A new update on my legal case
For those new here, here’s a bit of background: Back in August of 2019, I filed a lawsuit against the State of Oregon [in Federal court] for multiple counts of civil rights violations against me — violations that have directly interfered with my childhood Lead-poisoning prevention advocacy work (impacting my ability to help families protect their children from exposure to Lead). If you have not yet read the full initial filing of my Civil Rights lawsuit – please click through to it via this link. It’s actually a pretty interesting and “entertaining” read (as far as legal paperwork goes), and you will likely find many of the details quite fascinating.
Here’s the first part of the GOOD NEWS!
Last month (February 2021) the State of Oregon sent me a first settlement offer in writing — they finally offered to compensate me for the random chaos and devastation they have caused in my life over the past 5 years! YES FIVE YEARS — including their surreal and traumatizing transgressions against me for illegally arresting me on false charges “based on an anonymous tip” that had been disproven (point-by-point, via an extensive and thorough IRS audit) at the time of my illegal arrest!
While the attacks on my advocacy work appear to have started in February or March of 2016, this false arrest occurred in November of 2017 (after nearly two years of other harassment that had preceded it – including an investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice and a full investigative audit by the IRS!)
The officers came into my kitchen to tell me they were there to arrest me, but would not tell me what alleged crimes they were arresting me for (when I asked them they would give me no specifics!) They came to arrest me while I was quietly home-schooling my disabled 9-year-old son (Charlie) at our kitchen table. Charlie watched in terrified confusion as I was led away (in tears) by two armed deputies wearing bulletproof vests.
I was then handcuffed and stuffed into an unmarked black SUV (they initially refused to put a seatbelt on me, but I insisted – even though my arms were cuffed behind my back)- like some kind of criminal on a TV cop show…I was then driven across the river to downtown Portland where I was photographed, fingerprinted, and booked, before being dumped into a “holding area” at the jail where I spent most of the day – before they would even give me any specifics of what alleged crime I was being accused of having committed!
Yeah…that really happened.
Baby steps – but steps in the right direction!
Fast forward to February 2021… The first offer presented by the attorneys representing the State of Oregon in my case was insanely low, but it was a first step in the right direction. Just by virtue of them making this offer – there is (implied and stated) acknowledgment that they must compensate me for the resultant expenses, economic losses and damages they have caused to me, my family and – most important – the trajectory of my advocacy work.
When this ordeal started (early 2016), I was “on the way up” (in terms of the impact and scope of my work) – effectively working on a national (and international) stage as a fairly “high-profile” advocate / activist, having just organized (in February of 2016) a widely-televised town hall event with Bernie Sanders in Flint, Michigan [which he later said was his favorite event of the campaign trail!], and having just (in early-April of 2016) appeared as the opening speaker for a very well-attended presentation by Erin Brockovich in Portland. I had also just announced that my film would be completed later that year.
At the time of my arrest (November 2017) I had also just appeared on CBS This Morning (for my discovery of Lead in fidget spinners) and was nearly done with my documentary film, having (earlier in November) secured a commitment from a well known distribution agent for documentary films (he handled the distribution agreements for Morgan Spurlock’s “SuperSize Me”).
These attacks happened at a high point in my advocacy career (what would have been a high point in the career of ANY environmental activist) and my goals with this legal action are:
- to be made whole (to be restored to where I was before the attacks started – which is really not possible, but it is a goal to strive for) AND
- to see some measure of justice served, “justice” levied in a form that will prevent (discourage?) the bad actors in this “story” from EVER doing this sort of thing again (to me or to any other activist or advocate – or to any citizen for that matter)
Here’s the SECOND part of the GOOD NEWS!
… MORE GOOD NEWS!
March 3, 2021 – Wednesday – just about one week ago, I signed on with a new attorney (one final attorney!) who will be helping me with the settlement process. He’s amazing and I am excited to have brought him on as a new member of my legal team. His primary focus over the next several months (March, April, May) will be to attempt to negotiate a (reasonable!) settlement with the State of Oregon (towards achieving whatever measure of Justice might be attainable.) He will also continue to represent me through the formal mediation process with the State (overseen by a judge), IF we are unable to reach a settlement agreement prior to moving ahead with formal mediation.
These negotiations are being put into motion NOW and it is possible that this situation could be fully resolved later this Spring (by May or by June), and (if that happens) I will finally be able to move on with my life, freed from the time-suck of dealing with this legal battle — including being free (having time available) to move on with all of my plans for Lead Safe Mama, LLC; to return all my attention to my work; and to return my attention to each of the projects already in progress (the book, the movie, the YouTube video series… and more)!
Here’s the request: I need one (final?) round of help to move forward.
While I signed the agreement with my new attorney on March 3rd, I am (sitting here on my couch with a broken leg) working overtime to pull together his retainer so he can really dig in to the case. I need to come up with $5,000, total. Towards this end I am asking folks to:
- HIRE ME (either now, for zoom consultations OR to pay now for future zoom or in-person home consultations) OR
- make a short term LOAN of funds to my business OR
- make a CONTRIBUTION of whatever you can afford in support of this chapter (what I expect will be the final chapter) of this ordeal.
So far, friends have prepaid for work (or chipped in via contributions) to make it possible for me to pay $1,250 towards this retainer. As of the moment of publishing this post, I have $3,750 left to raise to cover his retainer in full.
3/13/2021 – Saturday (3:00 p.m.) UPDATE: $4,175 has been paid to the attorney so far (so $825 left to go.) Thanks everyone!
To be clear: I am NOT asking for handouts – frankly, a handful of small short-term loans or pre-paid home consultation fees would cover this quickly — and (if it is in the form of loans) I will be able to pay people back either as soon as my family’s stimulus check lands, OR when the lawsuit settles (which could possibly be as soon as May or June of 2021!)
We are just finally getting our family back on our feet financially this year – and, as such, we still have absolutely no savings (because this legal battle and related impacts have cost us nearly $400,000 over the past 5 years – not taking into account lost income and other financial and non-financial damages) and this legal retainer is not something I can cover on my own.
Can you help?
Donations won’t be turned away, of course – but seriously – if 4 magical people could each loan me $1,000 towards this (or thereabouts), or perhaps alternatively pay in advance towards an in-person consultation with me ($1,050 for a 3-hour home visit) for later this year (I’m scheduling now for late-April / early-May, pending being able to walk again – and for October 2021), I would have it covered quickly.
Thank you for considering helping in this way. Best ways to send $ are:
- Venmo (@TamaraERubin) or
- Zelle (503-702-2708) or
- PayPal (TamaraRubin@mac.com) is 3rd choice!
I currently owe money to 22 people (including 6 attorneys who have helped on the case, attorneys who are patiently waiting to be paid out of the settlement) – so 16 friends + 6 attorneys. Everyone who has helped over the past five years will definitely be paid back when I receive the settlement funds (or before out of my income, as I earn it), but the settlement negotiations won’t move forward quickly without a retainer for the new attorney. Thank you for taking the time to read this post and to consider this request.