The trick to quitting while you're ahead is to quit before you're behind. Even when you’re behind, you still have a chance to quit before you get further behind, but you can miss this chance, too, if you wait too long.
This wisdom, simple-minded as it is, seems to be lost on Beaumont attorney John Morgan.
Morgan went through a divorce in 2008, and that's probably when he should have quit. Instead, with custody proceedings and recriminatory legal maneuvers, he's managed to keep the ordeal going for another nine years.
The divorce reached the appellate court, and subsequent custody disputes reached the appellate court four times.
It's now way too late for him to quit while he's ahead, and the only way he can get much further behind is to be disbarred or criminally prosecuted (neither of which possibility is entirely unlikely at this point).
Late last month, Morgan was sanctioned and assessed $65,000 in fees and penalties for filing a frivolous lawsuit against Sheryl Johnson-Todd, the Houston attorney who represented his ex-wife during their divorce proceedings.
Apparently, Morgan objected to Johnson-Todd making a reference in court to the fact that he had once faced a criminal charge for making a false report to police, so he decided to sue her for defamation.
Another classic example of not knowing when to quit, resulting in Johnson-Todd moving to have Morgan sanctioned for filing groundless, frivolous pleadings.
“Under the judicial communications privilege, statements made in the due course of judicial proceedings cannot serve as the basis of civil actions for libel or slander,” an appellate judge wrote in response to Morgan's second attempt to have Johnson-Todd's suit dismissed.
The final result: After much back and forth maneuvering, the trial court dismissed Morgan's suit, ordering him to pay a $25,000 fine and fork over $40,000 in attorney's fees to Johnson-Todd.
Here's another chance for Morgan to quit, but will he take it?