One would think that if you have been practicing law 36 years you would not be fooled by what happens once you walk inside a Courtroom. Wrong! I just had an experience this week that proves that point.
Let me set the background: My client was involved in 2 auto accidents which occurred within about a month of each other on the same road and in the same county. The cases are now coming up for trial. We have already completed the depositions and discovery, and all the other preliminary things that are required to get the cases to trial.
However, the legal question is whether these cases have to be tried separately or if we can have one trial that combines both cases.
I want to have the cases heard together so that one jury can hear the extent of my client’s injuries. The defense wants these cases to be tried separately for strategic reasons.
If the cases are tried separately, then in the 1st trial the defense attorney will argue all the injuries to my client are from the 2nd accident. Then in the 2nd trial, the attorney will argue that all of my client’s injuries are from the 1st accident.
Thus there is a great likelihood of a miscarriage of justice in this case.
Therefore, we filed a Motion to Consolidate the 2 cases together. I found 2 cases in my legal research which are directly on point in our favor and allowed the consolidation of those 2 cases.
The defense made some argument and found a case that really wasn’t on point, but they were hanging their hat on that case.
So what I did, in writing my Brief, was I included both of the cases that were directly on point and very favorable to our position, in my Brief.
Pittsburgh Wrongful Death, Medical Malpractice, Slip & Fall, Car Accident and Criminal Defense Attorney Bernie Tully mailed the cases up to the Court about 10 days before the scheduled hearing. I even called the Prothonotary the day before to make sure that the Brief were there and I was told they were received and properly filed.
At this point I was feeling pretty good because the case law was absolutely in our favor. I assumed that the Court had a chance to review our Brief and the case law and was ready to make a decision.
Now in the law there is a term for whether the Court is hot or cold.
A Hot Court means that the Court has reviewed your Brief and the legal issue that it has to decide and done the research and is ready to rule on the matter. The Court is almost always hot at the Appellate level because basically they have reviewed all the cases that you submitted and are ready to decide it.
A Cold Court means that they have not looked at your Brief or the cases and first want to hear arguments on both sides, BEFORE they start to do the research.
Pittsburgh Wrongful Death, Medical Malpractice, Slip & Fall, Car Accident and Criminal Defense Attorney Bernie Tully assumed that since our Brief was sent up to the Court well in advance of the hearing, that the Judge reviewed it and was ready to decide the issue.
Stay tuned tomorrow.
Thanks for reading.
Bernie the Attorney