Cause of Action

January 06, 2018:

When Jessica Jones is hit with a lawsuit she knows just where to turn. The Law Offices of Nelson and Murdock get ready to tackle the matter of Dillard v. Jones.

The Law Offices of Nelson & Murdock

They know their law. And they know their cookies.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Pepper Potts, John Constantine

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

New York in a state of sheer paralysis following the 'bomb cyclone' — which sounds less like the freakish snowstorm it was than a metahuman terrorist attack that wouldn't be out of place in the Ti-State area in 2018. The snows may have stopped, but the city remains in the grips of a bone-deep chill. Meetings are canceled, sick days are taken, and what are normally the busiest sidewalks in the world are virtually desolate today save for whipping, icy winds.

Which makes for a quiet day in the humble offices of Nelson & Murdock, where the radiators struggle to fight off the outside cold with only modest success. The chill is strong enough that Matt Murdock may, for once, spend a day in office without taking off his suit jacket and rolling off his sleeves. The lawyer is in his office, at his desk, pouring over the mountains of braille paperwork recently sent over by the assistant to Pepper Potts — whom he thinks from their brief phone conversation just may have been an A.I. instead of an actual person.

"Hey, Fog," Matt says in a wry tone that's loud enough to carry across the foyer and into the open-door of his partner's office, "You realize that you're taking lead on this whole mess of an account, right?"

*

"What??" Foggy's voice sounds very far away, and a little echoey. It takes several more seconds before he appears, popping his head into Matt's office, his head capped under a classic trapper hat, complete with red flannel and ear flaps. He has wrist-warmers on after a failed attempt to type in gloves, and his scarf is still tied up around his throat. He at least looks cozy.

"Sorry, I was looking for something to eat." Beat pause. "You said something about a big mess?" He squints suspiciously.

*

Matt, of course, will probably get the memo that the Quiet is Over first, unless he's just not paying attention.

The matter of the temper of one Jessica Jones is often a misunderstood thing. Those who get that her anger is usually a flash in the pan and that her bark is worse than her bite may even feel a bit fondly disposed towards it, especially if they've never been on the receiving end. Her curse-laden rants are snarky but harmless, and the truth is the real emotion behind them is usually worry, fear, anxiety, or sadness, not true ire.

Those who don't get it, or her, at all tend to remember she can lob cars (not that she does unless it's a really special situation, because lobbing cars is an asshole thing to do) and tend to assume that because she is strong she is also violent, that she will surely break bones and crush heads if someone gets her riled enough, never understanding the fear that lives inside of her that causes her to hold herself back to the barest fraction of her powers 99% of the time. The truth is the barest fraction usually gets the job done, and she is a lot more horrified about the prospect of hurting people who don't deserve it, or who she cares about, than the latter set tends to give her credit for. The ones in that camp tend to assume she is a bubbling cauldron of rage at almost all times.

But of course, the ears that can easily hear her heartbeat the moment she KERTHUMPS into the alley behind the building from the rooftop across the street belong to a man who knows that a truly livid Jessica Jones is not that common an event. But she shows all the signs now; adrenaline skyrocketing, temperature peaking, heartbeat thundering so loud it surely has to be roaring in her ears.

But unenhanced ears will hear it soon enough. So impatient is she that she just gets to the middle of the lobby and leaps up the stairs, vaulting over the railing rather than bothering to take them. Usually she is lazy enough that she takes the elevator, but screw that today. The resulting Jess-sized THUNK all but reverberates as she starts her thunk-THUNK-thunk combat-booted stride down the hallway to the actual door whereupon she might gain entry into the Law Offices of Nelson and Murdock.

*

Stephanie stands at the filing cabinet. In slacks rather than a skirt, Steph's warmed by the thin insulted underlayer she's wearing so that all she needs is a stylish but FUZZY (and somewhat sparkly) pink scarf and matching, high-end, sleek weather gloves. Her hair is loose so it will keep her ears warm. Likely in response to Foggy's ear flips. Steph took the fuzzy ear muffs OFF two hours ago. She's got a braille to print translator card (she made one), which she's using to help try to get things organized. Her study of Foggy is interrupted by THUNK thunk THUNK thunk just outside.

Enhanced ears hear clearly Stephanie's own arenadline kick in, in the form of raised heart rate. But it's a controlled and steay sort of spike, a spike that evens out at a rate perfect for use in fight or flight.

