Here is an example of one of the procedural dirty tricks that these firms play and they say they “made a mistake” and apologize when they are caught, but it a threat to a hearing that you have already won, lurking so that you are not prepared to argue against what they try to present in what amounts to a fake venue for a motion for rehearing. Pro Se litigants are especially likely to fall victim to these dirty tricks because they don’t know what to do.
I received in the mail yesterday a package that had been prepared earlier but which seems to have been sent out NOW and if the Judge is not looking carefully he might well sign it. It is a Final Summary Judgment. I know this trick.
Despite the ruling denying the Motion for Summary Judgment they “mistakenly” send the package to the Judge as though they had won. The Judge signs everything put in front of him and then it is up to us to undo the mess. By doing that we must make a motion to void the judgment and perhaps move for sanctions, but the trick is that they then come in and re argue the motion for summary judgment.
The cure is simple: call the Clerk’s office, Call the Judge’s office (making sure you hit every Judge who might sign this trash, and tell them the package was sent in error and that the Judge Denied the motion for Summary Judgment.
Send a letter to the Judge (or Judges if they are on rotation) with a copy of the order denying motion for summary judgment. At the Clerk’s office you get a supervisor and tell them that the error is happening as we speak and that the Final Judgment should not be put in the record and if it was, it should be expunged and cite them to the Order denying Summary Judgment.
Then Clerk might contact the Judge’s office and ask what they want to do with the clerk explaining that the Motion for Summary Judgment was denied. Why was the Final Judgment entered without hearing or motion?
AFTER you have done all that, THEN you put in a call to the opposing counsel and threaten them.
If the Judge DOES sign the Final Judgment, then you must immediately do all of the above and file a motion to vacate on the basis that the Motion to Dismiss was denied, not granted and therefore the case should be set for trial which many orders denying motions for summary judgment explicitly state.
But be prepared to argue the whole motion over again and lead with an objection to anything the other side wants to argue, asking for sanctions because they tried to game the system. If the Judge is so inclined he might say that he is treating this as a motion for rehearing or motion for reconsideration. At that point, you should object to the hearing going forward and ask for a continuance.
Some thought should be given to an immediate interlocutory appeal on procedure because nothing could be clearer than a denial of the motion and then entry of a Final Judgment contrary to the ruling on the motion.
The moral of the story is read everything, check the docket regularly, and make sure your mail is being delivered properly.