Look, a law post! Apologies in advance, it’s a long one.
I signed a new PI client last week. Yay me! Her case is good, her injuries well-documented, and her medical bills large. It’s a pretty good catch for me.
The only catch in this catch is that the case is already in litigation. OK it’s more than that: it’s in litigation, she has a prior attorney, and both of them neglected the case to the point that it’s at risk of dismissal because the defendant has filed a motion for terminating sanctions.
For the uninitiated, that means dismissal as punishment for failing to prosecute your own lawsuit.
The substance of defendant’s entire motion is that my client has failed to respond to discovery. That was propounded in May. And which my client was ordered to respond to after a defense motion to compel in November (she also hasn’t paid the $700+ sanctions imposed, but that’s another story). Oops. However, DURING THIS WHOLE TIME SHE WAS REPRESENTED BY COUNSEL. Sure, she moved in July and forgot to give her attorney her new contact info for months, never called for a case status and didn’t respond to the discovery because she didn’t know it was required; but the attorney started sending her letters back in August saying he was dropping her case for non-contact, and then didn’t actually withdraw until late January. In the meantime, the attorney was getting meet & confer letters and was served with the motion to compel, neither of which he answered. The client had no idea this was happening until January.
She did the right thing by hiring a new attorney. She interviewed 3 attorneys before choosing me, because she felt I’d keep her in the loop (and I do. Constantly. I’ve called or emailed her at least 20 times since her first phone call to me). Our immediate plan? File my (late) opposition to the motion, get her complete discovery responses over to opposing counsel in time to review before the hearing, and ask him to remove it from calendar so we can move on to the merits of this case.
“Well, do whatever you think is right, but it doesn’t change anything.”
Doesn’t it though? Isn’t this WHOLE THING about discovery? What has changed in the 3 weeks since he filed the motion? And who clings to a request for dismissal over the first set of form interrogatories WHEN THE ANSWERS ARE ALREADY IN YOUR FILE? Asshole.
I’m also for winning a case on procedure, but that kind of uncooperative bullshit does not lead to me being a cooperative and pleasant opposing counsel. The Bitch is out. The dragon has been released. Bring it on.