Monday, August 07, 2006

This Could Be Problem

I have a serious problem with crying mothers. Today, I had two that I represented on a limited scope basis (which I have talked about on prior occasions.) Both were mothers. Both had children who were at risk if they lost their housing. One of them, clearly a proud woman who would not have been in this situation but for circumstances she could not control, was on the verge of tears.

Fortunately, we ended up with a good pro tem for the settlement discussions. Normally, the pro tems that are assigned these cases are either landlord or tenant attorneys with more than a few years of experience. The problem with that is that they bring in serious baggage of their own into the negotations (not all, but there are some who definitely show their bias). The one we had today was an attorney with his own mediation practice who managed to come up with a creative settlement solution that addressed all of the problems and got the landlord accept a de minimiss payment plan.

However, even though I explained that I was only representing them in limited scoped (i.e. just for the settlement proceedings), he was volunteering me to try the case. Mind you, the case was set for trial today. The only information I would have had if things had gone sideways (and early on in the process they were going very sideways) was the bare word of the defendant and her daughter. Plus, her circumstances dictated the need for a complete and total victory, in order to get the rent down to such a low level, that I would have had to have been Denny Crane.

However, given the fact that the woman was crying, I was about ready to try anything if the negotiations had broken down. This will get me in trouble one of these days.

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