Ray, Heather N. vs. Wal-Mart, Inc. Part One
So, now you know where I was working...
Remember when I was telling you about how I had gotten hurt at work and filed for Workers' Compensation and how everything went to shit after that? Yeah. Apparently when you ask the claims management lady, who I will only refer to as Troll, to send you the "clincher" agreement for your perusal and then you don't send it back in a timely fashion and then you just kind of dodge all of her phone calls, she gets a little angry.
See, when I was fully released back to work with a disability rating, the company owed me a settlement payment. Troll laid out my two options. I could accept the straight rating for something like $2,700 (which is a ridiculous amount of money for all of the shit I've been dealing with for going on two years because of this) or I could accept the "clincher" agreement for an additional 15% ($400). What is a clincher? It means that you basically sign away any right you'll ever have to seeking more compensation in the form of money or medical treatment. Forever. A regular settlement covers you for two years and leaves open the possibility of you reopening the claim at a later date should the injury lead to major problems later. They wanted me to sign away my rights to needed medical care for 400 fucking dollars. I told her to send me the paperwork and that I would look over it. She ended the conversation with "Okay, we'll just send this to our defense attorney and forward it on to you."
Defense attorney? What? When did this happen? What the fuck is this shit? That was my first clue that I should probably worry about this agreement.
About two weeks later I get a giant packet in the mail from a law firm.
|The Coke bottle is there as a size reference.|
It weighed a good three pounds. It contained the agreement and all of my medical records. It was ridiculous. I set the medical stuff aside and started reading the settlement agreement. Or trying to. Now, legalese is confusing with it's weird ass phrasing and whereas' and heretofore's, but what tripped me up was the bad grammar and the constant misspelling of my doctor's name. You see that stack of paperwork? It was on 75% of the pages. Seriously. Look at this shit.
Each of the thirteen times she used the doctor's name, she misspelled it. This isn't counting the emails I'm going to share with you. You'll see various handwritten notes asking her to refer to attached notes. Those were never sent. Some things I didn't actually say, some were outright fabrications, the others were taken completely out of context and used in a way that was intended to make it appear that I was to blame for any lingering symptoms I had. Like quoting me when I said my dog jumped off of a swing and caused me to jerk my arm while also pointing out that I told the PA that I had stopped wearing the immobilization sling prematurely. I was wearing the sling when it happened. What it doesn't share is that my arms flew up on their own in an instinctual move to prevent my sudden downward motion. Or that I was sleeping around two hours out of every twenty four because the sling was causing me way more pain than I had without it. And that the DOCTOR told me two days later that that was okay. What she did there. I saw it.
Lawyers are supposed to be master rhetoricians but this one failed. I don't think she had any reading comprehension skills to speak of either. Just zoom right in and read over that shit. Look at the corrections I had to make. Would YOU sign that shit? I didn't think so. I guess she just assumed that since I worked at Walmart I was stupid.
Well, I didn't sign it. Obviously. The lawyer called and was super nice and said she would fix the mistakes. That I should just mark them out and initial them and SIGN IT ANYWAY. Negative, Ghost Rider. Not going to happen. Then I just kind of stopped answering the phone when they called. Then I got a shitty voicemail from the Troll. The rest of this story is best told with emails.
I apologize if I have inconvenienced your firm in some way by not sending in the agreement in a more timely fashion. Life has a problem of getting in the way of paperwork. There are a few things in the agreement that I felt needed amending and I am in the process of making annotations right now. We had previously discussed my concern over the inclusion of payment to counsel that I never retained and the primary physician’s name being misspelled throughout. I will have the unsigned document in the mail to you no later than Tuesday. Once it has been redrafted to reflect these (and other) changes, I will revisit the issue.
I left a voice message for Troll at Claims Company explaining this issue after she left one for me to say that if I didn’t have this resolved within the week, she would be filing a motion with the North Carolina Industrial Commission to pay out the rate and not the settlement. I, too, spoke with a representative from the Industrial Commission and she explained that there is no time limit for me to sign this type of agreement and that if such a motion were filed, I could appeal it.
