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  • Scott Gardner

Practicing Law in SW Va - The Heatwave Edition

So, I wake up a little sweaty this morning. There are a couple of good visual options - this is not one of those. We have no A/C in the house. 5:30am and its 85 degrees inside. Even the dogs are sweating. A couple of HVAC estimates and I'm heading down I-81, not in the best of moods. Courthouses in VA come in essentially two forms - 1. Newly renovated, comfy, and modern. or 2. Old, , formal, columns, woodwork, almost church-like. Today is none of those. This courtroom is tiny with no legal adornments except for a flag in the corner. Its cramped with about 40 people and a dozen attorneys - you can barely move about, and wait for it - no air. I'm actually sitting next to the clerk, behind the judge, and the clerk at one point asks me to put paper in the printer because she can't reach it and its about a foot from my face. There's a sign up sheet for when cases are called. I'm at the bottom. I'm thinking to myself that this is probably how Coach Fuente feels crammed on a plane flying to Miami.

About 30 minutes in, young lady attorney is talking to the judge. Since its only a couple of feet from me, I can hear the entire conversation. Its her first time alone in court. The judge tells her that the people she is suing have not been served and can't be found. She is very upset because she is about to go back to her firm, on her first case, empty-handed. Take my word for it, I know what an upset woman looks like. Now, I can remember my first day in court, flanked by Pat Whitescarver, my father-in-law, and Richard Lawrence, both very helpful in guiding me through a case against Tom Bowers (that is a story for another day). Passing that help along, I leap from my seat as only a 53 year old man can and approach. "Judge, I couldn't help overhearing that this attorney is having trouble finding Mr. and Mrs. "Smith". They happen to be the same defendants in my case and they're standing in the back of the room. I'm sure if you call MY case, they will approach and you can proceed with the attorney's case after." Yada, yada, yada...they approach. The guy has been drinking. He smells. Judge makes a comment about appearing in court drunk, while summoning his bailiff. Win-win. Win-win. I offer the young attorney a victory cigar. She declines. Leaving town listening to Never Going Back Again by Fleetwood Mac. Here's hoping the Hokies have similar luck on Saturday. #dontgiveupdontevergiveup.

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