682 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2020
Partner suddenly got it. “So the nervous shock and nightmares all stem
from not writing a short story that complies with the rules?”
“Or trying to and failing. Plaintiff is saying that the contest rules meant
that people wouldn’t want to enter the contest and, if they did, they couldn’t
comply with the rules. There certainly seems to be a lot of evidence that
Plaintiff’s distresses were directly caused by the contest.”
A silence settled over the room, like that in a classroom when the teacher
returns from a break.
Partner finally spoke. “You said there was a third option.”
“The third option is to defend the contest and its rules as being fair, reasonable
and in the best interests of the participants and the readers seeing
the published submissions,” Associate said. “But keep in mind that judges
may also enter the contest, and that might be a problem should the case go
At the mention of the word “trial”, Partner blanched.8 “The third option is
out. There is no way we want to fight that battle.”
“I agree,” said Associate. “That leaves only one option—settle.”
At the mention of the word “settle”, Partner revived. “Yes, we should settle
this case. And quickly. How much does Plaintiff want?”
Student spoke up. “I was asked to look into this, and as you can see at Tab
5, our exposure is only $redacted.”9
“That’s not so bad,” said Partner. “A relatively small payment, case closed,
end of problem.”
A strange noise broke the ensuing silence. Associate took out a phone
and looked at the screen for a moment.
Partner had no use for the modern world. “That had better be related to
work,” said Partner, in an unmistakably stern tone.
“It is,” said Associate, with a distressed look. “Plaintiff’s lawyer has
amended the pleadings.”
“So what?” replied Partner, with some impatience. “We already decided to
settle. Pay Plaintiff off, and that’s the end of it. Our exposure just isn’t big
enough to worry about.”
Associate winced. “That’s the problem. It’s now a class action, on behalf
of every Advocate reader. If we settle, we’re well into seven figures, like,
A silence settled over the room, like the silence at a Canucks game. This
time, the silence lasted for what seemed like an eternity, but in fact it was
broken after less than a minute.
“Cannabis?” said Student.
Partner thought for a moment, reached over and took the offered Big Bob.
Time to join the modern world, thought Partner.