03 January 2006

New Orleans – Day 8 – Mark returns with work for Abe, visiting the courts, African food

After an earlier start then usual at Dixie Gyro (pronounced Yee-roe I’m told) of grits and toast (Atkins friendly as usual) we arrived at work to find more attorneys returned to the office, so many that we lost our exclusive offices and some of us migrated to the “clerks office” (my office got a couple more occupants today, but the attorney—some kind of litigation supervisor—has not returned yet). We checked in with our supervisor Bernadette and met Mark the executive director then handed out assignments for the remaining days. I finished off a memo for Mark on possibly inadequate notice to a client whose house was taken by the city after they sent notice of the seizure to a vacant lot rather than to the client then I’m supposed to write a brief on a similar topic. We went to Steve’s dinner for lunch, actually more of a Taco Truck (they call them Marti Gras trucks here) driven into the side of a building and serving a limited menu until their actually ‘dinner’ is gutted and cleaned up. I cannot recommend this place enough for anyone who makes their way to New Orleans … it’s a couple blocks from the main road down the French Quarter (where Bourbon st. and Canal st. intersect), easily the best NO food I’ve had since arriving, reminded me of what my step-mother’s cooking would be like if she were actually a southern native with a big family to feed (that means it was really good!).

After lunch we filed a suit in Civil Court which is actually just a few blocks from our office, great building even with some of the windows and lettering broken from the winds. Tomorrow’s the last day for filing these suits after the few month extension that was granted after the hurricane, we saw a story on it later tonight (“hey, we were there today, we were there!”). Afterwards we walked (yeah, no cars required … bad reference to no batteries required, anybody?) to the 4th district court house which is new and really gorgeous. It’s also the house of the state Supreme Court I believe, right in the middle of the French Quarter.

The clerks were frustrated but not too overcrowded. Normally what happens next is the opposing party (the ones who didn’t turn in papers yet) go to the court, look at the papers and the arguments they contain, then write a response that’s due maybe a week later, just a little while before the “hearing date” where they actually go to court. This way everyone knows what the arguments are and has their best responses and research already done—when they get to court they just have to summarize since the arguments are all already done basically. The courts normally accept mail post dated to the date it is supposed to be submitted. BUT, they have some serious problems getting mail down here, some regular mail takes as many as 20 days to reach some addresses if it makes it there at all. That is longer than the due date for the response to the papers that are still in the mail. It may even be longer than the time between filing the papers and the hearing date. The clerks are still accepting mailed submissions but this can be a problem that makes the courts delay hearings. After a certain time this just takes too long (lawyers may call it a “due process violation” because they have to have a hearing in a “timely manner”) and being “fair” to lawyers who file by mail become unfair to those filing suits or those waiting to have suits dismissed. Anyway, it’s a problem.

I answered phones for 45 minutes today, nothing exciting, but I did get to make one of the attorney’s I was working for come into the secretary’s office so I could give him a summary of my last memo to him.

After work we went home and relaxed for a while, got dinner next to the mediocre Italian place from the night before at a African food place that turned out to be excellent (great quality ingredients, way relaxed vibe inside, affordable prices).

We went home and saw that the miners in W. Virginia had been rescued, freakin’ amazing, we were all pretty riled up for a while.

Tomorrow we may visit Chalmette (sp?), then back to work on the brief if it turns out the opposition filed their papers on time.

Megan’s first day of teaching today, go Megan! Sounds like it was hard for her but she is in control and I’m confident she’ll whip the kids into shape faster than even she believes possible.

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