Decades ago, I traveled to a metropolitan Detroit Big Three facility to discuss problems they were having with an Equipto mezzanine that we (Crissman Company) had sold them. The caller complained that clamps that secured the metal grating/flooring were coming loose and/or failing. It was an uncommon problem, uncommon as in I’d never heard of it. So I did some homework.
Our files indicated that we’d refused to provide a quote on sliding storage units to set upon the mezzanine which would allow the shelving to be two shelves deep. The sliding shelving units were designed for level, solid surfaces, not metal mezzanines that relied on stress-susceptible clamps to hold the grating/flooring in place. Hand-rolling a heavy shelving unit that’s sitting at even an slight tilt can have it roll back and crush the hand that put it in motion, or a foot or elbow that’s in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The employee who’d called me in was friendlier after I showed him a competitor’s sticker on one of the shelving units, and explained our refusal to quote. He asked me to wait and explain everything to his supervisor, who was in a meeting, and escorted me to a chair outside of the supervisor’s office to wait for the meeting to end.
While I was waiting, a man hurried out from the meeting room and, amidst distinct Detroit cursing, failed repeatedly at making copies of a single document on a motorcycle-sized machine that sat across the aisle from me. He suddenly turned to me and demanded an explanation of who I was and why I was there.
I summarized. To my surprise, he pulled a manual out from the copy machine cupboard and said he’d give me all the time in world once the meeting was over if I could make a dozen (yet more cursing) copies of the page. He handed the piece of paper to me and rushed back into his meeting.
I opened the thick manual and found that the multi-feature machine could make two-sided copies, which it could then collate and staple. And more. I finally found out how to make simple, single-sided copies and did so, just in time for the supervisor to rush out, grab them and rush back into his meeting. Apparently, lack of copies had stalled everything – the meeting was over a minute or two later, and everyone present filed out.
The supervisor thanked me for the copies in a manner that suggested that all Big Three vendors should always say yes to odd requests. He was decidedly unhappy with my remedy for the failing clamps on the mezzanine, which was to ditch the sliding shelf units, and retain only the fixed units. I warned him of possible future worker injuries, including possible dislodging of one of the grates, which could lead to one or more workers – and perhaps a shelving unit – taking a single floor fall, perhaps onto workers below.
He was obviously incensed: I thought I was in for a tirade about incompetence in the industrial equipment industry – my industry. Instead he launched into a condemnation of his company’s purchasers, who he claimed thought they knew everything about everything, and knew nothing about nothing. He’d apparently asked his purchasing department for a simple, inexpensive copy machine like the one that had broken, and was provided with the monster machine that no one in his department could figure out. He was apparently of the opinion that the same purchasing geniuses were responsible for not heeding my company’s reasons for refusal to quote on sliding shelving units.
Before I left, I showed him (and another man) how to make copies. I hope he ditched the sliders, but I don’t know. I do know that I made copious notes about my visit and put them in their file in the event that my company was dragged into another lawsuit if my recommendation was ignored. I called our Equipto representative and advised him of the situation, as I’d done in other cases. (Another equipment manufacturer hadn’t retained similar information, and after my company easily skated out from under a lawsuit for allegedly contributing to a serious worker injury, they were only able to do so with extensive notes and phone records I faxed to them, proving that they had followed through on contacting the plaintiff and repeated my admonitions, despite his contrary claim).
I know business: business makes sense when you conduct it carefully and ethically. But after dealing with it since 1978 – before and after Crissman Company – I still don’t know the monkey business of our justice system, because it isn’t conducted carefully or ethically and therefore makes no sense. It deliberately turns what is concrete into gibberish, and the reverse. And it’s life and death and all manner of physical and financial injury at stake, just like selling industrial equipment.
Over the years, I’ve had a far more amicable relationship with Brevard County, Florida Clerk of Courts Scott Ellis in my quest to eliminate Space Coast criminal conviction and peripheral corruption (which threatens my life to this day) than I have had with showboating Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey.
That said, it strikes me that Ellis too readily accepted the systemic flaws in our justice system that turn what’s concrete into gibberish, and the reverse, e.g.; to this former CEO/CFO/president, a lawsuit that is filed sans the requisite documents specified by the courts is an announcement that the plaintiff has a proclivity for abusing process, and that they are somehow certain this proclivity will please the judge.
The business remedy for this straight-out-of-the-gate unlevel playing field would be for the Clerk of Courts to reject the filing of any lawsuit that doesn’t contains each document specified by the court. Failing to reject incomplete filings makes the court money in the short run by causing the defendant to file a Motion to Produce at their (wholly unnecessary) expense, but it costs the courts any claim of credibility in the long run.
I admire Scott Ellis for taking on Wayne Ivey in the matter below, but I would have preferred Ellis – prior to retiring – had stepped back and taken a hard look at how Florida County Clerks could have fought the whole damned rigged system, as one. I think he could have pulled it off. And I think a whole lot more incarcerated innocents would be home for the holidays, and that a whole lot of trampled people on the periphery of that conviction corruption, like me, would have gotten their lives back.
Scott Ellis Clerk of Courts Sues County over Sheriff’s ‘Critical Needs’ – The Space Coast Rocket
Ellis is well known for his conservative budget measures and has gained the reputation of a watch-dog on spending and fighting corruption. He is not seeking reelection this year but has endorsed Rachel Sadoff, his deputy to replace him.