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Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Small town paralegal in the city. Once ran a law office, now being run by one. Med mal defense litigation. I think it's growing on me.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Return of Rule Four

I've mentioned before that the two counties in which the Boss usually practices are vastly different from each other in terms of court procedures and judges. We have learned a lot over the past year regarding the way Mobile County courts run and how their judges make decisions. In one memorable "teachable moment," a Mobile County judge asked me, "Have you read Rule 4?" (That was the moment I told the Boss a judge was on the phone for him.)

Well, we recently received a judgement in our favor in Mobile that did not satisfy us one bit. Knowing that no Baldwin County judge would have ruled that way, the Boss asked me to call the judge's office to make sure we understood the reasoning behind the order. Since this was the Rule 4 Judge, I of course brushed up on my reading of that particular rule before calling. Since this was also the judge who answers his own phone, I braced for impact as I dialed the number.

By the time I called, I believed I had figured out exactly why we had received the unsatisfactory order. I was ready to speak to our Judge himself, but in a moment of good fortune, his assistant answered. I explained to her that, while I believed I knew the answer to our question, I needed clarification before bringing the answer to the Boss. However, the very order itself seemed to confuse her. From what she said, I could tell that she had been the one who drafted the order for the Judge to sign. Still, upon hearing my question, she told me she would ask the Judge and get back to me.

Flash forward two or three hours, and the phone rang. I did not hesitate in picking it up because I could tell from the number on caller ID that it was the Judge's Assistant. I was wrong. It was none other than the Rule 4 Judge himself. He, too, seemed quite confused about the order, which saved me from sounding like a blubbering fool this time. Of course, as we were speaking about legal things in regards to a particular case, he asked to speak to the Boss (who is the representative of the client, after all), and my hands were cleaned of the matter.

After their conversation, the Boss give me the rundown. It turns out, I had already discovered why we received the unsatisfactory order. Thanks to Rule 4. And I suppose, thanks to the Rule 4 Judge who intimidated me into reading through it once more before calling his office.

As for the Boss and me, now we know for sure.

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