Pat A. Wertheim wrote:I do not understand how two suits can be joined when the plaintiff in one suit is the defendant in the other. And since the point about the same experts testifying in both trials applies to these experts testifying on behalf of Fred van der Vyver, the only person to save money by joining the suits would be Fred. But if the suits are joined, then most likely Fred would present his case first, which would allow the Lotzes the unusual advantage of presenting their case as plaintiff against Fred after he has presented his case.
It might not be as strange or unfair as it sounds. I don't know how civil cases are conducted in S.A. Is it a jury trial or just before a judge? In civil cases in the U.S., all witnesses are commonly deposed well before any trial, so both sides know pretty much what the other witnesses will say and can tailor their arguments accordingly. And all the exhibits have been shared. I suspect that in this one, both sides will be using pretty much the same witnesses, and it will be only a matter of who begins the questioning of each. And as the trial proceeds, there's so much back and forth that order won't mean much.
I wonder if anything will come of this application. If the judge approves it contingent on both sides agreeing on issues of how the respective and mixed roles of plaintiff and respondent will be played out, it may be difficult to get agreement. It's hard to judge from media quotes, but I sense that the Lotz side is not hopeful of being allowed to join. Publicly trying to cast van der Vyver as seeking to delay justice if he opposes it represents it as a "we're all in this for the same thing" matter, which it decidedly is not. I suspect they have already had their answer from his counsel.