Attorney ignores heart attack

August 20, 2009
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
I’ve heard of coming to work when you don’t feel well, but going to court while having a heart attack is taking it to the extreme.

A defense attorney in California woke up with severe chest pains. A normal person would either call 911 or go to the hospital; attorney Michael Lukehart, 55, decided to go to court to deliver his closing arguments because he was in the “zone.”

He told a local television station, “You get focused if you’re a real serious litigator, at some point nothing gets in the way of finishing the trial or doing your job and it’s not bright.”

“It’s not bright” is an understatement.

I admire his dedication to his client, who’s on trial in an attempted murder case, but to ignore a heart attack to go to court is foolish. I’d hope most attorneys, even those that are “real serious” litigators, don’t ignore the signs of a heart attack or some other major health issue just because they have to be in court that day. How could he focus on delivering arguments with massive chest pains? What if he dropped dead during closing arguments?

The news article doesn’t say if the case went in the favor of his client. Lukehart is expected to recover. He went to the hospital after arguments.

Journalists are probably a lot like attorneys when it comes to calling in sick: we usually don’t. We know our job has to go on and I bet attorneys think the same way. It’s not like you can just call in sick when you’ve got a trial going on. But again, if you’re having a heart attack, I’d hope the judge, jury, and other parties would understand.

I bet our readers have their own experiences of either coming into work sick or seen opposing counsel show up in court looking like they should have stayed in bed. At what point do you decide you are too sick to go into work?
ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

ADVERTISEMENT