Friday, September 02, 2005

Judge Scolds Arrogant Defense Counsel

As Justice Stone proved once and for all in his legendary dissent in United States v. Carolene Products Co., sometimes the best stuff really is in the footnotes, and well, Judge Reggie B. Walton (D. D.C.) is no exception. Sure, the Plaintiffs won, but you’re ready to head out for Labor Day weekend, grab a cold one, and who really cares, right? Well, read on, because this is what you've hoped for – a judge who finally calls out that slightly overzealous, mildly impolite (OK, who are we kidding, that pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, that belligerent old fart, a worthless steaming pile of cow dung -- figuratively speaking, of course) attorney we all love to hate. Here it is folks, enjoy your holiday. Bet these guys won’t after General Counsel reads this.

"Based upon the papers thus far submitted to this Court, it is clear that this is a highly contentious litigation. Despite the apparent animosity between the parties, counsel are reminded that they are expected to treat each other, and every other individual involved in this litigation, with ‘dignity, respect and civility, both in court and in out-of-court conference, meeting and discovery proceedings.’ (Judge Walton's General Order and Guidelines for Civil Cases). This includes civility in the papers submitted to this Court."

"The papers submitted by the defendants do not demonstrate the dignity and respect the Court expects of litigants appearing before it. See, e. g., Def.'s Reply at 7 ("Defendants agree that a review of the Amended Complaint is a 'painstaking' endeavor."); 18 ("If Plaintiffs do not appear to understand their own claims, how can Defendants?"); 29 ("Defendants are not obligated to teach Plaintiffs how to properly plead their complaint. However, we will give Plaintiffs a clue."). Such condescending invectives do nothing to advance a party's position. As members of the Bar, counsel surely know how to vigorously advance their respective party's position without being disrespectful or mean spirited. The Court will look with disfavor on any further circumstances that warrant such a reminder, and if warranted, will take appropriate action to sanction such behavior."

Finally, somebody said it. Let's just hope someone is listening.

You can read Burman v. Phoenix, issued August 30, 2005, at 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18572.

Nugget: "Construing the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, as this Court must do, it is clear that the plaintiffs predicate their securities fraud claims not on misrepresented projected revenue, as the defendants contend, but rather on the fact that Phoenix allegedly misrepresented that various contracts had been signed."

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