| | Balbrae's Manifestation Log
Saturday-Monday, October 08-10, 2011
Manifestation No. 3 - Case Deadline Run or Still Timely?
Attorneys can become quite stressed by deadlines, and I am no different. However, I am trying to become more relaxed about such things through visualization and manifestation techniques. I have one particular case in mind for my last manifestation story here.
The case is a million-dollar, wrongful-death case and I represent the Defendant. On Saturday, it occurred to me that the opposing counsel might try to argue (incorrectly) that the time to file summary-judgment motions had passed (even though it had not passed). If the Court bought into the other side's argument (which was entirely possible), it would have been a huge problem for me because I can probably win portions of the case--or the entire case--on summary judgment. Under such a scenario, there would be no need to go to trial because we would win by motion practice.
Anyhow, I could easily imagine the other side trying to make an argument that it was too late to file summary judgment motions, based on a perceived vagueness in a modified scheduling order. Here, the Plaintiff's lawyer would LOVE for the deadline to pass because they won't likely be filing summary judgment motions--only our side will. They want to sensationalize the case before a jury, and they don't want me to take it away from a jury by motion practice that could end the case. (A bit of history: this same attorney got an undeserved settlement out of a case in the distant past because the other side did not file a summary judgment motion; had the other side done so, the other side might have won--so the idea of blocking my summary judgment motion is probably a tempting thought to the other side in my case.)
During the drive to the Sacramento fish store on Saturday (see Manifestation No. 1 above), I was attacked by these nagging fears--that the opposing counsel would try to cut off my ability to file an MSJ. It really bugged me. So I simply put those thoughts out of my mind, and focused instead on the thought, "it will all be okay--I will get to have my say in motion practice before trial, one way or another...it will all work out." But my mind reeled in disbelief. Knowing that I would not rest until I had a strategy mapped out, I gave myself multiple options to pursue to protect my client. However, I wasn't 100% sure that the courts would back me up on such alternative plans to get judgment on paper, if the deadline to file summary judgment motions had run.
In the end, all I could force myself to do was simply to "trust" in my visualization that all would be manifested okay. I went with it, visualizing that good feeling I get when I write a summary judgment motion--telling the truth and crafting good, legal arguments. I focused on that happy feeling of motion practice, as if it already had occurred. I imagined myself feeling really good and satisfied at having spoken my truth in the brief, and that I was smiling from good results of the brief, as handed down by the court. After many miles of driving, I had peace of mind and faith.
Fast forward to today. I asked my secretary to call the other lawyer to see if she had signed the stipulation I sent on Friday. The stipulation asks for additional time to hold a mediation conference--to try to settle the case, after which time, the parties expressly agree to extend the deadline to file summary judgment motions. If she signs that document, then there can be no "blocking" attempt later on the issue. This is what concerned me--I thought she would simply sit on the document, not sign it, and hope more time elapsed to further her argument that it was too late to extend that deadline to file summary judgment motions. My back-up plan was to file a motion with the court to extend the deadline for summary judgment motions if she did not sign the stipulation or agreement today. But doing so would be a pitched battle I wished to avoid.
To my utter relief, my secretary told me: "she already signed it and sent it back, I just got the document right now." Wow! Very cool! This is a very important accomplishment in the life of this case. Things could have gotten very ugly, otherwise. Trust me on this point!
Last edited by Balbrae; 10-11-2011 at 04:49 AM.