Ever wonder what it would be like to take AOL to court? Erroll Trobee did just that in 1993 --and went back this summer when AOL didn't meet his expectations for their settlement!

Here's what happened in court on August 10, 1998....

Today was a scheduled hearing on a motion to compel more specific answers to the initial set of interrogatories. I had been notified by the Judge's case coordinator of the hearing back in June. She had listed the wrong attorney as opposing counsel, but I had sent her a letter correcting it. In the letter it was noted that mine was the 3rd case on the docket.

Court begins at 10 am and I arrived at 9 in order to file my answer to their interrogatories and request for production of evidence and because I have to catch a ferry to cross the lake and drive to Yellville. I got that filed and took my seat in court. Well, they called the entire criminal docket first. Not much interest for me, but I didn't want to miss my call. The other attorney was not present, and at the recess, I approached the judge and asked him about the case. He stated that he was not sure why the other attorney wasn't there, but would make a phone call. He went down stairs to the clerks office and then came out to find me. He told me he could not find his case coordinator and the clerk did not know if the other attorney was to make an appearance or not. He said he tried to call the attorney but he was in court in Baxter county, the neighboring county. I asked him if I should return at 1 and he said yes.

So I ate lunch, very good barbarque place in Yellville, and then drove to "The Wal-Mart," as it is known around here. I got back right at 1 and took my seat. The judge was signing some bench warrants from the morning session and a group of attorney's were standing around. I noticed AOL's local counsel had made an appearance. That would mean he got out of court and back to his office and then drove the 45 some odd miles to make it to this court by 1. He gave the appearance that he had almost been ordered to "get his butt over there," but nothing was mentioned.

The judge called several cases from the civil docket and finally turned to the attorney and asked him if he had talked to me. He said no, but he would. I approached the bench and handed him the answers I had filed in the morning. He apologized, profusely for not being there sooner, and then told the judge he had no idea what AOL was doing on the case. They were so far away and communication was very lax. I explained to him and the judge what was needed, a hearing on the motion to compel more specific answers, and a ruling on the motion to compel answers to the March 24, interrogatories.

The attorney again told the judge he had no idea, he was not aware of what was due and thought everything had been answered. He stated we would probably have to have a hearing the first item, but would contact AOL and try to get the answers to the march 24 interrogatories asap.

The judge told him he would grant him until Sept 4 to get everything answered and if it hadn't been, we would have a hearing via conference call on the 11th. We both thanked the judge and left. The attorney stopped me in the hall and asked if I could come to his office for a meeting on this matter and try to get it settled. I told him I would be happy to meet with him after he read my answers. He was very apologetic about not being in court sooner.

This is a bit much for me to accept at face value. His apologies were sincere and as though he had received some orders from the judge to get this thing taken care of. At least that is my impression from the proceedings.

I will now contact the attorney and set up an appointment for one friday soon.