Why Play by the Rules?
The movie drunk with the knife once famously said to actor Paul Newman, “There ain’t no rules in a knife fight!”. Paul’s character had asked him, the much larger man holding the knife, who was getting ready for the barroom brawl, for “the rules”, and upon getting that answer, Paul’s character kicked the drunk in the balls and picked up the knife, ending the fight.
The practice of law has rules.
“Mr. Hunter, why do you insist I answer “discovery questions” posed by the other side, when the other side does everything to avoid answering ours?”
This is a fair question that I am frequently asked. It reminds me of my sons’ high school soccer days when we could see other team’s coaches were teaching the grabbing of jerseys and overreacting to slight fouls, and how World Cup soccer players faked injuries late in games.
And then there are the Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrongs, Tiger Woods, and Roger Clemons of the world. Tiger’s new Nike ad says, “Winning Cures Everything.” Does it?
More simply put, “Why follow the rules when the other guy is cheating (and seems to be getting away with it) ?
Recently, in the State Bar Journal, WV Supreme Court Chief Justice Menis Ketchum II posed the problem as follows:
5. I also persistently and consistently follow the rules in working to get the other side to give us what we are entitled to, costing that party money and grief until he gives us what we ask or the Court can see he is hiding it.
This post was written by Burton Hunter