Ying v. Heide, 2013 VT 81
Raising children requires a certain amount of tact and discretion. What works for one child will not for the other. One of the magic devices that parents often employ is the five-count—“I’m going to count down from five, and before I get to zero, you better be upstairs.” But the trick of the five-count is that the child has to understand what zero means and the consequences it implies. It also requires the proper circumstances. When the child is overtired, intractable, and unable to separate emotion from process, you don’t want to start counting. It’s not fair to you or to the child, who simply can’t comply. In those cases, you just grab the kid, give them a hug, and carry them upstairs.
The issue in front of the SCOV today is not so different. In 2012, Plaintiff sought to eject her ex-husband from property that she owned and had leased to him. The Defendant disputed the terms of the lease and filed a set of counter-claims. The case was scheduled for a preliminary status conference in June 2012, but attorney for plaintiff asked the court to move the hearing to July. The trial court re-set it for July 5th, but then plaintiff and her attorney failed to appear. At the hearing, counsel for defendant asked that the case be dismissed and withdrew his counterclaims. The trial court granted the motion, largely as a punitive measure toward plaintiff’s counsel for failing to attend.