Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sheley v. Harrop (Cal. Ct. App. - March 20, 2017)

A full third of this opinion reads like a bench memorandum.  A draft opinion that spells out for the judge what went on below.  Including ten full pages of headings like "Special Motion to Strike," "Respondent's Opposition," "Appellant's Reply," "Oral Argument in the Trial Court," and "The Trial Court's Ruling."  Which might not be so bad if each one of these sections wasn't around a page, and take up ten pages of text.

I know it's a pain to delete stuff you've worked hard writing, and that's at some level relevant to the appeal.  Nonetheless, ten pages of prefatory material really does make the opinion more of a pain to read.  The academic equivalent is 30 single-spaced pages of introductory text to a law review article that "lays out the problem" before even commencing with the point of the piece.

Neither writing method makes things especially easy for the reader.