U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton (Tacoma, Washington) made a big splash recently when he lambasted a legal filing with a limerick. What prompted him to wax poetic? A 465-page complaint in a racketeering lawsuit failed to comply with a federal rule (FRCP 8(a)) requiring legal complaints to be “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Judge Leighton dismissed the complaint and directed attorney Dean Browning Webb to refile it, in an order that included this limerick.
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 rewrite and refile today.
Although Judge Leighton’s limerick meter is a bit spotty in the first two lines, I think His Honor’s poetic effort deserves a poem in … uh … his honor:
Ode To Judge Ronald Leighton
By Madeleine Begun Kane
Attorneys are often verbose,
Penning legal complaints grandiose,
Writing hundreds pages
And setting off rages
From those who find wordiness gross.
But Judge Leighton showed major restraint
When he ruled on an endless complaint.
In a limerick poem
He said, redo this tome
Cuz in 8(a) compliance it ain’t![tags]Judge Ronald Leighton, FRCP Rule 8(a), Federal Rules Humor, Judicial Humor, Courthouse Verse, Litigation Humor, Racketeering Lawsuit, Poetry, Dean Browning Webb, Legal Complaint[/tags]