Saturday, February 17, 2007
Here's a story that any small firm lawyer who litigates can relate to. Lawyers A and B are opposing counsel in a domestic relations matter. B asks for and gets a continuance. A then seeks a continuance of the rescheduled date, citing either an oncoming illness or a conflicting obligation. B objects because of the expense in securing the testimony of an expert witness who was to testify on the fast-approaching new hearing date. The court denies the continuance and orders A to produce a doctor's note to support the claim of flu. There is confusion that suggests the possibility that A misled B as to whether the requested continuance was a fait accompli. In any event, A and the client do not appear and the judge places B under oath to recount the interaction with A. The judge orders A to personally pay B's fees.
The rest of the story is the nightmare part. A is the subject to a disciplinary action that ultimately results in a six month suspension by the Oregon Supreme Court. These cases happen when lawyers in A's situation are not straightforward with opposing counsel and the court. I did not see in the opinion whether the court ever got a doctor's note. (Mike Frisch)