How I got screwed, and it cost me $15,000.00

Spoke to my pastor the other day. Well, I don’t go to church anymore, but she’s still my pastor. She gave me some deep theological advice that she knew to be true about the universe.

She told me, “Shit happens.”

I guess she’s right.

On Tuesday I was on my way to a court hearing and I saw a rainbow in the middle of a rainstorm. I took it to mean that perhaps “the powers that be” were giving me a sign of strength and love and hope for a positive outcome. The court hearing didn’t go my way. The judge ruled by the law, but it still didn’t seem right or fair. I felt that “the powers that be” lied.

But I suppose that shit just happens.

And fair is something you pay on a bus.

The legal aspects of getting a divorce really sucks. Even years later, it still sucks and there is just no getting around all of that. At my hearing I had the opportunity to listen to another hearing prior to ours; the pain, the frustration, the loss of a hope of something that turns into a battle over money and property. To try to discern these battles, a person must wade their way through confusing rituals and rules and regulations that no one really understands, and the only people that win are the lawyers. I have nothing against most lawyers, I realize that their jobs are very difficult and they are working within an imperfect system, it must be daunting holding that kind of responsibility to another person, and I realize that they are human and make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes; those are forgivable. Not attempting to remedy those mistakes, is not forgivable.

Here’s a short little story about mistakes, how the law isn’t fair, and how some lawyers really give other lawyers a really bad name.

Fifteen months ago I had to respond to a summons served on me by my former spouse, and I hired an attorney to represent me. I may have found her in the PDX Gay and Lesbian Yellow Pages, her last name might be O’Reilly, (as in Bill.) Her first name may or may not start with an E, (as in Eileen.) I interviewed her, she seemed quite competent, all was well. We went to court and between the two attorneys, myself and the other party, we decided on terms to settle the dispute. It was read on the record, the terms drawn up by the attorney that was not mine. And that is when the problems began.

I objected to one of the items in the draft document that was not discussed during the hearing and extraneously added after the fact. I noted my objection to this term in writing to my attorney. I followed up with a reminder that I had sent that objection. I didn’t hear anything from her for awhile, I inquired several times (in writing,) regarding the status of the judgment. I was ignored for two months, despite many e-mails and phone calls. When I finally did get in touch with my lawyer she informed me that the judgment had been filed (I had not seen the final copy,) and when I reviewed it, the item that I had objected to was still there. And not only was it still there, it was even more financially exaggerated. I objected again, in writing. She assured me she would look into it. I continued to inquire about this issue, questioning how this happened, asking (demanding) that is be corrected. After fourteen inquiries in writing, including a certified letter, I gave up. It was obvious that my attorney had ignored my case, allowed items to be included that I did not agree to, did not review the document prior to it’s filing, did not allow me to review the document prior to it’s filing, did not sign the document prior to it’s filing, did not communicate my objection to the opposing attorney, did not notify me the status of the filing of the document, and upon realizing these things, ignored me, placated me by telling me she would take care of it, all along hoping I would just go away and forget about it.

I hired a new attorney. My objective was to set aside that issue that I did not agree to, have the paperwork re-drawn reflecting what was actually agreed to and stated that day in court. I wanted nothing more than what we all agreed to that day. Nothing more.

In the meantime, I filed a complaint with the Oregon State Bar Association against my attorney, the proverbial Eileen O’Reilly. In her response to my complaint, Eileen O’Reilly miraculously had a sudden memory of my verbally agreeing to the terms that I had continuously objected to, before and after the filing of the judgment. Suddenly we had long phone conversations regarding this issue where she repeatedly reminded me that I had indeed agreed to said terms that day in court. Suddenly she had notes that had been “in storage” reflecting this said agreement, despite the fact that for six months, she had not mentioned any of this, and I knew it not to be true. So oh, well. She’s now incompetent and a liar. I wasn’t going to worry about it until I had to answer more questions from the Bar, and I knew that I had ample evidence that showed my my continuous, un-relenting position of what it was I had agreed to and my incessant attempts to communicate with her. She hired a lawyer to represent her in the complaint. Okay, that sucks for her, perhaps if she had done her job, and fixed her mistake? Not really my problem. Or was it?

Unbeknownst to me, when one files a complaint against any proverbial attorney, all submitted information regarding the case, regardless of it’s personal nature, becomes a matter of public record. This fact would not have dissuaded me from filing my complaint but imagine my surprise when the attorney for my ex-attorney appeared at my hearing to state that Eileen O’Reilly did not agree with my affidavit to support my motion. Well, duh. If she agreed with my affidavit then she would be admitting that she’s a big fat incompetent liar and who’s going to do that in open court?

