Remember in elementary school how your teacher would constantly harp on you about penmanship? No? Apparently, once again, I’m the odd man out as my first-grade teacher said my handwriting was comparable to Jeffrey Dahmer’s. Well Mrs. Donaldson, at least I haven’t wasted my life for the past 20 years teaching a bunch of snot-nosed kids… Anyway the point I was trying to make is that all that emphasis your parents, teachers, and adults in general have been putting on you since you were young about making things neat had a purpose after all.
It seems that our justice system is being run by a bunch of Catholic school nuns hell-bent on tidiness because court cases are being thrown out for completely arbitrary reasons. How arbitrary you ask? How about poorly-stapled-document arbitrary?
Yes, that’s right people, if you’re planning on filing a claim in the New York Supreme Court, you better make sure your papers are aligned properly and the sharp points on your staples are filed down because the nuns running that court are also made out of sugar. According to Justice Charles J. Markey, “[T]he poor stapling of the papers was so negligent as to inflict, and did inflict repeatedly, physical injury to the court personnel handling them.” That must’ve been one incredibly bad staple job…
I’d hate to be the attorney on that one, what an uncomfortable phone call you’d have to make to the client.
“My motion was denied? But how, I thought my case had a sound legal basis?? What, a staple??”
Now to be fair, that staple from hell did draw blood, twice. And at the very least the court gave a reason for denying the motion, as unjustified as it may be, which is much better than what some courts give those trying to shove their cases before an almighty judge. The court also claims that the reason for the denial stemmed from the lawyer forgetting to include his signature as well as missing affidavits from the plaintiff. Way to recover…
Seriously though, a staple? Reading this story, one can’t help but think of the first rule of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: “all civil actions and proceedings in the United States district courts…should be construed and administered to secure the just…determination of every action and proceeding.” Which any smart-ass first-year law student can tell you basically means that the court is supposed to look at all claims so as to do justice for all those involved. Justice. Denying a plaintiff’s motion because the staple they used to keep their documents from flying apart doesn’t sound very fair to me (and I hope it doesn’t to you either). Whatever happened to, oh I don’t know, judging claims on their merits? Call me crazy and old-fashioned, but I’m just one of the nutty guys who still believe that courts were created to judge everything fairly. They should really start tearing down those blind justice statutes all over the place.
So what’s the moral of this story? Evidently, it’s that when you hire a lawyer make sure you insist that they include their kindergarten teacher on their list of references.