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Law Offices of Jonathan M. Cooper

How One Bad Decision by a NY Court Burned Me on a Personal Level

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All litigators lose on occasion. But some losses sting more than others.

Recently, I received a decision in a non-compete case that really burned me on a personal level. It wasn't simply a matter that (at least in my view) the Court got it wrong; quite frankly, that can happen, and while it is certainly disappointing, that is a fact of life that I accept.

No, this decision burned me for an entirely different reason: the short shrift it gave to the evidence and the legal arguments behind it revealed a remarkable lack of care. Lest you think this is merely sour grapes, consider: there were several motions made, and the court completely neglected to decide half of them. In fact, at a subsequent conference, the law secretary conceded that he thought the decision wasn't likely to hold up on appeal, but his docket was too full, and by simply dismissing a bunch of the claims, he was able to clear this case off of his docket.

I'm not suggesting that the Courts are obliged to love every case and litigant that comes before them. But I do think that the litigants are owed the courtesy and respect of having their claims heard in a fair, unbiased manner.

I've certainly heard my share of lawyer jokes. But I'm able to shrug it off because deep down, I am usually proud of what my profession stands for. And that's why this decision really burns me - not because we lost, but because I had to go back to my client ashamed that my profession would allow an important decision to be rendered in such a careless manner.

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