Give David Sills half a chance and he’ll liven up any ruling — even one about organic compounds in paint and coatings. And have fun while doing it.
Who else but Sills, presiding justice of the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s Santa Ana branch, could issue a ruling — like he did today — referring to a Samuel Beckett play, Star Trek’s Capt. Picard and the Pharaoh’s dealings with the ancient Israelites?
Or write footnotes more entertaining than the ruling itself?
Legal hilarity — or at least wry digs at attorneys, after the jump.
Take this passage from a footnote in today’s opinion in National Paint & Coatings Association Inc. v. South Coast Air Quality Management District, G040122, excoriating the appellant’s attorneys for their heavy use of acronyms.
“Consider, for example, this sentence, committed on page 32 of the appellant’s opening brief: ‘In June 22, 2000, CARB adopted an SCM for AIM coatings.’ Huh?”
Sills, known for his exceptional writing skills, scolded the lawyers for “descending into an alphabet soup of jargon-based acronyms” even after a judge had managed to avoid them while writing an earlier opinion in the same case.
“Judging by the briefing in the case before us now,” Sills wrote, “nobody got the hint. Unfortunately, there are no rehab clinics for acronym addicts.”
He also noted — in a footnote, of course — that the defendant had to be exaggerating by arguing that the trial court judge “carefully reviewed” the record.
“The administrative record is over 65 binders of material,” Sills wrote, “and we doubt that any one human being, not otherwise familiar with the record as it was compiled in real time, could ‘carefully’ review it at all.
“That said,” he added, “this trial judge most certainly reviewed the important parts: We found his tabs on various portions of it, which apparently were not removed as the boxes of binders made their trip over to this court.”
And true to his promise on page 2, Sills didn’t use any acronyms on pages 3 through 30 as part of his court’s “small protest against the further uglification of the English language.”
Way to go FDCA! Or, as Sills would prefer, Fourth District Court of Appeal!
— Mike McKee