Reader shares frustration with court system

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, August 22, 2013

The legal system can be confusing for those of us without a law degree. It can also be expensive.

A reader, Tommy Peacock, recently shared his story with me and I think it is indicative of how the “little guy” can sometimes fall through the cracks, even when a court has previously ruled in their favor.

Peacock’s legal battles, he said, began more than 12 years ago when he sold about $150,000 worth of bean meal product to a company called Alabama Protein, a division of Blount Parish. That second company might sound familiar – the Blount portion of the company is Bill Blount, the man entangled in a financial controversy with former Gov. Don Siegelman, as well as other politicians.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Peacock said Blount gave him guarantee for full payment for the bean meal and then didn’t follow through.

“We took him to court and got a judgment,” Peacock said.

That judgment was for $250,000, but Peacock and his family haven’t seen that money owed them. Instead, they’ve racked up legal bills and lawyer fees during the last 10 years trying to recoup the loss.

“We’ve spent over $100,000 and countless hours,” Peacock noted, adding that, at this point he and his family “just want justice.”

Peacock said while Alabama Protein went under, the company’s assets were transferred to other “shell companies” to be moved around, and he’s never been able to receive what he and the original court judgment said he was owed.

A handful of judges and a new venue later, Peacock is still waiting for his “justice.”

While another local man who had dealings with Blount filed for bankruptcy and lost “everything he owned,” Peacock said he was young enough at the time to rebuild and move forward with his life.

Just last week Peacock and Blount were due in court for jury selection in an effort to end the legal battle, but the court proceedings have been postponed, again.

Alabama’s court system does many good things. Criminals are placed behind bars, victims of violent crimes find relief through rulings and we, as citizens, have a forum to seek our own justice. It seems wrong that corporations and savvy bankers can use the system, as Peacock alleges, against a victim.

“I was 40 something years old and I’m 60 now,” Peacock said. “I’d like to see this end fairly.”

Here’s hoping it does end fairly, by everyone’s standards.