I just don’t understand
Following is an order made by a Texan bankruptcy court judge, kindly sent to us by an Australian lawyer named Thomas. Folklaw draws your attention particularly to Justice Clark’s footnote, the register of which, we feel, should be used more often and in many more situations in order to bring some much needed levity to the law. We also find the last line of the order proper to be the source of considerable ironic mirth, but that might just be us.
”Before the court is a motion entitled ‘Defendant’s Motion to Discharge Response to Plaintiff’s Response to Defendant’s Response Opposing Objection to Discharge.’ As background, this adversary was commenced on December 14, 2005 with the filing of the plaintiff’s complaint objecting to the debtor’s discharge. Defendant answered the complaint on January 12, 2006. Plaintiff responded to the Defendant’s answer on January 26, 2006. On February 3, 2006, Defendant filed the above entitled motion. 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.”1
1: “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.”
Lawyers like courtrooms
In a move for which many in non-legal circles have been baying at a number of moons, a trial has begun in Portland, USA throwing some of the country’s most eminent lawyers against each other in deadly, litigious battle. According to legal blog site Overlawyered, Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam has said he expects “mutually assured character destruction” to result. The core issue is whether lawyers illegally prioritised their own interests in order to gain a lucrative settlement, when representing a class action suit for a number of people against multinational company, Nestle.
Apparently Robert F. Kennedy Junior testified at the trial, which leads Folklaw to ask, “why stop there?” We can think of many other celebrities, politicians and strange hybrids of the two (think California) who could have testified, and who might have added even more spark to proceedings. Or was that not the main thrust of the trial? Folklaw apologises for ever thinking little of the American judicial system, and apologises in advance for any frequent, future indiscretions.
BlackBerry use good for lawyers
Earlier this year, BlackBerry maker Reseach in Motion (RIM), settled with NTP Inc to the tune of US$612.5 ($850) million as it was claimed by the latter that RIM had effectively stolen some patents for use in its hugely successful product. The suit was much criticised for various reasons, including the fact that NTP had threatened to obtain an injunction preventing all BlackBerry use until the issue was worked out. RIM, obviously, could not let this happen.
What many people do not know, however, is that the lawyers for NTP, Washington DC firm Wiley, Rein & Fielding, received one-third of the settlement figure. That’s over US$200 ($280) million — a figure that exceeds their average yearly revenue.
With this in mind, Folklaw surmises that we really should have changed the title of last week’s Scottish solicitor story to [Non-American lawyers don’t earn enough].