Tuesday, December 01, 2009

When a Paralegal calls…

I have a standard non-standard personal injury case where the Plaintiff’s attorney seems to be committing malpractice a bit aloof. My client was sued and we promptly filed a counterclaim because, as far as we can tell, the Plaintiff was the responsible party…but police officers, eyewitnesses and documents evidencing this position are probably all lying.

There have been several court dates regarding case progress, all of which I have attended but none of which have been attended by the Plaintiff’s counsel. After each court appearance, I dutifully send the order with a cover letter to the opposing counsel and ask for him to contact me so that we may discuss the case. To date, this attorney and I have never spoken.

As much as I enjoy clogging the docket of the Cook County courts, sooner or later actions needs to occur. When we first began this case, we filed a counterclaim and here we are several months after, and the Plaintiff has not responded in any manner. In order to trigger a response, hopefully just a simple phone call, I filed a motion asking the court to compel a response or to deem the counterclaim admitted.

The Court hearing starts and the opposing counsel is a no show. [Big. Surprise.] The judge asked what I wanted and I figured that this is no time to undersell. I asked that my counterclaim be deemed admitted. The judge smiled at me and said no. She went a step better and entered a judgment in favor of my client. Game over. I win. Back to the office I go and send off a copy of the order to the other side hoping that the other attorney will finally reach out to me.

Time flies by and I hear nothing. Until today.

Paralegal: I’m calling regarding a deposition we have scheduled tomorrow.
Me: Ok?
Paralegal: In the Smith v. Jones case?
Me: Um…
Paralegal: We need to reschedule.
Me: …
Paralegal: Is that ok?
Me: You realize that the court entered a judgment in our favor.
Paralegal: I know. But what about the deposition?
The lesson that I am taking is this: If the opposing legal theory is “Sue the Victim!” nothing but trouble is coming.