Judge Mathis

January 18, 2006

I have the damnedest problems with this one particular landscape light in the front yard. The thing's either not lit, or burning dimly as a candle. Each time I clean things up and get it fixed, something else goes wrong.

A huge percentage of the yard problems that I have end up having to do with the landscape lights in the front yard. I did the installation of the lights in the back yard myself. It's a much more complicated system, with three transformers and probably three times as many actual lights. But the front yard was done by contractor.

For the sake of this post, let's call they guy Perry. He was hired to do our front yard before I did the back, and therefore before I knew how easily it could have been done. Basically, you just need to trench a path for one wire going to the left of the driveway, and one wire going to the right. Easy as can be. The lights snap directly to the wire, and get their low-voltage power as easily and safely as Thomas Edison could have dreamed.

But Perry's crew spent a week where they dug up every blade of liriope (looks like fancy dark monkey grass) in my front yard. They uprooted several large, important shrubs, and turned much of the bedding into seas of mud.

Then, they left all of these living plants out in the driveway to dry up, while they went home over a three day weekend. Then, they didn't even return to finish up on the next work day. We replaced tons of dead plants after it was over.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The letter I sent in response to the final bill that we refused to pay documented 10 or 12 instances of damages, work unfinished, and failures to show up on schedule.

Perry took Doug LLewellyn's advice and started the process of going to court. But it seems that he started with Judge Mathis. We got the letter from the Judge Mathis show several months before being served papers for the actual suit.

I think Perry wanted to do the Judge Mathis show, because there's no way to lose. See, if you are the one who was sued, and if you lose, the show pays your damages. If you are the one who filed suit and you lose, the show pays you anyway. On top of all of this, you get a free trip to Chicago. Doesn't get much better than that, does it?

Judge Mathis

I checked out the Judge Mathis web site this week, and the most interesting part is the link where you can request the good Judge as a speaker for your seminar. His speaking fee is up to $15,000, and he requires a first class plane ticket, as well as a ticket and accommodations for an assistant.

I can't help but wonder about who in the world would want a television judge to speak at their event. If you haven't watched his show, then you should check it out (just once). This guy isn't Judge Wapner. He tries to be all "in your face" for good television. Good television, it is not. Neither is it good jurisprudence. Having Judge Mathis as your speaker will not impress your employees or clients.

In case you were still wondering, we decided to pass on Judge Mathis. Perry let the whole matter drop when he saw his fifth-grade level lawsuit responded to with a legal brief filled with "heretofore" and "whereby" and lots of indecipherable mumbo jumbo.

But I really think he was just looking to be on Judge Mathis.