Attorney ignores heart attack

August 20, 2009
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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?
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  1. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  2. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  3. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  4. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

  5. Why do so many lawyers get away with lying in court, Jamie Yoak?

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