For reasons not certain, I always end up with what I designate, “weird cases.” I have three theories as to why. The first is that I am a naturally curious person. I market myself as a life-long student. I genuinely enjoy learning. It is a bit of an obsession. Whenever I get curious about something, I go learn as much as I can until I feel I’m satisfied. Here’s one example. I love tennis. Most tennis players know only the name of their racquet and that’s it. Most have no idea what strings they are using. They usually say something along the lines of, “I just give it to the stringer and the stringers knows what I like.” So I got curious and went on a journey to learn as much as I could about racquets and strings. It’s a constant process of refinement. Now, I’m one of the “go-to” players when players are considering a switch from a racquet or strings.
My second theory why is because I am a researcher at heart. I was a high-school and later college debater. I also helped coach a high school debate team when I was in college. As a college freshman, we received prior to that semester a summer research assignment. My research assignment produced over 1,500 pieces of evidence (think of it like articles on a subject). I was, by far, the college student who produced the greatest quantity of research.
My third theory is that most lawyers have the opposite business model. Most lawyers pick a small number of cases, master the law in those areas, and then try to build a volume base so they can help those clients. That is a great service to provide. I did that for seven years, and was mind-numbingly bored. So I made a change. Now, I market myself as the weird case lawyer. The cases other lawyers do not want because they have to learn a new area of law, or the cases where the client may be too difficult to manage. Those cases are my bread and butter.
Here are three examples of what I call a weird case:
- A friend of mine wanted to build a new home as a retirement present. He worked in the home construction industry for over 40 years. He built up some considerable wealth and wanted to celebrate. I don’t blame him. Another person approached my friend with a brand new home concept. The concept was to build a cheaper, durable, energy-efficient home. The key to this process was the construction material, which consists of an 8-inch thick piece of compressed styrofoam that is chemically treated to stop mold growth. Unfortunately for my client, the home was built using poor construction, coupled with numerous misrepresentations by the company that designed the home. We are in litigation now. It is a mess. Keep in mind this type of case is generally classified by lawyers as a “construction defect” case. There are tons of lawyers who take those, but my client could not find a lawyer to take his case. Some were willing, but they wanted a $10,000.00 retained billed at $450.00/hour. I charge WAY less than that because I have a low-overhead business model.
- Another friend of mine is a wealthy, local business owner in the oil-and-gas industry. I met this man through tennis. Although very wealthy, he does not advertise his wealth, nor does he treat anyone as a lesser person because they have less money. He is a genuinely good person whom I respect greatly. He approached me with a legal research question. A person he knows approached him with an investment opportunity. The opportunity was to invest in a commercial medical marijuana growth farm. My client wanted to know whether or not he was exposed if he acted merely as an investor. Keep in mind that Oklahoma only recently legalized marijuana for medical purposes. In fact, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Act established a new regulatory agency called the, “Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.” The OMMA promulgated hundreds of regulations that all folks who participate in the industry must comply with. Most lawyers do not like re-learning as their position is they did all the learning they needed to do in law school. I was thrilled to take the case. It took me two days to research and read everything I needed to read. I prepared a twenty-one page report that took me four days to write and three days to edit. My client was very pleased with the work product, and I was very happy as well. Most lawyers would not have dedicated that much time to one project, but I saw it as an opportunity to learn as a lawyer and grow as a person.
- Finally, one friend of mine has a daughter who is struggling financially. She was being bullied by an apartment complex that had so much black mold growth in the apartment it caused my client and her dog physical illness. She was literally sick because the apartment complex refused to address the problem. When she complained, they told her to use “scrubbing bubbles” and that would fix the problem. They did not provide the scrubbing bubbles, or gloves, and did not provide any personnel to assist in the process. Under Oklahoma law, every landlord/tenant agreement contains something (whether its written in there or not) called the, “implied covenant of habitability.” The covenant means that an apartment complex will keep their apartments “liveable.” Black mold growth is a breach of this covenant. I instructed my client to not pay rent as that is one remedy under the law. They attempted to go after her via a debt collection action. They also attempted to block her from getting her new apartment complex as they told the new complex that my friend had a “pit bull.” The dog the complex described is actually a lab mix and my client is in the process of getting that dog declared as a service dog. I threatened to sue them if they prosecute the debt collection action. I am anxiously awaiting their response. If they do, I will deal with them accordingly. As mentioned above, my client did not have the resources to hire an attorney. I created something new. No lawyer to my knowledge takes contingency fee cases for landlord/tenant agreements as it can be difficult to recoup attorney’s fees. I took the case on a contingency fee basis. I look forward to taking others.
If you have a weird case, you’ve tried other lawyers and they are either out of reach or your gut tells you something isn’t right, then give me a call. I always have my cell phone on me (unless I’m exercising or playing tennis) and I’m happy to talk to you about your case!