Those of you who have been reading The Amateur Law Professor for a while remember the lymeric ruling out of the Western District of Washington. A good friend of mine, MWR, recently sent me this tidbit, which he found originally at the EDTexas Blog. The opinion, for Keystone Media International, LLC v. Hancock, deals with some parties that seem to be having some maturity issues in their discovery — specifically, depositions.
BE IT REMEMBERED on the 25th day of April 2007 the Court reviewed the file in the above-styled cause, and specifically the defendant Hancock’s Motion for Protection filed April 23, 2001, and after reading it a second time to make sure it was not a practical joke, the Court enters the following:
Stallions can drink water from a creek without a ripple;
The lawyers in this case must have a bottle with a nipple.
Babies learn to walk by scooting and falling;
These lawyers practice law by simply mauling
Each other and the judge, but this must end soon
(Maybe facing off with six shooters at noon?)
Surely lawyers who practice in federal court can take
A deposition without a judge’s order, for goodness sake.
First, the arguments about taking the deposition at all,
And now this-establishing their experience to be small.
So, let me tell you both and be abundantly clear:
If you can’t work this without me, I will be near.
There will be a hearing with pablum to eat
And a very cool cell where you can meet
AND WORK OUT YOUR INFANTILE PROBLEM WITH THE DEPOSITION.
A copy of the actual order can be found here.
There are three things I want to address here. First, the clerk could have done better. This reminds me of the bad poetry you would hear from the mopey kids in 8th grade. The one’s who wore black. I know its an attempt at being funny, and it really is, just by nature of the way most opinions are written. But, by nature, these things spread like wildfire. If you’re going to write something the whole community is going to read, you had better knock their socks off.
Second is the use of “pablum”. I had to look it up. According to Wikipedia, “Pablum is a processed cereal for infants originally marketed by the Mead Johnson Company in 1931. The trademarked name is a contracted form of the Latin word pabulum, meaning “foodstuff”. The name is also used metaphorically, especially in literary criticism, to refer to something bland, unappetizing, or with little content value.” Learn something new every day! If they fail to work it out, they will have a bland hearing of little value…and he’s calling them babies.
Finally, I want to address the last line. I’m sorry, you can’t just break the wall and come out of character. Start as Dr. Seuss, end as Dr. Suess. Because I love the opinion, I will repost Judge Leighton’s famous limerick, which does it right (write?):
Plaintiff has a great deal to say
But it seems he skipped Rule 8-a.
His complaint is too long, which renders it wrong.
Please rewrite and refile today.