Thursday, February 26, 2015, 12:56 PM
Posted by Administrator
It is super-great to have a lawyer with lots of energy except that you are paying $300+ per hour for him or her to expend that energy. How about a lazy lawyer? A lawyer who only does what is absolutely necessary...who let's things fall into place around him/her...who guesses the other side's next move (or lack of a move) and realizes that the move won't be worth paying attention to? It depends.

In addition to my (self-declared) records for shortest civil jury trial (trial started at 9:30am with a jury verdict before lunch) and shortest jury deliberation in a criminal case (I hadn't reached the water fountain and they were back with a verdict....unfortunately, it was a "guilty"), I believe I hold the record for least-time-spent-defending-wrongful-death-jury-trial. I was defending a local tire store (which had not exactly bothered to get liability insurance) in an old tire blew...van wrecked....driver died civil case.

The co-defendant was the tire manufacture. Really, (especially since lawyers rarely take cases where there is no insurance) my tire store client was made a defendant only because the plaintiff wanted to the case to be in Palm Beach County. There wasn't much evidence that the dead person had work done at my client's store but, as in real estate: location-location-location.

There was no way we were going to get out of the case before trial. The Plaintiff would have come up with some evidence of a relation between the dead guy and the tire store (the allegation in the Complaint was that they had patched the tire a few months before the accident). Once the trial began, though, it was my educated guess that the tire store wouldn't be mentioned unless I was at the trial....out of sigh=-out of mind. All the Plaintiff wanted out of the tire store was to have a Palm Beach County defendant and, the moment the trial started (in downtown West Palm Beach), they had that.

I went in for the start of the trial and told the judge, before jury selection began, that I'd see him again at the close of the Plaintiff's case. For the next few days, I stopped in from time-to-time and sat in back and watched the goings-on for a few minutes. I made sure that I was in the courtroom when the Plaintiff rested its case and (as the other lawyers began to recollect who I was) I walked up to the podium and said, more or less, exactly this:

"Judge, Steve Duhl here for Defendant _____________ Tire Store. I haven't been here much but I'm willing to bet that nobody has mentioned my client so I move for a directed verdict in its favor on the grounds that nothing regarding them has been proven." The judge granted my motion.

I found out later that the tire company (whose lawyer had promised me that they would certainly win---it was an old tire) lost millions.

My client was much less dissatisfied with the amount of my bill than they would have been had I done what I was probably supposed to do----------------sit in court.

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