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27.4.05

And THAT'S called an ass-whipping

Don't you feel bad for these attorneys??? This is a PUBLISHED opinion. Published. (In fact, it's my favorite opinion. It's better than the case where the court didn't have jurisdiction over Satan.)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Before proceeding further, the Court notes that this case involves two extremely likable lawyers, who have together delivered some of the most amateurish pleadings ever to cross the hallowed causeway into Galveston, an effort which leads the Court to surmise but one plausible explanation. Both attorneys have obviously entered into a secret pact -- complete with hats, handshakes and cryptic words -- to draft their pleadings entirely in crayon on the back sides of gravy-stained paper place mats, in the hope that the Court would be so charmed by their child-like efforts that their utter dearth of legal authorities in their briefing would go unnoticed. Whatever actually occurred, the Court is now faced with the daunting task of deciphering their submissions. With Big chief tablet readied, thick black pencil in hand, and a devil-may-care laugh in the face of death, life on the razor's edge sense of exhiliration, the Court begins.
...
Defendant begins the descent into Alice's Wonderland by submitting a Motion that relies upon only one legal authority. The Motion cites a Fifth Circuit case which stands for the whopping proposition that a federal court sitting in Texas applies the Texas statutes of limitations to certain state and federal law claims. That is all well and good -- the Court is quite fond of the Erie doctrine; indeed there is talk of little else around both the Canal and this Court's water cooler. Defendant, however, does not even cite to Erie, but to a mere successor case, and further fails to even begin to analyze why the Court should approach the shores of Erie.

Finally, Defendant does not even provide a cite to its desired Texas limitation statute. A more bumbling approach is difficult to conceive -- but wait folks. There's More!
...
Plaintiff responds to this deft, yet minimalist analytical wizardry with an equally gossamer wisp of an argument, although Plaintiff does at least cite the federal limitations provision applicable to maritime tort claims. Naturally, Plaintiff also neglects to provide any analysis whatsoever of why his claim versus Defendant Phillips is a maritime action. Instead, Plaintiff "cites" to a single case from the Fourth Circuit.

Plaintiff's citation, however, points to a nonexistent Volume "1886" of the Federal Reporter Third Edition and neglects to provide a pinpoint citation for what, after being located, turned out to be a forty-page decision. Ultimately, to the Court's dismay after reviewing the opinion, it stands simply for the bombshell proposition that torts committed on navigable waters (in this case an alleged defamation committed by the controversial G. Gordon Liddy aboard a cruise ship at sea) require the application of general maritime rather than state tort law. See Wells v. Liddy, 186 F.3d 505, 524 (4th Cir. 1999) (What the ..)?!

The Court cannot even begin to comprehend why this case was selected for reference. It is almost as if Plaintiff's counsel chose the opinion by throwing long range darts at the Federal Reporter (remarkably enough hitting a nonexistent volume!). And though the Court often gives great heed to dicta from courts as far flung as those of Manitoba, it finds this case unpersuasive. There is nothing in Plaintiff's cited case about ingress or egress between a vessel and a dock, although counsel must have been thinking that Mr. Liddy must have had both ingress and egress from the cruise ship at some docking facility, before uttering his fateful words.
...
Despite the continued shortcomings of Plaintiff's supplemental submission, the Court commends Plaintiff for his vastly improved choice of crayon -- Brick Red is much easier on the eyes than Goldenrod, and stands out much better amidst the mustard splotched about Plaintiff's briefing. But at the end of the day, even if you put a calico dress on it and call it Florence, a pig is still a pig.

Now, alas, the Court must return to grownup land. As vaguely alluded to by the parties, the issue in this case turns upon which law -- state or maritime -- applies to each of Plaintiff's potential claims versus Defendant Phillips. And despite Plaintiff's and Defendant's joint, heroic efforts to obscure it, the answer to this question is readily ascertained.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I'd be so embarassed...And if you want to know who counsel was:

For JOHN W BRADSHAW, plaintiff:
Harold Joseph Eisenman, Attorney at Law, Houston, TX.

For CORONADO, UNITY MARINE CORPORATION, INC., defendants:
Ronald L White, White Mackillop et al, Houston, TX.

For PHILLIPS PETROLEUM COMPANY, defendant:
Charles Wayne Lyman, Giessel Barker & Lyman, Houston, TX.

For UNITY MARINE CORPORATION, INC., cross-claimant:
Ronald L White, White Mackillop et al, Houston, TX.

For PHILLIPS PETROLEUM COMPANY, cross-defendant:
Charles Wayne Lyman, Giessel Barker & Lyman, Houston, TX.

7 Comments:

  • At 9:23 PM, Anonymous J said…

    Actually, what I want to know is - who was the judge?

     
  • At 10:17 PM, Blogger Dennis! said…

    Wow. I think I would cry if I received an opinion worded like that. And I think I would simply give up the practice of law if that opinion were actually published. Seems unnecessarily mean of the judge, personally.

    BTW, what's the cite for this opinion?

     
  • At 10:27 PM, Blogger Me said…

    K and Dennis!

    The case is Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corp., Inc.

    The Judge is Kent.

    The cite is 147 F. Supp.2d 668 (S.D. Tex. 2001)

     
  • At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Caren said…

    Holy crap. I agree with Dennis, I would so cry. But I have to admit that is one of the most beautifuly written pieces of ass whoopin' I've ever read.

     
  • At 1:07 PM, Blogger p.p. said…

    Stephanie, hilarious! Thanks for the cite.

     
  • At 3:14 PM, Blogger Ontario Emperor said…

    The judge must have had a long day...

     
  • At 10:51 PM, Blogger Me said…

    There were times when I was clerking when I SO wanted to respond to motions and attorneys like that...

     

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