Papers sat on the filing cabinet, Stephanie starts for the door on footfalls a touch quieter and a touch more careful than what is normal for her.

"Shall I…go see who that is…. Mr Mudock?" she asks. Her voice puts her four steps from the filing cabinet… and frightened. Frightened in a way that is at odds with the otherwise controlled footfalls and steady but accelerated heartrate. Her voice is a sound perfect from a spooked civilian. Her heartrate, not so much.

*

There are times where it's hard to fake seeing less than you do. Matt can 'make out' the fact that Foggy is wearing what must look like totally ridiculous earflaps with his impressionistic, 'world-on-fire' view of things, but can't so much as chortle. "The Stark account," Matt says instead, and affably, without missing a beat. "Or accounts, I guess. I think you should be point, and I'll be support. You were the initial point of contact, after all, and — "

Matt's lips twitch at their corners."— you seemed to get along pretty well with Ms. Potts, anyway."

But then his senses are being outright assaulted by the impending arrival of an uncharacteristically angry Jessica Jones. He holds together his surprise until the thumps and crashes grow so strong that the others in the office could pick up on them — and only then does he allow his eyebrows to inch up above the rims of his glasses. "Uh, no, Stephanie," Matt says at Stephanie's oh-so-meek question. "I think whoever that is can see themselves in just fine."

*

"Oh, that." Foggy straightens up, entering the room fully. He listens to Matt's affably explanation, but he does not have time to respond before the footfalls come thudding their way to the door. He tenses a moment, his mind flashing with all the possible explanations — some of them absolute nonsense.

He whips his head around toward Steph and then back to the door. He checks the calendar, and wryly notes with his tight, uncertain voice, "Too early for Girl Scout cookies…"

*

And in short order, Jessica does. See herself in, that is.

She's not angry at any of them. The detective, who never looks pulled together, looks even less pulled together than usual. Her grey scarf loose, her snow-dusted hair is even more of a tangle, thanks to the wind, than usual. Still, just being in the room with the three of them helps to calm her a little. Not much. But a little. She has a green messenger bag over her shoulder and she greets them thusly:

"Hey guys. Sorry, Foggy. I'd have brought cookies but they just would have frozen. In a way that would have been way past peak Thin Mint freezing. The snow has officially transitioned from bothersome to fucking ridiculous."

Unaware that she had Stephanie and Foggy thinking it was threat time. Just utterly oblivious to it. She tries to modulate her tone, but she can't help the seething fume that's snarling over every inch, even as she tries to give them all her amiable side. Emotional control isn't really her strong suit, nor is small talk, but she tries because she likes everyone in this room.

She isn't here to talk about snow, or cookies, though, a fact which she reveals seconds later. "Also. Help. I'm fucking being fucking sued."

And that has her ire spiking all over again. Of course, the sighted in the room get the other signs. Her relatively flat expression, upon entry, transforms into a tooth gritting, eye flashing thing; white spots appearing under her cheekbones as she explodes, "And you know what else? It's utter bullshit!"

*

Steph doesn't really stop moving forward when Matt tells her to. Nope. What he can't see…

Near the door, Steph stops only to start back a half step of a hop as Jess shoves her way in. Foggy's remark about cookies has her turning to look at him, then back to Jess then back to Foggy then Jess regains her full attention.

"What?" Stephanie squeaks ever so softly, moving now to push the door closed behind Jess.

"Are you sure? Who is it, do you know? Let me get you some coffee…" Stephanie rambles, before her brain catches UP to her and reminds her that maybe she shouldn't immediately sound like she's wanting to help… Or something… because how would this uptown Gotham girl even KNOW the rough and tumble Hell's Kitchen Jess Jones anyway? Steph glances at Foggy, then Matt, and then shuts her mouth and heads to the break room to get EVERYONE a fresh cup.

*

Matt pushes himself to a slow rise from his seat when Jessica Jones actually enters the office, brow creased in confusion while she apologizes for the lack of girl scout cookies before segueing into the heart of the matter. Some visible tension leaves his frame. Infuriating as this clearly is for Jessica, in the universe of things that she deals with regularly — deaths, dismemberments, mind-control, kidnapping and alternate universes — a lawsuit seems manageable. Is manageable, especially for him.

He puts up a staying, calming palm. "Yeah, I'll bet it is," he agrees, and he's not patronizing her. For all that he's had to spring Jessica Jones from jail at least once, she's mostly sensible in her dealings — and at core always well-intentioned. "Come on in Jess. Take a load off and tell us about it."

