (aka my Evidence professor and a couple other professors I'm close to, one of whom was an Administrative Law Judge) and figuring out exactly how I can take them to small claims court and win.

Here's what I have.  First, hearsay evidence is permitted in small claims court.  I've found some online reviews (on websites I wish I knew about before but oh well) that demonstrate a pattern of similar behavior from this company.  Since online reviews are frequently done with quite a bit of anonymity and no way to contact the people it will probably be difficult for me to actually get the people who wrote the review to come in and testify as witnesses, hence the need for hearsay evidence (these reviews would certainly be hearsay, for you non-law people).  So, what I have is some evidence from other people who have experienced this situation with this same company which will assist me in convincing the hearing officer (small claims doesn't really have a "judge" and there's never a jury) that I'm being truthful.

Second, there's this lovely part of Massachusetts law called chapter 93A.  The Consumer Protection Act.  This act reinforces the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealings in Contracts law and actually makes it unlawful to breach this covenant.  And here's the beauty of it.  I might be entitled to double or even triple damages, plus reimbursement of court fees, under this wonderful act.  I have to do some more research to see if that applies to my situation but I think it does, it has something to do with the fact that I already paid them and am trying to get the money back.

So.  Then we have just my general skills as a law student.  I have some experience in oral arguments and a tiny bit of practice in questioning witnesses (I did very well the day I did that in evidence class) so that will help in court.  I'm going to check and find out if I can submit a brief in small claims court because then I can submit that and the hearing officer can look it over when making the decision, as well as all the exhibits I'll submit.

Yeah.  I think they're in trouble.  I wasn't a person to mess with before I went to law school.  Now I'm unstoppable.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

IRS interview!

So the interview was yesterday.  I felt pretty good walking out of there.  I was pretty emphatic about my interest in litigation and in tax law.  I feel like that was really important here because I know that with the way the OCI program works, some people just apply because it's there.  So the other people they interviewed might have had a really strong academic record but when they got to the question of "so, why the IRS?" those people may have gotten a little stuck.

Anyway, they told me at the end that they're not sure about what kind of internship openings they'll have in the Boston office, they're reworking their budget right now (ah, even the IRS is suffering...) but they're sure they'll have something in the DC office (which I put on my list of preferred locations).  So, I might end up in DC next summer, which will be fun.  Obviously there's a lot to see there and it will be nice to have 3 months to go see it all rather than cramming it into a weekend.  And there are people there I could stay with.  My uncle's brother and his wife live there.  Which could be awkward but I sort of know them since they visit my aunt and uncle every August so it won't be too bad.  And my friend Rachael and her husband live there too so I can always escape the awkward by hanging out with them.

So, all in all I think it went well.  I have some time to wait before I hear back because they're going to wait until they have a better idea of what will be available in Boston.  So, I'll keep you all posted.

In other news, I don't have class again until Tuesday!  What with Yom Kippur tomorrow and Columbus day on Monday, I rescheduled my Friday class (the one I teach) so that we could all have a long weekend.  I still have lots of homework stuff to do, and the library is still open so I have to go work (have I mentioned that I got a work-study job in the library?) but it's still nice that I don't have to do any new reading for class for the next 5 days and can focus on some other work I need to do.  And go buy some new jeans.  My two favorite pairs are dying.  Both have a hole in the knee and one is looking like it's about to go in the butt area.  No good can come of that, especially since I only have two other pairs.

Well, I think that's about it for now.  Off to enjoy my break!
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