PR for People Monthly MAY 2017 - Page 34

In 2012, I won a pro se civil lawsuit against Jiffy Lube by settling for $1,800 for the loss of my 1998 Toyota Camry during (in part) a radiator fluid flush. As I started writing this article, I opened a folder in my files with the related documents, and these add up to hundreds of pages of incriminating materials. The fact that I managed to win this lawsuit is an argument for filing lawsuits on your own behalf, but the volume of work I had to complete as part of this fight means that only the most highly educated and workaholic Americans can manage this task. I had to do the work myself because I have never met a reliable lawyer I could trust to put in this volume of work without expecting over $100,000, and certainly not merely my entire settlement amount.

I asked my students at UTRGV regarding this article and how truthful I should be in it. One of them asked, “Did you win?” “Yes.” “Then why are you going to write about it… I mean it’s not like you’re gonna say that Jiffy Lube is this corrupt organization…” “Yes, because I really loved my car, and it was worth more than the settlement,” I replied. Why did he immediately assume that I was going to write that Jiffy Lube is corrupt just because they killed my car during a radiator flush? What experiences has he had with cheap, corporate car mechanics that this is his first impulse?

I have been driving for 20 years, since 1997. I’ve driven in Brooklyn, Bronx, Los Angeles, all across America, through pretty much the worst ghettos and even into Mexico… and Canada. In all my years driving, the first time my car was openly vandalized happened when I started teaching college full-time in 2010 in the quiet, little town of Edinboro, Pennsylvania. I was home in November (a couple of months into the semester, and starting to levy some pretty harsh but fair grades), when I received this note: “Please call me—B*** my phone # is XXX-XXX-XXXX I think the Toyota (Black) is yours & need to talk to you about your back bumper!!! Be home after work around 7:30 B***” I called her (a student at EUP), and she came by my apartment. She proposed paying for the damages out-of-pocket without contacting her insurance company, but then we just went through insurance, which covered all of the damages without a deductible. That was the last time somebody vandalized my car and left a note to inform me of their involvement.

Next year, I was teaching at the Middle Georgia College. It was days into the fall semester, on 8/28/2011. I drove to a Target to buy new outfits. Afterwards, I got in my car, checked there was no movement behind me and started crawling out. I noticed a van suddenly made a jump out of a parking spot on the other side of the row, and came to a full stop. Their movement was so sudden and aggressive that I felt concerned enough to stop. They obviously stopped as well because they saw me. After I stood still for a while, they made another lunge backwards and again stopped. I started beeping to warn them that they were getting too close.

A Case for Pro Se Litigation: Jiffy Lube

by Anna Faktorovich, PhD