In a recent Q&A session with Law360, Ellen Boshkoff discussed representing a client in one Fair Labor Standards Act case of many filed against an entire industry.
"One challenge of the case was tracking how the law was developing in other cases across the country," Boshkoff said. "Each new development had a potential impact (positive or negative) on the case I was handling."
Her client prevailed on summary judgment, which was upheld by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Months later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled favorably on a different case impacting the same industry. "It was fascinating to track the progress of the law during the course of the litigation, and I wonder to this day if I wasn't just one case away from making it to the Supreme Court," she said.
She also reflected on the first time she argued a summary judgment motion. "The judge denied my motion immediately after I sat down and then signed the form order offered by the opposing party. I was too stunned to do anything, much less read the order," she explained. "The partner that was with me read the order and then pointed out to the judge that he had accidentally just granted summary judgment to the other side. The judge quickly tore up the order and signed a new one, denying summary judgment to both sides. From this experience, I learned: It may not be a good idea to move for summary judgment in a doubtful case; and always read the order, even if it isn't in your client's favor!"