Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Is this the most poorly written judicial decision ever?

With individual sentences topping out at more than 300 words each, Eric Turkewitz of the New York Personal Injury Blog sure thinks so:

A decision from the Second Department in December in Dockery v Sprecher, regarding a $109M medical malpractice verdict that was reduced to $9 million for a brain damaged man. The first sentence of the decision, regarding the procedural history, weighs in at a staggering 303 words. Without any semicolons. Is there a secret law that says writing a procedural history must induce dread on the part of the reader?

But wait! There's more! Not to be outdone, the second sentence of the same decision laughs in the face of the first, stomping it into the ground with a jaw-dropping 343 words. But at least that has two semicolons. (Both re-printed below.)

Really, is such gobstopping exposition necessary? Have simple, declarative sentences been outlawed? Is clarity a crime?

I challenge anyone to find a sentence in another judicial opinion of such length.

You can read the rest of Mr. Turkewitz's post here, included excerpts of the offending opinion.

Hat tip to Above the Law.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legalwriting/2010/03/is-this-the-most-poorly-written-judicial-decision-ever.html

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