How not to impress the judge

Earlier today the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed a motion to dismiss in the case of Kelley v. Cambridge Historical Commission (12-P-1309).  From the following description, I get the sense that the plaintiff’s complaint failed to impress the justices:

“[It] is written in a discursive, stream of consciousness style, it lacks any organizational coherence, and it is riddled with overblown language and inappropriate ad hominem attacks. As a result, the specific legal theories on which the plaintiffs purport to rely are not readily discernible.”

Then, in a footnote, they add: “We appreciate the difficulties the motion judge faced as he diligently tried to make sense of the plaintiffs’ alleged causes of action.”

From time to time (like most attorneys, I suspect) I have had to discuss with a client why things did not turn out as well as hoped, and although those conversations have always been professional not one of them has ever been delightful. But I am relieved that not once have I had to explain anything like the judicial blasting above.

While I do not know the lawyer who prompted it, I am grateful to him: I plan on framing and showing the foregoing expression of the Appeals Court’s ire to anyone who expresses misgivings about the admittedly spare and to-the-point nature of my legal writing.

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