Gary: Hi! This is Gary Burger of Burger Law, and I’m sitting with my friend Mandy Mauer. Mandy, how are you?
Mandy: I’m well. How are you?
Gary: Good. So, we wanted to do a little bit of a story about one of our cases. In April of 2016, the building where I worked at 500 N Broadway was struck by a vehicle in the early morning hours, and Mandy works for BEB Management, the management company, and did you guys have security tape of what happened?
Mandy: We did, we did.
Gary: And, what had happened was the vehicle was crashed. It was a police report. They found out that a woman named Denisha Ivory had rented the vehicle, but Denisha claimed when Mandy contacted her and when the police talked to her that the vehicle had been stolen from her house. And so, Mandy got the police report, and then, what did you do?
Mandy: I took their police report, and then I kind of compared what I’ve seen on my footage to her facts, and I just realized something was not adding up. The time that she reported the vehicle stolen did not match up with what we’ve had on our security footage, so I kind of didn’t have anywhere to go after that at the moment.
Gary: And, the footage had the time of the impact.
Gary: And we compared the time when she said the vehicle was missing, and what do you mean that didn’t add up, it couldn’t have been stolen and driven that quickly downtown?
Mandy: Correct, because she lived in, I believe, the north city vicinity, Florissant I think was where that was at, but it just didn’t add up.
Gary: Not enough time for car to be stolen, driven down here and crashed.
Gary: Right. So, what we did was we made a claim against her insurance company, and we ended up ultimately having to file a suit because she insisted she had no involvement with the crash. I went and took her deposition as well. And, what we also did was that sometimes we talk about Facebook and how you have to be careful with what you post. Can you tell us what you were able to do with looking a little bit on the Internet, looking on Facebook? What did you find out?
Mandy: Well, first of all, I guess when you did your deposition and you guys requested the phone records, now that was the biggest help for us, for me, for Facebook. So, we found out some folks’ names, and on Facebook I was able to pull up their profile and compare the pictures that were on Facebook to my surveillance footage.
Gary: And, we found the guy.
Mandy: We found the guy. The gentleman that did it was wearing the exact same shoes in the footage that we found on Facebook.
Gary: What were the shoes?
Mandy: They were purple black ones, like they were very distinct.
Gary: Very unique.
Mandy: Yeah, yeah.
Gary: And so, you had a picture on your security footage of, was he on the white T-shirt too and then these purple shoes?
Mandy: Right, and that’s the one thing that really stood out. Other than that, the description was very vague.
Gary: It’s similar hair, face?
Gary: And so, that has looked the same, but what I did is when I took Denisha’s deposition, she denied it. What she said was she left her car running, and initially it was to warm up, and it was August in St. Louis, and we know we don’t need to warm up cars in August in St. Louis, but she said she went to start the car, left it running, a rental car, went into the bathroom and had to use the bathroom for twenty minutes and the whole time she was on Facebook, she did not make any phone calls or did anything else, and then after the deposition we got the phone records. Here’s the phone records. You won’t be able to really see them, but I have them here. And so, what we found out with the phone records was amazing. Wasn’t it amazing?
Mandy: It really was.
Gary: And you did it, you did the work. So, we found out that right when there are no phone calls, but right when we say it happened, she has about twelve or thirteen texts and phone calls to a certain individual. The person’s on her cellphone friend too, which we found out, and it’s a friend or something very close. What was the person’s name?
Mandy: Charian Anderson.
Gary: Charian Anderson. Anderson did it. Then, she called him and she talked to Charian’s mother.
Gary: So, we got the cellphone records that showed that repeatedly, phone call after phone call, text, text, text, and then she called 911 and told that the car was missing, so we’re able to use her phone records and the Facebook to connect it up. Your own sleuthing, you were the high-powered detective who figured all this out. How did you do it? How did you figure all this out, put it together?
