When you find yourself in the middle of litigation, especially one that is personal to you, it is very easy to want to hurt your opponent when it stings the most. Just like the Tet Offensive, where the North Vietnam Army attacked during the cease-fire during the Tet holiday in the Vietnam War, many want to send out lots of motions, or discovery, or other legal tactics designed to make the other side work and spend money during the Christmas holiday to exert pressure, stress, and plain anxiety upon their opponent. The hope is the tactic will cause suffering during this time, either to the opponent or their attorney. I will tell you from first-hand experience on both sides, that this never helps move the case closer to resolution. Instead, quite the opposite happens. Hatred, vengeance, and general vitriol fill the space where any potential peaceful resolution could have grown.
Let me tell you about a different battle. One that happened long before the Vietnam War and your case. World War I was supposed to be the “War to End All Wars.” As we know from history, it was really the war that lead to all other wars. Unlike today’s televised wars of far away bombings by drone aircraft and missiles launched from hundreds of miles away, World War I was about troops lining up in trenches and then running at each other through minefields, bullets blazing by, and mortar shells exploding all around. Nerve gas would cover the battlefield engulfing the unwitting soldiers in agony before succumbing to their injuries. If war is hell, this war most resembled it.
But on Christmas Day, 1914, the German and British/French soldiers laid down their weapons for one day, came out of their trenches and met each other in “no-mans land,” the area between the trenches that was filled with death and destruction. It started with each side lighting candles along the trenches and raising a Christmas Tree. Then each trench rang out with Christmas carols, first the Germans, and then the British. Finally, a few brave men came out of their trenches from each side and greeted each other, “Merry Christmas.” Where there was nothing but death for months before, on this day, it was filled with conversation Christmas Carols and even a soccer game.
Now, I am no Pollyanna after litigating heavily both in my personal and professional life, but what I do know is that each party should take any excuse to try to find a peaceful resolution to their case if they can. The Germans and the British wanted to literally kill each other, but on Christmas, they signaled something different to each other. Where the day before it had been bullets and bombs, on Christmas it was candlelight and Christmas Carols. They both knew the melodies of the Christmas Carols and so could sing together, despite being separated by different languages. They both shared a common love for soccer, and played a game. Taking the excuse of Christmas to try to find common ground with your opponent towards a settlement is always a good thing.
Even though World War I raged on for many years after the Christmas Truce, it has been an example to me, and many other’s who do battle every day. Take this Christmas to sit down with your attorney or opponent, and see if there is anything you can agree on. It might result in less issues for you to fight over (at great cost to you), or even a full-blown settlement. You just never know what one move to the middle might do for your case.
If you are looking for your Christmas Truce in your case or with an opponent, we at Contreras Law Firm stand ready to help. Maybe fresh eyes and some common ground can pull off a Christmas miracle for you. In any event, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you from all of us at the Contreras Law Firm.