Defendants’ Attempts to Delay Civil Cases with Concurrent Criminal Proceedings

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Attorney Jeb Butler is here to talk about defendants’ attempts to delay cases when there is a concurrent criminal proceeding.

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► I’m Jeb Butler of Butler Law Firm, and today we’ll talk about defendants’ attempts to delay cases when there is a concurrent criminal proceeding. In other videos, we’ve talked about the difference between civil cases, which we handle, and criminal cases, which are brought by a government to try to put someone in jail. In some cases, both types of cases can run concurrently, that is, at the same time. An example of that could be a sexual abuse case in which we’re pursuing a civil case arising out of the abuse, but then the state or federal government is trying to prosecute the assailant or the attacker and put them in jail.A civil case like ours is about money, a criminal case about putting somebody in jail, but they can usually run at the same time.
► There are some defendants, though, who attempt to slow down the litigation process, and they’ll try to use a concurrent criminal proceeding as an excuse to do that. So we’ll be going in our civil case, it could be a sex abuse case, it could be a trucking case against a driver who is being prosecuted, and sometimes the defense will file a motion asking the court to stay, which means to pause, our entire case while the criminal case goes on. Now this could be really bad. The litigation process is slow enough as it is, and if we have to wait on a criminal case to conclude, that could take years and we would be paused and doing nothing for all that time. So obviously, when defendants file those motions, when they seek to pause our cases, we object, and typically we’re able to win those cases.
► I’ll look at one of our orders and one order that comes from a friend of mine. So here is an order in a federal court. This is a sexual abuse case that our firm is handling, and in it, we were bringing our case and then there’s a criminal case going at the same time. And what the defense wanted to do was they asked the court to stay all discovery under the federal rules until final resolution of a related criminal case. Now we oppose that because all that really is, is an excuse to delay things, which defendants often wanted to.
► Now we pointed out that there was no reason we couldn’t go on at the same time, that the criminal defendant could invoke his Fifth Amendment right in our case, and our client would get the benefit of an adverse inference, which is kind of technical stuff. But basically, our point is there is no reason to stop. We can keep going, and the court agreed with us. If we scroll, it’s quite long. The court did a great job describing all the reasoning, but at the end, here’s the important part. The court denied the defendant’s motion to stay on discovery, so we get to keep going.
► That’s good because for this client, the case will go just a little bit faster, and it’s also good because this is a nice written order with a heck of a lot of good explanation as to why the court is ruling with us, and so we can use that in future cases. We can say if future a defendant tries that, we can say, “Well, look, here’s what another judge did when they made the same arguments. If that court denied the motion, then, Your Honor, you should too.” So that can be persuasive.



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