It Wasn't My Fault Ch. 02byMattblackUK©
This is part two of the story It Wasn't My Fault which appears in Loving Wives. Please read part one first. Please note: This is a work of fiction, I am aware that the courtroom scene would not happen as described!
Chapter 1 Ken gets shocked into action
When Ken arrived at his sister's house, he felt about about as bad as he could. It had been a horrible journey.
His sister took one look at him and said: "Oh, hell, Ken! You look like shit! I'll get you a Scotch. You weren't too clear in your text message. Are you and Myfanwy having problems? You haven't cheated on her, have you?"
He thanked his sister Dee for the Scotch and knocked it back in one, before he replied to her question. "No. I haven't cheated on Myfanwy. Can we talk about this later, please? Right now I just want to sleep. I'm so tired."
She showed him to the guest bedroom and, surprisingly, he slept.
At breakfast next morning Ken asked Dee if she knew anyone who required his particular skills and she was able to put him in touch with an old college friend of mine who was in business for themselves.
Fortuitously he needed an engineer and although the pay was somewhat lower than when he worked for Karen, well, a man's gotta do, and so forth.
He'd been there for a little over a week and they were sat in Dee's living room when she said: "Time you got it off your chest, Ken. I gather that if you didn't cheat on Myfanwy, then Myfanwy must have cheated on you. So give me the details, please. Enquiring minds and nosy sisters, want to know!"
"I found her in bed with my boss, Karen. They told me they were lovers. That they were in love."
"Oh!" said Dee. What'd you do, then?"
"They... Myfanwy said she didn't love me any more and that she wanted a divorce."
"Well, what did you do?" Dee sounded exasperated.
"I packed a couple of bags and left them there, Myfanwy and Karen, together."
His sister reached over to Ken and slapped his face. Hard.
He jumped to my feet "What the fuck?" He shouted at her. "What was that for?"
She grinned at him. "That was from Mom and Dad! It's a wake-up call. Just to get you back on track, brother of mine!"
He rubbed his face and suddenly he knew that he would have to do something about the two of them. Myfanwy and Karen. But at that point he wasn't exactly sure what. But he would do something.
Dee's slap, delivered on behalf of their late parents (a drunk driver had totalled their car several years back) was a genuine wake-up call for Ken.
When he told her what he'd said to the cheaters when he left, about being like a whipped cur, Dee shook her head. "Boy! That's some crazy shit you are laying on me! Seriously? That's what my rough, tough little bro said to his very own hoe?"
He laughed at that characterisation of his wife. "Dee, in fairness to Myfanwy, I don't recognise her as being my hoe."
She stopped smiling and looked at him, seriously. "But that's your problem, Ken. When you looked at her, all you saw was Myfanwy, the Celtic Goddess of beauty and fidelity. The trouble was, she wasn't any of that, she was just a cheating hoe!
"And I think I know why you reacted like you did, Ken. From what you told me, you felt shocked. You were in shock. Some people suspect their spouse is playing away, others, like you, there's the terrible shock of discovery. The anger comes much, much later, if it comes at all.
"But, now comes the most important point of all, which is what are you going to do?"
He shrugged: "I have been looking on the Internet on a couple of forums and I want to sue Karen for alienation of affection. Can you handle that, Dee?"
Dee muttered something under her breath and said: "Oh, my God, Ken! How very 19th century of them! I expect they also advised you to give them both a good beating and then to fuck the asses off them, both? There were probably some of them who were berating you for not being turned on by your wife fucking another woman?"
He nodded in bewilderment. "Yeah, well... I... it was something like that. What did you mean about the alienation of affection thing?"
"In the vast majority of States, the old Alienation of Affection laws were repealed decades ago. In the 1920s, in at least one instance. And as our state is a no fault state, adultery can't be used as a factor in the divorce, either.
"However, you are lucky that Ricky (her late husband) and I set up our own law practice and I am going to help you do what you can to get revenge on them. And the prenup she had you both sign will ensure she can't get anything from you in the way of alimony. Ricky did a good job for you, on that one, God bless the dude!
"You can't sue for alienation of affection, or adultery, but you can sue Karen for taking your job off of you. And it will be a pleasure taking this to court for me, because nobody fucks over my little brother!"
