It looks like I will be forced into court in January to testify on behalf of a Salemtown property owner against her co-owner father based one of my blog articles. A couple of days ago I received the following letter:
Meanwhile, Ms. Norris, Esq., replied yesterday to my first post on getting subpoenaed for blogging about blight; she defended her client and argued that I assume too much about her. I make my reply in the comments.
Take note, that the lawyer invites me to speak with her rather than her client about how she intends to improve the property. That just reinforces my belief that the client is an absentee landlord with little investment in improving the quality of life of the people who actually live here. Even in the possibility of approaching her neighbors for help, Ms. Gherghescu is absentee: she requires an attorney to soften them up. So, if she hasn't been among our neighbors, why should we assume that she is invested in improving the neighborhood?
A second point about speaking with Ms. Norris rather than Ms. Gherghescu: Ms. Norris has a professional responsibility to defend the interests of her client. She also has an economic conflict of interest insofar as Ms. Gherghescu is paying her to win her case against her father. Either way, Ms. Norris is prone to make promises about hypothetical future improvements that she cannot guarantee in order to help her client win her case. Since my testimony would apparently help Ms. Ghergehscu's case, it is entirely reasonable to conclude that Ms. Norris will tell me what she thinks I want to hear to help win a decision in her client's favor.
If Ms. Norris had come to me as a neutral third party without an interest or, better yet, if Ms. Gherghescu had previously developed a neighborly relationship with me and then told me of specific plans she had for improvements (and, still better, if she had put it in writing and sworn it to a notary in the manner of this subpoena they sent me), then I might be persuaded that improvements will occur.
As it stands, Ms. Norris is merely asking me to jettison a set of inferences about Ms. Gherghescu's absence from Salemtown for her own no-guarantee assumptions about Ms. Gherghescu's future intentions. And she is guaranteeing me a whole hour's notice (which would be only a little more lead time than the last phone message notification that I got from her before the trial started earlier this month). I will testify because I am forced to, but I have not seen anything to persuade me that good will result from this case.