Absent any comment from me, I thought I would make any who might be interested aware of the following facts as I seek to determine if what follows was a street fight or a legal battle. To protect the plaintiff and the defendant, I have omitted their names, the story here is a bit difficult to follow. However, I feel no need to omit the name of the attorney for the plaintiff, Mr. Jon Stewart.
[Perhaps I need some writing classes, but at my age, that’s not going to happen. So I must beg you to suffer through my clumsiness in this somewhat complex presentation. You need to be aware of the following facts.
- I am a confidant of DEFENDANT.
- I was present in court during the occurrences that I discuss herein.
- Other information presented herein was obtained through conversations with the MINOR CHILD and with DEFENDANT.
- As well, the defendant gave me confirming documents.
- Finally, I have the permission of DEFENDANT to publish this information.
This dispute about which I am reporting revolved around the desire of the PLAINTIFF to compel her MINOR CHILD and to compel the DEFENDANT, the father of the MINOR CHILD and CUSTODIAL PARENT, to accede to some international travel plan(s) by PLAINTIFF with the MINOR CHILD. This demand by PLAINTIFF was accompanied by a further demand that DEFENDANT surrender control of the passport of the MINOR CHILD to the PLAINTIFF for a period of time that far exceeded the itinerary of the demanded trip. [Can a Provincial Court exercise such control over a federal document for any period of time?]. Intrinsic to the reasons that a “Four Way Meeting”, previously mandated by the court, was sidestepped by PLAINTIFF was the urgency of the travel plans.
Mr. Jon Stewart – Lawyer for PLAINTIFF
Jadine Happynook – According to documents signed by her, assistant to Jon Stewart
Ms. D.L. 1 – Long time attorney of record for DEFENDANT
Mr. D.L. 2 – Lawyer hired by DEFENDANT to handle emergency of quick response
Ms. C.P. 1 – First child psychologist (lawyer with experience interviewing children)
Ms. C.P. 2 – Second child psychologist (lawyer with experience interviewing children)
Legal Service of DEFENDANT by Jon Stewart
- Jon Stewart had been communicating with Ms. D.L.1, Attorney of Record for DEFENDANT, for approximately the last two years and Ms. D.L.1 had exclusively represented DEFENDANT for that time in all matters between DEFENDANT and PLAINTIFF.
- Mr. Stewart’s most recent communication with Ms. D.L.1 concerning DEFENDANT had occurred within the previous three to six months, with no other attorney having contacted Jon Stewart on behalf of DEFENDANT on any matters.
- Despite those facts, and despite the fact that Jon Stewart had no reason whatsoever to believe that Ms. D.L.1 was no longer the Attorney of Record for DEFENDANT, Jon Stewart, and/or Ms. Jadine Happynook on Jon Stewart’s behalf, did the following:
- Without notification to Ms. D.L.1, attempted to serve DEFENDANT directly rather than through Ms. D.L.1
- When that service failed, still without notification to Ms. D.L.1, appeared in court to ask the court to be allowed to use an alternative means of service
- Additionally, without notification to Ms. D.L.1, while seeking this alternative means of service, also asked the court to award the PLAINTIFF fees for the cost of service, thereby initiating a second cause of action against DEFENDANT
- Without notification to Ms. D.L.1 and a few days before Christmas, having been successful in the application for an alternative means of service, then had DEFENDANT served with one hundred and five pages of documents which required a response within seven days, leaving DEFENDANT an extremely limited time to respond during a calendar period in which contacting lawyers was, at best, problematical.
In court, Jon Stewart made an argument to the court that a “View of the Child” report be compiled concerning the travel demands of PLAINTIFF. In making that argument, Jon Stewart suggested several possible attorneys who might interview the MINOR CHILD at the center of dispute.
While reciting a list of potential candidates to the court and upon reaching a particular name on his list, Jon Stewart, as though a light bulb had apparently suddenly popped in his brain, stated that he had just coincidentally seen Ms. C.P.1 in the courthouse. Jon Stewart and Mr. D.L.2 hurriedly agreed that they should attempt to engage the services of Ms. C.P.1, and a break from the proceeding was taken to allow Jon Stewart to find Ms. C.P.1.
