Broussard Case: Get Rrrreeeaddddyyyy To Rrrrruuummmmmbbbblllle

Looks like the State Farm lawyers haven’t given up any billable hours for Lent.   State Farm promised post-judgment motions in Broussard v. State Farm, and has served notice that they are on their way big time with this unopposed motion to add allow the filing of an extra-page brief.  Here is a pdf of the motion. 

Most federal districts have a local rule that a party is limited to 35 pages in any brief unless the party obtains advance permission from the court — consent by other parties is not enough.  Over the years, I have found that 35 pages is enough for anything I need to say.  Sometimes I see people who obviously left their briefs until the last minute and found out the day the brief is due, when they finally stuck together all the different sections various lawyers were working on, that the total was well more than 35 pages, too much more to just lop off a couple paragraphs here and there.  At that point, it’s usually too late to get advance permission from the judge, but it’s best to try rather than get sneaky. 

One lawyer recently attempted to sneak an overlength brief through by covertly widening the margins and reducing the type size to 11 points, instead of 12 points. Remember, I used to work in newspapers, including running the student paper in college and working briefly at a couple small weeklies where you do everything from write stories to set type to design and lay out the paper. So I know the difference between 11 point and 12 point at a glance for any type font you care to throw in front of me.  The judge noticed it too — and was not amused.  In another case a couple years ago the judge told the parties to file post-trial briefs on a particular topic.  The opposing party not only filed an overlength brief without asking permission, but didn’t even begin discussing the topic ordered by the judge until page 40.  Not the way to make a good impression on a federal judge, plus they can choose to reject these briefs.  If you have a brief rejected the last day briefing is due, better notify your malpractice carrier a claim is coming.  I’ve also seen desperate folks break their summary judgment motion into three summary judgment motions so they can divide an overlength supporting brief by three and meet the page limit for each of the three.  Outside the spirit of the Rules, if you ask me. 

 

2 Comments

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2 Responses to Broussard Case: Get Rrrreeeaddddyyyy To Rrrrruuummmmmbbbblllle

  1. Scott Jonsson

    As something only a lawyer might appreciate,[and to move away from Katrina blogging for a brief moment] I have had a couple of cases where opposing counsel filed overlength briefs without court consent. The judge later graciously allowed the filing but stopped reading the briefs at the 35th page. This is usually where the author’s “best stuff” appears after a
    lengthy buildup of some 34+ pages. Tough losses for the windy ones.
    Keep up with the excellent blogging. It is excellent preparation for the rest of us when a natural disaster will strike elsewhere in the USA in the future.

  2. The word “Faith” is ingrained in American society and the American way of life. It is the bastion of religious belief as well as the trust that allows us to achieve a comfort level to deal with others in our every day lives. So too is this “faith” ingrained in the very fiber of a contractual relationship between parties. The Restatement of Contracts 2nd speaks of the basic premise upon which all contracts are based as the concept of “Good Faith and Fair Dealing” which is assumed in the performance of contractual obligations and provisions.
    Company’s obligations and commitments under the terms of its contract with its insured. Most states, understanding the extreme importance of an Insurance Company’s performance, at a time when its insured is most vulnerable, have legislatively mandated laws intended to enforce an insurance company’s commitments. They have enacted State Insurance Bad Faith Statutes for this purpose. These laws/causes of action are provided for the insured that is harmed by, or the victim of, the carriers’ acting in “Bad Faith” when handling its insured’s claim under his/her policy of insurance.
    What Is Bad Faith, Anyway?
    Black’s Law Dictionary defines bad faith as, “the opposite of good faith, generally implying or involving actual or constructive fraud, or a design to mislead or deceive another, or neglect or refusal to fulfill some duty or some contractual obligation, not prompted by an honest mistake as to one’s rights or duties, but by some interested or sinister motive.”