• December 8, 2011

Both sides’ briefs are incredibly uncivil, incredibly nasty,”  U.S. District Court Judge Patrick J. Schiltz (D. Minn.) said recently in Spectralytics v. Cordis Corp., a hotly contested patent infringement litigation that went to trial before him.

Stress is the consequence of the failure of an organism—human or other animal—to respond adequately to mental, emotional, or physical demands, whether actual or imagined.  When the person perceives a threat, their nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.

Litigation is stressful and it does not bring out the best in people.     

This is Minnesota Litigator’s explanation (falling short, of course, of justification) for the petty, rude, uncivil conduct that, from time to time, infiltrates even the mildest dispositions among litigants and their lawyers.

Perhaps publication of Judge Schiltz’s direct and stern condemnation can serve as a counter-weight or reminder to Minnesota litigators.   When pulses quicken and tempers flare, litigators who can keep their cool are, in fact, better advocates.

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