The Moral of the Angry Plaintiff / La Moraleja del Demandante Enojado

A few weeks ago we won a trial defending a client. The case was a small matter; a fight between relatives about a few tools.  A month before the trial I met with the plaintiff during a court management conference.  I explained that I thought we should try to work this out.  I told him there was a lot more to a trial than simply arguing.  He was a decent guy, but too emotional.  I then explained to him that I didn’t think he understood what was going to happen.  I explained that he has to have proof and that he has to disclose certain things to us if we requested him to.  He grunted and mumbled something (and later called me a not nice name).  He was frustrated so I let it go.  I tried one more time to explain that he was almost certainly going to lose not because I’m a great lawyer but because he didn’t know what to do or how to prove his case.  Any competent trial lawyer would run him over… and that is precisely what happened.  I thought the whole thing was silly.  Relatives who could/should have worked this out by setting aside resentment and talking.  Instead, they spent way too much money on “principle.”  Maybe, had the plaintiff calmed down and listened or hired a lawyer, he would have stood a chance.

The moral:  Don’t fight in court unless you must.  If you must, hire a lawyer!

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Hace unas semanas ganamos un juicio defendiendo a un cliente. El caso era un asunto pequeño; una pelea entre familiares sobre unas pocas herramientas.  Un mes antes del juicio me reuní con el demandante durante una conferencia de administracion de la corte.  Le explique que pense que deberiamos tratar de resolver esto.  Le dije que habia mucho mas en un juicio que solamente discutir.  Era un tipo decente, pero muy emocional.  Entonces le explique que no creia que el entendiera lo que iba a pasar.  Le explique que tiene que tener pruebas y que nos tiene que revelar ciertas cosas si se lo pedimos.  El gruño y murmuro algo (y mas tarde me llamo un nombre no agradable).  Estaba frustrado, asi que lo deje pasar.  Trate una vez mas para explicarle que era casi seguro que va a perder, no porque soy un gran abogado pero porque el no sabia que hacer o como probar su caso.  Cualquier abogado litigante competente lo atropellaria... y eso es precisamente lo que paso.  Pense que todo era tonto.  Familiares que podrian/deberian haber resuelto esto dejando de lado el resentimiento y la conversacion.  En cambio, gastaron mucho dinero en "principio".  Tal vez, si el demandante se calmara y escuchara o contratara a un abogado, habria tenido una oportunidad.

La moraleja: no pelees en la corte a menos que debas.  Si es necesario, contrata a un abogado!

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