The Madison County Record Apr. 4, 2014, 7:07am

“We had no problems with other judges in the past,” commented attorney Monica Kelly of Ribbeck Law in Chicago. “So, either the judge does not understand the rule or we don’t understand it.”

How much do you want to bet it’s the attorneys who don’t understand?

Granted, judges can be wrong. Still, in a dispute between attorneys and judges as to the proper interpretation of a particular rule, it’s usually safe to bet on the judges. That’s because judges get to decide who’s right.

Of course, they can always be overruled by higher courts, but in their courtrooms judges rule.

Sure, it’s kind of unfair – ask a losing side attorney – but that’s how it is.

In this particular case, it would be safer than usual to bet on the judge, because this is the second time that the understanding of this particular judge has differed from the understanding of these particular attorneys.

According to a report in the March 31 edition of the Chicago Tribune, Cook County Judge Kathy Flanagan threw out two petitions filed by Ribbeck Law attorneys last week regarding missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. She also threatened sanctions against the firm if it should ever again file similarly improper motions.

Ostensibly filed on behalf of relatives of a missing passenger and crew member, the petitions named Malaysia Airlines and Boeing as defendants and sought to preserve evidence and identify parties involved in the plane’s manufacture and maintenance.

Judge Flanagan dismissed two virtually identical petitions filed by Ribbeck Law last year after separate fatal plane crashes in San Francisco and Laos.

In spite of her rejection of those earlier petitions, Flanagan marveled, “the same law firm has proceeded, yet again, with the filing of the [Malaysia crash] petition, knowing full well there is no basis to do so.”

Judge Flanagan is too kind. The characters at Ribbeck Law don’t deserve another chance.

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