Monday, November 28, 2011

Judge Posner includes photos in 7th Circuit opinion to illustrate his displeasure with counsel

Although in this instance the use of photographs is humorous (in a sarcastic kind of way), no doubt as we'll see an increasing use of visuals in briefs and judicial opinions to communicate ideas more effectively than words alone as society at large relies more heavily on visuals to communicate.

From the ABA Journal blog:

A federal appeals court is criticizing lawyers who ignore or downplay precedent in an opinion that includes two photos to illustrate.

One picture is of an ostrich and the other is of a man dressed in a suit with his head buried in the sand.

The opinion by Judge Richard Posner of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals takes aim at the appeals filed in two separate cases for ignoring precedent, or for discussing the relevant case only a little.

“The ostrich is a noble animal, but not a proper model for an appellate advocate,” Posner wrote. How Appealing links to the opinion and to a story by Thomson Reuters News & Insight.

The two appeals sought to overturn a judge’s rulings sending one case to courts in Mexico and the other to courts in Israeli under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. One involved a suit alleging an accident in Mexico was caused by defective tires. The other involved a suit claiming Israeli citizens were infected in Israel with contaminated blood products made for hemophiliacs.

In the tire case, the plaintiffs’ lawyer never cited relevant 7th Circuit precedent in the opening or reply brief, though the defendants cited the prior case and said the circumstances were nearly identical, the 7th Circuit opinion says. In the blood contamination case, the plaintiffs' lawyer discussed one precedent “a little,” and another precedent “not at all,” the opinion adds.

"Maybe appellants think that if they ignore our precedents their appeals will not be assigned to the same panel as decided the cases that established the precedents," Posner wrote. "Whatever the reason, such advocacy is unacceptable."

And here's a link to the 7th Circuit opinion.

(jbl).

Update: link fixed

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2011/11/judge-posner-includes-photos-in-7th-circuit-opinion-to-illustrate-his-displeasure-with-counsel.html

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