Thursday, September 14, 2017

In Re J.T. Thorpe (9th Cir. - Sept. 14, 2017)

Sometimes the chambers of one of the judges on a panel writes a lengthy bench memorandum/draft opinion, which it hopes will eventually become the backbone of the ultimate opinion by the panel.  In tons of cases, that in fact transpires.  Efficient for everyone.

But sometimes it doesn't.  Occasionally leading to opinions that look, well, a bit different.

So, for example, for the most part, dissents are concise and targeted.  They're shorter than the majority opinion and, except for additional relevant details, don't recite a full-fledged "Statement of Facts" about the overall cases.  There are other typical characteristics of dissents as well.

But, sometimes, you see opinions like this.

The majority opinion is a crisp five pages long, and contains as its first section the usual factual summary of the case.  It's exactly what you'd expect from a majority opinion.

The dissent, by Judge Korman (sitting by designation from the Eastern District of New York), is 32 pages long.  Over six times the length of the majority opinion.  And around a full nine of those pages -- yes, nine -- simply recite the underlying facts and procedural history in exhaustive detail.

That's fine for a majority (or panel) opinion.  But for a dissent, it's distracting.  To me, anyway.  A ton.

Maybe that's simply Judge Korman's writing style.  Or what you're used to when you've been writing district court opinions for over thirty years.

Readers just typically see something different in Ninth Circuit dissents.  For better, IMHO.