Judge Orders ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ Game to Settle Dispute

June 12, 2006

A federal judge in Tampa, Fla. miffed at the inability of opposing attorneys to agree on even the slightest details of a lawsuit, ordered them to settle their latest dispute with the hand-gesture game of “rock, paper, scissors.”

The argument was over a location to take the sworn statement of a witness in an insurance lawsuit.

In an order signed Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell scolded both sides and ordered them to meet at a neutral location at 4 p.m. June 30 to play a round of the game often used to settle childhood disputes.

If they cannot agree on the neutral location, he said, they will play on the steps of the federal courthouse.

The winner gets to choose the location for the witness statement.
“We’re going to have to do it,” said David Pettinato, lead attorney for the plaintiff, Avista Management. “I guess I’d better bone up on ‘rock, paper, scissors’ rules.”

Last year, officials of the auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s engaged in the game to decide who would get to sell a $17.8 million collection of art offered by a Japanese electronics company. Christie’s won.

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