North Carolina has had more than its fair share of hurricanes over the years, but Hurricane Sandy, which hit New Jersey and New York City, even reached the North Carolina Business Court.
It came in the most mundane of motions, one to expand the word limitation for a brief. The Order is in Gusinsky as Trustee for the Vladimir Gusinsky Living Trust v. Duke.
The Motion was filed by the Plaintiffs on the same day an overly long brief was filed. That violates Business Court Rule 15.8, which says that:
Requests for expansion of word limitations shall be made five (5) business days prior to filing the brief for which expansion of word limitations is sought. Requests for expansion of word limitations that are filed simultaneously with the brief shall be denied.
But this Motion was granted notwithstanding the untimely filing. Why? Plaintiff's counsel said that they couldn't comply with the Rule due "to communication issues among counsel caused by Hurricane Sandy." Order ¶4. Plaintiff;s counsel are located in New York City.
Judge Jolly recognized the havoc caused by the storm, saying:
The court acknowledges that Hurricane Sandy caused flooding, power outages and devastating damage along the East Coast of the United States, and the court is sensitive to issues created by this natural disaster. However, the court encourages counsel to recognize that compliance with the BCR promotes efficiency and fairness in case administration.
Op.h ¶4 & n.1.
In this case, though, the hurricane trumped the Business Court Rules. But don't look for this pass to be given out again. That was a thousand year storm. Follow the Rules in the absence of severe weather conditions.