Short summary for now. When in a custody matter, as with any legal proceeding, it is obvious you "need" a lawyer. (Why is another subject.) Every lawyer that ever represented me, well, I'm lucky if I received about 40% of their potential. No lawyer will piss in their own stew. Meaning? From my experience, their prime duty is protecting the sacred cash cow: the legal system; after all, the lawyers belong to the elite club proudly displaying their titles of nobility, such as "Esquire". Where is this leading? Reforming domestic relations, family law and such, will never be done inside a courtroom handled by lawyers. (More later.)
The following is a true story. But first, the picture above is Attorney Anthony C. Falvello, as appearing in the Hazleton, Standard Speaker Newspaper, dated: 09-26-84.
Almost immediately after opening for business in February, 1974, I was under attack. The main character was Mr. Steven Lovernic. I believe the year was 1976, an opportunity availed itself for a select group of neighbors to rid their fine catholic community from the likes of me. One day I had a special visitor, who handed me papers giving notice that I was being sued in court. The alleged plaintiff was Mrs. Rose Petruzzi, who claimed she fell on my sidewalk. The co-defendant was the city of Hazleton. Her attorney? Pictured above. (The update will contain the court docket number and specific dates.) Naturally, I had to retain the services of a lawyer. Mr. D.G, who back then was just starting his professional career.
If viewing my property from above, Petruzzi's home is on the east side adjoining my property having a driveway separating the two. She appeared to have a solid case, including testimony from a witness. When the trail date approached, the solicitor for the city settled out of court. (If not mistaken, his name was Mr. Stevens, who later became a judge.)
But there was a surprise. Someone, who was with Petruzzi that night, told me a different story of what happened. Who is the mystery witness? Read on.
First, a little background. Example: Mr. Lovernic, every Sunday, would drive his wife, Petruzzi and many times a woman named Mrs. Falvello to church and back. Mrs. Falvello's property adjoined the north side of my property as her house was next to Petruzzi's. She was a very nice lady. She spent most of her time alone and sometimes she had a visitor. One day, she was in her back yard walking about and fell. I happened to notice because the north side of my building had large windows. I saw her fall and quickly ran around back to give assistance. She wasn't hurt, more shaken than anything. After that we became friends. A few days later I heard a knock on my back window. It was Mrs. Falvello waving hello. One day she brought over cookies. Afterwards, I removed a window pane and installed a blank that I could remove easy so we could talk. Many times she came over by the window to say hello. I always made time for her. (By the way, Mrs. Falvello is the mother of the attorney.)
Shortly after being sued, I heard a knock on my back window. Mrs. Falvello told me that Petruzzi didn't fall on my sidewalk. She looked angry and said Petruzzi was drunk when it happened. Said she didn't like what they were doing. It seems Petruzzi walked to a church bizarre having Lovernic's wife and Mrs. Falvello accompany her. I supplied this information to my attorney. Without his asking, I drew a detailed map of the area marking off all sources of light and distance; information used during the trial.
What happened at trial? Mrs. Falvello was not subpoenaed and didn't testify. Why? My attorney tried to rationalize matters by saying she wouldn't make a credible witness. Before I forget, the jury was not allowed to know the city settled out of court. (I recently went to the Clerk's office, Hazleton City Hall, to inquire into the actual amount. From memory, around $25 thousand.) Pictures were entered into evidence by Attorney Falvello and discredited since they were from the wrong time frame, taken about a year before the alleged accident which did not depict the actual light setting. Petruzzi was seeking damages for pain and suffering, including medical expenses. The verdict? She was found partially guilty with contributory negligence. The jury awarded her only for medical expenses. (Docket: 776 of 1976, amount $1,250.93) Since the city settled out of court for a large sum, it more than paid her medical bills. I paid no actual money damages, not counting attorney fees. (This episode was used as propaganda that I cost the city so much money; more fuel for bigotry.)
My opinion: Why wasn't Mrs. Falvello called as a witness? How would it look for the attorney's mother to blow his case out of the water? Think of the shame and embarrassment? How would he cross examine his own mother? Did he know Petruzzi didn't fall on my sidewalk? It seems there is an unwritten rule of courtesy amongst lawyers, if, at all costs, don't mess with my family and I won't mess with yours. Maybe a gentleman's agreement. Plus, what would happened to Mrs. Falvello after the trail, coming back to the neighborhood? Facing everyone? Would she still get a ride to church? My attorney was just getting started in his career. Was he thinking long term? Attorney Falvello attempted to use bad evidence: pictures of the wrong time frame. Simply, using layman's terms, what took place was a set up that almost worked. It worked indirectly causing more strife and dissension with local bureaucrats against my business.
The first time I met Anthony C. Falvello, I was 17 years old. Went to his office attempting to get a patent on a design I had. Circa 1969. He politely told me I was wasting my time. While there, in his office, I noticed a picture on his wall of the garage then owned by Oscar H. (The garage I would purchase several years later. For many years I spent a lot of time with Oscar, and by 1972, he promised to give me first option when he decided to sell.) In the picture, I noticed Mr. Falvello, as a young man, and it seemed the picture was taken during the construction of the building. When I asked a few questions, he told me his father built it and was a soda bottling plant in the beginning. How was he referred? Oscar H.
As for my design, call it coincidence, but a few years later the product was marketed. By who? Maybe someday I should find out.
In a few weeks I will update this story with more factual reference. If not mistaken, Mr. Falvello, several years earlier, before the botched law suit, acted as my ex-wife's attorney during the divorce and continued as her attorney thereafter for a time. (A story in itself.)