June 7, 2006 — -- A federal judge ordered two attorneys to settle their dispute by using the children's playground game "rock, paper, scissors."
The ruling yesterday by Judge Gregory Presnell of the U.S. District Court in Orlando, Fla., stated that he was so dissatisfied with the case's "latest in a series of Gordian knots" that he is fashioning "a new form of alternative dispute resolution."
In the dispute at hand, the two attorneys could not agree about where to take the sworn statement of a witness in a case concerning payment of insurance claims.
The judge's order states that the game will take place on June 20, 2006, at 4 p.m. at a "neutral site." If the two attorneys can't agree on a neutral site, the judge said they will have to meet on the courthouse steps.
If one of the lawyers disputes the outcome of the game, he can appeal it, Presnell added. Presnell wouldn't comment on his unusual ruling, but he isn't the only one taking it seriously.
"When someone uses rock, paper, scissors to adjudicate any kind of dispute that is a positive moment for the world," said Matti Leshem, co-commissioner for the USA Rock Paper Scissors League.
Leshem says that he does have some concerns about the rules they will use. He wants to know the number of pumps before the throw or if "illegal" throws will be allowed. To make sure official USARPS rules are followed, Lesham said he and his staff are willing to fly down to Florida to oversee the match.
"We will make sure that rock, paper scissors is not made a mockery by the legal system. When people take rock, paper, scissors into their own hands, mayhem can occur," he said.
The USA Rock Paper Scissors League is getting ready for its national championship on June 12, 2006, where the winner will receive $50,000. The tournament will air on A&E.