Tale No. 3

Judges don’t like to make decisions.

An attorney once advised your editor that judges don’t like to make decisions. It might be because one party is local and other from out of town; or because the issue should be decided one way based on a strict interpretation of the law and another on grounds of what would be morally right. Sometimes it is a matter of a failure to provide the judge with sufficient authority such that he can be fairly confident he will not be overruled on appeal. 

Sometimes the judge’s reluctance to rule can be used to your advantage… a few years ago your editor was involved in a case in which the tentative ruling on a summary judgment motion went against the client. At oral argument, the judge wanted to find for plaintiff, but the facts and the law clearly supported the defendant’s position, so the judge took the ruling under advisement. The judge never issued a decision; but that meant that he didn’t affirm the tentative ruling either! The judge’s failure to issue a decision was effectively used to negotiate a better settlement for the defendant.