Judge Warns Lawyers About Appeals of His Rulings

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A federal judge overseeing a racial discrimination suit filed by five black police officers against the city of Minneapolis warned lawyers they need to display the “right attitude” during a hearing on Thursday.

David told the lawyers they could face sanctions if the case becomes too litigious by repeated appeals of his rulings, the Minneapolis Star Tribune (reg. req.) reports.

Davis issued the warning after denying a motion by the city to strike several allegations in the suit (PDF) that it considers to be impertinent, scandalous and immaterial. Davis said the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had “smacked my hand” when he struck “nasty” language from a suit about state Supreme Court Justice Alan Page.

Davis said “you couldn’t imagine what my docket would look like” if he had to hold a hearing every time somebody wanted language removed from a suit.

The city’s motion to strike (PDF) had argued that the officers’ complaint contains scandalous material and “is rife with allegations that cannot possibly be put into evidence against defendants as they are outside the statute of limitations.”

One of the allegations the city wanted to strike concerned a 1992 letter signed KKK that was sent to African-American police officers. Another allegation concerned a police lieutenant’s discriminatory comments about a gay mayoral aide and a motorcycle jacket he wore with a “white power” badge sewn into it. Others concerned allegations that as a teenager the police chief had distributed racist literature, a charge denied by the city.

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