Where we grew up it was widely known that in a bar fight, the person who got hit the most was the guy in the middle trying to break it up.
|The Guy in the middle- Judge Hanzman|
Which leads us to this El Herald article (good luck getting behind the firewall) about Judge Michael Hanzman and what the paper and some litigants call his "legacy case" the one-billion-dollar settlement in the Surfside Condo collapse and tragedy that took the lives of 98 innocent people.
While receiving near uniform praise, Hanzman has come in for some criticism as well, mostly from the victims and next of kin who are unhappy with his sometimes brusque manner in quickly facilitating a settlement by pushing the lawyers, cajoling, and using the bully-pulpit of the bench. Not everyone is happy, and as we all say in the law, that makes for a good settlement.
Coming up next, Hanzman's ruling on legal fees. From the beginning he was clear that the court would not approve the standard 25-45% recovery fees in civil cases. The rumor is the lawyers are seeking ten percent, which still rolls in at one ...hundred...million....dollars. A legal fee that even causes Rumpole to standup and take notice that maybe there might be something to this civil business after all.
The case has seen the donation of the mediator and his time without any legal fees, and reduced fees for a "receiver" and a "receiver's attorney" whatever that may be. The only Miami receivers we know anything about are Tyreek Hill and his compatriots for the Dolphins.
Is this Hanzman's legacy case? Has he created the blueprint for how future judges will handle mega tragedies like this? Did he do a great job, or is some of the criticism about him "forcing a settlement" well taken? Are litigants tired of the Judge repeating that desire for perfection should not stand in the way of a good settlement?
Judge Hanzman brings a wealth of knowledge to the bench about complex civil litigation. But here is a fact we know about him - after taking the bench he served a rotation in perhaps the hardest and most heart wrenching division- dependency court. He didn't have to do that, but he brought his considerable skills to families and children in crisis. That speaks volumes for the type of dedicated judge he is.