Sunday, April 17, 2005

Cummings v. Future Nissan (Cal. Ct. App. - April 8, 2005)

Plenty of lawyers seem to think that whatever the other side does is -- by definition -- an occasion for the imposition of sanctions. And plenty of those cases end with the sanction-happy lawyer losing.

Which is precisely what happens in this case. By my count, the attorneys for plaintiff asked for sanctions five separate times. Not only were these sanction requests uniformly denied, but both the lower court and Court of Appeal found in favor of the defendant on the merits.

When you repeatedly ask for sanctions, never obtain them, and then lose on the merits, maybe you should reconsider your approach to lawyering. Objectivity is a value. Stop screaming. Start listening. Sometimes sanctions are appropriate. But when you read cases like this one, you get a keen sense that there are lots of lawyers out there who can't (or won't) differentiate between a bad argument and a frivolous one. Or even a frivolous argument and a winning one. To the detriment of their clients.

P.S. - Counsel for plaintiff in this appeal are Stephan Mandell and Martin Jennings, both McGeorge graduates.