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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A darn good footnote

Care of one of my students, I was treated to this delight in In re Richard Willis King, 2006 WL 581256 (Bkrtcy. W.D. Tex.) (Order Denying Motion for Incomprehensibility):

The court cannot determine the substance, if any, of the Defendant's legal argument, nor can the court even ascertain the relief that the Defendant is requesting. The Defendant's motion is accordingly denied for being incomprehensible.FN1

FN1 Or, in the words of the competition judge to Adam Sandler's title character in the movie, “Billy Madison,” after Billy Madison had responded to a question with an answer that sounded superficially reasonable but lacked any substance,

Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I've ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response was there anything that could even be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Deciphering motions like the one presented here wastes valuable chamber staff time, and invites this sort of footnote.

Posted by Ethan Leib on June 10, 2008 at 06:39 PM in Odd World | Permalink


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Everyone's awfully quick with the "sorry if I offended you"'s around here these days. Dave and Matt don't seem *offended*; they just disagree that this particular practice is a "delight".

And to a certain extent, I'm with them. It's awfully hypocritical of the judge to complain about motions wasting chambers time and then to draft this footnote instead of the two-sentence denial the motion apparently deserved.

(And just to be clear: I'm offended neither by the footnote nor by Ethan's posting it here.)

Posted by: Jason W. | Jun 18, 2008 3:53:37 AM

Jeez, I wasn't endorsing the practice. I guess I just can't hear or read those lines from Billy Madison and not laugh. Whatever the context. Sorry if it offended you.

Posted by: Ethan Leib | Jun 10, 2008 11:40:14 PM

I'm with Dave on this one. While the temptation to put in such foot-notes is, I'm sure, often extremely high, especially when the brief is from an actual lawyer and not a pro se party, it seems to me that this is more than a bit too much and should be avoided.

Posted by: Matt | Jun 10, 2008 11:19:40 PM

"Delight"? Really? This sounds more like bullying from the bench to me.

Posted by: dave hoffman | Jun 10, 2008 11:00:16 PM

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