Maritime litigation is the prosecution or defense of an admiralty claim. When it comes to the trial, however, there are so many variables at play in the courtroom that it can be difficult to understand whether your maritime claim or defense is succeeding. Whatever the case, you might want to consider speaking with your admiralty attorney about how things look if any of the following occurs:
The Judge excludes a witness because of the witness' unavailability. Scheduling witnesses is a huge hassle and sometimes witnesses are taken out of order in order accommodate a scheduling conflict. If the Judge is excluding your witness testimony because of scheduling issues (sort of a rare event), it might not bode well for your overall presentation.
The senior partner in the maritime firm that represents your interests insists on questioning all the witnesses during the trial. This can be a problem particularly where the partner is not as well versed in the matter as the associate or junior partner that participated in the depositions and who attended the various pretrial hearings. Sure, the senior partner might have more trial time, but if he or she doesn't know the case they might be missing critical opportunities.
The Judge opens the trial by requesting that the defense present their counterclaim in the first instance. That is, the Judge wants to hear the counterclaim presentation before the main claim. I have only heard of this occurring on one occasion, but it must surely be seen as a red flag bearing the inset of a black circle . . . a storm warning.
Litigation is about your claim or defense and it pays to stay on your toes and not hesitate to inquire as to the course that's being charted.
By John Fulweiler
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