Friday, July 15, 2011

Cheerleader Lawsuit? You Just Can't Make This Up

Since it's Friday and we can all use a dose of levity after a long, busy work week. I found this amusing bit over at the criminal law blog Liberty And Justice For Y'all. It seems that a Texas high school cheerleader squabble ended up in the Federal court system and wound it's way to the 5th Circuit.

I've been in law enforcement for over twenty years and have seen the inside of way too many courtrooms over that career. One thing I always enjoyed was when the participants in a court's proceedings managed to draw the ire of the judge hearing the case. Then is nothing like seeing a judge lose it and give the offending party a dressing down.

So it's with that in mind that I can only imagine that the folks involved in this lawsuit managed to thoroughly tick off the judges that they wrote of their displeasure in this opinion in the case.

Samantha Sanches appeals summary judgment on her claims of sex discrimination and retaliation under 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a) (“title IX”) and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Reduced to its essentials, this is nothing more than a dispute, fueled by a disgruntled cheerleader mom, over whether her daughter should have made the squad. It is a petty squabble, masquerading as a civil rights matter, that has no place in federal court or any other court. We find no error and affirm.

Then near the end, they quote from a brief filed by the "aggrieved" party's attorney where they, in the words of the 5th Circuit "launched an unjustified attack on Magistrate Judge Stickney". They did this is an very unfortunately written legal brief that was included verbatim in the opinion and then throughly mocked in this footnote:

Usually we do not comment on technical and grammatical errors, because anyone can make such an occasional mistake, but here the miscues are so egregious and obvious that an average fourth grader would have avoided most of them. For example, the word “principals” should have been “principles.” The word “vacatur” is misspelled. The subject and verb are not in agreement in one of the sentences, which has a singular subject (“incompetence”) and a plural verb (“are”). Magistrate Judge Stickney is referred to as “it” instead of “he” and is called a “magistrate” instead of a “magistrate judge.” And finally, the sentence containing the word “incompetence” makes no sense as a matter of standard English prose, so it is not reasonably possible to understand the thought, if any, that is being conveyed. It is ironic that the term “incompetence” is used here, because the only thing that is incompetent is the passage itself.

Ouch!

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