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. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

ADVERTISEMENT