The Little Guy, part 4: I get sued

After the fourth “episode,” I spent another day in bed, another day trying to get some kind of reassurance from the nurse-midwives at my clinic, another visit to the ultrasound lab.

The O.B. and nurse-midwives didn’t have any answers for me. They had put me on “pelvic rest,” but told me that it wouldn’t really make any difference. I would either lose the baby or not, regardless of any physical activity or stress. But this way, I wouldn’t blame myself for “doing something” if I lost the baby.

I missed a lot of work. Four days was a lot for me.

Luckily, we were not in legislative session.

However, we were getting sued.

One of the things about getting sued is that it makes you afraid: afraid to say the wrong thing to the wrong person; afraid that your words will be taken out of context. Afraid to even talk to anybody about what is happening to you.

An increasing amount of my job had become determining whether businesses were exempt from a certain law. I had spent many years trying to help get this law passed, and cared deeply about it.

None of that mattered when it came to exempting businesses. They either met the requirements or they didn’t, and I stayed neutral. It was the most bureaucratic role I had ever played in nine years of government service.

One of the requirements of this law was that businesses had to be a “stand-alone business” in order to get the exemption.

I had denied the exemption to a business that was inside a mall. They were clearly on the mall map. Their blueprints showed that two of their walls were mall walls. Their very own website declared they were, “Located inside the Such-and-Such Mall.”

There was no way they were a stand-alone business. They tried to persuade me. There was a lot of money riding on this decision.

They accused me of denying the exemption because I was a… racist.

What?!

I still get upset thinking about that. Part of the reason I do what I do is out of concern for social justice.

The suit dragged on for months. The business had friends in high (and low) places, and we were getting pressured from all directions. We received many nasty (and inaccurate!) letters. My name was dragged through the mud. I had little time–or energy–to devote to the rest of my job. You know… the part I had actually signed on to do.

After wasting a tremendous amount of taxpayer resources, the suit was thrown out by the administrative law judge because the case had no basis.

This wasn’t exactly conducive to a restful pregnancy.

You know, the kind of pregnancy that you spend daydreaming about your baby… daydreaming about the paint color of the nursery, quilting a blanket, folding tiny clothes and putting them away in drawers… gathering up toys and books and well-wishes from friends and families. That’s not the kind of pregnancy this was.

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Part of the solution since 1973.

4 thoughts on “The Little Guy, part 4: I get sued

  1. I am so sorry. I went through a very stressful thing as I was trying to get pregnant and again (the same thing) when I was about 6 months in. It was awful to have some of that joy stolen from an outside situation. And for you, as precarious as your health and the baby’s wellness were… I am so glad that it is over for you now.

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