Local Lawyer Presents Case to U.S. Supreme Court - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/19/05

Local Lawyer Presents Case to U.S. Supreme Court

"It's really like going to see the Wizard of Oz. You step through these big huge bronze doors and through these red heavy velvet curtains and drapes and burst into this courtroom," says Fernando Bustos, a lawyer for McCleskey, Harrigar, Brazil and Graff.

"The courtroom" is that of the highest stature, the U.S. Supreme Court; listening to Bustos recount his experience is reminiscent of a boy's excitement at Christmas time.

"It was really a sight to behold. I was just ten yards away from the justices in my chair," says Bustos.

His road to the U.S. Supreme Court began at the Lubbock Federal Court. The case involved Bustos representing a national fertilizing company being sued by South Plains farmers due to issues with its chemical labeling. When an appeal was made after the Lubbock trial, Bustos could never have predicted where the case would end.

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"Seeing a case that I had been involved in for the last three years being argued by the Supreme Court Justices. That was really something else," says Bustos.

The odds of having a case reviewed by the Supreme Court makes Bustos' experience that much more meaningful. Each year, the court receives nearly 10,000 petitions, of those only 100 cases make the cut.

"It's a 10,000 to one odd that you actually get a case accepted at the U.S. Supreme Court so its really not even a once in a lifetime experience," says Bustos.

Although the case is still being reviewed by the Supreme Court Justices, in a way Bustos feels he has already won a more personal trial.

"Most lawyers will go through their entire lives and never have a case at the U.S. Supreme Court so it really wasn't anything that I thought would ever happen," says Bustos.

The Supreme Court Justices are currently writing their opinions for the case. Bustos says he will probably not know the ruling until the end of June. By the way, the last time a lawyer from Lubbock presented a case in the Supreme Court was seven years ago.

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