A beat, and then a wry: "I'd ask if you want some coffee, but I think our new law clerk is already on it." His brow creases ever so slightly as he tucks away for another time a question that very much wants to be asked.

*

"Oh, hey Jess." Beat pause. "And um… Thin Mints right out of the freezer is like the best crack ever. I'm pretty sure, in fact, the addictive chemical in Thin Mints reaches full potential in freezing temperatures." Foggy looks to Steph and gives her a reassuring smile. "It's okay, Stephanie… this is Jess. Jess only looks angry. She's actually really lovable deep, deep… deep… down inside. Though… you might already know that if you know anything about Jessica Jones." Foggy shoots Jess a grinning look before he relaxes fully into lawyer mode.

When Jess gets to the utter bullshit part, the Nelson half of Nelson and Murdock steps over to lean into Matt's desk. "Did you dent someone's car again?" He casts a glance toward Matt then even while he settles into a lean against the desk.

*

As usual, Matt Murdock has a way of taking the edge off the worst of Jessica's emotional storms. Today is no different. She takes a deep breath, responds to his calming palm, and goes about the business of removing her jacket. She is barely bundled, in contrast to deer stalker hats and scarves. She's wearing a navy blue scoop-necked long sleeved shirt with five decorative buttons on it. Shockingly the sleeves are made of delicate lace in the same color. This reveals her belt, where she wears a clipped object that has no discernable purpose, and rubber-stoppered vials of what look like water. The shirt makes it easy to see the panther tooth necklace she's never without, now joined by two more vials of red and white liquid on a leather cord. They look like lava lamps.

Matt might recognize the smell and feel of them, seems John Constantine has outfitted Jess with a couple more short-term invulnerability charms.

Oblivious to the fact that Steph is nervous about revealing they know each other— she knows a LOT of people for a lot of reasons, after all— she withdraws three folders, fully prepared. She walks one over to Matt, already translated into Braille. One to Foggy. And finally she lays one on Stephanie's desk. She grabs the chair she usually grabs during her times here and shoots Foggy an honest-to-god smirk. Matt takes the edge off with his calm control and firm grasp of the situation, Foggy takes it down another notch with his humor, and in the end what they get is someone whose head is a lot clearer. "Thanks Steph," she says, accepting the coffee and taking a long gulp before turning the chair around to straddle it.

"No, the cars of New York City are safe and why do you keep saying I did it? You were the one who proved it wasn't even my fault!"

But to business. The papers prove to be the service papers for the lawsuit. Foggy got the primary copy, but Jessica, angry as she was, still took them over to the translation service for Matt first. Stephanie gets the photocopy.

She tries to figure out the top-down way to say this, and leads in with: "City Councilwoman Mariah Dillard is suing me for stalking her." She decides to stop there, they'll know the important questions to ask and she can just answer them.

*

Coffee is brought to them all, without a comment about Jess calling her by such a familiar name. Her heart does give a nervous little thump for it, having calmed back to normal while she was getting the coffee. As she moves to deliver Matt's, the blonde sets it to his desk audibly before scraping it softly but again audibly on the desk top until it rests lightly on the side of his hand.

She noticed the first time she served him coffee that he floundered a bit to find it. Now? Stephanie makes sure that the coffee cup where IS it!?! dance doesn't happen. COllecting her own copy, Stephanie masks the second nervous leap her heart takes at the sight of the vials Jess is wearing.

.oO( Those things! Mini.. blood.. lava lamps… What did he call them? Pinches. Two of them. ) Stephanie's mind thinks to itself, brows pulling together in worry and concern. It woul dbe eady to assume it's because of what Jess is SAYING rather than what she is wearing. She looks up to Jess's face, but opts to make THAT question a mental note.. for later. Two of them! Her heart hasn't settled.

*

Matt's head dips a bit in thanks as Stephanie passes by, both for the coffee and the thoughtful effort to put it in a place where he can easily find it, and his lips twitch at their corners when Foggy makes his introduction of Jessica Jones to their new intern. But the brunt of his attention is reserved for Jessica herself. Safe to say he smells the weird shit Constantine gave her, and can even hazard a few guesses at the whys. None of the potential explanations are good ones.

As she explains what exactly has happened — and who authored it — Matt's bushy dark eyebrows pop up. "She's in Harlem, isn't she?" he asks. He's not much up on local politics, but Dillard's punches above her weight with the press and has established a powerful media profile. "What is she accusing you of? And just to be clear — this is a civil lawsuit, right? We're not dealing with a criminal complaint." First — and most important — thing's first.

