Thursday, February 25, 2010

How I go about losing a motion argument

I’ve had several cases in front of a judge that I believe he is a relative of the Honorable Governor William J. Le Petomane.

Now, he is a good judge (seriously!) but I don’t think I could script his courtroom demeanor any better: full recline on the bench, occasionally taking his robe off and the absent stare as he gets bored with the petty minions in front of him. [I can’t help but wonder if he has a defective paddleball back in his chambers.]

All 'Harrumphing' aside, this Judge was a key player in today's [un]stunning motion argument loss.

Three months ago
Judge: Counsel, I am inclined to grant the Motion to Transfer to (Far Away From Chicago) County.
Me: Your honor, I would respectfully request that you grant us time to conduct discovery.
Judge: Whatever.
The initial motion argument did not go as expected. I expected to win. But clearly the judge had other ideas. After kibitzing with the bosses, I soon realized that this really didn’t matter all that much. Once that realization arrived, all pressure was off of my shoulders.

Six weeks ago
Judge: I’m still inclined to grant the Motion to Transfer.
Me: Judge, one of the Defendant’s hasn’t complied with the outstanding discovery, if we could get a little more time.
Judge: Of course.
Now this was a motion we were objecting to in name only because our client thought it was a good idea. We didn’t really care if it got transferred. My line was simple: “We rest on our arguments set forth in our brief.”

Judge: Counsel (to the moving Defendant), I’m inclined to deny your motion and retain jurisdiction
I couldn’t believe my ears. This had the potential to be a victory stolen from the claws of apathy. Now, if only I wasn’t standing before the judge…maybe I’ll treat the judge like a T-Rex. Say nothing and do not move…

Even though my opposing counsel is a dumbass, the opposing counsel is not a total nincompoop. The back and forth with the judge continued. But yet, the judge held firm. Until opposing counsel cited the law at issue and the judge turned to me for answer.

At that very second, my jig was up.

Nothing out of my mouth could help me. I couldn't keep the "aww shucks, you caught me" smile off of my face. I could barely get the "We rest on our arguments" line out of my mouth without laughing.

My point here is simple: when you're beat, you might as well laugh about it.