Nine Lawyers Attack Pleading Filed Four Minutes–Judge Unimpressed

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permit any electronic document to be e-filed until midnight on the due date. Microsoft electronically filed a motion for summary judgment 4 minutes and 27 seconds late on the night of June 26, 2003.

Microsoft’s adversary in the litigation, Hyperphase Technologies, Inc., incensed by this grievous rule breach, filed a motion to strike the motion for summary judgment as untimely.

U.S. Magistrate Stephen L. Crocker, clearly annoyed, blessed us with this sarcastic order:

In a scandalous affront to this court’s deadlines, Microsoft did not file its summary judgment motion until 12:04:27 a.m. … I don’t know this personally because I was home sleeping, but that’s what the court’s computer docketing program says, so I’ll accept it as true.

Microsoft’s insouciance so flustered Hyperphase that nine of its attorneys [names omitted] promptly filed a motion to strike …. Counsel used bolded italics to make their point, a clear sign of grievous inequity by one’s foe. True, this court did enter an order … ordering the parties not to flyspeck each other, but how could such an order apply to a motion filed almost five minutes later? Microsoft’s temerity was nothing short of a frontal assault on the precept of punctuality so cherished by and vital to this court.

Wounded though this court may be by Microsoft’s four minute and twenty-seven second dereliction in duty, it will transcend the affront and forgive the tardiness. Indeed, to demonstrate the evenhandedness of its magnanimity, the court will allow Hyperphase on some future occasion in this case to e-file a motion four minutes and thirty seconds late ….

Hyperphrase Techs., Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., 56 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 467 (W.D. Wis. 2003). Thanks to Cynthia Cohan.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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