Thursday, December 27, 2007

The current State of the Law

I was in Denver last week on business. Here is the view of Denver's downtown 16th Street Pedestrian Mall from my hotel window. That's the D & F Tower in the center of the photograph.

I was there to appear for the government in an agency case brought in federal court. It is very contentious litigation.

Since I'm new to my division and have had a lot of litigation experience, I was put on this case, which is filled with nasty motions practice (sanctions motions, threats of rule 11 motions, discussions of sanctions, phony meet-and-confer phone calls about overblown issues that potentially could lead to sanctions, casually worded assurances of applying for and winning personal sanctions at the end of the case (so they can take your house), etc.). It's what American jurisrudence has come to. After some of the calls in this case, one of my wonderful and capable co-counsels, L, soothes my outrage with the admonition, "Zen, Peter, zen."

I liken lawyers talking to kids playing in a sandbox. When the sand starts flying, I always try to be the adult. Someone has to be.

My greeting to the case from opposing counsel, when I first made an appearance by participating in a phone conference, was to be called a "jerk." Really. Then she and I had a silly extended argument over whether she said I was a jerk or said I was acting like a jerk. I insist on the former but frankly, I don't see the difference. Maybe I'm not a good enough lawyer to grasp the nuance here.

After all, opposing counsel is always telling me that I don't know the law. And she professes to like me. She always starts off with, Now Peter, you know I like you. Then she adds something like, But when this case is over, I'm going to have to file a rule 11 against you personally.

This is gibberish (you can't file for personal Rule 11 sanctions on a case, only on a motion or a pleading) but I guess that's her way of making nice. Here's to you too.

But being in Denver allowed me to see my oldest sister, who lives there, and her two children. Here they are. A just finished a year-long trip around the world. Here's a link to his travel blog relating his journey. He is hoping to move to Canada where his fiancee lives. I think his planned move has much to do with his youthful and righteous disgust at the special-interests driven, stupid and bankrupt American health-care system. We talked a lot about our travesty of a "system," and the kinder and gentler Canadian system which provides world class health care for all, during my visit. P is an architectural student finishing her last year at the University of Oregon.


jeanne said...

our tax dollars hard at work!

i think you should inadvertently send that jerk, oops I mean opposing counsel an e-mail questioning her work ethic. heh.

glad you got time to spend with family. Canada is looking better and better.

Black Knight said...

If you need the help from an italian lawyer.....I am ready! If you need something more the Black Knight Army is ready to march against the jerks!

peter said...

As our great leader the Decider said so famously a few years back, Bring 'em on, Black Knight, bring 'em on!

Rainmaker said...

Instead of sending opposing counsel an e-mail questioning her work ethic, you could just sign her e-mail account up for some Viagra spam. Just sayin'...

David said...

rainmaker has a plan. I like it.

DawnB said...

Well Peter at least you had a nice visit with your sister!! Have a happy New year!!

Don said...

I like that you are acting the adult. Rainmaker's plan is cool too, but that would be stooping to her level I suppose. Tsk.

Careful about "bring 'em on" though - you remember what happened when the Great Decider said that :-)

Susan said...

Ah a fellow architect in the mix!

Legal stuff makes my head spin. So good for you for keeping some people straight!