• September 22, 2014

William Blake Illustration of Dante’s Inferno

Happy Monday. For all you trial lawyers, judges, and, most of all, parties to civil litigation, this post’s for you.

The Italian poet, Dante, portrayed the gates of hell as having an inscription, the last line of which is the title of this post in Dante’s Italian. The most common translation into English is, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here…”

Unfortunately, there are far too many civil litigants who feel that such an inscription should be over U.S. courthouses, state and federal, and over lawyers’ office doors as well for good measure.

I expect we can count Plaintiff Chandramouli Vaidyanathan, who is gearing up for the third trial against Seagate Technologies among those who have lost almost all hope in our legal system.

When his unhappiness overflowed into an email to former business colleagues, the immense challenge that is his multi-year lawsuit got even worse, as hard as that might be to imagine…

After a second jury could not reach a decision and Vaidyanathan’s second trial was tossed out due to the hung jury, Mr. Vaidyanathan vented his frustration in an email.

The adversary, Seagate, obtained the email and brought a confidential motion (filed under seal) last month seeking to sanction Mr. Vaidyanathan with the most extreme sanction of the dismissal of his lawsuit.

Mr. Vaidyanathan’s memorandum of law in response to Seagate’s motion for sanctions was not filed under seal. I recommend reading the brief. Note the reference to Mr. Vaidyanathan’s literary references (at page 4 in the brief) in his email. We do not have access to the entire email to read but I think it is fair to say that Mr. V’s email was a cry from the heart that many civil litigants and at least some of their lawyers can probably sympathize with. (I am certain that some lawyers, on the other hand, failed Empathy 101, a prerequisite for Advanced Sympathy. This is what set some robots lawyers on a course for law school in the first place.)

Our systems is so expensive, so deeply flawed, and yet everyone seems quite convinced that it is one of the best, if not the best, civil justice systems on earth. It is an exquisite, if not excruciating, paradox that many agree that our civil justice system is deeply flawed but we cannot agree on any ways to fix it…

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