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Bobby Chen, the Supreme Court is looking for you

Bobby Chen, the Supreme Court is looking for you

What if the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case and nobody showed up?

According to an article this week in the Wall Street Journal, a former Baltimore resident named Bobby Chen, who had sued the city for $2.5 million and petitioned the Supreme Court to hear his case (and even filed his own paperwork, without an attorney, a rarity), got what he asked for.  On Nov. 7, the Supreme Court announced it would hear Chen’s case.

Problem is, he’s nowhere to be found. And his main brief is due in to the court Dec. 22.

Back in 2008, Baltimore City illegally demolished his home in the 1600 block of E. Chase St., according to Chen. (A story that ran in The Sun at the time said the house had been “damaged” while wreckers were taking down an adjacent house.) He filed a $2.5 million suit against the city. That suit was eventually dismissed by a judge, who ruled that Chen missed a filing deadline. An earlier judge had ruled that Chen could have the time extension.

That’s at the center of Chen’s case – not whether the city was wrong in demolishing the home, but whether the judge erred in dismissing the case.

Chen filed his own paperwork to the Supreme Court, in sometimes awkward English. And the court, which only listens to arguments on about 75 cases a year, agreed to hear it.

Now, if only the court knew where to find him. According to the Journal article, Chen listed no phone number in his application, and the email address thereon has been disabled. The address he listed, in the Flushing area of New York City, proved a dead end as well – a man who answered the door there said Chen had moved away “half a year ago,” and a woman who may own the property, when contacted by the paper, said, “subpoena me and I provide,” then hung up.

“Attempts have been made to contact Mr. Chen by letter and email, but there has been no confirmation that the communications were received,” a Supreme Court spokeswoman told the Journal.

So, if you know this guy, tell him to call the Supreme Court, immediately. The justices are waiting.

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