Long time bookseller Barbara Himes and Slightly Used Books in Iowa, one of the Bibliophilegroup family, has a bad problem and is in need of our help.
“Barbara rented premises in Grinnell, Iowa for her book business from a Mr. Runyon. On 20 December 2000, within a few months of moving in, the roof collapsed, putting an end to Barbara’s business in those premises and destroying most of her stock in the process. Barbara and her 3 children worked for a month removing many of the books which were boxed and undamaged from the wrecked building.. But many of these boxes were also destroyed by water in the temporary buildings she was forced to use because of inertia by her insurance company . . . who said they would do that for her, but never delivered. Barbara’s lawyer was “dealing” with insurance but apparently did not – many meetings but no action. The case dragged on and on without settlement – no movement and stinks of small-town conspiracy. Six years on recommended lawyer recommends inexperienced junior lawyer who is new to his office on a no win/no fee basis. The case dragged 7 years until just about out of time, when Barbara realised what was happening and got court date fixed. Barbara sued the landlord for punitive damage due to negligence. The building it appears should have been condemned as soon as it got above 2 feet high. It was built in 1967 but had collapsed in 1969. Reconstructed and Mr Runyon, the defendant, had bought it in 1972. His daughter-in-law had rented it and run a business from there in 1990s and the roof had collapsed also in that period, more than once. On Wednesday (3/7/07), Barbara’s case was thrown out – case law presented by Mr Runyon’s lawyer.. which, roughly, was based on the fact that Mr Runyon, the landlord, could not be held accountable for the collapse of his roof, he was not culpable, as there was no prior indications that the roof was about to collapse, and that it was “an act of god” [sic]. Barbara’s junior lawyer did not have any answers for the defendant’s lawyer.
In a attempt to both help Barbara Himes at Slightly Read Books over the immediate hump of needing some money as quickly as possible to take care of ‘very’ acute, current needs, and on a longer term basis for rebuilding her book business and life, here are some options:
1) Current, acute needs:
Send money orders, cashier’s checks or cash directly:
Slightly Read Books
126 Jackson Street
P.O. Box 240
Brooklyn, IA 52211
2) Longer-term needs:
Send a check with a notation that the funds are for Barbara Himes Fund made out to ABookCoOp for deposit in the account they have set up for Barbara.
BARBARA HIMES LEGAL FUND
Attn: Gerry Cain
1109 Spring Street, Suite 600
Silver Spring, MD 20910
3) Longer-term needs:
Make a PayPal payment, with a notation that the funds are for the Barbara Himes Fund, to Gwen Foss (Book Doctor) at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: Barbara has an appointment Tuesday (3/13/07) with a new lawyer experienced in such matters, who can hopefully tell her whether or not it is feasible going forward with either an appeal or a new trial, and also how to protect the donated assets and funds.