August was not a good month for lawyers who U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of Austin felt were wasting his time. On Aug. 23, the sharp-tongued federal judge set his sights on a San Antonio lawyer who filed an amicus brief containing “exhibits that are both highly prejudicial and legally irrelevant,” forcing Sparks to conclude the lawyer was “anything but competent.” And on Aug. 26, Sparks took aim at lawyers involved in a subpoena dispute related to a matter pending in a U.S. district court in Louisiana; some of the litigants filed a motion to quash subpoenas in his court. Sparks wrote in the order in Morris, et al. v. Coker, et al., “Greetings and Salutations!” Sparks scheduled a Sept 1 hearing for the matter in his courtroom: "You are invited to a kindergarten party. . . ." The “party” promised to feature “many exciting and informative lessons,” including “How to telephone and communicate with a lawyer,” “How to enter into reasonable agreements about deposition dates,” and “An advanced seminar on not wasting the time of a busy federal judge and his staff because you are unable to practice law at the level of a first year law student.” He continued, “Invitation to this event is not RSVP. Please remember to bring a sack lunch! The United States Marshals have beds if necessary, so you may wish to bring a toothbrush in case the party runs late.” But defense counsel Jonathon L. Woods of Preis & Roy in Lafayette and movants’ attorney Travis Barton, a partner in Austin’s McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore, who were ordered to appear in Sparks’ courtroom, are off the hook: On Aug. 29, Sparks issued another order, this one canceling the Sept.1 hearing for the “kindergarten party.” On Aug. 30, Sparks issued another order dismissing the case, noting that he received an advisory withdrawing “Movant’s” motion to quash. In an e-mailed statement, Barton writes: "On August 29, we informed the Court that the underlying case had settled and all issues had been resolved in the week before the Court issued the August 26 order. The Court cancelled the hearing.” Woods did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
-- John Council