HOLDERNESS v. CITY of MORRO BAY
Admiralty/Personal Injury. A boating accident just outside of Morro Bay cost the plaintiff his eye and his brother drowned. Opposing counsel filed in federal court to get a downtown Los Angeles jury in preference to San Luis Obispo, without realizing that Admiralty jurisdiction doesn’t include the right to a jury. It was to be tried before an appellate judge who volunteered to have the case transferred to him so he could get trial experience. When trial convened in the Pasadena appeals court, we started by reviewing the evidence we were going to put in. After looking at my exhibits and listening for awhile, opposing counsel asked for a waiver of costs in return for a dismissal. When I called my clients with the good news, though, they weren’t happy. They wanted to insist that the plaintiff pay my legal fees or we would force them to trial, and groused about it when I told them that they weren’t entitled to recover that, even after winning at trial.
I fondly remember this case because while attending the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick dinner, I thought I might take advantage of my relationship with Judge Hauk by having him introduce me to the original trial judge on this case, only to have him introduce me as “Mike”, the guy I replaced. When I told him about it, “Mike” was unimpressed. It seems the judge was still calling him “Vic”.