Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wisconsin appellate court chastises attorney for violating rules of appellate procedure regarding brief format

The case is Cottonwood Financial v. Estes, from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District III, dated May 25, 2010.  In the decision which involves review of an arbitration decision for unconscionability, the court notes in  paragraph 25 that the appellant's (Este's) brief:

violated the rules of appellate procedure by failing to provide proper citation to the appellate record or to the relevant case law. While not bothering to properly cite within it, Estes also submitted an excessively long, 230-page appendix. Including nearly the entire record in the appendix defeats the very purpose of an appendix. Further, her brief’s table of authorities fails to comply with WIS. STAT. RULE 809.19(1)(a), which requires “reference to the pages of the brief on which [the authorities] are cited.” It is unacceptable to merely indicate “passim,” without indicating even the first page at which an authority appears in the brief. Nor is it acceptable to list in the table nine chapters of the Wisconsin statutes as a single authority, or, for that matter, a single chapter, or an entire code, or multiple sections of a federal act—all of which Estes did here, and all of which direct us only to “passim.”

The court goes on to criticize the appellant for filing a one page "letter" instead of a formal reply brief.  As a result, the court fined appellant's counsel and barred the appellant from recovering costs associated with the appeal.  You can read the full decision here.

A big hat tip to Chris Wren.

I am the scholarship dude.




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As a lawyer who does criminal appeals, I have two recurring nightmares. One is being in jail as an inmate. The other is being called out in an appellate opinion like this.

Posted by: Scott Key | Jun 22, 2010 12:33:12 PM

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