Returning to court a few minutes later, Jon Stewart announced that Ms. C.P.1 had agreed to accept the assignment and that an arrangement had been made for an interview date for the MINOR CHILD with Ms. C.P.1. The date suggested by Jon Stewart and agreed to by Mr. D.L.2 was the next Monday, a date which directly followed a weekend long visit between PLAINTIFF and the MINOR CHILD.
Due to a scheduling conflict which arose the next day with the availability of the MINOR CHILD to see Ms. C.P.1 at the appointed day and time, DEFENDANT contacted the office of Ms. C.P.1 and agreed on a different date suggested by her office, a date that happened to immediately precede the date of the weekend visit between the MINOR CHILD and PLAINTIFF.
Ms. C.P.1, or her office, then called Jon Stewart, or his office, with notification of the change of date. Neither Ms. C.P.1, nor her office, attempted to contact Mr. D.L.2 to apprise him of the schedule change. [Why would Jon Stewart have been notified and Mr. D.L.2 not have been notified?]
Replacement of the Lawyer Responsible for the “View of the Child” Report
Jon Stewart, immediately upon having been made aware of the schedule change, raised a hue and cry with the result being that DEFENDANT advised Mr. D.L.2 that DEFENDANT no longer trusted Ms. C.P.1 to conduct the interview with the MINOR CHILD and that Mr. D.L.2 should notify Jon Stewart of that fact and that the two lawyers needed to agree to replace Ms. C.P1 with an alternative name from the list that had been recited in court as DEFENDANT would not make the MINOR CHILD available for any interview with Ms. C.P.1. [One can only speculate as to whether this earlier date, so vehemently rejected by Jon Stewart, had been available when Jon Stewart booked the initial appointment with Ms. C.P.1, and if so, especially considering the urgency of the matter due to travel plans, why Jon Stewart chose the later date when the earlier date might have accelerated the court process.]
Jon Stewart and Mr. D.L.2 then did reach an agreement on a different child psychologist, Ms. C.P.2, to interview the MINOR CHILD and prepare the “View of the Child” report.
Upon the two lawyers reaching an agreement that Ms. C.P.2 should do the interview and prepare the report, Jon Stewart asked Mr. D.L.2 if they could each present Ms. C.P.2 with documents arguing the positions of their respective clients in this family matter.
As according to the judge and to the title of the report ordered by the judge, a “View of the Child”, the scheduled interview of the MINOR CHILD was meant to seek that child’s viewpoint, not to simply be a repeat of the parents’ opinions as expressed in court, Mr. D.L.2, in consultation with DEFENDANT, refused to accede to that request. [This was an appointment between the MINOR CHILD and Ms. C.P.2 with neither Jon Stewart, nor Mr. D.L.2 scheduled to interact in that interview in any manner. Accordingly, why would Jon Stewart suggest that the arguments of PLAINTIFF and DEFENDANT be put before Ms. C.P.2 prior to her interview of the MINOR CHILD and what possible benefit could it be to Ms. C.P.2 to understand those arguments when the sole purpose of her interview with the MINOR CHILD and her duty to the court was to determine the true feelings of the MINOR CHILD, independent of the parent’s dispute, about any possible upcoming travel.]
The Visitation of PLAINTIFF with the MINOR CHILD
During the weekend visit of PLAINTIFF with her MINOR CHILD, a visit prior to the appointment between the MINOR CHILD and Ms. C.P.2, PLAINTIFF asked the MINOR CHILD if he would give a folder of papers to Ms. C.P.2. The MINOR CHILD, a bright 16 year old who was taking a law class in high school, understanding that the presentation of those papers to Ms. C.P.2 had the potential to bias her opinion(s) refused to accept the papers or deliver them to Ms. C.P.2., but did notify DEFENDANT of the request of PLAINTIFF. [How did PLAINTIFF know what papers to ask the MINOR CHILD to deliver to Ms. C.P.2 and from where and from whom did PLAINTIFF obtain those papers?]
Incidentally, the foregoing is an overview of a situation that I described in a previous blog.
So my question is the question posed in the title, “Did what I described seem more like a street fight than a legal battle?”