• Gisla Bush

Giants in my Land

One of my friends from architectural school wanted my brother and me to handle a case for him. This case involved a project commissioned by a wealthy real estate developer responsible for many of the landmarks on the Miami Skyline. This real estate guru hired my friend to do the architectural work for one of the historical sites on Ocean Drive in South Beach.

The developer was not a gentle giant but one who flexed power like Goliath. Unilaterally, he decided to hire another architect to replace my client in breach of their agreement. He proceeded with the project without compensating or giving my client credit for his design. We then sued the developer and his new architectural firm for copyright infringement. What I thought would be a slam dunk case turned out to be the fight of my life that lasted over four years. Initially, we were not aware of the power and wealth of our opponent, but soon found out that we were facing an arrogant, ruthless, and fearless giant.

The men in Israel knew Goliath was a force not to be “messed” with. Even the great warrior, King Saul, was terrified of Goliath. Oh but David, the least of them, looked at him through a different lens. For when David became aware of who had the people shaking in their boots, he did not cower because of the great stature of Goliath nor did he consider his youth. Rather, David suited up in the whole armor of God— the only armor that he knew would work every time.

Unlike David, I was petrified and wanted to defect like David’s brothers did. My brother was not as afraid as I was. His strength helped me to stay on the ship. The opposition was smug and did not let us forget that we were as grasshoppers in their sight as they jeered, mocked and insulted us. They wanted us to bow down, but we stood up. As a result, the case went to trial.

I thoroughly prepared the case for trial. Just prior to the day of trial, my brother informed me I would be the lead attorney and that he would be responsible for the opening and closing. My heart nearly jumped out of my chest. I had only mock trial experience in law school, but now I was in federal court up against the “big boys”. With every fiber of my being, I tried to convince my brother to take the lead but he said that my architectural background made me the better one to try the case. I think my big brother was pulling rank! What was I to do? It was too late to “get out of Dodge”, though the option to quit was available.

That unforgettable Monday morning, as my brother and I entered the halls of the courthouse, the opposition served us with a motion to dismiss together with an offer to settle the case for peanuts. I would have gladly taken the offer but thank God it was the client’s decision. The trepidation mounted as I proceeded to the courtroom. We successfully defended the motion. ONE GIANT DOWN. As Goliath hammered us again with more motions, our client grew weary as he contemplated settling. We talked it through until the client agreed to walk by faith. ANOTHER GIANT DOWN. Then, the opposing attorney objected to having our most critical document entered into evidence. I had failed to lay a proper foundation after several attempts. When the judge spoke, “Counselor, do you want to rephrase the question?” I was at my wits end as to what he was hinting at. I prayed and rephrased. The judge replied, “Objection overruled.” GIANT NUMBER THREE DOWN. At the end of the fourth day of trial, the jury found in favor of my client. Goliath had underestimated us. Instead of accepting defeat graciously, they appealed but were silenced by the final blow when the higher court ruled against them. God truly takes the weak things to shame the strong, if you let him.

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