Tuesday, October 1, 2013


A couple of clowns shy of a circus ...

(Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corp. US Dist. Court, S.D. Texas)

This case, penned the Court, “involves two extremely likable lawyers”—yes, a nice beginning, but (affability be damned!) things turned immediately ugly—“two extremely likeable lawyers who ... have obviously entered into a secret pact—complete with hats, handshakes and cryptic words—to draft their pleadings entirely in crayon on the back sides of gravy-stained paper place mats, in the hope that the Court would be so charmed by their child-like efforts that their utter dearth of legal authorities in their briefing would go unnoticed.”

The Court was left on its own to deduce whether plaintiff’s claim for injuries suffered while working aboard a vessel using defendant’s dock was subject to Texas’ two-year statute of limitations or the three-year federal statute for maritime personal injuries.  If Texas law applied, plaintiff’s claim was time barred.  This was not an easy task.  And the Court’s apparent frustration bubbled out in its (odd) interjection (made with nary a semblance of a sequitur) that, “[A]t the end of the day, even if you put a calico dress on it and call it Florence, a pig is still a pig.”

The Court summed up with a pat on its own judicial back: “After this remarkably long walk on a short legal pier”—the Court’s analysis was pretty lengthy—and “having received no useful guidance whatever from either party, the Court has endeavored, primarily based upon its affection for both counsel, but also out of its own sense of morbid curiosity, to resolve what it perceived to be the legal issue presented.  Despite the waste of perfectly good crayon seen in both parties’ briefing (and the inexplicable odor of wet dog emanating from such)”—no explanation provided for this stenchy canine comment—“the Court believes it has satisfactorily resolved this matter.”

The Texas statute controls.  Plaintiff loses.

John S. Spencer

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