Great Moments In Litigation, Starring Ike, Human Excrement & Used Condoms

Ike letters don't get any better than this.

Jeff Murphrey, an attorney with the Houston law firm of Tekell, Book, Matthews & Limmer, had a deposition scheduled in a case where the opposing counsel was a Dallas lawyer named Dale Markland.

Murphrey tried to reschedule the depo but apparently got some grief from Markland.

Resulting in the following classic letter:

(A full copy of the original can be found here. We left a message for Murphrey; his secretary told us, "You're calling about the letter." Apparently we're not the first.)

Dear Dale:

I am sorry that a hurricane hit Houston.

I am sorry that I had no power or water at my house as a result of the hurricane.

I am sorry that I had to extend my stay out of state because of the hurricane.

I am sorry that CenterPoint energy did not bend more quickly to your desires and restore power to my home so that I could return to it sooner.

I am sorry that upon returning to my home on Monday, September 22, 2008, I discovered a roughly 50 ft. X 6 ft. swath of human excrement, used condoms and all the other niceties that come with a raw sewage leak in one's backyard which drains into one of the main bayous in Houston.

I am sorry that I had to threaten City of Houston officials with lawsuits and local news exposure in order to get them to even agree to meet with me about cleaning up the problem.

I am sorry that these city officials chose a date that interfered with our deposition and gave me no other option.

I am sorry that the Houston Public Works Department had to use a fire hose to blow human excrement out of my yard on the day our deposition was scheduled.

I am sorry that the city required my presence at the debacle noted immediately above...

I am sorry that you are the only lawyer in this case that consistently goes out of his way to be unaccommodating and unprofessional with the other lawyers. I am sorry you are from Dallas.

And we are sorry that you have pwned, Dallasite!

Update: The recepient of the letter, Dale Markland, is none too happy that a copy of it is rocketing around the Web and hitting every legal blog out there.

His letter in response to Murphrey:

All you had to do between the time of the hurricane on September 12 and September 23 was pick up the phone and call me or send me a timely e-mail and request postponement of the deposition in light of your circumstances. I am among the most flexible attorneys in the state as far as working with other attorneys on these issues. I had already rescheduled this deposition two prior times...I would have been happy to accommodate you....You stated in your September 26 letter 'I am sorry that you either went back on your word or more likely just do not have not have a word.' I gave you no word on the subject whatsoever. You did not bother to even call me. I have never spoken with you about this issue. You state in your final paragraph, 'I am sorry that you the only lawyer in this case that consistently goes out of his way to be unaccommodating and unprofessional with the other lawyers.' This statement is not only false, but in my view slanderous. You might, upon cool reflection, consider retracting the statement and apologizing.

-- Richard Connelly


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