Hale yeah!

Update (July 22, 2014): If you ask people what the verb “hale” means, you will find very few people know the answer. In a previous post (below), I questioned (tongue-in-cheek) whether it is fair to have courts determine the constitutional limits of personal jurisdiction by inquiring whether a litigant has “a deliberate and substantial connection with Minnesota such that [the litigant] could reasonably anticipate being haled into court here.”

Who anticipates being haled anywhere? No one. Ever. Not these days.

By the way, a synonym for “hale” is “haul.” Who anticipates being physically dragged into court? Again, no one. Ever.

(And, for all of you non-lawyers who have read this far (yes, I mean you, Mom), note that “reasonableness” is a special word for lawyers. The opposite of “reasonably anticipating” is not “unreasonably anticipating” it or “not anticipating” it. The use of the word “reasonable” here changes the analysis from a subjective inquiry (“what did the party actually anticipate?”) to a normative inquiry (“what should a party actually anticipate?”).

And, the truth of it is that parties will always be in doubt in marginal cases. The truth of it is that what a party anticipates has nothing to do with it.

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Another Win for St. Jude Medical, Ed Fox, & His Team at Bassford Remele

Fox2 283x300 Another Win for St. Jude Medical, Ed Fox, & His Team at Bassford RemeleMess with a bull, you get the horns. Mess with a fox, and I suppose you get the teeth.

Minnesota Litigator has covered the St. Jude case against Biosense and Jose de Castro in several earlier posts (here and here, for instance). Not all the posts have been fawning and complimentary but one must give credit where it is due.

Congratulations for Ed Fox and his team from Bassford Remele on a recent win in this protracted dispute. ANOTHER WIN, that is. (Earlier run-ins with Fox & friends that did not work out well for their adversaries may be noted here and here.)

No lawyer should ever go to trial alone unless there is no choice.

6163218738 647389fe35 m No lawyer should ever go to trial alone unless there is no choice.I am a one-lawyer law firm and I have had four trials over the past four years. Fortunately, I have had co-counsel for all of them. (We didn’t win every trial but I have gone three for four including a $10,000,000 jury verdict.)

Only a fool goes into trial by choice without someone protecting his or her backside. Minnesota solo lawyers would be wise to team up with experienced trial co-counsel in those very rare events when civil cases do not settle before trial. If you’re headed to trial and you’re on your own, call me. We might be able to get the job done and there is no question that you and your client would be better served with back-up rather than going it alone.

What are the barriers to universal acceptance of this common sense advice?

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Another Eighth Circuit Cautionary Message About Closing Argument

Danger Land Mines 225x300 Another Eighth Circuit Cautionary Message About Closing Argument

Photo by Jonathan Rotondo-McCord

One of the most widely noted and discussed Eighth Circuit decision over the past year or so (among my odd constellation of friends, colleagues, and countrypeople) was the Gilster v. Primebank decision where the Eighth Circuit warned lawyers not to “depart from the path of legitimate argument” in closing argument at the risk of getting a favorable verdict thrown out. (Here is an earlier Minnesota Litigator post on the Gilster decision.)

The Court has recently again highlighted the message to civil litigators: the free rein given to lawyers in closing argument is not without its limits and you really want to do all you can to avoid exceeding those limits…

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The Bitter Truth Reflected In The Challenge of Finding a “Sugar Market Expert”?

SugarCubes2 150x150 The Bitter Truth Reflected In The Challenge of Finding a Sugar Market Expert?Update (July 16, 2014): When, over several months, you have “at least 7 experts” declining to take your case and an eighth expert unexpectedly quits three business days before your expert report deadline (and one week after you retained him), you might want to give some serious thought as to what this might reflect as to the merits of your case. Maybe it is just a run of very bad luck but maybe not?

U.S. Magistrate Judge Franklin L. Noel (D. Minn.) showed mercy on the defendant, U.S. Sugar. Undoubtedly the defendant can now breathe easier. But possibly the defendant has only bought more time (at significant cost) before a not terribly favorable ultimate outcome…

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