Chapter 2 Court in a dilemma
The divorce papers had not surprised Myfanwy and Karen. But what had shocked them both was the paperwork for a legal action against Karen and her company, for Constructive Discharge and Wrongful Termination, claiming a total of $20M!
Unlike most workers who are employed on an at will basis, Ken was on an actual contract that dated back to when he first started at the company and worked for Karen's late daddy, God rest his soul. And Karen had broken that contract.
Karen had spoken with her company lawyer and berated her for this turn of events. This stung the lawyer, Judy Stringer, Esq., into replying: "Look, Karen. All I did was to tell you that there was no way that in this state that Ken could have you charged with Alienation of Affection, and that was in answer to your specific question.
"However, if you had asked me a broader, catch-all question, like: 'What can he sue you for', then I might have been able to forewarn you. Look, screwing the hired help or their spouses is never a good idea. And this is one of the reasons why!"
It would not be a jury trial, just a hearing before a judge in his or her courtroom.
As it happened, the judge was an older woman, attractive in a mature way, and very business-like in her demeanour. She reminded Ken of Judge Judy.
Ken felt himself fortunate to have his sister acting as his attorney.
As Dee stood up to start the legal case, Myfanwy spoke to Judy Stringer, the lawyer for Karen's company.
Ms Stringer stood up and said: "Your honour, I object to the choice of lawyer of Mr Austin! I have just been reliably informed that Dee Hardisty is, in fact, Mr Austin's sister!"
The judge looked at her over her half moon spectacles and said, coldly: "And you believe that's the concern of this court for precisely what reason?"
Stringer spluttered and then caught herself, saying: "But, your honour, it's highly unusual for someone to be represented by their own sibling!"
"Unusual does not mean unethical or illegal. ms Stringer, I am a very busy woman. Extremely busy, in fact! I have a court to run. If I determine that you are thinking of trying to use delaying tactics in this case, my one word of advice is... don't!"
ms Stringer gulped and sat down again. Clearly this case was not going to be as easy as she'd thought!
The case meandered on, the good guys presented their evidence, the bad guys presented their rebuttals and so it progressed, slowly, throughout the first day.
On the morning of the second day, ms Stringer called Karen to give evidence. "How long have you owned Carter Speciality Services, ms Carter?"
Karen favoured the court with an ingratiating smile, before speaking. "Since my father Bryce Carter passed away six years ago."
"How long have you known Ken Austin?"
"Oh, about fifteen years. He was employed by my father as an engineer. In fact, I kept him on as a sort of favour to my late father's memory. Ken, well... he wasn't a particularly good engineer. In fact, the last six of the monthly performance reviews on Mr Austin were extremely poor, at best."
Ken snorted and his sister snickered, much to the consternation of Karen and ms Stringer, although they made no comment.
The judge interjected: "We have them in the evidence?"
"Yes," said ms Stringer.
"Your honour," interjected Dee, "we also will be producing copies of the last six monthly performance reviews. It is to be hoped that both copies match, perfectly."
"What do you mean by that?" interjected ms Stringer, angrily.
Dee shrugged and replied, calmly, "just as I say, ms Stringer. I hope that they match. Perfectly."
Just for a second ms Stringer gave herself away, she cast a glance at Karen that looked pensive and questioning.
The performance reviews were damning, to be frank. Apparently Ken Austin had a poor time keeping record, failed to keep records as meticulously as he should and failed to complete reports in a timely and adequate manner and suffered from an attitude problem and so forth.
Karen had a shit eating grin on her face after she finished taking the court through the many and varied faults she alleged against her former employee.
Eventually ms Stringer wound down and it was Dee's turn to question Karen.
"Well, ms Carter, that makes my brother look to be less than the perfect employee, doesn't it?"
At this juncture, Karen shook her head and grinned. She looked smug and very pleased with herself. "The bitch is enjoying this," thought Ken. He noticed that Myfanwy was looking tense, as if something was bothering her.
"Under those circumstances," continued Dee, "why on earth would you employ someone with Mr Austin's work record? You operate a multi-million Dollar business, not a charity, after all?"
