Federal judge grants deadline extension to Utah lawyer who said Jazz loss led to late filing

(Sue Ogrocki | Associated Press file photo) Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots between Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Huestis, left, and guard Russell Westbrook, right, during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 25, 2018.

After missing a filing deadline in a federal lawsuit by 18 minutes, a Salt Lake City lawyer, who also is a Utah Jazz fan, threw himself on the mercy of the court.

In a motion filed Thursday, Brian King asked U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins in a medical benefits case for a deadline extension based on “foreseeable, but unwished for, circumstances, together with unforeseen emotional impact” involving a 107-99 Jazz loss that prevented him from finishing his work on time.

King said he had taken a break at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday from writing the memo to watch the Jazz play the Oklahoma Thunder in Game 5 in the first round of the NBA playoffs. About 9:15 p.m., in the third quarter of the game, the Utah team held a 25-point lead but then disaster struck, he said.

The problem came “in the form of bad officiating, Jazz turnovers and poor shot selection, the absence of the best defense player in the league, and [Russell] Westbrook,” King wrote, adding that until then, prospects were excellent for a timely submission of the memo, which was due at midnight but was filed at 12:18 a.m. Thursday.

“But the emotional effect of an eventual Jazz loss (which began at approximately 10:00 p.m.) was, to say the least, dispiriting,” King wrote. “The pallor cast on counsel’s mind eventually led to submission of a written product that was twice as long and half as strong as it would have been had the Jazz emerged victorious. As well as eighteen minutes tardy.”

King, who is minority leader of the Utah House of Representatives, said the attorney for the opposing party in the case, despite being from Minneapolis, did not object to the motion asking for the deadline extension.

“For purposes of this playoff series, he’s a Jazz fan, too,” King said, adding in a footnote that “Jazz team chemistry and the quality of play from, among others, Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Ricky Rubio, Joe Ingles, and Derrick Favors have won the hearts of people across the country.”

In another footnote, King said his emotional setback was temporary. He also predicted that the Jazz would be victorious Friday over the Thunder and proceed to play the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals.

Friday must have been King’s lucky day. Not only did Jenkins grant King’s motion, ruling that there was “good cause” for the delay, but the Utah Jazz defeated the Thunder 96-91 as King predicted.

On Sunday, the Jazz faced off against the Houston Rockets in Texas in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals and lost 110-96.

The teams will play Game 2 in Houston on Wednesday night.