• April 9, 2016
Patriotic T-Shirt

Random Patriotic T-Shirt

Update (April 9, 2016): The case, described below, settled, finally, this past week after Sr. U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. Davis denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment for reasons stated on the record (transcript here). The heart of the matter:

Once [Defendant] Archibald learned that [Plaintiff] Lakeshirts had not been paid [for the T-Shirts Lakeshirts provided to Third-Party Bundy], he decided to simply keep the [downstream buyer’s] money to which he was not entitled, keep the benefit from the shirts delivered to [the downstream buyer] on .. Archibald’s behalf. This was unjust. Archibald benefitted from Bundy’s fraud and he strongly encouraged that fraud or at a minimum was willfully ignorant of it.

Unfortunately for Lakeshirts, settlement of this case took more than a year. Fortunately, from a review of the docket it does not look like the battle was very hard-fought by anyone. So Lakeshirts simply paid the price for quick-n-dirty business dealings based on handshakes and assurances. Maybe over time, the savings from many such transactions is a lot more than the costs of the one that unraveled.

Original post (December 15, 2014): “Oh, what a tangled web we weave/When first we practise to deceive!” were a couple of lines in a poem published in 1808 called Marmion by Walter Scott about the Battle of Flodden Field. Marmion is a tale of lust, treachery, deceit, redemption, heroism, justice and honor according to Wikipedia. (No one has actually admitted to reading Marmion for over 150 years.)

For thousands of years and to this day, we desperately need tales like Marmion — constant new ones, that is, but along the same lines — because our lives (in particular our work lives), in truth, are generally devoid of drama, heroism, and justice. For years on end. Admit it. For the most part they are as dull as reading back issues of a trade publication. Some days, it is miraculous that none of us crumples to the floor in a state of catatonia induced by a complete lack of honest-to-god intellectual stimulation.

That is, the daily grind might be dull until you’re the person on the hook for $560,000 worth of patriotic t-shirts that were ordered but the t-shirt maker never got paid. (The maker was paid $75,000 for the >$600,000 order.) That might seem a little dramatic if the cash were coming out of your pocket anyhow…

In fact, one of the interesting and fun things about being a civil litigator is the variety of worlds that one dips into and then darts out of (quickly, if the client is lucky). Even generic business snafus can start to look like modern day Marmions.

What in the world happened with this patriotic t-shirt sale to Mendards? Who, in the end, should pay?

Defendant Archibald tells a more complicated story than Plaintiff Lakeshirts tells.  Defendant Archibald drags a third-party, Bundy, into the lawsuit who, Archibald alleges, dragged Archibald into the underlying fiasco with Lakeshirts and is responsible for it.

Did Bundy make a proposal to Archibald? Did Archibald know about Lakeshirts? Did Menards ever get all of the shirts? Did Mendard pay for them? To whom? Where did the money go? Did Menards cheat on Bundy with the Prince’s illegitimate daughter? What did they know and when did they know it?

This could go any which way…stay tuned…

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