I thought that this was an appropriate enough message. It hit just the right note between bitchy and I’m Not a Fucking Moron. It showed that even though I worked for Walmart, I could still keep from getting walked all over by a lawyer. A brand spanking new lawyer. A brand spanking new lawyer riding a power trip with her Napolean Complex. Turns out bitches thinks she has something to prove.
Thank you for getting back to us. I am more than willing to make changes to the agreement. Would you have time on Monday to discuss the changes? I can make them while you are on the phone and send you a new version right away. This would save some time.
It is true that there is no time limit to sign the Agreement. However, we do owe you the rating and have been trying to contact you for quite awhile now. That’s what Troll was talking about, filing a Request for a Hearing to get the IC to order you to accept the rating. I hope we don’t have to go down that road. It would not be a motion and it would require a full evidentiary hearing.
The Little Attorney That Could
She just immediately disposes of any formality. I’m not Miss Ray anymore. I am Heather. I can only assume that this was done as a power play to show that she somehow has more authority and control over this situation than I do. I have now been downgraded to Just a Person.
As you saw in the photos of the settlement agreement, there were far too many issues to be sorted out over the phone. It would have taken much longer to address them that way and it would have led to much arguing. This is the start of the subtle threats. “I hope we don’t have to go down that road.” DUN DUN DUUUUNNNN!!! Not THAT road! Oh noes! You mean the road where you waste more of your time and Walmart’s money by calling in witnesses to repeat everything contained in the medical paperwork and where the judge rules and then later sends me a check for the exact same amount you legally have to pay me anyway? The road which has no negative impact on me whatsoever? Because that’s a terrible threat. I mean, at least throw in some taunting that my mother was a hamster and my father smelled of elderberries. Fart in my general direction once or twice. Toss a cow over the parapet. Tell me you’re going to viciously point your finger at me from across the room. All of that is way more frightening than “That Road”.
Lady, I squeezed money out of a tight fisted and almost legally retarded Indian woman over a wage dispute. That took longer than this and resulted in way less money. Not that you’re giving me that much to begin with.
I then get another email. This time it’s from Troll at the Claims company.
We had made several attempts to contact you and had not heard back. I as an adjuster have procedures I must follow on my end to meet certain expectations in the claims that I handle. In a situation such as this, where granted there is no time frame for an associate to sign an agreement, I unfortunately have to do things on my side to try to move a file towards resolution. When I did not hear back from you I decided to take the claim a different direction towards resolution.
I hope things are well with you as I know life can get in the way of things like paperwork. I didn’t mean to come across the way I feel I did in reading your email.
Thank you for getting back to us so promptly with an update on the papers.
“We had made.” We. HAD. Made. Where are your commas? I KNOW that I harp on bad grammar constantly and that I am guilty of abusing it myself, but I’m not a professional sending out business emails. I am Just a Person. Way to quote my own words back to me, Troll. Your attempt at snark is duly noted and dismissed. You’re not very good at it. I had a boss tell me once that I was allowed to call someone stupid as long as they didn’t realize I was calling them stupid. I’m way better at this and I’m not really at risk of being fired, so I’ll concede two points to you because your hands are tied. “I didn’t mean to come across the way I feel I did in reading your email.” Oh, you mean as a total cunt? Because you totally nailed that one. And yes, you did mean to do that. I had actually left her a very droll and monotone voicemail about my chat with the Industrial Commission before I emailed the lawyer. I explained that I had no intentions of signing a legal “instrument” that contained so many errors. SO MANY! And then I ended with “If you have any questions you know how to reach me. Thaaank yeeeeeew!”
This shit really only goes downhill from here, guys. But I’m going to share it all with you. Because I love you and because I know that you’ll find something I missed and join me in my Not Just a Person, But Also a Giant Asshole Club. Comment. Comment loudly and proudly and share this with the world. I'm going to need some help with this.