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Filing # 105599619 E-Filed 03/30/2020 11:50:33 AM



CASE NO: 2019-003637-CP-02

JUDGE: Milton Hirsch

IN RE: Albaijes, Frank



The late Edward B. Davis of the United States District Court for the Southern District of
Florida was a great judge and a great human being. Scholarly, cordial, witty and humorous when
wit and humor were called for, he was a jurist before whom it was a pleasure to appear. I
consider myself fortunate, very fortunate indeed, to have tried several major criminal cases in his

I have the following story on unimpeachable authority: Judge Davis had just hired a new
law clerk when a law firm faxed (urgent communication in those days was done via fax) to
chambers an “emergency” motion in a civil or commercial case. The rookie law clerk,
apparently assuming that no lawyer would dream of labeling something an emergency that
wasn’t, grabbed the pleading and ran – ran – into Judge Davis’s office. The following exchange
then ensued:

Law clerk (waving motion about frantically): Judge, we have an emergency!

Judge Davis: Is somebody about to die in the electric chair?

Law clerk (taken aback by the question): Um . . . no . . . .

Judge Davis: Well, then we don’t really have an emergency, now do we?

This incident took place long ago, and in halcyon times. Life today – life at this very
moment – is very different. As I write these words, the numbers of the infected, of the sick, of
those dying and those dead of COVID-19, grow logarithmically.

An emergency is “a sudden, urgent, usually unexpected occurrence or occasion requiring

immediate action.” Surely our present
public-health crisis has taught us to reserve the word “emergency” for the most sudden, the most
urgent, the most unexpected occurrences or occasions requiring the most immediate action; for
circumstances where life or health hang in the balance, and hang by the slenderest of threads.
Surely our present public-health crisis has taught us not to squander the word “emergency” on

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those everyday claims and counterclaims that make up the unremarkable bulk of the court
system’s business.

Which brings us to the motion at bar.

Petitioners allege that their decedent died possessed of a 2018 Mazda automobile which
they assert to have a fair market value of about $15,000. They further assert that the car was sold
by a third party without their knowledge or consent to a bona-fide purchaser for value. They seek
the proceeds of the sale.

And this relief they seek in a motion styled, “Emergency Petition for Order to Compel
Reimbursement to Estate for Value of Vehicle” (emphasis added). This motion they caused to
be filed in the “emergency” folder of CourtMap. This motion concludes with the minatory
admonishment that, “Petitioners intend to schedule this petition for an EMERGENCY special set
hearing and noticing [sic] all parties to be present at said hearing” (capitals in original).

The word “emergency” appears not once – not one single time – in all of Shakespeare’s
plays. See The Bard
managed to narrate the intrigue, betrayal, and bloodbath of the Wars of the Roses – Richard II,
two parts of Henry IV, Henry V, three parts of Henry VI, Richard III – without ever having to
resort to the use of the word “emergency.” His tragedies – Julius Caesar, MacBeth, Hamlet, and
many more – portray the worst of greed, ambition, regicide, and revolt without once needing to
employ the word “emergency.” Even the comedies – Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like
It, Much Ado About Nothing, and others – which certainly wield exaggeration as a tool to mock
human vanity and foolishness, never bother with the word “emergency.”

But the motion at bar – the motion for return of $15,000 from the sale of a car to
someone who bought the car in good faith for fair market value – cries out that it is an

Shakespeare had nothing to say about emergencies, but he did have something to say
about reputation. See, e.g., Richard II Act I sc. 1: “The purest treasure mortal times afford/Is
spotless reputation.” See also Othello Act II sc. 1. Those engaged in trade or business may own
tangible assets of all kinds, but a lawyer’s only real assets are her scholarship and her reputation.
For a lawyer, a “spotless reputation” is indeed “[t]he purest treasure mortal times afford.”

The lawyer who affixes her name and bar number to a motion such as the motion at bar,
and titles that motion an “emergency,” runs the risk of incurring those consequences visited upon
the little boy in the fairy tale who cried “wolf:” She has cried “emergency” when there clearly
was none, and now will likely not be believed when she cries “emergency” when there really is
one. It is a matter of reputation.

I decline to reach the merits of the present motion. Whether the relief it seeks must be
brought about by the filing of a civil lawsuit in the general civil division; whether that relief can

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be obtained as part of the present probate litigation; or whether that relief is best sought by means
of good-faith negotiation between parties to what was likely simply a misunderstanding; is
matter for
another day. There is heartbreakingly little that lawyers and judges can do in the face of the
pestilence that now bares its fangs at our nation and our world. But language is the law’s tool;
and we can show restraint, discretion, and a sense of proportion in our use of language. We can
act, we can speak, and we can write in a manner that reflects our clear differentiation between
emergencies, and those quotidian legal conflicts that have always come, and will always come,
before courts.

I deny the present "emergency" motion without prejudice. It was never, by any stretch of
language, an emergency.

DONE and ORDERED in Chambers at Miami-Dade County, Florida on this 30th day of March,

2019-003637-CP-02 03-30-2020 11:40 AM

Hon. Milton Hirsch


Electronically Signed

No Further Judicial Action Required on THIS MOTION


Electronically Served:
Jacqueline E Cannavan,
Jacqueline E Cannavan,

Physically Served:

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