Karen shrugged and spoke smugly. "Well, one does what one can. I inherited Ken, Mr Austin, when I took over from my father on his death. I also knew Mr Austin's wife, Fanny, I mean, Myfanwy, and did not see why she should suffer because of her husband's inadequacies."
The judge said nothing, but rustled her papers. You could see from the expression in Karen's eyes that she got the message.
"Now that's interesting you should mention Mrs Austin," said Dee. "Can you please tell us the nature of your relationship with Mrs Austin?"
Ms Stringer leapt to her feet. "Objection, your honour! I fail to see the relevance of this line of questioning!"
The judge glared at her over her half-moon glasses. "Really, ms Stringer? The nature of the relationship between Karen Carter and Mrs Austin, who is still the legal wife of one of Karen Carter's former employees, is at the very heart of this case, or so it seems to me. So I will rule your objection as denied."
Karen looked angry, but she replied: "Myfanwy and I are lovers."
Dee affected to be surprised by this news. "Really, ms Carter? You do surprise me! Lovers, eh? And how long for?"
"A little over a year and a half, now."
"Didn't you have a female live in lover?"
Karen's face flushed. "Yes, but we... parted company."
Dee continued: "And how was your last tryst when Mrs Austin was still living as the wife of Mr Austin brought to light?"
Karen's face darkened, just a little, before she spoke. "He finished some business meetings and he found us asleep in bed together. Naked."
"Oh!" gasped Dee. "That must have been a horrible discovery for him to make! To find his wife and her lesbian lover together, in their marital bed, too? My God! What did he do?"
"Nothing. He ran away!" the venom in Karen's interjection seemed to take even Karen unawares, as the harsh words left her lips.
The judge intervened. "ms Carter, that remark of yours was unkind and completely uncalled for! It seems to me that what Mr Carter did was both sensible and prudent. Or would you rather he did something utterly reprehensible, like assaulting you and his cheating wife?"
At this point ms Stringer jumped to her feet. "I object! She screamed out. "I consider your remark as homophobic and I shall report you to the State's Bar Association."
"Oh, put a damn sock in it, Stringer!" said the judge, irritably. "Homophobic, am I? You know, I very rarely tell my partner about the cases I try. But this one? This one I'll make an exception for. Me being accused of being homophobic? I'll have to mention that to my partner. I wonder what she'll make of that?"
The expression on ms Stringer's face was that of a deer after it had been struck by the car. "I... I'm sorry your honour. I withdraw my remark."
The judge nodded and gave a bleak smile. She returned her attention to Karen. "As for you, ms Carter, may I suggest you keep your rather intemperate remarks to yourself?"
She turned to Dee. "I am sorry about that, Mrs Hardidsty. Generally, I try to keep a tighter ship, than that."
"Thank you, your honour," replied Dee.
Dee returned her attention to Karen. "Well now, ms Carter. So Ken returns home from work, having attended some business meetings and finds you and his wife in bed together, in flagrante delicto, as the Latin term puts it. What business meetings had he been to?"
It was clear that Karen had expected to face questioning about the affair, so to be questioned about Ken's business meetings had thrown her, as Dee had hoped it would.
Karen cast her mind back. "They were a series of meetings with a new client who had just come on board with us. It's was Ken's job to identify their specific needs and to ensure that we would have the necessary resources at their disposal."
"So," said Dee, brightly, "quite a important job for him, then, yes?"
"I guess," replied Karen, a little warily.
"You guess. And I'll ask you for another guess. Approximately what is that contract worth to your company?"
"About $1M a year."
"Really?" said Dee, feigning surprise. "And yet according to the last six monthly performance reviews, Mr Austin was a sub-standard employee and was only kept on as a sort of charity case, in the memory of your late father. It's funny, but I don't know of anyone in the business community, anyone, who would risk a $1M contract on a loser and ne'er-do-well like your description of Ken Austin. Care to explain that?"
Karen looked sick. She shook her head.
"For the record," said Dee, "Mrs Carter shook he head in a negative manner, in response to my question."
"Is it possible, do you think, that the reason why you would allow Mr Austin to attend those meetings was because you were having sex with his wife, while you sent him to take your place at the business meetings? Never mind! You don't have to answer that question!
"And further, I have to point out to you ms Carter, that we have Mr Austin's copies of his monthly performance reviews going back throughout his employment with Carter Speciality Services, including those of the last six months of his employment.
