Saturday, December 02, 2006

A trip to Dallas

I'm still scratching my head about this.

My client was sued in Albany by a NY corporation which has its main office in Dallas. We counterclaimed. The original claim was dropped but our counterclaim survives.

We were getting ready to depose someone from the corporation. They decided to argue that they shouldn't have to bring their guy here. I should do the deposition by telephone or do it in Dallas. The judge ruled in their favor. I didn't agree with the ruling, but appealing that would waste a lot of time. It was easier to just go to Dallas.

So I went to Dallas. Lovely trip. Left Albany at about 70 degrees, arrived in Dallas at about 30 degrees. Yes, it was below freezing in Dallas in late November. Yes, it did snow, lightly.

We did the deposition the next morning. The other attorney also showed up. This guy is from a national law firm, and his office is in the NYC metro area. He's gotta be billing the client $400 an hour, and he probably billed 30 hours for this trip.

The witness turns out to be some minor corporate cog, three levels below a vice-president of something or other. So, to avoid having flunky boy fly to Albany, the client ended up spending in excess of $12,000 on lawyer fees alone. Meanwhile I shot more than a day on this and spent in the neighborhood of $1000 myself.

I also learned that I like traveling a lot less than I used to. I missed my family.

There were some other notable things from the trip. I stayed in the Fairmont Hotel, supposedly one of their nicest. I set up my laptop in my room only to learn they wanted me to pay $15 to use the internet. So I checked my e-mail on my cellphone instead. We stayed in LA last year and the internet usage was free, which made this more annoying.

Then I went downstairs in the morning to make some copies in the hotel's business center. This is where it gets good. In my room it indicated the copies would be 15 cents a page. High, but I can deal with it. I get downstairs and they want $2.99 to register to use the copier and, get this, $2.99 a minute for using it.

Fortunately, my cab had passed a Kinko's a block from the hotel on my way in. So I walked all of a block (yes, in 30-degree weather) and spent $10 on copies over about 30 minutes. It would have cost more than $100 if I had done it in the hotel.

I was so annoyed at these hotel rip-offs that I refused to eat breakfast there, eating at a hole in the wall nearby.

After the deposition I went to DFW and was able to get on an earlier flight. I still had to wait a few hours so I went to a different terminal for Mexican food - excellent guacamole but the fajitas were nothing special. I tried my laptop again but the airport's WiFi costs $10 a day, so I decided against it. I can afford it, but it just bothers me to pay for it. I rarely use WiFi but have gotten used to it being free when I do.

By the way, when we landed in Albany the temperature was 62 degrees, at 10:30 pm. The cold front got here the next day.
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