Recently in Trial Category

Blog #26 (How the Recent Spate of Court Closures Could Affect Your Trial; Ken Singleton)

May 16, 2012

In many of my court appearances over the last two years, particularly in the smaller outlying courthouses, I have heard judges lamenting about courts closing throughout Southern California and how it was affecting their calendars and courtrooms. They freely share with the lawyers who appear before them how cases more likely than not will never get to trial, and that the parties either need to settle or hire and pay a retired judge to decide the case. Although judges in my opinion have always aggressively tried to reduce their caseloads using whatever tricks worked for them, these particular complaints from the bench are very real.

I recently was involved in a case where I represented the defendant. The plaintiff, in order to get a trial, waived the jury. That greatly pleased both me and my client. But even then we still could not get a firm trial date with the trial to be held on consecutive days (the trial was scheduled for 10 court days). It was not the judge's fault; he actually was flexible, cooperative and apologetic. The problem was that because of other court closures in his district, he now had to devote a day and a half of his week to probate matters, and another half day to small claims court appeals.

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Blog #25 (The Practical Effects Arising From the Inability to Agree on a Joint Exhibit List; Bob Feller)

May 2, 2012

Probably not surprising to many of you, sometimes (although not as often as the non-lawyer readers may think) it is impossible for opposing attorneys to agree on anything when litigating a dispute. All this does is make a tough job harder and increase expenses for the clients. It also irritates the judge or arbitrator and is just plain embarrassing--not unlike when you are exposed to two siblings fighting.

It is really embarrassing when the subject of the dispute is the exhibit list, something that simply should not be the subject of dispute when there are so many other issues that are. When listing the documents intended to be used at trial or arbitration, the preferred and often ordered approach is for the parties to jointly identify for the judge or arbitrator all of the exhibits to be used in the form of a list. Many cases require the use of thousands of documents. If the lawyers cannot actually agree on a joint set of documents, what is typically done is the plaintiff's documents are listed first by number; ex. 1-1000, and the defendant's exhibits are listed next; 1001-2000, etc.

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