BREAKING, EXCLUSIVE: Federal judge smacks Johnson v. Gawker lawyer upside the head

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Rules! Always with the rules!
Rules! Always with the rules!

On Thursday, the lawyer representing Chuck C. Johnson in his multi-million-dollar libel/defamation suit against Gawker Media filed a whole bunch of stuff in federal court.

Not a day later, the judge responded with a terse order scolding attorney John C. “Jonathon” Burns for terminal ineptitude. You can read the actual order here, but we will provide a free translation in regular English for those readers not conversant in legal terminology.

Dear Plaintiffs,

Hello again.

So, you remember our last order, where we listed a whole bunch of rules and where to find them, so you can read them and follow them?

At the risk of beating a dead horse with a stick, let us call your attention to this important thing we said,

Order of October 19, 2015 stated in part:[W]hen leave to file a document is required, the document for which leave is sought must be submitted as an attachment to the motion for leave, and not filed as a separate document. See Administrative Procedures for Case Management/Electronic Case Filing, Sec. II.B.

You failed to do this. Twice. In the same set of filings, with two different titles.

Now, we understand that you’re just a country lawyer running a small office, and your days are probably just chock full of AD&D cases, DUIs and slip-and-falls, not to mention collating hundreds of pages for a libel suit, so observing the rules of a federal court and the directions of a federal judge probably just got lost in the shuffle.

So, here’s what we’re going to do, because for God’s sake, we want it to get done right once and for all. We’re striking your two proposed amended complaints from the record, and directing the Clerk of the Court — not you, counselor — to attach one copy to your Motion for Leave to File First Amended Complaint, which is where we told you it belongs.

This is not really our job, you know. And we will not do your work for you again. Capiche?

One more thing. Do you remember we told you how to handle filing exhibits? No? It’s in those pesky federal court rules we federal judges are so fond of citing, as we did on Monday. We know you’re really very busy, so we figure you just forgot to follow those rules, too.

Again, we’re not entirely confident you’ll get it right — ever — so we’ll let it slide just this once. My clerks really had nothing better to do than label and identify your exhibits. As you have artfully pointed out, this court is nowhere near as busy as the California or New York District, and the work will keep them from making paper airplanes and origami animals from your previous filings.

Lately, they have been doing dramatic readings of the Affidavit of Charles C. Johnson — in costume, which is really getting on our last nerve.

So really, thanks very much for giving this Court something to do.

Your patient buddy,

Judge Charles A. Shaw
Federal Judge and Copy Editor
23rd October 2015

PS We underworked Missouri District Judges are working on an interpretive dance of the Affidavit of Charles C. Johnson. We’ll be sure to send you an invitation to our performance at the Judge’s Christmas party.

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