Marching to Their Own Beat: It’s Personal for the Pro Se Plaintiff

By: Michelle Pieroni
WC magazine –
February 2016 / March 2016

After having just returned from a rather protracted motion hearing that involved a pro se plaintiff—someone who represents himself in court without an attorney—I feel qualified to say that dealing with unrepresented litigants can be a harrowing experience. It really is a no-win situation because, as a defense lawyer, you are expected to win. If you lose, you cannot help but feel professionally disgraced.

In my case, the pro se plaintiff disputed the manner in which the insurance company handled his workers’ compensation claim and filed a state court action alleging breach of settlement agreement. During the course of discovery, the plaintiff (whom I’ll call Mr. Johnson) filed voluminous pleadings and demands and made some rather unsavory remarks directed toward both me and the claims professional involved in the case.

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