Law isn't the civil profession it once was. Comments are more personal, physical confrontation is not uncommon. But in one Alabama courtroom, civility rules, or at least it does until the trial starts. Or until Auburn plays in the BCS Championship game.
An Alabama attorney as asked for, and received, "grace and mercy" from the court and found civility from opposing counsel as well. Recall please our recent post on a New York attorney who asked for a delay in the middle of a federal trial so he could attend the bris of his grandson, should such child be born a boy.
In a similar circumstance, according to The Birmingham News, Alabama attorney Michael Mulvaney, lead counsel for Hartford Fire Insurance Co. in a civil case in federal court in Mobile, asked District Court Judge Kristi DuBose to schedule the upcoming trial for after the BCS championship game on January 10. Mulvaney sought a trial date set for either Jan. 17 or be continued until February.
Mulvaney laid it on thick for the judge. The News reports his motion called the game a "once in a lifetime" event for the lifelong fan. "Since the last National Championship Game for Auburn was 1957 (and I was born in 1965) it is fair to say that this is a once in a life-time opportunity," Mulvaney wrote. "[I]t is hard to imagine this ever happening again." Attached to the motion was a photo of the Mulvaney girls as kids, each wearing Auburn jerseys and another as the teenagers they are now.
It seems in Alabama you can't toss a stick (or a football) without hitting an Auburn fan (or a Bama fan) and Mulvaney hit Judge DuBose in just the right way. According to The News, the judge responded, "The Court has a unique understanding of the predicament of Hartford's lead counsel. See Exhibit A," she wrote in her order. Exhibit A is a very cute picture of a blond toddler in a cheerleader uniform next to a stuffed Tiger (the Tigers are the Auburn mascot). Any bets on who the tiny cheerleader is?
In a show of civility, or possibly just football fanaticism, opposing counsel David McKnight, not only did not oppose the motion, he was all for it. "I'm an Auburn fan, so I was actually rooting for Michael on that," he told The News.
Good luck, Tigers. And for the rest of us outside the sovereign state of Alabama, may all our pre-trial motions also be met with civility, grace and mercy.