We confess that among the many benefits of being a DDL blogger, one of our favorites is our ability to have a little fun. Let’s face it, legal writing can sometimes be a bit boring. Try as we might, it tends toward being dry. Even when railing against grave injustices, we need to be organized and strategic; we need to include often mundane facts and details; we need to discuss dense, arcane legal precedent. But here, we can compare a legal decision to the most recent episode of the Walking Dead. We can interweave sports loyalties with discussions of local court trends. And we’ve never had to hide our bias – if we don’t like something, we tell you.
We imagine judges sometimes get bored too. And that leads to opinions such as Justice Scalia’s glib dissent in PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin, 532 U.S. 661 (2001) – funny even for those who don’t like golf. Another classic is Noble v. Bradford Marine, Inc., 789 F. Supp. 395 (S.D. Fla. 1992) in which the judge peppered his decision with lines from the movie “Wayne’s World” — holding that defendant’s “most bogus” attempt at removal is “not worthy” and finding that the defendant must “party on” in state court. Sections of the opinion are labeled “Hurling Chunks” and “A Schwing and a Miss.” And there is any number of examples of decisions written in verse.
So, when we were reading the case for today’s post – granting a plaintiff’s motion to remand and rejecting defendants’ fraudulent joinder argument – we knew we wouldn’t be celebrating the result. But we can tip our caps to the prose. Not often do you find this smattering of words and phrases in a single decision: “checkered history,” “potential hitch,” “time bomb,” “hangover,” and “tyranny of labels.” It’s not a poem and it doesn’t read like a mystery novel, but it made the read a little more enjoyable. And that’s about the only thing that made it enjoyable.