Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Where have I been?

It has been almost two weeks since I last visited these pages, now often a part of my nighttime ritual.  You may well ask, where have you been?

I have been doing that rarest of rare things in family law, a jury trial.  Our trial was conducted In Fulton County Superior Court (http://www.allfamilylaw.com/CM/Custom/Fulton-County-Judges.asp) over three days: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday last week.  The jury came back with its verdict at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday night. 

It was a divorce case.  Twenty-six year marriage.  Three grown kids.  My client is a medical doctor.  Very nice guy.  The opposing party is an attorney.  She hasn't practiced since the second year of their marriage.  The significant issue was alimony.

Opposing Counsel wanted to play it up for the jury.  His case was full of drama complete with heroes and villains (my client was cast as the villain).  Opposing Counsel's problem is that he had no facts to back up his theme.  And his client, as I told the jury is a very nice lady, didn't have the best of stories nor the best of presentation.  So, Opposing Counsel had no facts and his client had no presentation.

The Opposing side wanted the jury to award them 3.2 million.  The jury awarded them less than one-sixth of that.  We were prepared to offer them more than what the jury eventually awarded had Opposing Counsel's demand not been so extreme.

What is the moral to the story?  If Opposing Counsel had ever taken the task of settlement seriously rather than be consumed by slaying the dragons of his imagination, he could have helped his client far more.  Opposing Counsel wanted so desperately to play the hero.  At the end of our tale, that was not the role he wound up playing.

Michael Manely

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