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Ruling on Motion to Compel Lunch

An Arizona judge's order proves that a lawyer can sometimes have his relief and eat it too. The lawyer invited his adversary to lunch to discuss discovery and other matters pending in their Superior Court case. When the opposing lawyer turned him down, he turned to the court for relief, in the form of a "Motion to Compel Acceptance of Lunch Invitation." In a four-page order, Judge Pendleton Gaines granted the motion, concluding: "The Court has rarely seen a motion with more merit."

Judge Gaines wrote that he "searched in vain" for precedent to support the motion, but, finding none, concluded that it was within his inherent powers. Still, he found support for his ruling elsewhere in the literature:

"The writers support the concept. Conversation has been called 'the socializing instrument par excellence' (Jose Ortega y Gasset, Invertebrate Spain) and 'one of the greatest pleasures in life' (Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence). John Dryden referred to 'Sweet discourse, the banquet of the mind' (The Flower and the Leaf)."

The judge directed that during their lunch, counsel were to confer about their outstanding discovery disputes and jointly report back to the court within a week. His order, of course, included an award of costs:

"The cost of the lunch will be paid as follows: Total cost will be calculated by the amount of the bill including appetizers, salads, entrees and one non-alcoholic beverage per participant. A twenty percent (20%) tip will be added to the bill (which will include tax). Each side will pay its pro rata share according to number of participants. The Court may reapportion the cost on application for good cause or may treat it as a taxable cost under ARS § 12-331(5)."

The ruling left a good taste in the mouths of many bloggers. Perhaps blogger Allan Jenkins said it best, when he called it, "a remarkable act of judicial common sense."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 16, 2006 at 01:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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