Judge Not Amused by Inquiry into Texas Attorney’s Conception Date

Fictional TV shows involving lawyers frequently include plots with outrageous attorney behavior, but it isn’t quite as interesting (or as inconsequential) when lawyers try to emulate such tactics in real life. As most lawyers know, borderline behavior can be risky.
In Kansas, a federal judge recently upbraided an attorney because he would not consent to a trial continuance requested by the defense counsel. The motion was based on the impending fatherhood of one of the defense attorneys, Bryan Erman of Dallas, whose wife is expecting their first child.
As it if it wasn’t bad enough to helpfully point out the number of non-stop flights available between Kansas City and Dallas, plaintiff’s counsel decided to, um, go even further. From Judge Eric Melgren’s order: 
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 Plaintiff’s 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. Defendant’s motion is GRANTED. The Ermans are CONGRATULATED. 
No word on whether Plaintiff’s lawyer has children. 

Posted: 5/3/2011 8:36:17 AM by On the Merits Editor | with 1 comments

Kudos to the Judge!
5/3/2011 10:20:51 AM

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Thanks for stopping by On the Merits, the first blog from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. On the Merits will take a close look at significant legal stories with an eye toward addressing the legal myths and misconceptions that turn up in news stories, movies, TV programs, websites, anonymous emails and other forms of mass communications. Our goal at On the Merits is to provide readers with a thoughtful examination of what the media and others are saying about the legal profession and to apply the frequently-absent context of how the legal system actually works.

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