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Author: slowlythere Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 3080  
Subject: Re: Frustration with grassroot orgs Date: 1/2/2007 7:25 PM
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You might want to write them a letter telling them this (and keep a copy for yourself) just to help cover your behind in case there's ever any question about stuff that's gone on (with other people there) while you've been involved.

Just sitting down and catching up a bit, now. Thus far, I haven't actually spoken to the grassroots org today, but not rushing it. I am also trying to do some separate research by attempting to find some names and contact info. for people in similar, but better established, organizations for some perspective.

I am cautious about the idea of writing them a letter, for this reason: about ten years ago, I was only peripherally involved with some combative former partners in some situations. I ended up unwillingly becoming a temporary mediator between them. At one point, one of them asked me to write down an explanation of what I knew and related until that point, how/why I was involved as well, because it would have helped her to 'understand' some aspect, in the form of a standard letter (including signed, dated, etc.). She said she thought it was a good idea and that it would 'protect' me, the other party involved, plus herself, so she said. I consented to do so and told her she'd have that letter (plus other activities accomplished as part of the informal 'mediation'). As we were hanging up, she also mentioned casually that her lawyer (?!) also concurred that it would be a good idea. That got me suspicious and I contacted my own lawyer (who I had retained for completely separate, personal matters to date) who literally screamed at me on the phone, "NO!!! NEVER PUT ANYTHING DOWN IN WRITING WITHOUT MY LOOKING AT IT!" If there's anything indicative to me is having an otherwise sane (relatively speaking) lawyer suddenly shriek at me on the phone. Once he calmed down after a pause, he said it should be a red flag whenever anybody else says that their lawyer 'thought it would be a good idea.' It's always about protecting their interests, not mine. He said even a simple written statement that I knew of anything whatsoever, no matter how innocent or benign, could make me party to a lawsuit. He then basically gave me simple instructions that - as it stands - I can/should still forward the materials discussed, but not put anything in writing. He said it was also okay if I called to let her know, but to say little else. Subsequently, I sent the items/materials as such, called that person, and when she insisted again on whether I'd include the 'note,' I subsequently cursed her out (okay, not okay-ed by my lawyer), and we mutually terminated the call. Nothing happened from there.

Since then, I never put anything down in writing until I know exactly why and how it's supposed to 'protect' myself versus unintentionally implicating myself. Any situation in which I'd fear that degree of complication (especially in writing), I'll consult a lawyer if necessary.

At this point, though, I don't anticipate that they'll go to such lengths, especially since they literally don't even know my proper name (despite my attempts to correct them, at least in the first several days, weeks).
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