Mandy: Well, when we got the phone records, it was easy to kind of piece it together. I mean, he was on her friend list, and I just started piecing it together in the description. I mean, when I came across that picture and I compared it to the footage I had, I was like, “There we go.”
Gary: Right. And there was some challenge with insurance coverage because she didn’t get coverage with the rental car she had, but she had her own insurance coverage, and it wasn’t a personal injury case, it was a property damage case, and most folks have a pretty low limit for property damage. The typical limit is $10,000. So, what we did is we demanded the policy limits. They refused, refused, refused. They actually filed a summary judgment motion against us and say that they win automatically, we can’t go to court. We attached these phone records and the pictures from Facebook in the response for the summary judgment. We gave them one last chance to settle the case, and they finally folded. They paid us the policy limits, and we took the money which helped to pay for the property damage. I don’t think it paid for all of it.
Mandy: No. It’s short. I think we had in excess of almost $50,000, but it certainly helped.
Gary: Helped defray those costs. So, there you go. That’s a little less than about how you can use technology. Everybody can. We can really figure it out ourselves.
Gary: So, it was great. It was a good success. We were happy to get a good result. It was fun to have a client who did a lot of the great work in doing the investigation, putting things together with Facebook. That was good. The thing that I didn’t mention, I wrote a thing about it, “Summary Judgement Denied.” There is Judge Judy. This is the newsletter that we do. So, not only was there twelve calls before, but right after she called 911 she made about fifteen phone calls, and that was at about two in the morning in August. I think I may have said April at the beginning of the video. I was wrong, it was August. It always struck me as ironic. She was warming her car up in August in St. Louis, but we really were able to show that her “friend,” literally friend on Facebook, and that undercut her whole story. I asked her under sworn deposition testimony, and she denied that she had called anybody or texted anybody or used her friend for anything other than Facebook. It was a lie. We called her on it. We got a good recovery. How was your experience with my firm in Burger Law?
Mandy: It was wonderful. I mean, from start to finish, it was great to work with you all. We couldn’t have gotten the judgment that we did without your help. There’s no way we could have gotten the phone records in tying up the case because where I was standing with the footage that I had, it was very vague and it was just a cold case really until we pieced together with the phone records. I was able to use Facebook, and then we found the guy.
Gary: It was a fun, collaborative effort. We tried, we were stymied, we kept trying and we didn’t give up, and it was kind of like the Energizer Bunny.
Mandy: It really was, yeah. And then, when everything fell together, I mean, it was amazing.
Gary: It was amazing. You showed me the two pictures. Here’s the security camera, here’s the shoes, here’s the hair, they’re both in white T-shirts. Well, that looks like the same guy.
Mandy: Yeah, and actually the photo on Facebook was taken a month after the accident, so it was perfect timeframe, he was wearing the exact same shoes, and the similar, it all was relevant, and he got the same shirt on, the same facial hair, the same build, like that’s the guy, that’s the guy.
Gary: I forgot one other thing. The other ironic thing is the phone calls, right after and before she called 911. What was he doing on the security camera?
Mandy: He was on his phone.
Gary: Calling the person who denied that she knew it, very ironic. Well, thanks a lot for the opportunity. The other thing from us, we did a lot of work on it. This is the kind of case where the attorney’s fees weren’t that much, not that we didn’t make anything, but I mean this for us, it was a real question of justice, so I really feel that a long battle with an insurance company and a lying defendant but we were able to get justice.
Mandy: Oh absolutely.
Gary: The interesting thing is that’s the only way we got justice. I don’t know if you knew this but there’s no civil penalty for perjury, so if you people think, “Oh, if you lie under oath, you’re going to be criminally bound.” No. If you lie under oath in a civil case, Missouri has no law to give you any sanctions. So, other than a jury disagreeing her, there wasn’t any other recourse against them other than that, but we’re happy to get you in the company and get a good recovery.
Mandy: Right, and we appreciate it. We appreciate all the hard work.
Gary: Thank you very much.