As a kid, I was very accident prone. Apparently things have not changed much as in early September I had an interesting event that sent me to the hospital. Details of the incident can be found here.
At the emergency room, I was told I had a broken radius that might require surgery.
When I followed up with the orthopedic surgeon the following Monday, I was told I likely had a fracture on my scaphoid (bone in wrist), maybe a sprained wrist, in addition to the broken arm, but it was hard to see because of the swelling.
Since the prognosis did not seem significant, I agreed to complete a trial that had started the week before so there would not be a significant delay which would prejudice both clients. I’m a litigator… I should be able to litigate with sprain and small fracture, it will add to my street cred. I thought being off pain killers for two hours would be manageable and we would get on with our lives.
I did not realize this would turn into 2 days of additional trial. I did not realize I had a displaced bone in my wrist. The first additional day of trial I took 6 pages of notes with my braced right hand, I did not realize this would aggravate the displaced bone and cause my pain to escalate 10 times the second day. Because I could no longer write, I brought in another attorney to take notes and get me through the day. Without medication and elevated pain, the second continued day of trial was an extremely difficult ordeal.
In retrospect, this was probably not my best decision. However, it was based on the understanding it would be a 2 hour hearing that needed to get done. I did not appreciate the actual damage my wrist had suffered.
My orthopedic surgeon was also displeased with my decision and banned me (in writing) from Court for 4 weeks, While I hate to be restricted, this is probably necessary for me to heal properly despite my own personal beliefs that I am invincible and can do anything. God is teaching me a lesson and teaching me I have restrictions and at times, I require assistance.
Apparently it is hard to determine damage to your wrist bones with a normal x-ray, so my Doc ordered an MRI.
“Ooooooooh, that doesn’t look good” are words you definitely do not want to hear at this moment in time. Additional injuries included a displaced bone in my wrist and significant ligament damage. The displaced bone is the scaphoid apparently is the most difficult bone to heal in your wrist.
So following my Doctor’s instructions, I attempted to clear my trial schedule for 30 days. Most attorneys and judges agreed to postponements without the necessity of hearings because in these situations that’s how it is done.
Four attorneys refused to agree to continue hearings within this time period based on my representation that I was not able to participate in a hearing.
So, I actually sent them my Dr.’s note restricting me from work for 30 days.
Despite a note from a licensed medical doctor, I will have to go to Court, incur the expense of a hearing and show my Dr.’s note to the judge and explain my personal situation. I am considering bringing the MRI imaging as well.
I cannot imagine a Judge forcing a client to obtain a new attorney or force their attorney into Court against medical advice, but nevertheless, that is the risk four separate clients of mine are facing,
In the good ole day’s you would not need a note, an attorney’s representation would be all it takes.
I do not have a reputation for dishonesty. In fact I have gone to Court many times when I have been sick or hurt as it would hurt your client not to. In my profession, if I have Court (which is almost every day), you cannot miss work when you are sick or hurt. Unless you are truly restricted.
So when these four attorneys refused a thirty day continuance after being presented a doctor’s note, I felt compelled to revisit this blog post. I originally wrote s similar article two years ago when a young attorney refused a continuance a week after I had rotator cuff surgery. Since that time, the attorney has apologized and made amends.
The fact that I have this issue with four separate attorneys demonstrates a rejection of the “attorney code” where representations and handshakes actually matter.
I am hopeful people will read this and be inspired to practice pursuant to the “attorney code” and if someone says that they are hurt, give them the benefit of the doubt unless they have abused the privilege,
And to be honest, I have been pretty cranky these past few weeks and have been tempted to “out” these attorneys who have been less then helpful. But that would not be the right thing and I would be just as guilty as contributing to the bad raps attorneys seem to get.