“No One Knows What the Jury Will Make of the Parties’ Social-Media Slings and Arrows”

Judge Carlton Reeves’ Order Staying Case (S.D.) is available today Miss.) In Martin v. MarshallA libel action in which the judge just denied plaintiff’s motion for temporary and permanent injunction, motion to seal and defendant’s motion to dismiss

The Court is now hearing this cause.

To date, the undersigned has settled several motions in this matter. There are still many more. The Court feels it is appropriate to request that the parties take a step back and assess whether or not the current course of action will achieve their goals.

It is expensive to litigate. The maintenance of this lawsuit—perhaps contingent in nature—is probably costing the plaintiff blood, sweat, and tears as she seeks to defend her name. In order to avoid any adverse ruling in her remote (to herself) court, it is probable that the defendant and possibly her insurer will have to spend time and money on defense.

It is assumed that the Court believes both sides want to be free from one another and all of the cloud litigation. The Court does not believe that the future will bring such freedom.

We will hold a multiday in-person hearing where the lives of both the parties will be on display if the Court grants summary judgment to the plaintiff. We don’t know what the jury will think of social media slings or arrows. However, if the Court grants defendant’s motion for summary judgment, there may be an appeal, which could take a lot of time and cost. Neither side will get to move on until 2023 at the earliest—at which point the Fifth Circuit might reverse and remand for a trial on the merits in 2024.

All of this is normal for lawyers as well as entities such corporations. This is how they make a living, and when the current case ends, they move on to the next one. This is not how people, such as the defendants in this case want to spend their life.

The Case Management Order usually requires settlement conferences to be attended by parties. Our parties avoided them so far. This is a chance to discuss with neutral magistrates other ways to achieve one’s goals. To move forward into a new future without the interference of another party.

In an effort to encourage the parties to think about their future, Judge Isaac has ordered the plaintiff to meet with the defendant in person within the next 90-days. If the parties fail to come to an acceptable settlement, the Court will suspend the ruling on the cross motions.