Monday, March 03, 2008

Land Of Confusion

Let's see. I have a case set for trial on Friday.

It's another Unlawful Detainer case. I like them. They move fast. Not much time for screwing around, like some of the other cases I have.

Unlike many other UD cases, this one has nothing to do with money. Its a nuisance case, meaning that the landlord is alleging that my client is doing something that is interfering with the use and enjoyment of the property. My client denies for a number of reasons, none of which are relevant to what I am going to talk about now.

The Landlord's attorney, let's call him Mel, has a reputation, and not the kind that you want. When this all starts, not that long ago, I figured the problems being complained of are not something that should go to trial. The reason is not that I think its an automatic loser for my client, but because really this case never should have been filed if the people involved had sat down and acted like grownups.

And yet, I am getting paid on this one, so I should be thankful that the Landlord and Mel do not want to act like adults.

Anywho, after finally getting through to Mel, he says words to the effect of "Sure... we can work something out, let me take this back to my client". And so, I wait.

And wait. Until his client contacts my client. This annoys and angers my client who does not want to talk to the person who has drug them into court. And then Mel contacts me. And gives me a deadline of the next day to get back to him.

So I did. Only there was a slight snag with this. He has taken off for a long weekend and his office will not be open for a number of days. So I leave a message on his voice mail. And then I fax over a letter stating that the proposal is acceptable to my client, we just need to work out the nuts and bolts of what the full plan will be.

The next day, he writes a letter. In it, he states "Since you have not responded at all, we are withdrawing our offer and will not longer negotiate with your client." So here I am, a wee bit confused. In one hand, I hold letter and fax confirmation. In the other, my trusty phone which recorded when I called him.

And then Mel sets the case for trial. Part of me is wondering if he is just doing this for the billings on the case.

So, the rest of the week passes. He does not return calls or the letter I sent over to him. And I am now starting the trial prep on the case.

And of course he calls. On Friday. Just before 4 p.m., when I am sorting out nonesense with the court and can not answer the phone. He leaves a message, stating that he believes my client has begun taking actions which would have settled the case... had he not withdrawn the offer. Of course, thats what I think Mel has said because if you listened to the voicemail message, you'da sworn he was drunk. The only thing that I am certain of, is that he will call me on Monday.

I check with my client, on the off chance that he has struck a deal and failed to inform me of it. (Happens more often than it should in UD cases) My client tells me that he has not.

So... I am a little confused at this point. He has made an counter to our initial offer. Then made it impossible to talk with him. And then claimed that we never called/contacted him by the deadline.

Based on what I am hearing from other attorneys, I am getting the feeling that this guy is trying to sandbag me. Fine. So I go out and start subpoening witnesses and calling the city housing inspectors to figure out how big to make the check to get them to court. And then this joker calls me after 5:15 p.m., wondering why I am not accepting his offer.

What offer??!??!?!?!

And, my client, as of their rescission of the last offer, just wants to push through to trial. Should I be playing the reasonable one in this situation? Trying to talk my client back from going to trial?

Did I mention that the other side has failed to answer any of the discovery propounded on them? Discovery that includes a whole slew of admissions? Admissions that could be deemed admitted?

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