Can I miss (or be excused from) a court hearing because of UC?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 119
   Posted 11/14/2009 4:42 PM (GMT -7)   
I am in an extremely horrible, stressful situation. I will go into details privately if there are any lawyers out there who want to hear about it, because it's so painful and personal. What I'm wondering is, can I miss court because of my UC. I am in a flare right now, may have court coming up soon (due to something not at all my fault but regarding my minor child) and I really don't think I can go into court and deal with this horrible situation without getting sick. Any advice is greatly appreciated

I'm posting this on the Crohn's board too because my diagnosis might change to Crohn's.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 11/14/2009 4:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi there. You have several options and these vary depending on your role in this litigation. If you are the person bringing the action you have a little more leeway. If you are a necessary witness and have been subpoened there are different issues. If you are the defendant you are again in a slightly different position.

If you are currently in a flare and feel to sick to go to court you need to request a continuance if you are one of the two parties involved (the person bringing it to court or defending it in court). To do that you typically call the attorney on the other side and see if they consent or not. Either way you file a continuance w/ the clerk of the court explaining why you need the date moved and note in it whether the other side agreed. Then the judge decides if it gets moved or not.

If you are a necessary witness you have some options. Call the attorney who subpoenaed you and explain your situation. Ask if you can sign an affidavit or take a deposition instead of going to court. An affidavit is a signed statement under oath. A deposition is where they ask you questions in person and court reporter takes it all down, also under oath.

If this is more of an indefinite issue like you think going to court is going to make you flare, then you have less flexibility. You can't continue the case forever. Every court hearing is stressful for the people involved. No one enjoys it. It makes lots of medical conditions flare and brings out the worst in people. What you need to do is do everything you can to make it more comfortable for you. Start by calling the attorney who subpoenaed you and explain your medical condition. Tell them that you are concerned you will not make it through the case without getting sick. Write a letter to the clerk of court or the judge asking for accomodations. Maybe you can ask that your testimony only be in the afternoon because you are less sick in the afternoon. If they know about your disease it is so much easier. They won't think you are playing games if you are magically in the bathroom when it is your turn on the stand. If they know, you can ask for a break to use the bathroom at anytime. The sooner you get it done the sooner it will be behind you and you can move on.

Also, if this involves a minor, you will be in a closed session of court and the only people that will be there will be those involved in your case.

Now if you are a witness they just think they "might" need and want to call you and have you sit all day just in case then you might be able to get yourself excused. Again, start by calling the attorney of the other side. If they know it will pose a great hardship to you and they don't actually NEED you then they might say never mind. Or they might be able to give you a more definite time.

Also, you could ask to stay in the hallway near the bathroom until it is your turn to testify. That way you don't have to worry about disturbing anyone by coming and going. Witnesses are sequestered all the time meaning they are kept out of the court room until it is their turn. Good luck!
27 Year old married female lawyer.  Diagnosed w/ CD 5 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For Crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night.  I take xanax prn for situational anxiety (aka no easy bathroom access). 

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 119
   Posted 11/17/2009 9:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much for taking the time and giving such a detailed reply.
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