Don’t Take It Personally. I’m Only Suing You.

Table of Contents



Nothing PersonalBack to Top




It is somewhat notorious that legal disputes are corrosive of human relationships. It’s almost oxymoronic to ask a human being to take being sued impersonally. Law suits shake us up.


But the paradoxical thing about corporations is that although they, too, are persons, they belong to a sub-group called “legal persons”.


Legal persons, especially in the form of corporations, generally have a separate existence from physical persons. While legal persons may, for example, have real human beings who direct the activities of the separate legal entity, the existence of each species of person (physical and legal) is separate and distinct.


A corollary of that principle of separation is that, in general, unless the corporate veil is lifted, the human directors of the legal person cannot be sued for the actions of the latter.


Much has been made about how physical persons, for the most part, have a conscience and a instinctive social reflex whereas legal persons are almost constitutionally, by their very nature, sociopathic. The overarching guiding motive of a legal person in corporate form is profit. And the naked and unbridled rational maximizer is constitutionally disinclined to take account of the more supple, flesh and blood concerns of its surrounding environment of physical persons…


…unless, of course, negative publicity starts to affect stock prices.


Then the legal person in corporate form is constitutionally (and legally) obliged to seek, on behalf of its shareholders, the most cost effective way to bring that negative publicity to an end.


Any personal dithering or personal agendas of the physical persons that direct the corporation are strictly verboten if they contribute to a plunge in stock prices – nothing personal, that’s the law.


Directors qua directors are constrained by law to act in the paramount best interest of the corporation. If the corporation is a publicly traded one, those best interests are constituted by its shareholders.  


The fact that corporations are not real human beings makes it so much easier for a physical person to sue them with a completely clean conscience.


A physical person doesn’t ever have to imagine saying to a legal person: “Don’t take it personally. I’m only suing you.”


It’s understood.


Legal persons cannot, constitutionally, take it personally.


And the legal person in corporate form is, in fractured and multiple ways, so minutely and painstakingly structured and assembled to fulfil its guiding principle of rational maximization by ironclad legal armour that fending off a legal suit seems to be a foundational aspiration of its design.


So: Don’t take it personally. I’m only suing you.


Settlement AgreementsBack to Top

Yes, though you may have vaguely thought you heard somewhere that everything was settled nicely between Rogers and Me, I still sued Rogers Wireless Inc.


On the very day that the story about Ted Rogers cell phone being cloned by a group linked with Hezbollah, I received a phone call on both my cell phone and my home phone from Ted Rogers. Not getting a hold of me, Mr. Rogers left a message on my home phone. In that message, Mr. Rogers zero’d the over $14,000 of wireless charges and late penalties that were on my phone and took personal responsibility, as well as corporate responsibility, for the behavior of his corporation which he found to be inexcusable. Then on January 24, 2006, Mr. Rogers sent me a cheque for $5,306.00, which I certified on February 10, 2006, four days after Mr. Rogers was scheduled to come to tea.


Didn’t this settle things between Rogers and Me?


No it did not.


Law BreakersBack to Top


Rogers has never sued me in court. My account with Rogers has always been in good standing. On the first invoice I received for those astronomical charges made on my stolen cell phone, I followed Rogers’ contract to the letter and paid off my undisputed charges and, month after month, disputed that I owed the astronomical amount. I never broke the law, so there was never a reason for Rogers to sue me.


On the other hand, I sued Rogers in court. Rogers did, in my estimation, break the law. I had a contract with Rogers Wireless Inc and Rogers fundamentally breached that contract:


Getting PersonalBack to Top


Several months before Mr. Rogers’ public and person apology on December 17, Roger Wireless Inc shut off my 12 year-old son’s cell phone just days before he was about to take the Toronto subway for the first time in his life.


In August of 2004, I had entered into a contract with Rogers Wireless for the sole purpose of getting a cell phone for my son, who I wanted to train to use the public transportation system.


I quickly realized that, at age 11, he was too young to take the very daunting Toronto Subway. Instead, we put the subway system aside for another year and throughout grade 6, he acquired the skills to take the bus on his own, as long as there was not a transfer. The cell phone was critical to firming up his confidence to manage the bus ride on his own. He knew he could get a hold of me immediately at the first whisper of anxiety or uncertainty and he would be taken care of.


By the end of grade 6, however, as he was about to turn 12 and after a year of practice, he had mastered taking the bus and streetcar system. I spent the week of August 29, 2005 training him to add the subway system to his set of travel skills.


During that last week of the summer, when I wasn’t dealing with Rogers Wireless Inc, my son and I took several dry runs together on the Toronto Subway to and from school on the route he would be taking. I showed him where the designated waiting area was. I showed him where the mid-train conductor was situated. I showed him what the subway police officers look like. I ensured that he knew where to go in the station if he had any uncertainty or anxiety…


…And I pressed his Rogers-serviced cell phone into his hand and told him that, if ever he had a concern or a question, he should call me immediately on the phone and I would be there for him.


And then, on Friday September 2, just days before school resumed, without telling me they had done so, Rogers shut my son’s cell phone off because I wasn’t making a “promise to pay” over $14,000 on my stolen cell phone. I found out wireless services had been unilaterally suspended on his cell phone when I was (I thought neurotically) checking my son’s cell phone to ensure that it was in working order for his big journey and discovered that it was dead.


On September 3, 2006 I began sending a flurry of letters to Rogers’ Customer Complaints Department, then Roger’ Legal Department, and then the legal clerk assigned to my case asking why on earth Rogers had seen fit to shut my 12 year old son’s cell phone off just days before he rode the subway alone for the first time in his life – and a full 8 days before my invoice was even due. My son’s cell phone, afterall, had never been lost or stolen.


I got nowhere with this daily, sometimes twice daily, cavalcade of inquiries.


So on September 14, 2005, I bought my son a new cell phone with one of Rogers’ competitors and hand-delivered a notice to the legal clerk to the effect that Rogers’ unilateral suspension of wireless services to my son’s cell phone caused me to have to mitigate my losses by switching wireless providers.


On September 19, 2005, I sued Rogers in Small Claims Court for that fundamental breach of contract and the damages the flowed therefrom.


Ask any mother: You don’t mess with her kids.


If you do, then it gets personal.