The Risk Manager, Winter 1999

When will failure to do legal research using the resources computers offer become legal negligence? With increasing real time legal information available on the internet that day draws near. A good example is a products liability case that the trial judge dismissed because it was preempted by federal law. No appeal was timely made. Just 85 days later the Supreme Court limited the preemption defense. When the plaintiff’s lawyer attempted to reopen the litigation the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled: “Ignorance of the Supreme Court’s docket, although ‘neglect,’ is not ‘excusable’ – it is nothing but negligence, which does not justify untimely action.” (Norgaard v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., 121 F.3d 1075 (7th Cir. 1997). To keep up with fast breaking legal news and avoid getting caught short like the lawyer in Norgaard it is critical that lawyers routinely use CALR as a matter of competent client representation and careful risk management.