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Judge Grants Motion to Compel Acceptance of Lunch Invitation; No Appeal of Bill Expected

Gaines To those who think humor doesn't see the light of day in a courthouse, we offer this link (PDF, 12KB) to a recent order of the Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County in which Judge Pendleton Gaines granted the motion of plaintiff's counsel to compel defendant's counsel to accept a lunch invitation. Apparently, defendant's counsel initially demurred (even though his adversary offered to pick up the tab) on the ground that the invitation was a subterfuge intended to dissuade him from the merits of his client's case.

Judge Gaines would have none it, expressing his confidence in "defendant’s counsel’s ability to withstand Plaintiff’s counsel’s blandishments and to respond sally for sally and barb for barb." To bring matters to a head, Judge Gaines identified alternate venues (consisting of some of the finer restaurants in Phoenix), directed the cost of the meal to be divided pro rata, and suggested that serious discussions only start after counsel had finished their meals (apparently based on the judge's personal experience, shared in a footnote, that empty stomachs are not conducive to collaboration).

While unable to locate statutory authority for his order, Judge Gaines concluded that granting plaintiff's motion was within the inherent powers of the Court.

No word yet on whether defendant's counsel will appeal (hungry parties are invited to file amicus briefs in the event cert is sought).

Thanks to Larry Bodine of the Professional Services Marketing blog for bringing the order to our attention.

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