Friday, July 28, 2017

Focus on the standard of review, please

If the governing standard of review is for abuse of discretion, then the opening brief better focus on that standard. Otherwise, the decision may express some frustration and read something like this:
Image result for missing the target
Missing the target.
     Since the ruling below was one within Judge Wong’s discretion, necessarily our standard of review is whether that discretion was abused.
     Attacking Judge Wong’s decision, plaintiffs have filed a 76-page, 13,923-word brief that uses the word “discretion” three times, twice in quotations from cases. And at no point does plaintiffs’ brief expressly argue that Judge Wong abused his discretion.
     Plaintiffs’ brief has a six-page introduction, a 12-page “procedural history,” and
a 20-page “statement of facts,” setting forth a claimed version of facts that, plaintiffs apparently contend, should have caused the motion to be denied on the merits. That, of course, is not what Judge Wong did.
     Plaintiffs’ opening brief then goes on with a 31-page section it refers to as “Discussion,” which discussion sets forth six questions it asks the reader. We will answer those questions (to the extent we understand them), but first decide the issue before us: whether Judge Wong abused his discretion. And conclude he did not.