Tuesday I tried to submit settlement documents for a walk-through in Oakland. 1 I had prepared the document cover sheet, minutes of hearing, and had everything ready to go. As per procedure, I left the packet with the court clerk and came back about half an hour later.
When I returned the settlement documents were still on the counter, but without any indication of which judge I would be seeking approval from. I was told that the documents had already been signed by the day’s walk-through judge.
That’s when the fun started.
The computer told the clerk that the original documents in front of us had the judge’s signature and that the judge had the file. The documents clearly did not have the judge’s signature. However, since EAMS believed the documents were already approved, it felt (?) I shouldn’t be given the opportunity to walk the documents through. Even more interestingly, the EAMS was telling us that the documents had been approved that very afternoon.
Since I had stamped the documents in, the clerk did not want to return them to me so that I could ask the judge if he had signed the settlement. Mind you, the judge would have had to sign the documents (in invisible ink) in the half hour between the time I dropped off the documents and came back to pick them up. Eventually I was allowed to take the documents with me to ask the judge if he had signed them.
Once before the walk-through judge, I explained that I had no board file because EAMS believed he already had the file and had approved the documents I was handing him. Puzzled, the judge went to investigate whether he had approved the documents that did not have his signature. He returned a few minutes later saying that he did not have the file, he did not recall signing the documents, and that he did not recall signing any documents for myself or the Applicant’s attorney involved. EAMS was adamant that he had signed those documents.
Thankfully everyone in the hearing room was good-natured about the entire thing. The funniest part about the entire situation is that the court clerk, myself, and the judge were made to doubt our own recollection, the documentary evidence in front of us, and sanity because EAMS said so.
If you haven’t seen this already, you should really see this incredibly funny EAMS video.