Well today was the big day. About six weeks after filing the claim against British Airways for their decision to cancel my holiday plans in India it was time to meet them in court. And despite a 4:30am wake-up call after only three hours of sleep and a flight (DCA-JFK) and train to get to the courthouse I was there, bright-eyed and ready to go. They were not. At least not right away.
They did, however, have a representative show up eventually. Interestingly enough the woman who showed up late sat down next to me and started asking me questions like if she was really late and what she missed. Being a nice guy I answered all of them. Only 15 minutes later when they called the roll again did I realize she was actually my arch-nemesis (ok, a bit of hyperbole is fun). And being an attorney from a real law firm, she had requests to make of the court. Specifically, she asked for a postponement of the case.
According to the Clerk of the Court – a pretty good guy from my limited interactions with him – the request for a postponement is pretty much a non-issue the first time around. I couldn’t really object to it. But when she suggested the end of March as the new court date I had absolutely no qualms about protesting the delay. Eventually we agreed on the end of January, two weeks after the first available date.
Also interesting was that she claimed at one point to not know anything about my case and that she was just standing in for someone else who couldn’t make it in this morning. Then, two minutes later she knew the exact amount of my claim and the reason cited on the notice of service. I was not particularly amused.
Or maybe I am. After all, British Airways is actually paying their attorney to come hang out with me in court. That is somewhat entertaining to me.
The major disappointment, however, is that the postponement severely limits my ability to actually plan for this vacation in advance. That won’t necessarily stop me from from taking it and it certainly won’t stop me from pursuing my claim. Really it just riles me up more.
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So NY allows companies to be represented by attorneys in small claims court? I think I like the California system better where that's not permitted (though, having never sued anyone, I have no personal experience).
If the attorney for BA was late in showing up, why weren't they held in contempt of court or lost the case by default? 😉
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