*

"Yeah, but I still believe it was your fault. That's why I'm your lawyer." Foggy says this pointedly to Jess with his grin still in place, and he settles in with his folder. He doesn't actually believes that it's Jess's fault, but he's going to tease her… forever… or until one of them dies.

He flips open his folder and starts to look over the details of the suit, frowning slightly. "Stalking?" He looks at Jess. "Well… now… just to get this out of the way… is she someone you have been keeping tabs on lately? I mean, is it possible she could think you were stalking her?"

When Steph comes around with coffee, he happily takes his Princess Leia Resistance mug — you know the one, with Leia's awesome profile and 'A Woman's Place Is In The Resistance.' He glances toward Matt, and it clicks. "Oh right, Dillard… she's pretty fierce, too. What'd you do to make her pissed at you, Jones?"

*

"Yeah, just civil. I mean. I'm sure she's not taking criminal charges off the table," Jessica says grimly.

She curls her hands around her coffee and takes another sip, taking another deep breath. Stay calm, let the lawyers work. It's an attempt at the meditative breaths she employed during the trial, but the whole meditation thing is awfully hit and miss for her. Right now the dart flies pretty firmly into the 'miss' category.

They're fair questions, from both of her lawyers, and Jessica can't even respond to the gentle ribbing from Foggy Nelson.

"I was hired to investigate her for corruption. She is dirty as fuck by the way, just so we're all clear. But somehow I got made while I was snapping some photos. Not by her, by this other guy who reported to her, but she sure charged out to confront me about it. I was abiding by the law, by the way. She was standing in front of a construction site that some other company owns, but not in it, still technically on the sidewalk, though I guess you could make the argument by inches. I was not on anyone else's private property, I was in my car parked on a public street. I wasn't about to burn perfectly good put-her-away evidence being sloppy, you know?"

Her smirk is hard; her anger spikes again, but this time it only twitches over her face and leaps about in her heartbeat.

"You will love the part where she starts going on about how I'm a big scary meta so the very fact that she saw me means that I intended to cause her mental distress. She apparently needs therapy for life because I'm so scary. Very expensive therapy."

*

Stephanie hadn't needed the introduction, even if it was sweet for Foggy to have made it. She might have said something, but she had been promptly distracted by the necklaces Jess was wearing. So, as she passes by with his coffee, Steph leans in to looks like she's just whispering you're welcome but in reality she's whispering a 'Thank you, Mr. Nelson'. Stephanie has not forgotten her Bat-Manners! It's when Jess says that someone is corrupt that Steph's Bat-BadGuy-Radar pings and she looks over at Jess while sitting down in the other chair with her own coffee (in a cute My Little Pony coffee mug, black with Twilight Sparkle on it and words that read WE MUST SCIENCE THIS AT ONCE!). As the main lawyers talk, Steph quickly skims the details.

She wants to ask, so badly, what sort of dirt they have on the woman, but…. that's likely not relevent? She flicks her gaze to Matt for some direction here.

*

Oh, it's relevant, and Stephanie could no doubt tell it is from the way Matt's sightless eyes narrow and a crease forms between dark brows as soon as Jessica mentions the fact that she was investigating the councilwoman for corruption. He plants his palms flat on the table and lowers himself with slow, deliberate grace back into his seat as he mulls the matter. "That might explain why she went civil instead of criminal," Matt offers tentatively, thinking out loud. "A civil suit could intimidate you — force a quick settlement and get you to back off whatever it is that you were looking into. A criminal case has higher stakes for you — but it does for her too. A prosecution has a life of its own, and is more likely to go to trial — where there's discovery. If she's as dirty as you say, we could subpoena all kinds of things she wouldn't like to see light of day."

It can't be said he angles a look at Jessica — not technically. But his attention does rest squarely on her as he says, with a note of apology: "You can imagine what I'm going to ask next, I bet."

"What were you investigating her for? And who hired you?"

*

It takes a moment for Jessica to even think about why Matt would look apologetic about that question. Seems reasonable to her. It's the next one she would ask. Even when she considers reasons why he might apologize for that question her very matter-of-factness— indeed, the restoration of her tumultuous inner emotions back to something like an even keel— says there's no reason for it.

They're doing something about it now, so she's better. Talking to them is doing something, and everything they're asking in response is doing something. When Jess is doing she can deal.

