I have a client who swears his buck was bigger than the one I mounted for him. He has photos that do indeed at a couple angles and positions look bigger than the mount. I tried to explain that a deer laying in the back of a pickup with the head and neck all hunkered down upon the body is not neccesarily what the mount should be expected to look like. In other photos the deer and the mount were the same size. I tried to show him the measurements that were carefully recorded at the time of skinning but I was told I botched the measurements. I again tried to explain that if I botched the measurements the form would have been too small. I also explained for a neatly groomed look the hair on a mounted deer is brushed down thus some percieved size is sacrificed. The guy had the mount for 3 and a half months and was happy as hell then all of a sudden it is too small. Anyway he is taking me to court. I feel certain I can win this but I'm fishing for some ideas to help my case. Any ideas folks. I'm going to take a 17" form and a 14" cape as props to explain that if I tried to use a form that's too large it simply won't fit. Whataya think? good idea or bad idea. Thanks
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If the glove don't fit you must acquit. Just bring all the measurements you had. There is no way you should lose this case. he must have had a buddy tell him the mount looks smaller then the deer if it took him three months Good luck.
Counter file for lost wages.
Take the measurments with you and your form and skin.
Explain that the form you used is the correct size for the cape etc.
You can pull several quotes from this site as professional evedence stating that what you did was correct, even take several of the catalogs showing how you take measurments.
That should pretty well seal up your case and get his dismissed.
It is a pretty good bet some of his buddy's have said oh it was bigger than that.
Use the photos he showed you and explain that the dead deer has no muscle tension and the neck has been retracted by rigor mortise.
He has no supporting documents, stating the deer was so-so big.
The hair should not be brushed down tight, that in itsself makes a deer look smaller.
Also explain the way you tag and proccess each animal so that no mistakes can be made.
Good luck let us know how it developes
I'm not a pro, so I dont have clients, BUT i believe i have heard of people who have some sort of disclaimer associated with recieving their product. Just thought I'd mention that in case you have some sort of signed damage waiver. Good Luck
ALL OF THIS should of been covered in your "work order and agreement".
You do have a signed contract with this fool don't you?
I was told by a mutual friend that he has someone putting a bug in his ear. Can one sue for lost wages? How about mental anguish. I've been sick to my stomach over this.
I'd get a lawyer instead of defending myself (Ben Franklin said that a person who defends himself in court has a fool for a lawyer). Have your lawyer recover legal costs as well as lost wages and defamation of character in his accusations. Your lawyer would benefit from enlargements of the catalog measuring system and how you made your documentations as well.
For the other two citing disclaimers, there has to be somecase where they aren't sensible. I have a disclaimer about tanned hides and not being responsible for them as I can't verify if proper field care was exercised, but you have to stop at some point. Do you put on there that the 22 inch neck wouldn't fit the factory forms and you had to alter them? There still is SOME common sense around and with proper graphics and descriptions, I'm sure any competent judge (or lawyer) will enjoy busting this jerk's chops. When you win, make sure you go up and ask how his "friend" is doing.
I am no expert in the way of legal matters, but if this individual is intent on pursuing his claim, I believe that John C. would be correct. Verify it with a lawyer, but I believe I would counter sue. Stop and think of all the time you now have to put out of your schedule that you will not be able to recoup, your mental stress (as you have expressed) and not to mention lawyer fees and court costs. Build your case carefully and thoroughly and make that individual pay for your uncalled for duress, not to be vindictive, but to be compensated accordingly for your losses. Being in Quality Assurance I can attest that printed documentation is the key to success. The fact that you have supporting documentation and perform this type of work as a business holds more water than just a picture and word of mouth. This is a great forum and I am studying myself to hopefully join yall's ranks some day. Please keep the forum posted on the outcome. I wish you the best of luck and don't forget to get that lawyer!
