Trials & Litigation

BigLaw firm scolded by federal judge for disregarding line-spacing orders

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A federal judge in Miami has tossed a legal filing by Darden Restaurants because of a line-spacing violation.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard gave the restaurant’s BigLaw lawyers a chance to refile, but not before delivering a scolding for failing to double-space, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The company’s motion for summary judgment had line spacing of one and one-half lines, with 89 lines of footnotes, Lenard said. In addition, its accompanying statement of undisputed material facts was also improperly spaced.

Lenard cited prior orders requiring filings to be double-spaced, in at least 12-point type and in an easily-readable font, with footnote limits of 46 lines.

Lenard said she had relaxed page limits slightly for summary judgment filings in the age bias case, but any suggestion that relaxation affected formatting requirements “is disingenuous at best.” Lenard said she “will not tolerate a deliberate disregard of court orders” and in the future she could permanently toss an offending motion or deny it outright.

“The court expects counsel for both parties to comply with the spirit as well as the letter of the rules of procedure and this court orders,” Lenard wrote in her July 25 docket order. “Thus, by way of example, in a party’s [statement of undisputed material facts], citations to the record to support a material fact should be set out in the corresponding numbered paragraph, not pulled from the document and plunked down in a ‘Citation Chart.’”

Darden’s motion for summary judgment and statement of undisputed facts are signed by a partner with Seyfarth Shaw, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing the company for alleged age bias at its Seasons 52 restaurants.

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