So she answers without hesitation.

"An advocacy group. Representative they sent was named Andrew Warhol. They're called the Friends of Compassion. They do a lot of work protesting Guantanimo and shit, they did a lot to get privatized prisons outlawed here in New York, a lot of their stuff seems to be about humane treatment and justice, but they have gone after corrupt politicians before. I did my due diligence," when it comes to clients she always does, not that this always protects her. "Warhol checked out, group checked out. He seems like a real firebrand, he's from Harlem himself. He believed Dillard was getting a lot of her campaign money from drug and gun runners working throughout the city, as well as that she takes bribes."

*

Noting that it was relevant, and that she missed her chance to ask it, Stephanie turns her attention back to Jess and the file. Did Jess put that in there? Were there details in there? If she's as corrupt at Jess is saying then maybe she could find a night when patrol is light to do some digging of her own.

For now, information is key.

"Any of those groups, drug runners or gun runners, might have records that any pictures taken and run through the right database could link her in ways that's made her uncomfortable thinking about," Stephanie comments, voice sounding a bit older than she usually does. perhaps, it's just her thoughtufl voice and it hasn't been heard yet. Steph is thoughtful. The names are new. Gotham have a different crowd but the same problem.

*

The reason Matt intimated apology was because Jessica's work, like their own work, requires a duty of loyalty — and confidentiality — to clients. But they're past that point, and she seems to recognize it from the way she names them so forthrightly. "Wait, his name was Andy Warhol?" Matt says, tiny slivers of incredulity and amusement in his voice. "Like Campbell Soup paintings Andy Warhol?" Who knew blind guys followed art?

Amusement seems to fade quickly as a sudden thought strikes, plucking on a stray thread of memory. A watchdog group of the sort that disapproves of black sites, is how Phil Coulson had described an unnamed organization that had given an unexpected assist to a very dangerous and well-connected man. Coincidence, maybe.

Matt's jaw shifts to the left, shifts to the right. "Has Warhol or the group been in touch since the suit was filed?" he presses. "And what did you think you were about to catch Dillard on red-handed?"

*

"Maybe we should back her into a corner that makes her go criminal," Jessica says fiercely, "if it's that dangerous to her." This to both Matt and Stephanie's bits on the usefulness of criminal trials.

She's risked worse than jail to bring horrible people down, and she has the best damned lawyers in the city. It's a gamble she'd be willing to make, and nothing in her tone, face, or heartbeat suggests she's just shoving bravado out. Her faith is rock solid.

She stands up and starts pacing a little though, full of restless energy. Matt's questions about soup paintings draw a blank look. Nobody ever accused her of being cultured. Indeed she said, "I kept thinking he was named after the REM song, the one about the Man in the Moon."

Apparently a few pop culture fails there too, or she just didn't devote that much mental energy to keeping her Andy's straight.

"And no, they haven't," Jessica says grimly. "I didn't notify them though. Got served, made copies and translations, came to you guys, spoke to nobody else. But I mean he hasn't called or left voicemails either."

She makes another pacing tour of the office and then says, "Just the bribery bit. Clandestine meeting, envelope passed over. I mean I get that she could have been getting a love letter too, but the guy she was getting it from is tied to a real estate development group in the Kitchen called…"

She takes out her written case file. Stephanie will find that she only passed out the suit documents, but that's because (as she may learn later) Nelson and Murdock has full electronic access to every case file Alias Investigations opens, with only one exception that's a cold case anyway. The data on this case is already going to be at their fingertips.

"Vindicta, Ltd."

*

Steph flicks a glance at Matt. Blind man knows paintings. Okay. Weirder things, Steph. Weirder things. She looks back at Jess, not sure about offering more. Murdock didn't chide her 'interruption', but he didn't praise it either. Well, a lack of disapproval is tacit approval as far as the batling is concerned, so…

Blue-green eyes narrow faintly as Jess pulls out the stenopad. Her case information is likely on her computer. Out of politeness, Steph didn't hack that when she set up Jess security system. Well, she can swing by some night and ask…. or find a more legitmit way via this meeting?

Vindicta? Stepha wants so badly to look that up on her black phone, but she doesn't.

"Real Estate?" she vocalizes, turning to look at Matt again as she thinks through real estate people. AH! It's so frustrating not knowing enough about New York.

