ILNews

Turnip the root of a law firm scare

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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A Fort Wayne law firm got a scare yesterday when it received a suspicious package from a disgruntled man included in a lawsuit filed by one of the firm's clients. The firm believed it could contain a bomb and called 9-1-1. It turns out it was only a turnip.

The firm Haller & Colvin called police around 3:15 p.m. Thursday after employees opened a package in a typical cardboard box addressed to the firm. The package contained a gift bag with tissue wrapping covering the contents, said Fort Wayne Police Department spokesman Michael Joyner, but no note or anything to indicate there was a bomb inside.

The law firm had reason to be suspicious - the sender of the package was an individual whom the firm didn't represent, but is party to a lawsuit to clean up the title to some real estate owned by one of the firm's clients. Mark Giaquinta, partner at Haller & Colvin, said this man has claimed to be financially ruined as a result of the real estate transaction and has demonstrated in the past that he's a volatile individual.

The firm had sent a letter to the man asking his help in removing his name from the real estate title; the man returned a letter with an obscenity written largely across the paper, Giaquinta said. Without his cooperation, the law firm had to include the man in the lawsuit. After doing so, the firm received the suspicious package.

Based on the law firm's concerns, the police followed protocol and called in the city's bomb unit and evacuated the building. The bomb unit used a robot to pick up the package and move it to the parking lot to take X-rays.

"Based upon the X-rays we took, the technicians felt comfortable saying there was no bomb inside that could do damage," Joyner said, adding the police decided to destroy the package because of the firm's concerns.

The robotic device was able to introduce a high-pressure stream of water onto the package, open it up, and show the contents inside. A technician found a turnip in a sandwich bag inside the gift bag.

Joyner said the police rendered the area safe at about 6 p.m.
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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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