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Civil Procedure

Judge Labels Lawyer’s Motion Nearly Incomprehensible, Marks Up Errors

Posted Sep 22, 2009 8:01 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal judge irked at grammatical and typographical errors in a motion for dismissal has blasted the Florida lawyer who filed it and ordered him to copy his client on the criticism.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell denied the motion to dismiss without prejudice, saying that it was “riddled with unprofessional grammatical and typographical errors that nearly render the entire motion incomprehensible.” The judge also attached a copy of the motion that drew his ire, complete with red markings pointing out the errors. Above the Law has the story.

Presnell's order (PDF) also criticized the lawyer, David W. Glasser of Daytona, Fla., for failing to obtain a stipulation of dismissal from the defendant as required by procedural rules and ordered the lawyer to re-read both the local and federal rules in their entirety.

The judge’s marked-up version of Glasser’s motion pointed out these problems:

• Several examples of excess spacing.

• Incorrect use of apostrophes.

• Typographical errors (using the word “this” instead of “thus” and the word “full” instead of “for”).

• Incorrect placement of periods and commas outside of quotation marks.

• Incorrect capitalization.

• Wrong word use (using the phrase the plaintiff “had attended on filing” this action, instead of saying the plaintiff had “intended” to file an action).

• One very long sentence.

Here is an example of some of the problems: “A review counsel’s file subsequent to the court order indicates that for some reason full which counsel is unaware, the defendant named in the complaint was changed to the current defendant. Counsel believes this was changed by counsel’s prior assistant it was no longer with counsel’s firm.”

Glasser did not immediately return a phone call from the ABA Journal seeking comment.

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