The judge heard my request for relief from the judgment and ruled that I was bound to the decisions of my attorney. I am bound to the decisions of my attorney, despite the fact that her lack of attention to my case will cost me in excess of $15,000.00 over the next fourteen years, including what I have paid both of my attorneys.

Shit happens?

I suppose it does.

And that my friends is a little story that is not a fairy tale, and is very unfortunately true. Names were not changed to protect the innocent, because no one who’s name was mentioned is innocent and besides, everything I stated here is a matter of public record.  My hope is that someday I will realize a greater truth and lesson from this confusing, stressful, and anxiety filled ordeal that I have endured for over a year.

No. I’m not bitter. I don’t think all lawyers are bad, just the one I had, and I don’t even think that she is bad, I think she made a mistake. And then she lied.

There are lawyers that I like.

A few of them read this blog. One of them is my nice new lawyer who actually answers my questions and pays attention to my case. I also like several others:



John Grisham

Duh, the greatest lawyer ever.

And that is all that I have to say about that. I’m putting it behind me, and readying myself for a lovely holiday season with my beautiful family.

Because sometimes shit happens.

And when it does,

make fruitcake.

31 thoughts on “How I got screwed, and it cost me $15,000.00

  1. ARGH – just reading this I got all frustrated. Sorry you had to go through all of this, but hopefully you’re on the other side of it now.

  2. Divorce sucks. It can bring out the very worst in some people, can’t it? But lying divorce lawyers… hell, they make ambulance chasing lawyers look like saints. Glad you are finally able to close that chapter and move on.

    Here’s wishing you and your beautiful family the happiest of holidays, RSG! Cheers.

  3. Let it just slide off of you, enjoy your holidays. Know that even though justice is not always served in court, karma will take care of things. What’s the bitches address? My cousins Tony and Karma want to know!

  4. Hmmm, sh*t flavored fruitcake. Not too sure about that.

    Sorry for your problems.

    Pursue your case against her with the bar, I know, they are attorneys too and try to protect their own, but try.

    We are having problems with judges down here, incompetent judges that fall asleep during trial, talk to juries on their own, and make decisions not backed up by law. But they are the judge and can do that. Too bad we can’t do without attorneys, but they make the laws and insure that we need them.

  5. Grrr….I hope all attorneys involved get coal in their stockings…or, better yet, they suddenly find it in their hearts the urge to do right by you. Eh. That’ll never happen, so go for the coal.

  6. GAH! This sucks so bad on so many levels. I know life isn’t fair, but this is just ridiculous.

    I’m so sorry RSG :-(

    I hope you can enjoy the holidays with your family.

  7. That’s horrible. I’ve had some pretty deceptive legal dealings in Portland, but not 15k worth! That seems so wrong. One lawyer kept pulling the money out of me to draft letters I could have written myself and then when I said I was ready to file suit, he told me didn’t do litigation. WTF??? Then don’t fucking write letters threatening litigation.

  8. I know plenty of fairies, M.E., and they’re large and hairy.

    You know, RSG, if you leave that shit flavored fruitcake out on the table, Wink will eat it. Just sayin’.

  9. Well shit! At least you have the satisfaction of naming her in your blog and thus ensuring, in a small way, that ‘word of mouth’ referrals won’t be going her way.

  10. A) I am very sorry about your situation, I know first hand how divorce can go.
    But you left out crucial details, it’s now a public blog, what was the actual issue at hand? There are far too many ways such a case can go and very often, be settled without lawyers.
    B) BJ Clinton is a proven and convicted liar, would you trust such a erson with $15K?
    All said, best of luck to you in your fight.

  11. Lelo… who you calling large and hairy?

    RSG – That whole mess sucks. I’m sorry you had to even deal with any of it in the first place. I have to wonder though… shouldn’t there be court record/text recording/deposition of “where… [you] had indeed agreed to said terms that day in court”?

  12. I just wanted to wish you and your family a very Happy Holiday!! I’m sorry that you had to go through all of that’s to making 2008 a better year!! hugs to you all.

  13. As a divorce attorney who would never behave in such a shoddy, unethical fashion, I apologize on behalf of my profession for the bozos who are allowed to do these things. Sigh.

    I agree with those who say to let it slide off of you. You are going to make so much more than the measley $15K in the next 10 years that it won’t matter in the long run.

    Happiest of holidays to you and yours!

  14. RSG… sorry to read all this. Concentrate on your family and know that someday, this will come around and bite the ones who screwed you. It may not be where you can see it or even know about it, but it will happen.
    You have much – happy Holidays!

