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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ind. Decisions - Judge Posner remarks today on "a general issue of federal practice that this case illustrates"

Long-time ILB supporter, attorney Bill Groth, points to this quote from the end of Judge Posner's dissent today in a case out of Illinois, Reserve Hotels PTY Limited v. Theodore Mavrakis

I want in closing to remark a general issue of federal practice that this case illustrates. Recall that the district judge’s main reason (mysteriously ignored in the majority opinion) for dismissing Balagiannis’s suit was his fourmonth delay in filing the second letter. The second letter is crucial to his case. I find myself increasingly uncomfortable with basing dismissals with prejudice on harmless procedural bobbles. The only argument in favor of such summary justice that I can imagine is that by punishing parties for their lawyers’ mistake we improve the quality of the bar; the lawyers who disserve their clients attract fewer new clients and eventually perhaps are forced to leave the practice—an example of the positive effect of competition on the quality of goods and services that a market provides. But while this is plausible in theory, I have to say that in more than 33 years as a federal court of appeals judge I have not noted any improvement in the average quality of the lawyers who appear before us. I find it difficult to believe that punishing Balagiannis and his lawyer by in effect a “fine” of $925,000 will promote the quality of legal representation in the courts of this circuit.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 23, 2015 02:08 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions