Monday, October 31, 2011

When is a Scheduled Trial Not Scheduled.

   I attended the final Pre-Trial Conference in a major case only to leave with the Judge postponing the trial for 2 1/2 months.  Unknown to me, the Judge had scheduled personal leave and other matters during the scheduled trial time and was only willing to have a trial if we could commit to try the case in 1/2 the scheduled trial time.  The defense lawyer quickly hopped out of his chair to tell the judge that this was impossible.
   Following the hearing, I walked slowly back to my office to begin the work necessary to try the case at the rescheduled time.   This include clearing my calendar of the other matters that I had already scheduled, contacting the persons who had already agreed to testify to let them know of the change in plans, and, the hardest and most important part, letting the clients know.  Psychologically, the clients were looking forward to the closure that would come with their now-delayed day in court.  When the clients and witnesses asked how the Judge could have a schedule conflict for a case that was on his calendar, I had no good response.
   At least in this instance, I doubt whether the Judge considered the disruptive impact of his actions on the clients and witnesses.  Unfortunately, the Judge's actions are beyond our control.  At each step, you have to play your hand smartly, even in adversity.   See