November 22nd, 2011
One-third of the way toward resolving lawyer disputes.
Fed up with wrangling lawyers, U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell (M.D. Fla.) came up with a novel dispute resolution procedure: the game of “rock, paper, scissors.”
In what Judge Presnell called “the latest in a series of Gordian knots that the parties have been unable to untangle” without court assistance, the parties were unable to agree on a location for a deposition.
The judge directed the lawyers to convene at a neutral site, and if they couldn’t agree on even that much, to meet on the steps of the federal courthouse. He further instructed that:
Each lawyer shall be entitled to be accompanied by one paralegal who shall act as an attendant and witness. At that time and location, counsel shall engage in one (1) game of “rock, paper, scissors.” The winner of this engagement shall be entitled to select the location for the 30(b)(6) deposition ….
Actually, rock, paper, scissors resolutions are anything but novel. Although there are competing theories of the origin of the game, according to Wikipedia, the Chinese invented during the Ming dynasty, where warlords allegedly played a similar contest called shoushiling, which can be translated to “hand-command.” The warloads used the game to decide, among other things, where depositions would be held and whose head would get cut off.
So who won? It might not matter. Rumor has it the appeal will be decided by eeny, meeny, miny, moe.
— Avista Mgmt., Inc. v. Wausau Underwriters Ins. Co., Case No. 6:05-cv-1430-Orl-31JGG, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38526 (M.D. Fla., June 6, 2006).
This Monday smile is posted by kind permission of Professor Andrew J. McClurg, at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, University of Memphis. Professor McClurg publishes widely, and runs the excellent blog lawhaha.com.