In 1985 I Used to File Notices of Unavailability When I Went on Vacation -- So Now There's a Problem?

I remember the days when my senior partners were getting ready to go to Europe and I had to make sure we had properly filed "notices of unavailability" in each and every case in the office, alerting unsuspecting judges that Italy is just lovely this time of year and therefore don't enter any orders until at least three days after the senior lawyer on the file gets back from Milan.

But I used to wear parachute pants back then and Hardcastle and McCormick was my favorite TV show (I hated Thirtysomething).

Indeed, as Judge Scola reminds us, those days are long gone:
THIS MATTER is before the Court following Plaintiff counsel’s filing of a “Notice of Vacation and/or Unavailability” [ECF No. 22]. Counsel asks that “no hearings or depositions be scheduled” while he is out of the country and that “no motions, request to produce, interrogatories, or other pleadings to be filed which require a timely response during this time; and that all pending matters remain in status quo, during this time period.” Not. at 1. Counsel then unilaterally declares that “[t]he filing and service of this Notice shall constitute an application and request for continuance, extension of time and/or protective order as appropriately required for the above reasons.” Id.

This will not do. This type of filing is not authorized by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or this District’s Local Rules. It is unreasonable to expect this Court to sua sponte issue continuances and extensions of time whenever a “Notice of Unavailability” is filed in a case. The Court is unwilling and unable, practically speaking, to keep tabs on the scheduling needs and travel plans of every lawyer appearing before it. Counsel is best positioned to know whether or not any case deadline actually conflicts with his vacation schedule. If it does, counsel should confer with the other side and then, if necessary, file a proper motion seeking a continuance, extension of time, or other relief. If this procedure is followed, the Court will make every effort to accommodate reasonable requests to continue and/or for additional time. The Court is confident that opposing counsel will likewise extend reasonable professional courtesy in such matters, consistent with the professional and ethical standards that guide all members of this profession.
Thus, for the reasons explained above, the Court hereby STRIKES counsel’s “Notice of Vacation and/or Unavailability” [ECF No. 22], as ineffective and unauthorized by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and this District’s Local Rules.


  1. Happy Friday, SFL.

  2. That notice was pretty egregious. I still think it's best to file them if you're really not going to be available, but all that other language was over the top.

  3. yep, go ahead and file one 5:10

  4. I hated thirtysomething too!

  5. She was represented by Miami attorney Roy Black.

    A 79-year-old Palm Beach woman made tax evasion history Tuesday when she admitted to failing to tell the Internal Revenue Service about a whopping $43 million she had stashed in foreign accounts.

    The amount is believed to be one of the largest individual tax evasion cases since the U.S. in 2008 began a crackdown on those who use foreign tax havens to hide assets from the government.

    Mary Estelle Curran, who inherited the money from her late husband Mortimer when he died in 2000, faces a maximum six years in prison when she is sentenced March 29. As part of a plea deal, Curran agreed to pay a $21 million penalty for failing to tell the IRS about the accounts she had at UBS AG in Switzerland and a bank in Liechtenstein, federal prosecutors said. Her failure to report

    Roy, my hero. Probably charged the old dame 5 million for the plea. Roy's a trial hero, all right.

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