Suing JP Morgan Chase in small claims court
As you might remember, on February 17, I filed papers in Brooklyn Small Claims court against JP Morgan Chase & Co for damages I incurred when their online banking system didn’t make a payment I had programmed.
I just heard from a paralegal for JPMC & Co. She apparently works in the Chicago area, which might account for the delay. She said that Chase was interested in paying my damages, in return for my ending the lawsuit.
When I filed the papers in small claims court, I asked the clerk if I should include the $15 filing fee in my request for damages. She said no, if I win the case, the filing fee will automatically be added to my damages. Sweet, I said.
So I told the paralegal for JPMC & Co that in Brooklyn at least, I would be entitled to the damages plus the $15 filing fee. The paralegal for JPMC & Co. said that was agreeable, as long as I agreed to drop the lawsuit. I said of course I would drop the lawsuit; all I’m asking for is a reimbursement of the money I had to spend to rectify the mistake JP Morgan Chase made.
I promise you, I was all set to agree.
This morning, I received a ‘Stipulation of Discontinuance with Prejudice’ from the paralegal for JPMC & Co. To begin with, it spells my name incorrectly. Then it says that JP Morgan Chase will pay me what we had agreed upon. Then it says that if any future problems arise from their failure to make the payment I had programmed, that’s just too bad — this Agreement will cover that future problem anyway.
Then comes the kicker: “Both parties agree that this Agreement is confidential, and shall not be disclosed” except to attorneys or law enforcement and the like. Confidentiality agreements like this are commonplace in lawsuits.
But the hell with that. I’m a reporter. Even better: the hell with that, I’m a citizen. I may want to write about this event some day. There is absolutely no reason why this agreement needs to remain confidential. JP Morgan Chase screwed up, they’re paying for their mistake, let the world know the truth. Why should I agree to being muzzled, either as a reporter or as a citizen?
I happen to be in an extremely fortunate position right now: the money in question is just enough to fight over, but not enough to compromise over. One can even argue that the money I lost in the snafu is gone forever; certainly most people would have accepted that. I can convince myself that if I let the lawsuit go forward and I lose, I’m ultimately out only $15.
I am about to pick up the phone and tell the paralegal for JPMC & Co that I’m sorry, but the confidentiality agreement is unreasonable, and so the lawsuit goes on.
What (if any) are the downsides to my taking this stand?
Choosing What’s Insides for 2012!
Come gather around friends, and join the crowdsourcing: we’re looking for new household products you’d like to see us do for the 2012 What’s Insides. We’re looking for things with lots of ingredients, both edible and non edible, that can be reasonably found in anyone’s home or garage. We’re not looking for “How it Works” type requests like DVRs and iPads; we’re looking for the simple things in our lives (like Cool Whip, or mascara, or chewing gum) that turn out to be amazingly complex when we really look into them.
For those new to the concept, What’s Inside has been called “wikileaks for groceries”. We take an everyday product and dive headfirst into its ingredient list (or its patent description) and tell you everything we can about its ingredients; what each ingredient contributes to the product, how they interact with each other, how they interact with other products; really, everything we can find.
Please leave your comments below, and please, please, please share and reblog this post; What’s Inside gets so much better when we have more ideas than we know what to do with! So many of our greatest articles were inspired by you, our readers, and we want to keep doing that. Thank you all so very much!
You can see all the previous What’s Insides in one place right here: http://whats-inside.tumblr.com
Medical school media contact, listening to my questions for the next What’s Inside
“Oh God…… Oh my God…… Is this true?….. Oh, oh my GOD! …. Why did you have to tell me this? ….. Are you on the level? …. Oh God, why couldn’t you ask about shampoo or something…. OK, I’ll try to find a doctor who knows about this kind of thing. Might be two or three. Send me an email.”
Look, bitch, you knew I was a journalist: burning a source because you feel like it.
Let me see if I have this straight. Deadspin writer A.J. Daulerio learned from The Daily Line’s Jenn Sterger that Brett Favre sent cock photos to her when they were both with the Jets. Sterger said she wasn’t interested in going public with this news; this wasn’t the added publicity she wanted or needed, and she didn’t want her name attached to the story. She told Daulerio to keep his big mouth shut. He agreed.
Now that Favre is retiring, Daulerio is bursting to tell the story of the cock photos. He tried to get Sterger to go on the record and/or provide the photos, but barring that, he told her, “I do have our email conversations we had and, frankly, that’s enough to get this started. Not trying to dick you over, but, there was no way I was going to sit on it forever, either.”
Daulerio got a garbled text message back from Sterger, which he chose to interpret as Sterger agreeing to speak. As he put it in his story: “I’m gonna say she’s settled on [option] C.” I wouldn’t have said that, and we don’t know if Sterger would have said that either.
Are Deadspin writers supposed to be journalists this week? (It’s hard to keep track). If so, are these these the new journalistic ethics? You respect a source’s confidence until you decide you’ve sat on the story long enough, then you burn them? I don’t want my profession to turn into the punch line of an old joke: A scorpion stings the frog carrying it across a river. Before dying the frog asks why. The scorpion says “Look, bitch, you knew what I was when you picked me up.”