Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Drafting the Opening Paragraph of a Court Document

A lawyer should use the opening paragraph of a court document to advance the client’s cause. Consider this traditional opening paragraph:

 PLAINTIFF BELCOM COMPUTER

COMPANY, INC.’S OPPOSITION

TO DEFENDANT WORLDWIDE

TELCO, INC.’S MOTION TO

DISMISS OR, IN THE

ALTERNATIVE, TO STRIKE

PLEADINGS BASED ON

PLAINTIFF’S VIOLATION OF THIS

COURT’S JUNE 13, 2003 ORDER

TO THE HONORABLE JUDGE OF

SAID COURT:

NOW COMES PLAINTIFF BELCOM

COMPUTER COMPANY, INC.

(‘‘Belcom’’), and files this its Opposition

to Defendant Worldwide Telco, Inc.’s

(‘‘Worldwide’s’’) Motion to Dismiss or, in

the Alternative, to Strike Pleadings Based

on Plaintiff ’s Violation of This Court’s

June 13, 2003 Order (‘‘Worldwide’s Motion

to Dismiss’’), and for its Opposition,

Belcom would respectfully show unto this

Honorable Court as follows:

[97 words]

Now compare this version:

Belcom’s Opposition to

Worldwide’s Motion to Dismiss

or Strike

 Belcom has fully complied with this

Court’s June 13, 2003 order to amend

its complaint. As the order requires, Belcom’s

amended complaint states specific

facts supporting its contention that Worldwide

deceived the patent office in applying

for the patent at issue, thus rendering

the patent invalid. Instead of disputing

those facts, Worldwide now seeks drastic

relief—asking this Court to dismiss or

strike Belcom’s invalidity claim. Worldwide’s

motion should be denied.

[80 words]

 I think most of us prefer the second version. For a discussion of why the second version is better, please click here for Beverly RayBurlingame’s article in the June Michigan Bar Journal.

(ljs)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2014/07/drafting-the-opening-paragraph-of-a-court-document.html

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