‘My entire future exploded’: A terrifying reality kicks in
WITHOUT legal backgrounds, or an understanding of how the system worked, the gravity of the piece of paper in their mailbox did not fully sink in for the eight parents.
But it was a clear indication of Mrs Brose's intentions.
Some went online, to delete their comments, but finding the pages removed from the internet, could do nothing else.
Others posted public apologies on their personal Facebook pages.
Mr Baluskas would later tell a court he tried to remove or ensure the removal of his statement from Change.Org after he received the concerns notice. Mrs Baluskas could not find the publication, so she was satisfied it had been removed.
Two months later, in June 2016, Mrs Brose filed a defamation lawsuit - against all eight - in the Southport District Court.
At the start of the case Mrs Brose was suing them for up to a total of $1.2 million in damages.
The online comments, so casually posted, were now exploding like grenades.
Ms Lawson received legal papers stating she was being sued for $150,000 three days after her 25-year marriage collapsed.
Unable to work, bed-ridden and wheelchair-bound, at the time, because of a back injury, she was terrified by the claim.
"My entire future exploded at that point,'' she later testified.
After an argument with her now ex-husband she "decided it was all too much" and she would "set my family free".
She carefully wrote notes to her family and texted her then-husband telling him where to find them.
"I said goodbye and I took all the (morphine) tablets," she told the court.
Her husband called an ambulance after receiving the text and she was rushed to hospital.
"The doctors said they had never seen anyone survive that amount of morphine," she said.
With no idea how she would pay Mrs Brose the $150,000, she pleaded with the principal's lawyers: "If your client had any compassion you'll release me."
Instead of granting her mercy she alleges Mrs Brose's lawyers tried to stop the sale of her home and demanded a copy of the contract.
Earlier in March 2016, Mrs Proudlock says the concerns notice from Mrs Brose's lawyers came at a bad time, with her aunt and her cousin both diagnosed with terminal cancer.
She spent the next three months visiting them in hospital and by May, both were dead.
"As I was focused on caring for my aunt and cousin at the time I received the concerns notice, my husband contacted James McConville and Associates by phone on my behalf," Mrs Proudlock told the court.
Mrs Proudlock told the court her husband phoned James McConville and Associates to speak with the solicitor about the concerns notice.
"I was laughed at and told to bring my chequebook to make this go away," Mrs Proudlock said her husband told her.
Mrs Brose later accepted in court that she had chosen the parents for legal action knowing they were all homeowners.
Mrs Baluskas claimed she and the other parents had "all been set up" so Mrs Brose could "benefit from us homeowners financially".
"She has brought these proceedings upon families who have previously confronted her, or made complaints about her in order to punish us for making complaints," Mrs Baluskas told a judge.
"Mrs Brose has cleverly planned, plotted and meticulously executed her plan for a landmark civil lawsuit for many years".
Nearly a year after launching her legal case, Mrs Brose reached an out-of-court settlement with Mr Martin on May 22, 2017.
He agreed to pay her $20,000. Ms Ervin, too, settled the case rather than going to trial, agreeing to pay Brose more than $90,000. The principal also settled with Karl Veasey, receiving $70,000.
Each of the settling defendants also agreed to pay Mrs Brose her costs, relating to their part of the proceedings.
The Baluskases, Ms Lawson, Mrs Proudlock and Mrs Arnold were now the remaining defendants
Mrs Arnold - who made a modest income as a lollipop lady - declared bankruptcy because of the lawsuit and would take no part in the trial.
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