No response: Huguely misses lawsuit's 21-day deadline
When Sharon Love served a $30 million lawsuit on her daughter's convicted killer on April 26, by law, George Huguely had three weeks to respond. However, by the end of day 21, which was May 17, Huguely had only one response: silence.
In more typical civil suit situations, a defendant's failure to respond with a filing of his own could clear the way for a plaintiff to file a motion for summary judgment, says Hook legal analyst David Heilberg, who's quick to add that it won't likely work that way in this case.
"He's incarcerated, so he has a right to a guardian ad litem," says Heilberg. Most often thought of as impartial legal advocates for children who are the subject of custody disputes, guardians ad litem are actually appointed in many situations in which the defendant is in some way incapacitated, and incarceration, says Heilberg, counts as incapacitation.
"He's in jail, so it's a little more difficult to process legal papers and hire an attorney," explains Heilberg.
During his February criminal trial, Huguely was represented by local defense team Fran Lawrence and Rhonda Quagliana. While that duo will continue to handle the criminal side of the case at least through Huguely's August 30 sentencing date, neither attorney returned the Hook's call by press time to answer questions about whether they will represent him through any appeals process or, for that matter, in the civil suit.
If Huguely retains private counsel for the civil action, he could waive his right to the taxpayer funded guardian ad litem. In that case, says Heilberg, he'll have to get rolling on the responses.
"He'll always have the opportunity to file a motion asking for an extension or relief," says Heilberg. "Then it's up to the court whether to extend the time."