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Old 03-10-2011, 03:08 PM   #92
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 62
I said I would not chime in again but I changed my mind.

In my opinion itís a simple trespass case because that is essentially what Phil is being sued for. He paddled SSB which crosses property owned with clear title by a private owner. When the local police declined to arrest him they sued. Phil is banking on the navigation issue to justify and sanctify his actions and heís hoping that it will have repercussions beyond SSB . If you strip out all the emotion and his intentions for going in the first place all that is left is a trespass case.

My point in stating that I felt that the case would be settled without going to trial is based on my experiences in court on other real property cases. Every trial lawyer will tell you that a settlement, even if you donít get everything you want is better than risking a trial with an unknown outcome. Think about it. Why would you put your entire case, all your risk, money etc. into the hands of six jurors who were too stupid to get themselves out of jury duty? And if itís a bench trial with only the judge making the decision then you are placing all your faith into one person whose background and education will play a part in the decision. Judges are supposed to be impartial but their opinions on things are a product of their life experiences just like the rest of us. 95% of all cases are settled and a settlement will not set any precedent for navigation beyond SSB even if that issue is discussed. Eventually the plaintiff or the defendants will make a business decision and seek a settlement. It boils down to dollars and cents.

You also have to remember that most lawyers and hence most judges who were private lawyers before being appointed or elected to the bench are woefully under educated in real property law. If the judge does not want to spend the time to truly understand the case he/she will press the parties very hard to settle it.

See you on the water - real water, not SSB.
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