Wednesday, June 18, 2003

On the need for shorter complaints - from Findlaw

This article on why plaintiffs file too-long complaints is right on the money.

The longer I'm a lawyer, the more I think that less is more, in pleadings, briefs, and trials - which reminds me of a joke I heard about the lawyer who files his brief at the last minute and says, "I'm sorry, your Honor, I didn't have time to write a shorter brief."

I have a federal case going now where the other side is claiming fraud and the other is claiming defamation, so on the pleadings, I was arguing their fraud claim is no good because it was not stated with particularity under Rule 9, but on our defamation claim, the Virginia rule requiring pleading with particularity does not apply, and so our claim is good even if it is missing a few details which can be fleshed out in discovery.

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