Update (May 31, 2017): We just learned today that, on May 26, the day of our most recent post on Rumble v. Fairview Health Services, et al., (below), the case settled on confidential terms. Plaintiff’s tenuous motion for a continuance of trial filed on 5/23 could not have been helpful leverage for Plaintiff in settlement discussions three days later…
Original Post (May 26, 2017): Minnesota Litigator has previously covered the case of Jakob Rumble v. Fairview Health Services, et al.. The case is hard-fought, has gotten national attention, and involves many lawyers who have been working it for two or three years.
Want to predict how U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Nelson (D. Minn.) will rule?
Predicting is a dicey business when it comes to U.S. civil litigation and, in our view, this highlights a serious flaw of our system. The idea of “the rule of law” and fundamental tenets of the concept of justice are transparency, clarity, and predictability. How can it be that legal professionals are so often reluctant to predict because they are so often wrong?
We will refrain from predicting how this skirmish will come out. This is the kind of decision that trial court judges make for which they are given extremely broad discretion. In short, the decision is entirely up to Judge Nelson and it is effectively unreviewable.
Having said that, if a long-scheduled trial involving this many parties, this many witnesses, and this many lawyers is postponed because one party — the party who brought the lawsuit — wants the trial (scheduled about five months earlier) postponed until he has a less intense class schedule, then it is difficult to fathom when litigants and lawyers can rely on any trial date set by the court.
And, as we have posted many times before, trial is theater. It is a production. It is a big deal. This lawsuit involves:
upwards of two dozen witnesses, many of whom are medical providers. Securing their availability for the June trial date … necessitated more than the typical rescheduling of family summer vacations and international travel, but also making alternative coverage arrangements to ensure there is no disruption to patient care.
While Mr. Rumble’s declaration in support of his motion for a continuance does portray circumstances that seem difficult and burdensome, it seems to us that Fairview should have the edge in this scheduling dispute. Trial is NEVER convenient, NEVER easy, and ALWAYS difficult to schedule.