BASICS: "Hummingbirds.....where is the person, I ask, who, on observing this glittering fragment of the rainbow, would not pause, admire, and turn his mind with reverence..." (J. J. Audubon).
This is a blog about my summer life at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary, at my winter garden, Calypso, in the Bahamas, and aspects of life in general.
This private sanctuary is now permanently closed to the general public, as a result of a lawsuit brought by a neighbor. Only my friends and personal guests may visit (paul.adams%stonybrook.edu).
Friday, August 25, 2017
recent sanctuary photo by Bob Immoor. No current visiting slots available - more will be posted soon.
Here is the "Motion for Summary Judgement" filed by the plaintiff's attorney Anthony Tohill. This Motion requests the Judge to decide "summarily" (without trial) the lawsuit in the plaintiffs' favor. Essentially it marshals supposedly very strong arguments why the case should be decided against me, based largely on the testimony I gave during "Discovery", the process where defendants, plaintiffs etc give preliminary sworn testimony. After summarizing some of the testimony I gave, the Motion proceeds to the crux of the matter, claiming (Paragraph 25) "Plainly defendant Paul Adams is operating a commercial business in a residential zoning district".
So, what was this damning testimony that showed I was operating a commercial business? One might assume that a "commercial business" involved some form of financial transaction, but I testified that I neither charged an entry fee nor requested a donation, and no testimony or other other evidence was offered to the contrary. In fact none of the testimony cited in the Motion (such as it being possible to park as many as 15 cars on various parts of my 3.4 acre property, or that there are chairs scattered over my property) seems at all relevant to the central issue of whether I was operating a commercial business.
I was totally baffled by this Motion - it seemed Kafka-esque, completely devoid of logic or sense. If these were their strongest arguments I had clearly entered a realm where normal rules of evidence and reason did not operate. It was at this point that I realized that I could not continue the lawsuit, and that I simply had to get out, for my own sanity and health. So I agreed to close down the sanctuary to members of the public - at least to the 40% of visitors who I testified were strangers. It seems to me that I have a perfect right to invite to my residential property individuals with whom I am not already personally acquainted but who might become friends, based on shared common interests etc. However, it appears that this is not so.
If this is a typical example of the American justice system, woe betide us!
Visiting dates (by appointment only: firstname.lastname@example.org) for sept 2-8: ; tuesday sept 5, am, pm; wed sept 6 am only; thur sept 7 am, pm; fri sept 8 pm only (am = 10-12.30; pm = 3-5).