Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tales From The Paper-Cut Trenches: Battle Of The Copies

So, today. I sit minding my business at my desk when I hear the distant drag of cheap Sears brand flats shuffling across the office floor. You know, that "Sista Attitude" walk that every divorcee' over 50 gets. (No offense to divorcee's over 50 but some of you are really bitter about life, which I'm sure you should be, but it shows in your walk, all that baggage of anger you carry around) She stops at my desk, my heart drops in anticipation of drama.

"Little Missy... I am doing that filing of the initial documents in Central District. I know you do Federal Court all the time, How many copies do I need?" says Esther, in the sweetest voice she can muster which sounds like a cross between the Wicked Witch of the East and Wednesday Adams. Oh and yes, she does call me Little Missy. Like I am a damn dog. "You need 4. The original which needs to be filed in duplicate, the chambers copy for the Judge and a copy to be conformed and returned to you."

She looks at me confused. "Well, I already have 3 printed. One for conforming, one courtesy copy and my original. Why do I need another copy? Where did you read that?" Annoyance level has now gone up to 2. I wanted to respond. "You asked me a question. Why do I now have to stop what I am doing and be quizzed?" Instead, I stayed cool. I promptly showed her the Local Rule of the court. It states anything you file  with the court in paper format, needs to have an additional copy sent to chambers. I also showed her the General Order that states that the documents need to be filed in duplicate. In case she wasn't following, I told her when you add the three and the one you want back that makes 4. "That's not what it says, they mean for electronic copies" Annoyance level at 3. How should one respond to that comment? Words, especially court rules, say what they say very clearly. It's not the Bible, it does not warrant it self to be interpreted according to the level of work you feel like doing. Just make another copy and call it a day. Stop being lazy. So, I tell her, "I have always made 4 copies, I have never had a problem with my filings. It doesn't take that much time to make another copy. What can it hurt?" She replies, "Nothing I guess, but you just shouldn't be doing all the extra work when we have so many copies." She storms off into the sunset. I think it's over and I feel like I was just on trial.

Mid-Afternoon, I have completed maybe 15 more tasks, had lunch and a cigarette break. I hear the pitter-patter of the Annoyance Parade approaching again. "I found this rule" slam on my desk as if it is a decree dismissing a man from death-row, "It states that you only need 2 copies" So, I amuse her and read it. "Yes, Esther" I reply, trying to hide my now Annoyance level of 6. I am appalled that she spent so much time trying to fight me when the time would have been better spent just making another copy and moving on to another assignment. "It is the same Local Rule I showed you earlier, the part about the extra copy is a section from the General Rule which is a separate set of rules. Listen, I have been filing District Filings for over a year, I have always filed them this way, I have never had a problem. If you want to only send 3, send 3, it's up to you, it's your filing. I am going to keep doing it the way I have been because there is nothing wrong with it." She leaves. Quietly. If steam could come out of her ears, I could have made kettle corn for all the kids at my Halloween Party. Score!

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