Friday, February 25, 2011

Warning to Fellow Attorneys About Unprofessional Tactic Used by City Legal Attorneys

I wanted to warn my fellow attorneys of an unprofessional tactic used by several attorneys at Indianapolis Corporation Counsel, i.e. City Legal.

When the deadline comes to file an answer to a complaint, a City Legal attorney will contact the Plaintiffs attorney to ask for more time to file an "answer" or a "responsive pleading."  As a professional courtesy, we attorneys almost always agree additional times when an attorney makes a request.

But what City Legal is doing is taking advantage of this professional courtesy to buy time to prepare a Motion to Dismiss, which is not a responsive pleading under the trial rules.  Usually the Motion to Dismiss will be filled with bogus arguments where the city's attorneys proceed to argue point by point the merits of the facts alleged, citing summary judgment cases in support of the City's motion to dismiss, all the while ignoring notice pleading rules.

This is the kind of unethical trick that gives attorneys a bad name. One would think Samantha Karn, the head of Office of Corporation Counsel, would put a stop to this unprofessional practice.  But thus far, it hasn't happened.   So I wanted to let my attorneys know, do not agree toenlargement requests to answer a complaint that are made by Corporation Counsel attorneys.


Nicolas Martin said...

What incentive do attorneys have to not "almost always agree additional times when an attorney makes a request"? In the case of the private attorney, the client gets screwed, and in the case of the government attorney, the taxpayer gets screwed. As a professional courtesy, of course.

Cato said...

Here's the City's standard motion to dismiss argument: 12b6, Failure to State a Claim, the rationale being since you won't win at trial, you shouldn't even be bringing the case.

That argument stands "short and plain statement of the claim" on its head, but judges love it.

Law schools are doing students a disservice by not teaching what the real law is.

Nicolas Martin said...

Cato said, "Law schools are doing students a disservice by not teaching what the real law is."

Let's mull that over.

Law schools, controlled by the very cartel whose members they generate and which controls the country's legal system, are "not teaching what the law is." How could that happen?

I submit that when such a circumstance arises, it is because the legal system is corrupt and degenerate. The "rule of law" formerly suggested a transparent and fair system, but it now means obedience to the legal system, no matter the fairness of the laws or the integrity of those who administer (control) them.

It is not an accident that law schools, the progenitors of prevailing legal philosophy, are themselves corrupt. How could it be any other way?

No country with the world's highest incarceration rate could fairly lay claim to an honest and just legal system, and this country certainly does not. Lawyers are members of the country's most powerful cartel, and, like all monopolists, put self-interest above other values. Power and privilege are the primary values of American law, not justice.

The phrase "professional courtesy" is telling. I've never heard it used by any professionals who compete in a free market. It is in the lexicon of cartelists.

Paul K. Ogden said...


Actually the term professional courtesy, for better or worse, is used in professions and jobs all over the place. Doctors give professional courtesy to other doctors, cops to other cops, airline pilots to other pilots, etc. The list is endless.

Of course, it can be a police officer overlooking another copy driving while drunk.

Paul K. Ogden said...


Law is the only profession where the people teaching you how to be a lawyer quite often haven't practiced law a day in their life and may not even have ever taken the bar exam, i.e. they are not lawyers.

Nicolas Martin said...

Cops are usually members of union cartels; doctors are members of one of the most powerful professional cartels, and pilots are also members of a government-licensed cartel.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I really think people have gotten off track regarding what I originally posted. It was a warning to attorneys about a dishonest stunt some City Legal attorneys pull by claiming they need the enlargement to file an answer, when in fact they're using the extra time to prepare a document that is not a responsive pleading, a motion to dismiss.

In other words they are LYING.

I know that some people might think lawyers lie on a regular basis, but there are lines you're not supposed to cross in doing your job and that would be one of them.

Hoosiers for Indiana said...

In my limited opinion there should never be "professional courtesy". There should be just courtesy to all. We all need to be courteous to others, no matter their profession, which means you mean to extend "professional courtesy" to all professions.

Ronald Rodgers

Paul K. Ogden said...


And that may be a misnomer. If a pro se litigant said he needed more time to file an answer, I'd certainly agree to it as readily as I would if he were represented by counsel.

Attorneys though should know they're not supposed to lie to another attorney about why they need more time. Once you lie that first time, you're not going to believe that attorney ever again.

The Professor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Professor said...

They have used this tactic for many years, even in the Peterson era. Lately I admit they have used it more, and have used it very successfully in twarting a discrimination lawsuit to be filed against the Sheriff Department. They have now received professional courtesy extensions for several different parts of this one particular case for over a year.

The deputies have been bounced around by several different firms in the city, according to them, their attorneys being worn out by the antics of City Legal. Then of course if they even got through City Legal, they would have to fight things all over again with Kevin Murray and the bearded wonder.

Unfortunatly for those of us who are "little people" in Marion County, this will continue to be the way for many years to come, unless there is some hero waiting in the wings of political office.