Trials & Litigation

Judge Uses Limerick to Order Lawyer to Pare Down 465-Page Suit

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Using a five-line limerick to make his point, a federal judge has ordered a Vancouver, Wash., lawyer to rewrite a racketeering suit.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton invoked civil procedure rules that require a “short and plain statement” of allegations. And Judge Leighton used some poetic license to make his point:

“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 re-write and re-file today.”

The Seattle Times reports that the judge was particularly annoyed with an 18-page section of the suit against GMAC Mortgage that names six defendants. The section is made up “largely of useless repetition.” Also, the first allegation in the suit doesn’t come until page 30.

Leighton, however, noted that the lawyer, Dean Browning Webb, managed to successfully argue his point in two pages with an earlier motion.

Read more examples of “poetic justice” in the’s question of the week.

Updated at 10:53 a.m. to correct the number of defendants.

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