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Ray
New Orleans, Louisiana, Earth
Interests: especially walker percy and (lately) flannery o'connor., southern writers
Recent Activity
Fair is fair. Yesterday I criticized a petition for certiorari, filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, as being incomprehensible. It’s only fair to present the filing lawyer’s side of the story. So here is his response to the Court’s show-cause order, with some redactions (presumably to protect intellectual property). Hat... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Louisiana Civil Appeals
In U.S. ex rel. Little v. Shell Exploration & Production Co., 14-20156 (5th Cir. Feb. 23, 2015) (unpublished), the Fifth Circuit not only reversed a summary judgment, but also ordered that, on remand, the case be reassigned to a different district judge. Why? Here is the sequence of events in... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Louisiana Civil Appeals
In contrast to the incomprehensible cert petition described in my last post, here is a lesson on conveying your message, not only with clarity, but also with heart. The instructor is Johnny Cash. The short version: prefer short, plain words. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Here is another lesson in how not to write. A couple of months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court not only denied a petition for certiorari; the Court ordered the lawyer who filed the petition to show cause “why he should not be sanctioned for his conduct as a member of... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Here is a reminder that several amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure are now being considered. They include shortening the word limits for briefs as follows: Under amended Rule 32, the word limit for principal briefs would be reduced from 14,000 words to 12,500 words. The word limit... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Appellate lawyers sometimes pitch in on complex motions filed in the district court—motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, Daubert motions, etc. If your practice includes this sort of work in the Middle District of Louisiana, then you’ll be interested in the Middle District’s proposed amendments to the local rules,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Today the Louisiana Supreme Court denied rehearing in a case. What makes this ruling notable are the concurring opinions of Justices Knoll and Crichton, who expressed offense at the language and a pair of illustrations included in the application. If you’d like to see what not to do when applying... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
If you’re writing a brief for a Louisiana court of appeal or the U.S. Fifth Circuit, you must include a summary of the argument. The same goes for a writ application to the Louisiana Supreme Court. But the rules offer little guidance on how to write the summary except to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Yesterday I wrote a post about the status of efforts to create a specialization in appellate practice in Louisiana. For those who are interested, here is a copy of the proposed specialization standards, as revised following the public hearing in December 2014. It includes revisions made in response to comments... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Today Louis LaCour, chair of the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Appellate Section, reported by e-mail to section members that “[the] proposal for the creation of a new specialty with the Louisiana Board of Specialties will be put before the House of Delegates at its June meeting. The Board reviewed the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Over at the Antitrust Attorney Blog, Jarod Bona analyzes the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Gelboim v. Bank of America. The skinny version: when a case is caught up in multi-district litigation, it retains its identity as an individual case. Meaning that a final judgment as to that case... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Today I started working on an application to the court of appeal for a supervisory writ, and was reminded of my # 1 tip for this task: the first thing you do—before you write a word—is assemble the attachments. Uniform Rule 4-5 lists the attachments that must be included. I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Some good news for the end of the year: the Supreme Court of the United States is moving toward electronic filing, possibly as soon as 2016. They will still require paper copies, though, at least initially. For details, see the SCOTUSblog. And to all readers out there: thank you for... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2014 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Federal appellate practitioners should take note of the U.S. Fourth Circuit’s recent decision in Barlow v. Colgate Palmolive Co., No. 13-1839 (4th Cir. Nov. 25, 2014). The decision holds that an order to remand a removed case to state court—ordinarily unreviewable under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(d)—can be vacated under Fed.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2014 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
The Appellate Section of the Louisiana State Bar Association has filed a petition with the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization seeking certification of a specialty in appellate practice. Here are PDF copies of the petition and the proposed standards for board certification. The Board has scheduled a public hearing to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2014 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
The U.S. Fifth Circuit has rolled out a new web site. Check it out. Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2014 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
How would the Supreme Court look with the justices and lawyers played by dogs? Something like this. Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2014 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
This morning, I presented an hour of CLE on appellate practice for the Louisiana State Bar Association’s “Bridging the Gap” seminar, a program for newly minted lawyers who passed the February 2014 bar exam. For attendees and anyone else who may be interested, here are some supplemental materials used or... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2014 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Today the Louisiana Second Circuit announced a few amendments to the Uniform Rules. If you need a copy, click here to download the PDF. Here is my take on the amendments: Rule 2-18.2, governing the time to apply for rehearing, has been updated to accommodate electronic notification of the court’s... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2014 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Today the U.S. Fifth Circuit posted this notice regarding tabs in record excerpts: Fifth Circuit Rule 30.1.7 provides that the electronic PDF version of the record excerpts should contain pages representing the “tabs” identified in the index of the document. However, we remind attorneys that the paper copies of record... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2014 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
I am no expert in drafting contracts; that expert is Ken Adams. But this post of his resonates with me as a briefwriter. I don’t like boilerplate anything in persuasive writing. Why? Because nobody reads boilerplate. If you have not put any thought into the sentence, if you have not... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2014 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Tip of the day for appellate lawyers: handle the court’s record with care. Try to avoid spilling coffee or Diet Coke on it. And if you smoke, well, heed n. 1 in this recent decision by an Indiana appellate court: We note, as we have in a prior memorandum decision,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2014 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Bryan Garner tells participants in his seminars that good writing makes the reader feel smart, while bad writing makes the reader feel stupid. What is the root of this kind of bad writing? Mark Herrmann has an idea about that, drawn from cognitive scientistSteven Pinker: we think that our readers... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2014 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
If so, take a look at this bit of wisdom shared by Mark Herrmann. As for me: I like where I am. I didn’t get here with circuit court or Supreme Court credentials (I don’t have any); just an aptitude for the work coupled with years of experience. My only... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2014 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Our friends at Texas Appellate Watch report on proposed amendments to Fed. R. App. P. 32, lowering the word limit for principal briefs from 14,000 to 12,500, and for reply briefs from 7,000 to 6,250. The deadline for comments is February 17, 2015. If you want to comment, click here... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2014 at Louisiana Civil Appeals