Update (December 2, 2016): Shattuck-St. Mary was not able to strip me of my successful prediction below.
Update (November 23, 2016): It is no surprise that requests to file motions for reconsideration (perhaps more accurately called, “You’re Doing it All Wrong, Boss” Motions) face long odds. We’ll see if Shattuck-St. Mary is able to strip me of my successful prediction below…
Original Post (November 7, 2016) (under headline, “More on Trial As Theater (A Follow-Up Post”): Another successful prediction for Minnesota Litigator: Last month, I noted that the Shattuck-St. Mary School opposed the three plaintiffs’ motion to consolidate their three cases against the school into a single trial. I predicted that the school’s opposition would fail to persuade U.S. District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery (D. Minn.).
This past week, Judge Montgomery ruled:
In sum, consolidation is appropriate. The common questions of law and fact that exist between the three Plaintiffs warrant consolidating the cases for trial. The judicial resources preserved and the convenience of the witnesses strongly favor consolidation. The Court will be vigilant to prohibit any evidentiary spillover and jury confusion, and will instruct the jury at appropriate times to prevent Shattuck from being unfairly prejudiced.
I do not celebrate the school’s loss on this motion with unchecked glee.
Although it will offend some when I say it, I think schools and other institutions where such wrong-doing occurs may have some claim on the status of victim themselves. Presumably plaintiffs’ counsel will attempt to demonize the school in this case as callous, indifferent, or worse, complicit in the former teacher’s wrongdoing. Maybe the evidence can justify such labels. On the other hand, malevolent people can be ingenious at evading detection and, on one point raised by Shattuck, I think we can agree: The school will likely look worse and more culpable with the three plaintiffs’ consolidated cases than it would look if the school had a separate jury for each plaintiff’s claim.