When a gunman fired hundreds of rounds at festival attendees outside the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, every lawyer in the country knew negligence and lax security would be key elements of any class action lawsuit. With hundreds of state lawsuits pending, the owner of both the hotel and the festival venue has sued more than 1000 victims in federal court to avoid liability for the attack. And because the law is not about justice, they just might win.
Is there a ‘one size fits all’ process for developing a litigation strategy in a civil case? Probably not, but we can start one for our own cases by answering a few key questions at each step in a case. We outline those questions in this first of a three-part series on analyzing a civil case.
How many citations did the opposing lawyer include in that last filing? Did you study each one and look for conflicting case law to sway the judge back to your view? Or did you assume you couldn’t match the lawyer’s research skills and throw yourself on the mercy of the court? A new study says you shouldn’t be so intimidated by a lawyer’s citations. It turns out lawyers overlook relevant legal authorities all the time. And if you find the authorities they’ve missed, you can run away with your case.
In the bad old days before the Civil Rights Movement, racist White people felt perfectly fine harassing Black people directly, assured that police would support them if needed. I suppose it’s a sign of progress that they now prefer to call police to do their dirty work. But it has to stop. Lawsuits for intentional infliction of emotional distress could be used to make them stop.
When you represent yourself in court, there are many things to worry about the day before trial. But if you haven’t prepared for trial at this point, it’s probably too late. Here’s a strategy for planning the trial as soon as your case begins. It’s the best way to get a good night’s sleep on the eve of trial.
Your response is due in two days. How long will you stare at that blank page? Writer’s block hits pro se litigants more often than not. There’s anxiety about the case, intimidation from opposing lawyers and fear of presenting your argument at the hearing, all combined with the pressure of a deadline. It’s a wonder we ever get anything filed. Here’s a quick and dirty trick to get past writer’s block when you’re drafting a legal document without legal training.
The thing about social entrepreneurship — the for-profit kind — is that you either solve the problem you’ve chosen or you go out of business. There’s a certain urgency to finding a solution. So it’s exciting when a lawyer forms a tech startup committed to access to justice. You know it’s the real deal when that lawyer goes to court to see the experience of pro se litigants.
In today’s episode of Judges Gone Wild, imagine sitting on a jury and being informed by the judge that God has already decided the verdict. Worse yet, imagine being tortured with electric shock in open court during trial. May we have some order in the courts? No, not until appellate procedures become accessible to pro se litigants.
All of us at Courtroom5 enjoy our live chats with pro se litigants. They help us understand the kinds of questions regular people have about litigation. And they remind us why we do what we do. Long days get shorter when you’ve helped someone, especially at no cost to them.
We learn something new from each question. But we also make sure the members of Courtroom5 don’t have questions like these, because they’re able to answer their own questions on their own steam. Better yet, they’re able to do something with the answers. Isn’t it time you joined us?
What deadline did the court set in its order requiring the parties to complete discovery? When is your appellate brief or notice of appeal due when you’ve lost your case? Questions like these are answered by the clerk of court, not the judge. It’s rendition time.