*

When Jessica takes Matt's random aside, his speculation about why Mariah may not have pursued criminal charges, and proceeds to RUN WITH IT, Matt Murdock closes his sightless eyes. You can see his jaw clench at its hinges. Oh, Jesus Christ. He summons up a smile, brief and close-lipped. "Let's exhaust some other possibilities before we purposefully get you thrown in jail, Jess," he says mildly, even if his thoughts are running anything but mild.

And what are those other possibilities? Matt leans back in his chair, folding his hands over his ribcage. "I think you should tell the Friends of Compassion, or whatever their name is, that this happened," he begins. "You owe it to them, since Mariah may go after them if she actually wants to press forward. You were their agent, and they have deeper pockets — no offense. And then, Foggy or I should go meet with Dillard's lawyer — feel out the prospects for a deal, and see if we can pick up anything else while we're at it."

A beat. "Hell's Kitchen development firm paying off a Harlem councilwoman?" he asks suddenly, speculatively. "Did you get a sense for what their angle is? What properties are they looking to develop, and how can Dillard help them?"

*

Foggy has been listening to the back and forth without comment, perhaps to give Matt some of the reins or because he's just a bit too cold to fully grasp exactly all the details. He cues in fast when Matt mentions him or Foggy going to meet with Dillard's lawyer, and Foggy grins. "Ooh, let me do it. I have a new tie I want to try out. I hear it's very intimidating."

The attempt to make connections just has Foggy taking some notes, though he looks a little speculative about the Kitchen to Harlem angle.

*

And because Matt is such a gentleman, Jessica misses the exasperation. She's focused on putting Dillard there, not herself, but at the very least…

His advice is accepted without comment. She wouldn't have the faith to risk it if she didn't trust it and thus, much like every other time he's given her legal advice, she simply follows it, much as she simply follows John on matters of magic.

"None taken," she says dryly, on the matter of her pockets, which let's face it, until quite recently had moths flying out of them every time she reached for cash. "I'll call them right after I leave here. Unless you want me to call them here. Or should you guys call them? I don't even know anymore."

The timbre of her tone indicates that despite feeling willing to do all manner of reckless nonsense to bring her latest enemy down, Jessica is feeling the stress. It's just that a great good deal of that is translating into aggression at the moment.

She does grin at Foggy and his Tie of Intimidation +5, though.

But when Matt asks the next question she nods. "I got an address list, and copies of all the permits they've applied for going back nine months. Which, incidentally, is almost exactly as long as they've been in existence. The firm formed on April 26, 2017. I haven't found the pattern yet though. Not all the properties are in Hell's Kitchen; though the vast majority are."

On this matter she is again prepared; she hasn't had time to type this up into the electronic file. She has three copies, one Braille-translated, ready again, and she passes them out as before. She did at least outline what types of properties they were, matched up all the permits in a neat list, but takes out three whole stack of permit copies separately; just in case there is information in the legal language that could help.

She also caught Stephanie's interest in her case file; so she simply passes the whole thing over to the Intern. She can always lean over the girl's shoulder and flip through it if she needs something else out of the paper file.

*

Paper file taken and the other folder set down, Stephanie again starts reading.

"No pattern, yet. There has to be one," Stephanie comments as she looks at the addresses, half hoping half not that they line up with somet of the addresses match up with what she recalls of her files on the drug and gun trafficking from Gotham she'd been tracking… which had her dressing up like a Gotham villian's child in order to infilitrate the gangs.

"If it's alright, I'll like a copy of this, to see if there's something more in this," she asks, eyes going back to matt for direction.

*

"Intimidate away," Matt tells Foggy when his partner offers to go toe to toe with Dillard's lawyer. It's a joke, yes, but not one at Foggy's expense to judge from the confidence Matt seems to have in his partner's abilities. "And I'll handle contact with your client, Jess, if you give me, ah, Mr. Warhol's contact information."

And then Matt is turning his red-lensed regard to Stephanie, who pipes up with an offer to analyze Vindicta's real estate acquisitions for patterns. It's an interesting proposal — one that wouldn't necessarily come to mind for a random law student. Perhaps it's her experience at the prosecutor's office. The smile that quirks the corners of his lips is appreciative. "Sure," he says. "Take a look and flag anything you catch for Foggy and I."

Finally, he turns back to the direction of Jessica Jones' voice. "Don't worry about this, Jess," he assures her in that quiet, assured tone of his. "We're going to take care of this, one way or another. Councilwoman Dillard won't know what hit her."

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