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Solo In Chicago

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm Not in the "Club" so my Case was Defaulted and More...

I finished up a very frustrating case this week that was quite eye-opening as it related to my client getting a fair shake before the court. I was representing an out-of-state Defendant in a courtroom that I don't frequent against a Plaintiff and Plaintiff's counsel that it seemed appeared in the courtroom regularly. Now look, I understand being friendly with the clerks and being comfortable in certain courtrooms, ect., ect. In the probate and domestic relations divisions of Cook County I'm very comfortable having practiced extensively in those divisions for 6+ years. Fine.

But when you're before the bench justice must be blind and I felt as if it was NOT for two reasons.

First, despite our client's having virtually zero contacts with Illinois, the Court denied our motion to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction. It felt like the Court wanted to let the Plaintiff bring the case here in its home forum despite the facts and the law. Second, the case is set for trial earlier this week at 930am. I have two cases at 930am so I check-in on this case and speak with Plaintiff's lawyer who tells me to take my time and go off to my other case. I come back at 1015am and the P's lawyer isn't around. Then I come back at 11ish and a default judgment had been entered. Whatever happened to holding a case for a lawyer that checked in? They didn't call the case the two times I was in the courtroom and opposing counsel wasn't.

So we can probably vacate, yada, yada, yada...but it leaves a very sour taste in my mouth about the ability of certain courts to be unbiased.

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