Court to Lawyer: Whitelist the Court Domain Name!
This isn’t the first time this has happened [link] – that a lawyer receives an electronic notice from the other side or the court and blames it on the spam filter – but the consequences here are more severe than previously imposed by other courts: Pace v. United Servs. Auto Ass'n, Case No. 05-cv-01562-LTB-MJW, D. Co., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49425, July 9, 2007 [.pdf].
The basic facts are that the court issued a Minute Order setting a settlement conference. Plaintiff’s counsel failed to appear and the court issued a Show Cause. Defendant filed a Motion for Fees and Costs. Why did Plaintiff’s counsel fail to appear?
Their IT administrator failed to “whitelist” the court domain name and as a result the lawyers did not receive any of the notices. As the court points out, lawyers are “responsible persons to adopt internal office procedures that ensure the court's notices and orders are brought to their attention once they have been received.” The court allows the request for attorney’s fees and kicks the actual amount to a future hearing.
My take: the sanction seems excessive (even assuming
just the costs of attending the single settlement conference are allowed). The firewall software was installed on May
21, 2007 the same day the court
issued the initial Minute Order. The
court seems to go through an awful lot of trouble to prove its point (e.g.,
calling the IT administrator as a witness, examining the firewall log). The court even seemed peeved that some other
courts were whitelisted but it was not:
as of the date of this hearing on June 20, 2007, Mr. Rea still had not whitelisted this court's domain name even though he previously whitelisted the court domain names of the Colorado State Courts prior to May 21, 2007. . . . See Barracuda Spam Firewall log sheets attached to Mr. Rea's affidavit which shows e-mails from Colorado State Courts were not blocked because they were whitelisted (docket no. 137-2)
NB: reading between
the lines, not a great endorsement for the “Barracuda Spam Firewall software,”
which the hapless IT administrator happened to install at the law firm.
Also, maybe worth having a feathers-like system for fed ct.
dockets, which I’m sure some firms have – something which automatically logs in
and updates the docket from PACER.