As Proof, I Offer the Following:
On April 5, 2018 Charla Moore represented a client (the Petitioner) in mediation for a case assigned to the 325th District Court in Tarrant County. Judith Wells is the District Judge for this court.
Here are a few excerpts from the Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA):
“This mediation was conducted by G. Thomas Vick, and both parties and attorneys acknowledge, stipulate and AGREE that:”
“…any dispute in the interpretation, performance, or drafting of the order resulting from this Mediated Settlement Agreement shall be submitted to G. Thomas Vick, Jr.”
“If no resolution can be reached… each party shall submit a concise written summary of the dispute to G. Thomas Vick, Jr. and schedule a follow-up mediation… Each party shall pay $750 in advance.”
“[Petitioner] shall have possession of the children pursuant to an extended standard possession schedule…”
Let’s start with that last sentence first.
Marcy Freeman (the lawyer for the other party in this matter) drafted a proposed order using the language from the Extended Standard Possession Schedule as found in the Texas Family Code. For those of you who have never been in Family Court, the Texas Statute has a section known as the Extended Standard Possession schedule. It is also referred to as the Expanded Standard Possession Schedule. The words are used interchangeably.
It’s a good thing minor differences in wording don’t mean anything, right? (foreshadowing)
Charla Moore responded to the proposed draft and made NO MENTION of disagreeing with the holiday schedule.
Then, 12 days later, Charla Moore sent another letter saying her client wanted a different holiday schedule than what was stated in the Texas Family Code.
Please go back to the top of the blog for a moment and reacquaint yourself with the overriding terms of the MSA. You don’t need to be a lawyer to form an opinion about how disputes in the interpretation… or drafting of the order should be handled.
It’s written in plain English.
What do you think Charla Moore did?
Yep, she changed the things she wanted changed based on her interpretation of the MSA and and put it in front of her bestie, Judith Wells, in a Motion to Sign.
Judith stayed true to form.
She ruled that because the sentence in the MSA used the word “an” instead of “the” that she would accept the holiday schedule Charla Moore put in front of her even though it didn’t conform to THE Extended Standard Possession Schedule. (Scroll back up, folks. The italicized sentences at the top are verbatim. Do you see it now? It says, “an”)
Now Charla Moore wants you to elect Lori DeAngelis to replace Judith Wells.
I just want you to consider the source.
I guess Charla was right when she wrote, “A good lawyer knows the law and a great lawyer knows the Judge.”
Side Note: I also believe Family Law lawyers in Tarrant County know this happens. They don’t do anything about it because their job is to win for whichever parent hires them. Charla Moore is from the Judith Wells generation. The lawyers in her age group have been around long enough to know the pecking order. The younger lawyers are just jockeying for position to take her place.
You Be the Judge
Let me know how you view the above situation. I’m working on another post with another example.