Rock, Paper, Scissors Goes Legal

This really happened. I thought it was a hoax when my friend told me about it, but it's true. Go judge, go. I applaud you. Speaking from experience, too many lawyers waste time and their client's $$ quibbling over non-issues.

Judge orders a round of rock, paper, scissors to settle a dispute between attorneys.
By ADAM LIPTAK, New York Times

Fed up with the inability of two lawyers to agree on a trivial issue in an insurance lawsuit, a federal judge in Florida this week ordered them to "convene at a neutral site" and "engage in one (1) game of 'rock, paper, scissors'" to settle the matter.

Childish lawyers are commonplace, but the use of children's games to resolve litigation disputes is apparently a new development. The judge, Gregory Presnell of U.S. District Court in Orlando, wrote that his innovation was "a new form of alternative dispute resolution."

The proximate cause of Presnell's ruling on Tuesday was a motion saying the two lawyers in the case could not agree about where to conduct the deposition of a witness.

Presnell's order indicated that deciding such things was not part of the job description of a federal judge.

Still, wary that the lawyers would start a new battle over where to conduct the rock-paper-scissors showdown, he gave them a default location — the front steps of the federal courthouse in Tampa.

That will not be necessary, said David Pettinato, a lawyer for the plaintiff. He and his adversary have agreed to meet on June 30, Pettinato said, at "an undisclosed location."

Pettinato added that he has been wasting no time since the order came down and has been training with his daughters, who are 5 and 9. They have advised him to open with rock. Pettinato said he was inclined to agree "because my case is solid as a rock."

That would be an unusual opening for a lawyer, said Matti Leshem, the co-commissioner of the USA Rock Paper Scissors League, which he described as the governing body of the sport, whose headquarters are in Los Angeles.

"I guarantee you right now," Leshem said, "that both lawyers will open with paper.
Lawyers open with paper 67 percent of the time, because they deal with so much paper."

Leshem offered to officiate. "What I don't want," he said, "is some rogue element of rock-paper-scissors coming down from the bench. When the law takes rock-paper-scissors into its own hands, mayhem can occur."

The second lawyer in the case, D. Lee Craig, declined through a spokesman to preview his strategy. Judging from the spokesman's tone, Craig did not find the matter amusing.


Blogger Kala said...

fascinating story - and from the New York Times no less - hopefully this will save the court system some time and facilitate legal resolutions. Thanks for sharing.

11:48 PM


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