"But I have a problem with your evidence." Dee paused for dramatic effect.
"The problem I have is that his copies do not match the copies you presented to the court. Why might that be, do you think?"
Karen's face had become pale.
"I had your copies examined by an expert in the forensic analysis of documents. He'll be willing to testify as a rebuttal witness that your so-called copies of Ken's monthly performance reviews are based on the original documents, but that these had been copied using a laser copier device and that shadows shown on the fields for written comments were caused by correction fluid having been used to cover up the original comments, which were then replaced with lies about Ken's work performance.
"I can have his evidence put to the court, but I must tell you that I have also informed the police and the FBI. They have a big drive against white collar crime at the moment. After all, it appears that you faked those monthly performance reviews in order to make it look like Ken was a poorly performing, sub-standard employee, for the purposes of this trial. But that's just conjecture on my part. You might have had other reasons for faking those records. Who knows? Let the FBI and the police figure that out."
The judge said: "Let me match up those two sets of papers, OK?"
The court bailiff collected them up and the judge examined them, carefully, for ten minutes. The atmosphere in the court room was electric.
Eventually the judge looked up, angrily, and said: "This is an utter disgrace! The documents presented by the defence are clearly forgeries, created, one must suppose, with the sole purposes of bamboozling this court into rendering a false judgement! When Mrs Hardisty filed for $20M. I had thought she was flying a kite. However, with the evidence that was building up, and with this latest development, the forged records, I can see that ms Hardisty's figure was not an exercise in futility or in kite flying but a fairly realistic ball park figure, if a little on the high side."
She picked up the monthly performance reviews that Karen had relied on to win the case and the judge said: "These are fakes! And pretty crude fakes, at that. The evidence shows that Karen Carter as the owner of Carter Speciality Services deliberately broke the contract of employment of Ken Austin. And then tried to cover this up by lying in court on oath.
"I am, therefore, dismissing these as evidence and accepting as valid evidence the monthly performance reviews that Mrs Hardisty has presented on behalf of her client, Ken Austin.
"I feel that I have enough evidence to reach my judgement, now. I find that Carter Speciality Services and its chief operating officer and owner, Karen Carter, deliberately broke the employment contract of Ken Austin. And that the contract being broken came about as a result of Ken Austin finding out about the lesbian affair between his wife and Karen Carter.
"Whilst I am not going to moralise about the affair, I feel that it is a pity when an employee cannot trust that their boss will not bed that employee's spouse or significant other and, in effect, take them away from them.
"It was also wrong from a legal point of view for Karen Carter to decide to terminate Ken Austin's contract of employment in the way she did. And, as a result, I am going to award Ken Austin damages of $7M for the breach of contract and any estimated losses that his continued employment would have accrued and I'll sign the necessary paperwork this afternoon. And do be aware that criminal proceedings might be started based on the discovery of the forged documents."
"No!" Screamed Karen loudly, surprising everyone in the courtroom. "No! I am not paying one penny to that damned man! That no-good cuckold? He can kiss my ass! And as for paying him anything? I'd rather close my company down. In fact, I will close it down, just as soon as I clear out of this court!"
"No! You! Won't!" Rapped out the judge. "If you think I am going to let you get away with that, you've got another thing coming! Bailiff! Stop her! Right, where was I? Oh, yes. You will not do that, because I am making your company over to Mr Austin, now, in its entirety, as compensation for your actions, valuing it at $7M. The paperwork will follow, today. And for your outrageous remarks, I will cite you for contempt of court. Bailiff! Deliver that woman, Karen Carter, to someone from the Sheriff's office. I am jailing her for contempt!"
Karen realised that, by her ill-placed imperious attitude she had totally screwed everything up and hat lost her father's company.
As the sheriff's deputy handcuffed her as she struggled, she shouted out: "Judy! Launch an appeal against the judgement and my jailing for contempt! At once!"
From somewhere, somehow, Judy Stringer esq developed a backbone. "I am sorry ms Carter. I am the attorney for Carter Speciality Services, and not your personal legal counsel. You are no longer the legal owner of the company. If you need legal representation you will need to contact your own personal legal counsel."