Thursday, March 10, 2016

A party who represents herself... You know the rest...

I'm reading a case about a pro se plaintiff who was sanctioned for her behavior at trial. The case is somewhat interesting and may stand for the proposition that a party can be liable for the opposing party's legal fees based upon his or her misconduct, even in the absence of a contract or statute providing for legal fees. The case is Harvey v. Carponelli, 117 Ill.App.3d 448 (1st Dist. 1983). There's also good language in there about holding pro se litigants to the same procedural standards as attorneys.

Anyway, all I really wanted to point out is the following paragraph from the case. For some reason this description of the trial made me laugh out loud. I'm just glad it wasn't me who had to oppose this lady.
"Plaintiff's first witness was called and examined. The trial judge found that the entire line of questioning by plaintiff as pro se counsel indicated a lack of awareness of the issues raised by [her] in her fourth amended complaint. The entire testimony of this witness was stricken as irrelevant. Next, plaintiff called herself as a witness. After taking the stand, she was allowed to read questions to herself from her notes for 1 1/2 days. She asked herself at least one question to which she answered "I don't know." 
Oh man... One and half days? And she was answering "I don't know" to her own questions!! I would have had a heart attack.