Today I’ll answer a few “readers’ questions.”
Dear Judge Panter: I did everything you told me to do. I prepared for my mediation. I wrote a great pretrial memo. I discussed options with my client and set expectations. I got other eyes on the case before going in. I worked very hard with my mediator. I did everything I could but they still didn’t pay me what I wanted. What went wrong? --Desperately Seeking Settlement
In this business, you get two — and only two — choices. Settle or go to trial. If you ain’t settling, you’re going to trial. Well, at least closer to trial. Hopefully you learned something at the mediation and know what you need to do to get closer to what you want. Otherwise, readjust your expectations. An old, old man once said, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you’ll get what you need.” Amen.
It’s courageous people like you who keep our lawyers employed and our courts busy. Thank you for your determination! Stay strong and chive on!
Dear Judge Panter: Where do you get off asking if verdicts could be too high? Do you have rocks in your head? --Angry in Andersonville
Dear Judge Panter: How dare you imply there could be such a thing as a verdict that’s too low? Do you have something rattling around upstairs? --Pissed Off in Palatine
Dear AIA and POIP,
That has been suggested previously. I have an appointment with a geologist.
Dear Judge Panter: I spent all weekend preparing the ultimate opening statement. It was sensory. It had impact. It told a story. It was killer. As soon as we got there, our mediator went directly to caucus. No opening statements. I never got the chance to give my awesome PowerPoint-backed speech. How could he do that to me? --Never Got My Shot
Your buck. Your mediation. If you want something done, you gotta ask for it. If you don’t ask, don’t gripe.
Dear Judge Panter: I prepared my usual mediation memo, attaching all of the medical records, all of the bills and all of the pleadings and depositions. I don’t write any narration or summaries because I don’t want to prejudice the mediator. Also, it takes too much time. Defense lawyers don’t seem very impressed, and I’ve heard them complain about having to pay for the extra review time. What’s wrong with them? --People Don’t Understand Me
Pay no attention to those horrible defense attorneys. You may not settle many cases or get invited to many mediations, but we mediators still love you. Perhaps next time you could also attach random pages from Black’s Law Dictionary and the Congressional Record.
Dear Judge Panter: I came in with a demand of $4.5 million. Defendants offered $250,000. In an act of incredible good faith, I lowered my demand to $3.9 million, yet they only raised their offer to $300,000. Is this a joke? I moved $600,000, but they only moved $50,000. How lame was that? --Mathematically Inclined
Dude? Seriously? Do I have to spell it out? All you had to do to get a bigger offer was come in with a bigger demand. If you had demanded $9 million initially, I’m sure you’d at least have $600,000 by now! Sheesh.
Dear Judge Panter: You are hilarious! It was so funny that you suggested we keep working to settle because we were “on the 95-yard line!” Too funny! --Still Laughing My Butt Off
That was a good one. Only, um, please don’t ever tell my son I said that.