  15. RSG –

    As a lurking lawyer I felt compelled to write. I no longer practice law but I do work for an insurance company and handle attorney malpractice claims. It seems to me that, assuming you can not let this go – and I would certainly understand why you might not be willing or able to – you need to get your new attorney to make a malpractice claim against your former counsel O’Reilly – who I really hope is not insured by my company. And I can not help but note the irony of the aforesaid O’Reilly being just as big a loser as the other one you mentioned.

  16. Pingback: Recovering Straight Girl » Blog Archive » The Good vs. The Not So Good

  17. OMG, the same thing is happening to me right now!!! 8-12-2008 And there is nothing I can do to stop it. I was tricked into a “Verbal” prove up after 3 hours negotiating in a courtroom “closet” with me, my attorney, stbx and his attorney. I got screwed from getting 1/2 his retirement pension, he received $1400 extra in trust money, cleaned me out of the personal belongings. Yet, I have the home and the kids. YEAH! But the marital residence is being handled to vaguely in the divorce cree drawn up by HIS attorney. I have asked for three statements to be added to the marital home section to clarify the uncertainty. My attorney is NOT getting it added. And I have been told by her secretary that she is submitting it “as is” in a week. I am sooooo SCREWED. So basically, I will be in the home with the kids, paying all the bills, insurance, taxes while he will still have access to run a business on the residential lot where he will interfere with my visitation time. And who knows? Maybe a customer will slip and fall and get hurt on my grounds and I will be further sued, insurance premiums will go up, I will have to foreclose, and I wll finally be the “homeless kunt” he has been calling me for the last 12 months. Can you say SPOUSAL ABUSE?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LEGAL ABUSE !!!!!!!!!!!!!! FINANCIAL ABUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Please don’t refer me to counseling for I know that I have been screwed and I cannot wait for 30 years from now when I give my diamond wedding ring to my daughter and show her the two appraisals where the center diamond stone has been switched out for a lower quality stone. BASTARD! I hope the next woman is just as lucky as I have been.

  18. Is this the same Eileen O’Reilly out of Portland, Oregon? I only ask because my neighbors and I are filing a discrimination lawsuit against our current landlord; my neighbors are lesbians and I am Colored. It seems that my neighbors got Eileen O’Reilly’s information from a Gays Advocacy service or something to that effect.

    Please let me know BEFORE we waste our time, energies, and monies with a losing attorney who may (or may not) be incompetent. I must say, most attorneys are going about making deals with our lives and well-beings in an effort to defeat/ defame “the little girls who think they can handle themselves in the big, good ol’ boys system of American government.”

  19. I think know this attorney. My wife asked her to lie to me to cover up for my wife’s affair and Eileen agreed. Integrity is definitely a question. I hope things have turned around for you.

  20. Awwwwww, the infamous Eileen O’Reily of Portland Oregon. She is a major screw-up and incompetent. My Ex hired her (dumb hires dumber) in our disengagement of our domestic partnership. One example of many is that there was real estate that had to be sold. She ignored phone calls, letters & e-mails from my atty. trying to get paperwork off her desk, to my ex to sign so things could even be sold. We missed the entire summer market, which was at the beginning of the down turn. Comparable properties were selling all around me. $40,000. lost. She made verbal errors for her client, and written errors on paperwork, When she finally did respond to my atty., months down the road, and the excuses were lame. “Gosh, I thought my assistant took care of that”, I’m was going to let her go anyway.” Is that kinda like, THE DOG ATE MY HOMEWORK? Important paperwork sat for months on her desk, unanswered attempts from my atty. chalked up thousands of dollars of atty. bills for me. After all was over, I wrote her a letter asking her to make amends and explain her not doing her job in a timely manner, as required by her license to practice. No answer, of course. In my opinion, she lacks the ability to do her job under the license she practices under, but most of all she totally lacks the integrity to choose to do what she DOES know. I would love to just be able to sit across the desk from her and have her explain why she makes the choices she does. As far as her gender, I don’t have a clue and could care less, except for when we need an atty that specializes in gay and lesbian issues, it is too easy to fall prey to people like her that come up on lists that specialize in this type of law. God help those that need her services. Looks as if there is a club forming. Maybe we could get together and help Eileen get her shitt together or out of Dodge. What ya think?

  21. P.S. An absolutely great Lawyer with amazing integrity that specializes in Gay/Lesbian law plus much more is:

    Beth Allen

    She had the misfortune of having to deal with Eileen O’Rielly, or should I say ATTEMPT to deal with her while representing me.

  22. I know who this attorney, Eileen O’Reilly of Portland, is and I plan to stay away from her personally and professionally. I did not find her very credible and she seemed to be too fast and loose for my comfort level. I do know of someone who was going to use her and I suggested that she do her research and from all the negative comments on the web as well as a really odd phone conversation/interview, she went with another attorney. I just don’t trust her.

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