Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Busted for formatting tricks

"Objection! Leading!"

Yes, there are still courts that have page limits, not word counts. And yes, there are still lawyers that play formatting tricks to squeeze in extra text. And yes, they get in trouble, as in this order. (See Slate article here.)
     Finally, the Court must address the format of BP’s opposition memorandum. The briefing order allowed BP’s counsel to file a response of up to 35 pages, double-spaced. [cite]. This is 10 pages over the usual limit for response briefs. BP’s counsel filed a brief that, at first blush, appeared just within the 35-page limit. A closer study reveals that BP’s counsel abused the page limit by reducing the line spacing to slightly less than double-spaced. As a result, BP exceeded the (already enlarged) page limit by roughly 6 pages.[fn.4]
     The Court should not have to waste its time policing such simple rules—particularly in a case as massive and complex as this. Counsel are expected to follow the Court’s orders both in letter and in spirit. The Court should not have to resort to imposing character limits, etc., to ensure compliance. Counsel’s tactic would not be appropriate for a college term paper. It certainly is not appropriate here.
     Any future briefs using similar tactics will be struck.
 Be A Warning

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