April 18, 2011
Round 2: Another Judge Gets It Right on Professionalism
Sometimes lawyers lose their minds. Fortunately, this time, Judge Melgren kept his. In a pending case in Kansas, the defendant's counsel made a motion for a continuance because one of the key attorneys was expecting his first child during what was likely to be the time frame of the trial schedule. Plaintiff's counsel refused to agree to a revised schedule.
As Judge Melgren noted, "Regrettably, many attorneys lose sight of their role as professionals, and personalize the dispute; converting the parties’ disagreement into a lawyers’ spat." Here is more from Judge Melgren (from the order here):
First, Plaintiffs make a lengthy and spirited argument about when Defendants should have known this would happen, even citing a pretrial conference occurring in early November as a time when Mr. Erman “most certainly” would have known of the due date of his child, and even more astonishingly arguing that “utilizing simple math, the due date for Mr. Erman’s child’s birth would have been known on approximately Oct. 3, or shortly thereafter.” For reasons of good taste which should be (though, apparently, are not) too obvious to explain, the Court declines to accept Plaintiffs’ invitation to speculate on the time of conception of the Ermans’ child.
. . . .
Certainly this judge is convinced of the importance of federal court, but he has always tried not to confuse what he does with who he is, nor to distort the priorities of his day job with his life’s role. Counsel are encouraged to order their priorities similarly.
Defendants’ Motion is GRANTED. The Ermans are CONGRATULATED.
I, for one, think he nailed it.