Watching the Eaton v. Frisby oral argument in the Supreme Court left me with only one definite conclusion: these guys really don’t like each other.
And I don’t mean Eaton and Frisby, although that may be true as well. I’m talking about the lawyers for the two sides
Eaton’s attorney Luther Munford stated that he was arguing the case because Frisby’s lawyers have attacked every Eaton lawyer in the case except for Munford and John Corlew. Meanwhile, Mike Allred’s Reply Brief accused Frisby of lying in its pleadings. In the context that the allegation was made, it was an accusation of lying by Frisby’s lawyers.
It’s common in litigation to point out the facts or law that the opposing side’s attorney left out. Accusing the opposing sides lawyers of lying? That’s uncommon–at least in Mississippi.
Eaton’s argument on Ed Peters is that Frisby’s lawyers knew that Peters was involved in the case and that Eaton did not know that Peters was improperly communicating with Judge Bobby DeLaughter.
Munford stated that Peters wasn’t on the pleadings because Eaton did not want to pay Peters to read pleadings because Eaton already had a lot of lawyers on the case and that Peters was going to try the case for Eaton with Reuben Anderson. I found these assertions to be fascinating. They would be more believable if Eaton took the position that at the time, its in-house and outside counsel were mismanaging the case.
It’s just really hard to believe that Ed Peters–a lawyer with no civil trial experience–was going to do anything at the trial other than wink at DeLaughter. If Peters was going to try the case, it was a bizarre decision. But at this point, a bizarre decision by Eaton’s in-house lawyers at the time would look about right.
During the hearing the Court seemed to be leaning towards reversing the dismissal of Eaton’s claims based on a technicality involving Judge Yerger not allowing Eaton to put on evidence. If that happens, the November trial on Frisby’s counter-claim would presumably be continued and the case would be set for trial in 2014.