Thursday, January 30, 2014

Petrosyan v. Prince Corp. (Cal. Ct. App. - Jan. 29, 2014)

Sometimes trial courts get upset with (and/or frustrated by) pro per litigants.  Often understandably.  Particularly when the case goes to trial.  Pro pers generally don't know procedure, don't know any evidence rules, and don't really understand motions in limine.  So it can be a hassle.

But it's nonetheless the price we pay for a judicial system in which people are entitled to represent themselves.

Sometimes trial courts get so frustrated that they go a bit overboard.  And when they do, they get reversed.

You can see why the trial court was nonplussed.  There had already been one mistrial due to the plaintiff's inability to understand the rules.  Now there's the potential for another.  The trial judge had better things to do.  So dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice.

Can't do that.  At least when, as here, the misconduct wasn't even particularly clear.

Dismissal's a harsh remedy.  Keep that in mind.  Even with litigants you'd strongly prefer disappear forever.