Thursday, April 29, 2010

Silvaco Data Systems v. Intel (Cal. Ct. App. - April 29, 2010)

I wasn't particularly interested in the underlying merits of this opinion, which is what it is. But I did find interesting Justice Rushing's comments about (of all things) the appendix. Not something we generally discuss at length in an appellate opinion.

Check it out (with citations deleted):

"Although this case was decided largely on the pleadings, it has somehow generated an appendix over 8000 pages in length. Seldom have so many trees died for so little. We see three causes for this wretched excess. The first is the inclusion of hundreds of pages of printouts of legal authorities retrieved from online sources. The rules require that, for the convenience of trial judges, some such materials be 'lodged' in the superior court when cited. There is no requirement that they be included in the record on appeal, and ordinarily they have no place in it. This court can more easily retrieve authorities through its own resources than it can find them—or anything else—in an 8000-page appendix.

A second cause of overkill is that each of the appendix's 27 volumes includes an index to the entire appendix. This would be a welcome convenience if not for the fact that the index is 103 pages long—a bulk that, replicated 27 times, consumes more than one-third of the appendix. This remarkable feat is achieved by listing not only every distinct filing, but every exhibit or attachment to each filing. We are thus called upon to thumb through page after page of references to exhibit titles, including lodged authorities (see preceding paragraph). This level of detail exceeds the requirements of the rules, and when it enlarges the index to the present extent, largely defeats the index's purpose.

The third source of unnecessary length is the duplicative inclusion of multiple copies of documents that were filed repeatedly in the superior court. We assume these duplicate filing were intended as a convenience to the trial court, but when they inflate a record to the present proportions they are hardly a convenience to us.

There are of course cases in which records this size, and many times this size, are unavoidable. But as the sheer size of the record increases, it become increasingly important for appellate counsel to take an active role in ensuring that the record is no larger, and no less easily navigated, than accuracy and necessity dictate. The present case appears to be one of those rare instances when, contrary to the maxim, superfluity does vitiate. (See Civ. Code, § 3537.)"

I particularly loved the obscure Section 3537 reference. Nice.