#franchise #franchisee #highcourt #bmvproperty Why do people not read and heed sensible responses to irrational behaviour/beliefs? My response to her OTT letter is below (from an email at 11:54AM 30th March 2012). Miss Emily Slater was not even present in Court on 19th March 2012 yet she had a totally different perspective of what was said and discussed in an over two hour hearing at the High Court in London.
Miss Emily Slater and her Clients Mr Nick Statman, Mr Malcolm Statman, Gateway Homes UK Ltd and Whitehall Franchise Ltd (formerly Gateway Homes Nationwide Franchise Ltd) heeded nothing I wrote but relentlessly pursued over 2 years of litigation in which they lost …. heavily! Never mind, they can’t say they weren’t told upfront …
My apologies in the email extract below to Mr Justice Keith and HH Judge Seymour QC (both sat as Judges of the High Court) – the residing Judge at the hearing on 19th March 2012 was Mr Justice Keith!
…. “blogging is writing about what you know, what your experiences are, what your opinions are, regrets, lessons learned” etc!
Dear Miss [Emily] Slater,
May I suggest you discuss the meaning of the undertakings given by me to the court as worded by Mr Justice Seymour (I believe he was the judge on the day, but I may be wrong as the paperwork suggests Mr Justice Keith?? Please clarify!) with your barrister who attended on the day. Failing any further discrepancies may I suggest you attain an audio or written transcript of the hearing to understand the judge’s direct meaning behind the wording. I admit he did struggle to make sense of your clients listed requests as they still appeared vague, “woolly” and hardly comprehensible.
1) He was absolutely 100% clear that had he been told (or Mr Justice Butterfield had been) that the intention of the injunction was to prevent me from operating my franchise by the wording of the ex-parte injunction then it would never have been granted. Your barrister confirmed that the court had not been told that this was the intention and was unclear on what the actual intention of it was. Hence the dismissal of the injunction and a break in proceedings. I believe discussions with you and/or your clients for a specific wording then took place.
2) In re-wording an undertaking the judge was also clear that this would not affect the ability for me to operate or sell my franchise in any way – this explicitly meant that the reference in Section 1 “any of the claimants confidential information” refers to exactly that – Gateway Homes Ltd & / or GHNFL i.e. central information & central statistics/accounts etc e.g. not to disclose if your clients had 400 leads in a week, but ALL information at the franchise level remains the information of the franchisee so if franchisee received 20 leads in a week this is the franchise data and not your clients so does not breach 1.e. This was clarified at some length in court. So my entire accounts, P&L, statistics, revenue, costs, assets, losses etc etc for each individual area and/or all 6 combined are MY data and under my discretion as to who or how it is disclosed or not as the case may be and in parts and/or whole. Also, for clarity, if I were to declare net business receipt of £X000.00 for a month this does not constitute a breach of 2.a or declaring an average completion time does not constitute a breach of 1.c. I could list on and on.
So I shall not respond to any issues in your letter pertaining to this as my understanding of the undertakings are vastly different to yours and/or your clients and I in no way have breached the order having been present in court when it was discussed, debated, agreed to by both parties and ultimately dictated. If the wording, at the second attempt, is not sufficient for you/your client then maybe I suggest you should have done a better job first time round when you applied and/or had a better replacement prepared in case the original was thrown out? Which it was ….
I felt, under the circumstances and subsequent behaviour of your client, that fellow franchisees have a full, honest, picture as to what has happened to me over the last few weeks – after all I do know most, if not all, of them. After all there cannot be any confusion now – I have always maintained the truth in all issues. I read and re-read the order and saw no breach in my email and its attachments.
I believe you should retract your so-called “warning” too.
By the very nature, blogging is writing about what you know, what your experiences are, what your opinions are, regrets, lessons learned, what you had for tea etc etc in fact, about anything in your own life. My blog is no different to any other – it is about me, my life and my experiences. The fact that my “Gateway” phase of life has not been a good, positive experience is not for the want of trying by me & I have a right to write, discuss and have opinions on every aspect of that experience from day 1 up-to the present – as indeed I have the right to help others, the right to use the knowledge I gained in the market sector to continue to earn a living/have opinions/help consumers etc. and even apologise if my good intentions have implicated anyone in potential misery caused by others. Would your client rather I wrote and apologised to each of my vendors personally and explain that I have had my contracts terminated for going nearly bankrupt as the franchise model doesn’t work as they only have a 40% chance their property will be bought anyway? I have never wanted to be the subject of a half-page article in a National Sunday Newspaper on something I have been implicated as complicit to your clients actions of which I knew nothing about until it appeared in black and white. Indeed, when challenged with alternative data supplied by his own employees he dismissed that too. What your client cannot do is remove from my CV or my brain the fact that I have operated a franchise(s) for 22 months of my life and the devastating effect that has had on me, my family and friends. My blog contains a mixture of writing and will continue to do so – the fact this has extended my life experience to ex-parte injunctions, legal processes etc, financial abyss, contract law, in addition to how businesses fail, franchises disintegrate etc etc is all part of my life. I do not have to go running for permission to you and/or your client every time I want to write something.
