There are only two possibilities in this story regarding Al Sharpton’s daughter’s slip and fall lawsuit, for which the New York Post used this headline:
First, that the NY Post is simply bashing Al Sharpton, via attacking his daughter Dominique Sharpton, for no reason whatsoever; or
Second, that NY Post writer Julia Marsh is utterly and contemptibly clueless about litigation.
Apparently, she has a trip and fall case against the City that resulted in an ankle injury. I care not one whit about the actual details, since that isn’t the point of this post. Nor is this about Sharpton, his past, or his politics.
The point is that Dominique’s case has a compliance conference yesterday. Curious as to what kind of conference a client could possibly have missed, I looked it up. It turns out that this was a routine conference where the lawyers head to the courthouse to work on discovery issues that may still need to be completed.
Let me be clear about this: Clients never, ever, ever, go to these things. It’s the lawyers working on scheduling. These things are sometimes so routine that there is a cottage industry of per diem lawyers that will handle them for $100 a pop.
Even when they are not routine, and there are actual legal issues to be discussed, the clients still never go. In fact, in NYC, the clients rarely ever even go to jury selection in a civil case. While it might happen some places, I’ve never seen it here.
Yet there was Julia Marsh writing her idiotic lede:
The Rev. Al Sharpton’s daughter was a no-show Wednesday for the first court date in her $5 million sprained ankle case against the city, letting her lawyer stand in for her — but the night before she was putting that ankle to go use, marching in a raucous anti-gun demonstration in Times Square.
Is it possible that Marsh simply didn’t know better? Doubtful, since Marsh covers the courts. I know this firsthand because she contacted me right after Dr. Katz filed his now-dismissed defamation suit against me. Also, her Twitter profile concedes it:
A New York Post reporter covering Manhattan Supreme Court. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org
I don’t think this is what she was taught in journalism school.
There’s a reason I am deeply cynical about what I read both online and in the papers. I covered this a few weeks ago with the sensationalistically written story of the 8-year old boy who sued his aunt. Marsh now provides another fine example.