Thursday, April 08, 2004

Colleague Kudos 

There's a woman in my classes with whom I've had some differences over the course of the year, both substantively and stylistically. We'll call her Thorn (short for Thorn In My Side). But in last night's Contracts class, she both earned and received the hearty applause of the entire class, myself included.

We were covering a case that occurred over two decades ago, in a state not very near Massachusetts. It happens that Thorn is from that very state. She was discussing the case in class, and as she went along she became more and more animated, and increasingly improved the general humor of the class, to the point that even before the applause broke out at her conclusion, many of us were wiping away tears of laughter. It was an employment case, and she was familiar with the town in which it took place, and had on many occasions driven past one of the businesses involved secondarily.

The case had gone up to the Supreme Court of that state, and there were subtle indications in the opinion that the court perhaps did not entirely believe Plaintiff's assertion that she had medical reasons for abandoning her job contract, even though she had signed statements to that fact from her doctor. When Thorn brought up this point, the Professor stated that this had bothered him, as well, as there weren't any details about why there was this doubt. But before he could continue, Thorn revealed that she had the previous day tracked down the plaintiff, who is now living in a different state than where the case took place, and had a lengthy conversation with her about the history of the case.

The Plaintiff admitted to Thorn that she had not been eager to pursue the case herself, but that her union had been eager and therefore had paid for the costs and supported the case all the way to its conclusion in the state Supreme Court. She further admitted that while she did indeed have signed statements from her doctor, the underlying medical condition was neither as severe as it was made out to be, nor the actual reason she had left her job!!!

Thorn had gone the extra mile, demonstrated the dedication to the details and the truth to which we should all aspire, and last night transformed herself from a thorn to a Rose. I can only hope I never find myself as opposing counsel to her, and if I do, that I tackle the issues with the same enthusiasm and determination.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:50 AM