Pro Se litigants have it really bad, don't kid yourself...

The attorneys hate you, the Clerks hate you, and most of all the Judges hate you!

Several things I always do when we get involved in a new case:

1.  NEVER underestimate your opponent.

2.  Check out the opposing attorney.  Do a google search, find out where he went to school, what clubs he was in, his best and worst attributes.

3.  Whenever you cite caselaw, read the whole case!  Don't be lazy like attorneys are, they don't read the whole case, they read a little summary, then assume the caselaw works; usually they are wrong!

4.  Whenever the opposing attorneys cites caselaw, look it up, nine times out of ten, the caselaw used, is actually better suited for you.* 

5.  Whenever you get quotes from a website and it claims that it was in case such and such, double check it!  I have seen sites that cater to pro se litigants claim a case says something like "The Judge trespasses upon the Constitution" or something similar.  I went and read the whole case.  Nowhere did the case say that.  So be careful.  Something might sound really good to use, you use it.  Guess what...the case didn't say that.

6.  Pro Se litigants have a bad habit of failing to follow the Rules of the Court, and ignoring timelines.  Don't be guilty of this, it can cost you the whole case!  Read the Rules, understand the Rules, use the Rules to your advantage, and always follow the timelines!

7.  NEVER cite a bunch of statutes!  Statutes, Codes, Laws... no matter what you want to call them.  The only time a statute matters is if it says either the word SHALL or the word MUST.  Statutes are screwed by Judge's Discretion.  The only time a statute means what it says is when shall or must is somewhere in it.

8.  Collateral Damage cannot be fixed! 

9.  You cannot fight a Judge's discretion. The best case I know of to show that a Judge abused discretion is the "Mazda case, see * below.


*I always love using the opponent's caselaw showing not only did they use caselaw that doesn't say what they said it says, but the caselaw in fact is a help for me.  We did this to the State of Georgia's attorneys, and they gave us a case that is great!  I probably would have never found the case:  Chudasama v. Mazda Motor Corp., 123 F.3d 1353 (11th Cir. 09/15/1997


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Chudasama v. Mazda Motor Corp., 123 F.3d 1353 (11th Cir. 09/15/1997)