This is an odd business of human behavior I am in, and very unpredictable. I deposed a witness today who previously fired her lawyer, and told my client that everything in the lawsuit was a lie, and the lawyer made it up. She even signed a sworn affidavit to that effect.
This is the view from the hotel I was at in Monterey. Today at her deposition, she retracted all of that and testified to support the violations that are claimed in the lawsuit. My client is going to have to settle, so our strategy has to change to damage control.
Tomorrow I mediation for a Portuguese immigrant dairy farmer who is grist in the mill of California’s slowly dying dairy industry. Ever increasing regulation has driven up the cost of production, and the government-set milk price spends more and more time where it is less than production costs.
Admittedly, my client fucked up. If they fight this case, they will lose 10/10. Their worst case exposure is about $7 million. They have 2 dairies, and one lost almost $5 million last year. The ranches are leased, and the cows are secured by loans worth more than the cows. My job is to save these farms to keep milking in the hope it all turns. It feels fucking impossible. Maybe I can make a miracle.
Not a lot of fun this week. Hopefully, I have some victories ahead of me. You just can’t control everything in these cases. Sometimes, the facts, or the money, or the intractability of the problem renders your skills and passion irrelevant.
Ironically, I actually believe in workers’ right to safe, reasonable working conditions, free of harassment and discrimination, and a fair wage for their work. But very few of my cases are about that or really help workers. Most are irrational government bureaucracies or greedy attorneys profiteering off of a well-intentioned set of laws that enables them. I am stupid. If I had switched sides 10 years ago, I would be a rich man today. The whole thing is a god damned mess.