Friday, March 28, 2008

Fast Track Litigation Continues to Sputter

How excruciatingly slow are the wheels of justice? Consider these two latest developments on the News-Press litigation front.

After having twice been postponed, a hearing was finally held last Monday in the NLRB's attempt to get an injunction forcing the News-Press to immediately reinstate eight fired reporters. After listening to the lawyers in the case argue the merits of their respective positions for over an hour and a half, the judge has decided, he wants to hear some more argument.

Late Thursday afternoon the parties were notified that Judge Steven Wilson has ordered the attorneys in the case to return to court this coming Monday to address two specific legal elements in the case, whether reinstatement is necessary to avoid "irreparable harm" and whether the position of the fired workers has a "probability of success," which in this case means whether Judge Kocol's ruling following his hearing of evidence in last summer's NLRB hearings, is likely to be affirmed by the National Labor Relations Board.

Any hopes for a quick ruling following last Monday's hearing appear to have been dashed. I've given up on making prognostications in this case. If you want a prediction as to when this will all be resolved, you'll have to check with Madame Rosinka.

Prospects of a resolution anytime soon of the News-Press' copyright infringement suit against the Independent may have gotten a little dimmer. The judge who had been presiding over that case passed away Tuesday at age 79 after a battle with cancer.

The parties in the case had previously been given an April 1 deadline by which to try and reach a settlement. If a settlement is not reached, the case will have to be reassigned to a new judge.

Being a trial lawyer or a litigant is not for the impatient.