Sunday, April 15, 2007
Light blogging again
On Monday I'm starting another trial, this one a bench trial of a commercial fraud case. I'm trying to save a small group of related, family-owned businesses, one of which went under a few years ago due to changes in its marketplace (which was moving to a "just-in-time" framework with which it was ill-equipped to cope, based on commitments made in the old economy). Now the landlord of that failed company is seeking to hold all of the other companies accountable, even though the landlord never acquired cross-guarantees from the sister corporations or a personal guarantee from the owners themselves. A loss would also likely destroy not only these family businesses and their owners, but also several dozen good (stable and well above minimum-wage) service jobs now held by very dedicated but unskilled workers, and their customers would probably look offshore for new service vendors to replace my clients. So I'm highly motivated in defending this case.
It's remarkable how freely wealthy money managers and their lawyers lightly throw around allegations of "fraud" whenever they're disappointed in the outcome of a deal, even when their own bad planning and harsh conduct contributed to the deal going south and when their targets are emphatically not deep pockets. A multi-decade history of profitable, honorable, good-faith dealing can be thrown out the window in an instant. This makes my clients understandably bitter. It produces business for me, but it's unhappy, ugly business that I'd rather not have (except for the fact that my clients so badly need a good lawyer). Far from all "lawsuit abuse" is committed by personal injury lawyers. Bogus commercial cases also exact a hidden "tax" on the national economy — and one way or the other, it's the consumer and other bystanders, as well as small-business entrepreneurs (like my clients) and their employees, who ultimately pay that tariff.
But everything else notwithstanding, I still believe in the system, and I am cautiously optimistic that justice will be done even though we're the underdogs going in (in the sense that the other side has essentially unlimited resources to pursue its vendetta, and I'm necessarily on a shoestring budget).
Blogging in the next few days is likely to be light to non-existent as a consequence of this case. Wish me (and my clients) luck!
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Tracked on Apr 21, 2007 1:31:30 PM
(1) Stephen made the following comment | Apr 15, 2007 8:47:11 AM | Permalink
I'll wish you luck and hope you don't need it. How's that?
(2) Carol Herman made the following comment | Apr 15, 2007 2:24:23 PM | Permalink
Well,some people in Vegas, go in "light in the pockets." But as long as they're disciplined. And, stop throwing good money after bad bets, the exchange rate gives them a good vacation. (Learning experiences are on par with this, too.)
Only 3% of ALL civil cases EVER see the judge!
So, from your story, I can extrapolate that you kept your clients from giving into bullies. ANd, now? They actually have to convince jurors NOT to hurt your clients.
The DC jurors, unfortunately selected by Ted Wells, preferred their hate, to "doing the right thing."
But on the small scale? Where most of us, when we're forced to answer the summons to court, sit; I'd say most human beings are fair. They're not going in with an axe to grind.
ANd, the "big lawyers," who did this for "practice and routine," can also still lose.
Your holding back from making any concessions is a good sign TOWARDS VICTORY. Even when "chance" blows on your dice.
From here? It sounds like you've got a good case. And, the emotional facts won't destroy your clients. (Alas? Unless they're Jews. And, the prospects of a fair trial changes dramatically.) No Yarmulka's in the court room!
A long time ago, now, by the way, Thomas Paine wrote REASON. In it he describes ALL GOVERNMENTS AS EVIL. So the less, so, the better.
Unfortunately, with the kinds of congress-critters we get, we see that the lawyer's side of the arrangment keeps getting more and more expensive meters.
Hopefully, there's a downturn someplace. And, in the future LESS political judges! We need special competency LICENSES before they can be appointed! When I see encumbents names up on the ballot for re-election; I always choose NO.
In other words? We get monkey business as long as the fools fall under the radar. Nifong isn't the only legal animal out there, either. But he got caught! And, hopefully, we'll get better at catching these critters.
And, also get better expectations than affirmative action hires like AG Gonzales, getting presidential coverage.
Be nice, if someday, reputations count, again. And, a Clarence Darrow is not only remembered; he's remembered long after he's passed away. Jerks up on the supreme's? So far, not worth remembering these 2nd raters at all.
While you're motivated on this one case. You have no idea how the public is motivated, now.
(3) DRJ made the following comment | Apr 16, 2007 9:10:51 PM | Permalink
I definitely wish you luck. Your clients are already lucky because they have you.
This kind of case is the civil equivalent of representing an innocent defendant in a capital case, except the underdog clients don't have a right to counsel. Unfortunately, these days it's rare to find an attorney who will be as committed as you obviously are. Thank you for being a professional and not just a lawyer.
Good luck. Without knowing the facts, I am biased in your favor because I have defended a couple or three such cases myself. In Illinois, collection lawyers can name their contingency fee which can be 50% or more. So they become inventive with their theories of recovery.
(5) Carol Herman made the following comment | Apr 17, 2007 3:30:37 PM | Permalink
Yes. Good luck on the case.
But before you go off, here's something to think about, dealing with the Virginia Tech tragedy.
WHY DIDN'T ONE KID PULL THE FIRE ALARM?
Have we stopped teaching kids common sense? It goes with well-being. I think part of the problem stems from what became acceptable in education. SELFISHNESS RULES. You no longer have to think about others. So, people RUN. And, they don't pull FIRE ALARM BELLS, which is what's done to bring on the PROFESSIONALS.
Like in all walks of life; you've got to overcome the "hand-wringers" who've betrayed children in academia, now, for a very long time.
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