Lawyer Mistakenly Delivers Summons to Austin Musician at Gig

The Deer’s guitarist gets served … someone else’s paperwork

Michael McLeod, aka
Michael McLeod, aka "Deenyo," at Radio Coffee and Beer, holding the court papers a lawyer mistakenly served him with. (Photo courtesy of The Deer)

Three words that no one wants to hear: “You’ve been served.”

Michael McLeod, guitarist of Austin indie folk favorites the Deer, had just finished sound-checking for the band’s New Year’s Eve performance at Radio Coffee and Beer when a stranger approached him at the side of the stage.

He asked, “Are you Michael McLeod? Can I talk to you?”

McLeod says he felt immediately uneasy by the man’s demeanor, but acquiesced.

“He told me, ‘This is for you and your band’ and handed me a huge stack of papers, then walked off,” recalls McLeod, comparing the gentleman’s self-satisfied disposition to that of a bargain-bin James Bond.

Obviously the “and your band” remark had intended to be an enticement for McLeod to accept the documents because they had absolutely nothing to do with the Deer. In fact, the stack of papers proved to be a court summons for another individual named Michael McLeod, evidently being sued by Frost Bank for not paying back a small remainder of a $100,000 loan. None of the information on the documents, including an unfamiliar San Marcos address, lined up with the guitarist of the Deer.

Radio owner Jack Wilson reports that the would-be process-server purchased a $20 ticket to get into the show and also bought a beer.

According to the signature on the summons, as well as background information from an individual in the legal field familiar with the situation, the papers were served by a debt collection attorney who practices out of San Antonio named Joshua Cottle. Per state and federal laws, attorneys typically use process servers to deliver court papers, but in this situation – likely influenced by the fact very few process servers want to spend their New Year’s Eve bombarding a performing musician with legal docs – Cottle took the matter in his own hands.

As such, the attorney spent his New Year’s Eve driving to the south Austin venue, paying $20 to get in, then handing dozens of pages of someone else’s highly personal information to a musician who happens to have the same first and last name as his actual target. All together, that's the polar opposite of ending your year on a high note.

“It’s easily one of the most ridiculous things that’s ever happened to me at a show,” says McLeod, who also plays in Good Field. “And something we could laugh about as we got ready to play our last show of the year.”

The lawyer did not stick around to watch the Deer, who played to a sold-out audience and collaborated with their onetime banjo player and co-vocalist Roger Sellers, who also performs as the popular minimalist composer Bayonne. Two days later the Deer’s 2019 LP Do No Harm was announced as a nominee for “Album of the Year" in the Austin Music Awards.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More The Deer
The Deer Comes Up Roses
The Deer Comes Up Roses
Transcendental Texans serenade the seasons in song premiere

Kevin Curtin, May 23, 2016

More by Kevin Curtin
Gary Clark Jr. Triumphs at Grammys
Gary Clark Jr. Triumphs at Grammys
Patty Griffin and Willie Nelson also collect honors

Jan. 27, 2020

SXSW Accelerates Into Weekly Artist Lists
SXSW Accelerates Into Weekly Artist Lists
Naked Giants, Ghost Wolves & Saint Phnx top 111 new reveals

Jan. 23, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Michael McLeod, Jack Wilson, the Deer, Radio Coffee and Beer, Joshua Cottle

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Time to vote! Music Poll 2019-20 balloting is underway   VOTE NOW