Judge Enters “Order Denying Motion for Incomprehensibility”

Several grounds exist for a judge denying a lawyer’s motion.  Now we have a new one: incomprehensibility.

Displeased with a lawyer’s inartful motion-drafting, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Leif M. Clark (W.D. Tex.) entered an order captioned “Order Denying Motion for Incomprehensibility.” The judge couldn’t figure out what the heck the defendant was requesting in a motion titled, “Defendant’s Motion to Discharge Response to Plaintiff’s Response to Defendant’s Response Opposing Objection to Discharge.”

Judge Clark said: “The court cannot determine the substance, in any, of the Defendant’s legal argument, nor can the court even ascertain the relief that the Defendant is requesting. The Defendant’s motion is accordingly denied for being incomprehensible.”

Perhaps worried that the defendant might miss his point, Judge Clark appended a footnote in which he invoked the following quotation from the Adam Sandler movie, Billy Madison:

Mr. Madison [Sandler’s character], what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I’ve ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response was there anything that could even be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no point, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Order Denying Motion for Incomprehensibility, In re King, Case No. 05-56485-C, Feb. 21, 2006. Thanks to Sharee Moser.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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