Penny Wise; Pound Stupid


Griselda was injured at a hotel when the chair collapsed. The hotel was in TrinIdad, Griselda lived in Jamaica.

When Griselda reached home she had a lawyer write to the Hotel threatening a law suit.

Hotels, as many other venues that have a lot of traffic, attract  a lot of law suits. What they try to do is go ‘behind the lawyer’s back’ and get the plaintiff to settle  out of court. They show how wise it is to avoid legal fees.

Hotels, as many other venues that have a lot of law suits, know that many plaintiffs will take less money so as not to pay their lawyer.

In this case, the Trinidad  Hotel, knowing that TT dollars are NOT acceptable in Jamaica, and that the government is under a restriction as to how much U.S. Dollars can be sent out of the country, wrote a cheque (in TT Dollars) in full settlement of the claim.

The cheque was sent to Jamaica.

Now if Griselda had not tried to keep her lawyer out of the picture, this would have been known and the settlement would have had to be made in US dollars. But, not paying the lawyer was part of the joy.

Griselda could not get the cheque accepted at any bank, including the Bank of Jamaica, and was told that had she filed a law suit and had a Court ordered the payment,  then the money would, by law, have to be converted to U.S. Dollars  and Griselda could carry the sum through customs with the Court Order  attached.

The Hotel knew this when it made its offer.

So here’s poor Griselda with a cheque she can’t cash, with no way to convert the money to a cashable currency.

The Hotel considers the case ‘settled’ having written a cheque they know Griselda can’t cash.

All to save paltry legal fees.


What do you think?


Written by jaylar

Story MakerYears Of MembershipContent Author


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  1. Well in Israel the lawyer’s fee is substantial and it is always a shock with how much the lawyer charges for an hour of time. I have heard of a trial lawyer asking 10,000NIS =$2747.94 for an hour of work in the courtroom! If that is paltry to you, I would like to be in your shoes!

    • In my country with it’s rate of exchange; many lawyers charge $10k for an hour… but the point is… when you win, you ask for legal fees, so that the loser has to pay.

      For example, in the case above, if Griselda had filed a law suit she would have gotten more, and the lawyer would have gotten substantial fees from the defendant. The lawyer could charge 100k for the Court appearance, but that would go into her damages.

      The fact is, many defendants, esp. large ones, almost always go ‘behind the lawyer’s back’ and settle with the Plaintiff for maybe 1/4th of what they would pay if the case went to Court.

      One hospital wing which is regularly sued, offers the Plaintiff free medical care for the rest of his life… and you would think the last place the Plaintiff would want to be is that hospital. Nope.

      Cheating the lawyer is the ‘win’ for the client.

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