Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Bleak House in Charlottesville

In Grover v. Comdial Corp., Judge Michael granted the plaintiff's motion to for a second remand of the case to state court, over the defendant's claim of ERISA preemption, in an opinion that begins: "The history of this case is long and tortured, evoking the well-known image of Mr. Dickens’ Jarndyce and Jarndyce, a case in equity dragging 'its dreary length before the court, perennially hopeless.'"

We had no Dickens references in the opinions that were published during my clerkship, years ago, but my fellow law clerk did manage to insert what to my knowledge is the only published reference to the plot of the movie "Body Heat." See U.S. v. Stapleton, 730 F. Supp. 1375, 1378 n.6 (W.D. Va. 1990) ("This motive for murdering the husband has been the subject of countless books and films, e.g., the recent motion picture entitled Body Heat."). Body Heat is well-known to law students (or it was in my day) as the film in which the Kathleen Turner character picks out the lawyer played by William Hurt to be her paramour and co-conspirator in the murder of her husband based on his prior history of flubbing the Rule Against Perpetuities, as discussed here, here, and here.

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