Thursday, October 10, 2013

That's Some Scrivener's Error!

 Oh the poor legal scrivener.

Saddled with $200k in loans, working 16 hour days, not exactly thrilled with the partners but not sure where else to turn, this poor young lawyer is given the grunt work of "papering" important muckety-muck deals made by big shots who barely acknowledge their lowly existence.

All that bad karma has to find an outlet somewhere!

And it sometimes does -- right in the "paperwork" itself:
The parties entered into settlement negotiations which occurred in part over email. Plaintiff's counsel had technical difficulties saving the various drafts of the settlement agreement and consent judgment that were emailed back and forth between counsel.  On April 15, 2013, Defendants emailed Plaintiffs counsel a significantly revised draft of the consent judgment which contained a monetary judgment for the full amount demanded of $ 176,019.31 . (DE 50-71). The cover email stated that Defendants "agree not to contest the entry of money judgment against them in the amounts claimed by the Secretary.'' Id   Sometime thereafter, what was then Paragraph 7 concerning damages, was inexplicably omitted from the working draft, although none of the parties' email exchanges addressed the omission. Consequently, the parties' proposed order of consent judgment submitted to the Court did not include a provision requiring Defendants to pay damages.

Plaintiff asserts that the paragraph was inadvertently omitted, perhaps due to technical problems with saving the drafts. Plaintiff contends that during settlement discussions it never wavered from its position that the damages were not negotiable because they were not owed to the United States but to the field laborers who earned them .'' Pl. Mot. at 2. Nevertheless, Defendants maintain that upon discovering the missing paragraph "it was not obvious . . . that a mistake had been made.'' Def. Opp., at 3.  Instead, Defendants' position is that the paragraph containing the money judgment was excluded because Defense counsel "believed'' the Government had reconsidered the Defendants ' circumstances and unilaterally dropped the requirement that Defendants pay $176,019.3 in back wages and damages. See id.  Though "pleased'' that the provision was removed, Defendants did not call Plaintiffs counsel about it much less attempt to confirm the believed change in Plaintiffs position.

Huge bank error in your favor and not even a phone call or email to confirm?

No one is that lucky.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Did you see the last footnote? The defendants' counsel's acts "sullied the reputation of the entire firm"? Which firm?

Anonymous said...

How can i read the order without those annoying ads?

South Florida Lawyers said...

What ads?

Yep -- footnote 7 is a doozy.