Surely the point of obtaining a court order / undertaking that defines what can’t be said publicly should suffice ? There was no mention by your client in that order of an inability to blog, write books/e-books/articles/run websites etc on any subject matter directly or indirectly to do with your clients and/or the industry sector it operates in? Indeed, it seems I am being harassed and hounded by your clients legal manoeuvrings and attempts to manipulate the situation by various means just because what !?!? I hardly see 3 blog posts and 1 web page “about me” as constituting harassment, particularly as none of them say anything close to anything else that has been published on the web and / or other media about your client. Indeed, with direct reference to the Mirror post Mr Statman assured me in April 2011 that this would be removed as he was taking legal action against them to have it removed…. it still remains today. That is the web I’m afraid. I have made no accusations, racist/sexist remarks, stalking, bullying, been offensive in any way, been threatening or malicious in any way, and there are no inaccuracies in what has been written. In anything that gets written different people can read into it what they want or imply, make their own conclusions – see the beginning of this email as both sides have a different understanding of the court order – but in my case I was there, you and your client were not. By your definition if I posted on a consumer forum four times about a product I was unhappy with then that would constitute harassment of the supplier for faulty goods ?
In relation to section 18.x i.e. termination section of the contract(s) I will refrain from answering until all court matters, contractual and otherwise, have been dealt with through due process. I await your particulars of claim ref HQ12X00803, if not forthcoming in the next 7 days or so I will be requesting its dismissal, the dismissal of the current undertaking and also issuing a counterclaim for damages as a direct consequence of your clients actions.
Your client has been in total control of legal proceedings from day one –
1) to fully define a watertight contract
2) but failed to provide (in 2 years) an important companion document to the actual defined contract – the Operations Manual
3) also failed to adhere to many parts of the contract in operation themselves
4) also failed to properly word an ex-parte injunction brought by themselves against me
5) and again word a court undertaking to their own satisfaction
It was your clients wishes to issue a letter of termination of contract(s) and now wishes to pursue a case for harassment based on 3 blog posts and a web page …..?
I have merely acted and reacted to the tactics played out by you on behalf of your client. For every action anyone takes there are consequences – in your clients case here I do not understand what more I can do but defend myself from the constant barrage of legal attacks, threats and unreasonable requests. There is not one word I have ever written to/with/on behalf of your client that I do not have an issue being published in any form.
With regards timescale demands by you in your letter these are/were unrealistic and are in your clients typical “now” style. I do not have a lawyer on tap 24×7, nor do I sit on the internet 24×7 waiting for emails to appear from you and/or your clients. Yes I read your email Wednesday evening and responded before I left the house on Thursday morning with personal commitments I could not cancel. I did so in the knowledge I had not breached any order of the court however much you want to jump up and down.
Please forgive the informal response by email as opposed to letter but I had not the time to prepare such a formal reply in light of your insistence at such short notice & I have not had access to all correspondence and statements in this case in writing this response, so please forgive any inaccuracies.
If you are to pursue a case for harassment please let me know ASAP the details so I can potentially change any arrangements I have for next week – it is the school holidays for the next 2 weeks and family arrangements have been made for some time.
I confirm I will not conform to the unreasonable undertakings you request in your letter – they should have been articulated and constituted in court on the 19th March 2012 had they been acceptable to the Judge and adequately argued/defended at that time. You can’t keep making new rules up as you go along – after all your clients have terminated the contracts, so therefore I am not bound in the same way. The only thing that has changed since the 19th of March 2012 is that you terminated my contracts on 20th March – the legitimacy of such action is still questionable and will be determined in court in due course through the correct channels.
I trust this email has reached you by 12pm Friday 30th March 2012.