Judge Grills Airline Lawyers Over His Lost Luggage

In a completely unrelated case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2015 7:36 PM CDT
Judge Grills Airline Lawyers Over His Lost Luggage

Anyone whose luggage has been lost by an airline now has a patron saint in the form of Justice Peter Smith in Britain. When lawyers for British Airways showed up in his court to argue a $4.6 billion price-fixing case, Smith had smaller fish to fry: He wanted to know why the airline lost his luggage on a recent trip to Italy, reports the Legal Cheek blog. The questioning of BA counsel Jon Turner is priceless, as relayed by the Independent: "Mr Turner, here is a question for you. What happened to [the] luggage?” When Turner replies that they're actually in court for a different matter, Smith won't be put off: “In that case, do you want me to order your chief executive to appear before me today?”

Turner again tries to deflect the questioning, but Smith responds, “What is inappropriate is the continued failure of your clients to explain a simple question: namely, what happened to the luggage? It has been two weeks since that happened now." This goes on for a while, and the BA lawyers ask Smith to recuse himself from the case they're supposed to be arguing because he's biased. Smith reluctantly agrees to do so. Entertaining yes, but whether it was good judgeship remains to be seen—the Times of London reports that judicial conduct authorities are investigating. The same judge once inserted a secret message ("Smithy Code") into his ruling in a copyright case involving the Da Vinci Code, notes the Telegraph. (If you'd like to be berated by an American judge, try this.)

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