Checklist of Actions to Take
if You Miss the Deadline
If you miss a court or statutory deadline, here is a ten point action
checklist for you. This checklist will you give you a course of positive
1. Donít panic
If you just found out about the problem of a missed deadline, take the time
for a cup of coffee or a walk around the block to give yourself the time to
think rationally and carefully and s_l_o_w_l_y.
Until you have taken those few minutes by yourself, donít rush around talking
to anyone. Donít talk to anyone. Fifteen minutes is not going
to make much difference (unless the deadline is 20 minutes away, and you can get
to the courthouse in 20 minutes with the document to be filed).
When emotions are in control, people tend to overlook a possible
It is almost impossible not to have an emotional reaction when you have
that first knowledge that the deadline has passed. But emotion is not going to
help you. Thinking will help you. By focusing on the following nine action items of
this checklist, one by one, you will have changed an emotional reaction into a
course of positive actions.
Although you must not panic, donít fall into a state of do-nothing bliss. The
matter of your missing the deadline must be your priority to which you apply
full attention until it is resolved. In short, although you do not panic, don't
avoid panic by the technique of wearing rose-colored glasses.
2. Confirm whether the deadline was for "Serving" or "Filing or
Be sure what the deadline was for. For example, in federal court and many
state courts, an answer must be "served" (but not filed) within a certain period
after service on a defendant. As another example, in many state courts, the
complaint has to be "filed with the court", or a summons "issued by the clerk,"
within a statutory period, (but the "service" of the process or of the complaint
may come later.) ......
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