Pro Bono: The Case of Darth Storage!
A (not really) long time ago, in a galaxy (not really) that far away … cut! Cut! Cut! Okay, I was going for effect, but I think I am exaggerating a little bit. You see, this case settled and the settlement agreement provides that we would not discuss the case – so some names have been changed to protect the innocent (including this law firm).
We will call the defendant in this case “Darth Storage.” Darth Storage is a business that stores your stuff. Our client, who we will call Luke Stuff-storer (or just Luke for short) rented some space from Darth Storage. Luke is a musician and not only stored some of his music equipment at Darth Storage, but also some irreplaceable magazines with articles written about him, as well as backstage passes to shows he played at. Well, admittedly Luke fell behind in his monthly payments to Darth Storage and Darth Storage sold Luke’s stuff! Holy mackerel! Well, turns out that there are rules that must be followed when a business like Darth Storage sells someone’s stuff! Did Darth Storage follow these rules? Let’s just say it was “debatable.” But – what really stunk about this case, was that Darth Storage, after selling Luke’s stuff has a surplus of several thousand dollars! Darth Storage claimed that they mailed a check for the surplus to Luke, but that the check was returned because Luke moved and left no forwarding address with Darth Storage. Then, even though Darth Storage had Luke’s email and cell phone, Darth Storage made no effort to contact Luke about the check. Nope. Darth Storage just tossed the check into a drawer. In fact, Luke did not even know about the surplus because Darth Storage ordered him off the premises on the day it sold Luke’s stuff!
Well, Luke and Steven Rubin (aka yours truly) had a musical connection, so Luke came to Steve to assert a claim that Darth Storage had wronged him by not following the required rules when it sold Luke’s stuff. Steve flew in on his “X-Wing” and filed a lawsuit on behalf of Luke against Darth Storage alleging that Darth Storage did not follow the required rules and therefore “wrongly” sold Luke’s stuff – or what we lawyers call “conversion!” (I am so glad I attended law school on the day they taught conversion!) Well, in the course of conducting “discovery” (asking questions of the other side, requesting documents, and such fun and games) Steve learned about the surplus! WTF! Steve mentioned the surplus to Luke who told Steve – “I don’t know nothing about no surplus” (and a few other choice words).
Well, suffice to say, Darth Storage, their hand caught in the cookie jar, immediately forwarded the surplus to Luke. And then, just for good measure, Darth Storage agreed to pay a few thousand more to Luke to compensate him for their dastardly deeds and conduct. Luke was happy and is back rocking out on his musical instruments.
The services of the law firm were provided to Luke on a pro bono basis as Luke (like a lot of musicians I know) did not have the ability to pay legal fees. And Darth Storage now knows that it had better be careful – or there could be a sequel in the making!