Missing man in Supreme Court case emerges

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Bobby Chen is back and he wants the Supreme Court to give him another chance.

The man who disappeared after the high court agreed last year to hear his legal dispute with the city of Baltimore says he never meant to abandon his case.

The case created a stir last month when justices dismissed Chen's appeal after court officials could not reach him by phone or email. At the time, Chen had no lawyer.

But in legal papers filed Tuesday, Chen said he was traveling on business in California and experienced a "slip-and-fall injury" that postponed his return. He said he was simply unaware the court had granted his case and did not know how to check the court's docket online.

This time, Chen is being represented by veteran Supreme Court lawyer Paul Clement, a former solicitor general. Now that he has an attorney, Chen said he will not have any trouble following the rules and should get his day in court.

Chen has been fighting Baltimore officials for years, claiming the city illegally demolished his row house. A lower court threw out his case after he missed a deadline, and Chen is appealing.

The high court will consider Chen's request to reinstate his case when the justices meet privately Feb. 20.

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