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“If you don’t deem this filing as timely, then it’ll just be a question of how much you want it to hurt.”

clock.jpgYou know how when we’re watching “24” they give us that nifty little clock with the “boop…beep…boop…beep” sound, to keep track of the time? Well attorneys under a filing deadline might do well to invest in a similar gadget for their offices.

The Tenth Circuit recently issued an opinion clarifying that filing deadlines are, in fact, filing deadlines, and even if you’re a mere six minutes late – tough stuff for you. The Court basically bitch-slapped a plaintiff trying to appeal a District Court decision because the plaintiffs’ notice of appeal was filed at 12:06 a.m. on January 17, 2004, when the filing deadline was January 16, telling them that “[t]hey are out of luck.”

See. That “24” clock could’ve saved the day. And if the plaintiffs’ attorneys still managed to be late with the filing? Well, maybe they could’ve actually taken Jack Bauer to the oral argument with them. I mean, the kind of things he’s able to pull off, surely he could’ve convinced the Tenth Circuit to let the plaintiffs slide on this one. He’d just yell something like “damn it, I don’t have time to explain the merits of this case right now” and then shoot one of the judges in the leg, threatening to kill the judge’s entire family unless the panel ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor. And then the defendants’ attorney would [redacted].

I apologize for the above redaction. Turns out that “24” has previously stretched the show’s believability so thin that I actually hit on a plot-line from the upcoming season with this wholly implausible and ludicrous court room scenario. So I’ve been smacked with a cease and desist letter from the show’s producers. Tune in to Fox next spring to find out how the Tenth Circuit rules!