You’ve heard the old excuse “I don’t have my homework because the dog ate it”. Well, how about the cat?
My previous blog (here) discussed a Roanoke lawyer who missed a statute of limitations over 2 dollars. Now, a lawyer in the D.C./Virginia area has also failed to file a timely response to a summary judgment motion in Federal Court. His excuse is part of his court filing that includes Alvin the Cat.
The ABA Journal and Abovethelaw.com describes an attorney’s court filing on February 10, in an attempt to get a judge to excuse his failure to file a timely response and to grant him an extension to now file.
The lawyer’s initial problems started when he contracted both gout and pneumonia in January. He found himself bedridden, according to the filed pleading, with severe pain and coughing. He wisely went to the emergency room where they gave him painkillers.
Over the course of the next few days, he was taking Percodan and Percocet as well as steroid indomethacin. The lawyer describes that the medication caused him severe gastrointestinal disturbance that required perpetual hobbling to and from the restroom, generally interfering with the level of concentration need to oppose a motion for summary judgment.
Then the lawyer went on to describe a series of events that, combined with his illness, really made it impossible for him to work. This included the next section of his brief that was titled Alvin the Cat.
With his court deadline bearing down on him, his children came home from school on January 30, and became worried because no one could find their longtime house cat, Alvin. A missing cat search began throughout the house, only to end in the finding of Alvin in the closet… dead.
With all the kids tremendously upset, the lawyer promised to bury Alvin the next day. In addition, his court pleading notes that after all the emotion of the search, he was just too exhausted to work on the pleading that night.
The next day, there was a ceremony and funeral for Alvin. There was also a discussion “at the funeral” about the nature of life and death and where Alvin had gone after his death. This took a great deal of time. Unfortunately, it got worse.
As the lawyer was digging the hole to bury Alvin, his shovel hit his foot the wrong way, triggering another painful bout of gout. This was a Saturday night too filled with pain to perform legal work. Then Sunday, he apparently rested.
He was back to work on Monday; but as he read his previously prepared work on his pleadings, they did not look as good as they did while on pain killers.
The next roadblock was the emotional issues that his roommate was going through. The lawyer again was distracted by his work because he needed to provide legal and emotional support concerning the state of the man’s failed marriage.
The attorney concluded his extension request by summarizing his plight in stating that For reasons wholly unclear, that morning he was in need of counseling concerning the state of his marriage to the point where I was concerned for his immediate well-being. I think Alvin’s funeral and ceremony with the kids triggered something. In any event, we spoke for several hours, following which plaintiff’s counsel was exhausted and his foot was on fire.
The attorney explained to the ABA Journal that the reason that he was so explicit in his detailed explanation was that he felt that honesty was the only way to make the Court understand what had happened. He felt that his events fell outside the typical reasons of why deadlines get missed.
The Judge probably will rule against the extension. In the meantime, the least we can do is have one final thought of Alvin.
And for pic o’ day, this is one that I didn’t get posted after Christmas. But for this blog, it just seemed apropos:
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