All my clients sign a contract which includes a disclaimer. The standard stuff such as slippage is not the fault of the taxidermist, not responsible for loss due to fire, theft, vandalisim, scars, etc. ALso an important part of the contract is that all my work is done as I see it, simular to art work, the quality and how it appeals to a persons taste is an opinion, just like art work. A great piece to someone looks terrible to another. I perform all my work to my own opinion as to the correctness of the mount. A simular statement is in all my contracts. In other words the legal statement in the contract says like it or lump it, buyer beware.
Even if the guy sues the burden of proof is on him and the judge will probably thrugh it out.
See the post left by MR. KIM. It explains all of this!
About Work Orders and Agreements. --A Little help for you
In Michigan, where I live, to recover lost wages, legal expenses, etc. you would have to have the case heard in civil court. In Small claims Court, where most of these types of maters typically end up, the rules are different.
What I do is record the outside neck measurement, antler spread and number of points on my work/order/contract and make them sign it. When I'm processing the specimen, if any irregularities that may affect the quality of the mount are found, I video the damage for possible evidence should it be necessary. That goes for large bullet holes, cuts, slippage, etc.
"He who serves as his own council has a fool for a lawyer and a jackass for a client"- Abraham Lincoln
Having not fell of the tater wagon yesterday, today I went and saw my Attorney. total cost to me to file a brief in court 3 hours away was $25.00, took all of ten minutes, he is why.
You have acxess to the greatest law libary in the world. The internet!
Do a search using your state and circumstances, I used google.
I preped my document over the last three days, having been served Friday 16, Jan. 2004. Went through rechecked, reread, proof read, grammer checked.
Took about 4 hours of my time, cost savings by doing the research myself was approx. $300.00 min.
I am using a lawyer thats one of the best in my district, all he had to do was have the sec. copy cut and paste his letterhead.
10 minutes for him and that includes him proof reading my brief.
$11.00 to file and $25.00 for him.
Bottom line is records, good clear concice records.
I think you can beat your client in court, by having the Professional proof (catalog measuring diagrams) will support you.
Good luck let us know.
If photos is alll he has, take measurements with you. With a photo you can double the size of a fish by holding it in front of you. Holding a fish beside you will make it look real. As you probaly seen many times. Since the camera can be made to lie, the judge will probaly not even consider them against your recored measurements.
I work with the legal system as a court investigator. I'm no lawyer but I see what goes on and have a good grasp of what is permissible, at least in my state. You could sue for lost wages, reasonable expenses, lawyer costs... but the emotional distress stuff might not fly. The courts determine emotional distress to be reasonable if it is determined that the distress one suffered was "significant or substantial" and would be significant and substantial to the average reasonable and prudent person. In other words they expect people to suck it up unless it is seriously distressful. Think about this... if your claim for emotional distress was deemed reasonable by the courts, then anyone who enters into civil litigation could file a claim for emotional distress because obviously ALL civil type litigation is stressful. Even if you had medical documentation for ulcers and high blood pressure as a result of the pending bogus suit against you, a judge would have to determine if your medical reaction was "reasonable" or if you are just too whimpy to handle one of life's stresses. Please don't take offense to this because I mean none. The guy you're dealing with sounds like a real a-hole. His pictures don't mean squat. have someone take a picture of you face on. Extend one arm out toward the camera with an open palm to the camera. Keep the other hand close to your chest with an open palm facing the camera. Show the courts that picture which will surely show that your hands are two different sizes. Then show the courts your hands and submit that the right and left are the same size and offer your opposition to measure them if they like (just to erk them). Bottom line... You took measurements and he didn't. Offer him to have the cape removed from the mannikin and to try it on a bigger mannikin. He may be able to stretch it another inch maybe, but that wouldn't hurt your case. Line up some happy customers as witnesses. He's not qualified as an expert in photography or in taxidermy. You are an expert in taxidermy and measuring. For good measure go play around with a digital camera takin different angle pics of his deer or any deer if you can't get his. I'm sure you'll have the deer looking bigger in some pics and smaller in others. Chuck Adams could testify for you since he's an expert in pushing animals close to the lens to maximize their size. LOL.