Judge sends rambling lawsuit back for a rewrite
Lawyers aren't particularly known for brevity, but Vancouver, Wash., lawyer Dean Browning Webb has taken wordiness to new extremes, according to a federal judge who ordered Webb to tighten his 465-page lawsuit.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Lawyers aren't particularly known for brevity, but Vancouver, Wash., lawyer Dean Browning Webb has taken prolixity (they use words like this, too — it means "wordiness") to new extremes, according to a federal judge who ordered Webb to haul away his 465-page lawsuit and, well, tighten it a bit.
A clearly exasperated U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton in Tacoma granted a rarely used motion for a "more definite statement" involving Webb's racketeering lawsuit against GMAC Mortgage. Leighton found Webb missed the mark in balancing one federal civil rule that envisions a "short and plain statement" of allegations with another that requires allegations of fraud be made "with particularity."
The title of the lawsuit, the judge notes, is eight pages long. It took Webb 18 pages to identify six defendants in a section the judge said "consists of largely useless repetition."
Webb could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Leighton pointed out that the first allegation isn't found until page 30 and that claims go on for 87 pages, "including a 37-page pit-stop to quote e-mails." It isn't until page 117, the judge wrote, that Webb "embarks on an odyssey through his claims for relief" that goes on for 341 pages.
The judge found "some irony" in pointing out that Webb "successfully states his allegations in two pages" in a filing opposing the motion made by an attorney on the other side of the case.
The judge's lyrical conclusion?
"Plaintiff has a great deal to say,
But it seems he skipped Rule 8(a).
His Complaint is too long,
Which renders it wrong,
Please re-write and re-file today."
Mike Carter: 206-464-3706
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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