Maneuver Litigation: A Marines’ Approach to Dispute Resolution

From the courtroom to the boardroom, our goal at Yolofsky Law is to help clients achieve their goals quickly and efficiently. Trust, technology, and communication are the key fundamentals that enable our firm to successfully maneuver clients through legal disputes.

Starting with the end in mind. Before a strategy for dispute resolution can be formed, we must begin with a full understanding of the facts of the situation and the client’s desired outcome. At this stage, more is learned from listening than by giving recommendations. Clients are encouraged to speak openly and freely; dialogue is held in strict confidence.

Setting a strategy. Next, a strategy must be formed to efficiently achieve each of the client’s goals. Once a strategy is developed, the next step is to decide on the tactics that will be used to effectuate the strategy.

Maneuver Litigation

One of the first ways to pick the appropriate tactic is to go through course of action development. This approach to dispute resolution is called maneuver litigation. I borrowed this term from the Marine Corps’ Warfighting Manual, which defines maneuver warfare as:

“The essence of maneuver is taking action to generate and exploit some kind of advantage over the enemy as a means of accomplishing our objectives as effectively as possible.”  MCDP-1 Warfighting

The discussion between clients and I is to answer the question of what tools & techniques are available to get the other side to give up their fight?

In most situations, there will be more than a single way to achieve the same goal. For example, in litigation, several methods of discovery are available. One course of action might be to serve written discovery to the other side, such as interrogatories, requests for admission and production, and issuing subpoenas. But, in some instances, the strategy might suggest that a deposition of the key witness or opposing party happen as soon as possible. Both of these methods are viable options; however, other factors such as timing, budget, and how the method fits into the overall case strategy must be considered. In my experience, presenting courses of action to the client helps them to make informed decisions about how to move their case forward.

Maneuver Litigation in Action

Here are three examples of maneuver litigation in action:1

  • In a collections case where I represented a law firm attempting to collect funds from a former client, an attorney who was no longer with the firm still represented that client. The key issue was resolving two conflicting letters from that attorney. The first letter, written a few years prior to the litigation, informed the client of the work that had been done on the particular file, for which the firm was attempting to collect. The second letter, written after the law firm began collection efforts, stated that no such work had been done. Notably, the same attorney signed both letters. At the attorney’s deposition, the attorney could not state which letter was true even though he had signed both letters. The case settled favorably for the firm within two weeks of the deposition.
  • In a dispute over a real estate development project in which I represented the defendants, the plaintiff would neither agree to a settlement nor recognize that its position was unsustainable. The plaintiff continued to push for a high settlement and stated that they would go to trial. The maneuver issue here was getting the plaintiff to understand the weakness of their position. We served a motion for summary judgment that outlined all of the plaintiff’s factual inconsistencies and failures to meet the legal requirements for their claims. Shortly before the scheduled hearing on the motion, the plaintiff made a settlement offer for 2% of its original claim and abandoned all efforts to pursue the claims. The case was then settled to avoid any further expense to the defendants.
  • Recently, a subcontractor filed a mechanic’s lien against a client’s property. Florida mechanic’s lien law is extremely specific and must be followed to the letter in order for a contractor to enforce their lien. The maneuver issue here was to force the subcontractor to enforce the lien within a short period of time or face having the court discharge the lien. We served the special summons and complaint on the subcontractor and set the matter for hearing. The hearing was set on the first available day after the statutory deadline passed. The subcontractor filed nothing in response to the summons, but intended to argue before the court that the lien was valid. At the hearing, the court discharged the lien because the subcontractor failed to take the steps necessary to enforce their claim.

Get an experienced strategist on your side!

At Yolofsky Law, the focus is on helping clients obtain their goals. This is accomplished by establishing goals, developing a strategy, choosing the tactics to execute the strategy, and constantly revising and collaborating with the client to achieve success. How can we help you solve problems?

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1 Each case is unique – clients may or may not obtain the same or similar results.