United States

Swiftly dismissed

A recent copyright claim brought by an American composer against Taylor Swift was dismissed with irredeemable irony. The claim alleged that Ms Swift had incorporated a 22-word phrase into the lyrics for "Shake It Off". Dismissing the claim, the judge commented:

“At present, the Court is not saying that Braham can never, ever, ever get his case back in court. But, for now, we have got problems, and the Court is not sure Braham can solve them.

As currently drafted, the Complaint has a blank space — one that requires Braham to do more than write his name. And, upon consideration of the Court’s explanation … Braham may discover that mere pleading Band-Aids will not fix the bullet holes in his case.

At least for the moment, Defendants have shaken off this lawsuit.”

Citation: Braham v Swift (Unreported, 10 November 2015, Standish J)

A wayward Chevy struck a tree

Aspiring poet-judges take note, for this is possibly the best (or worst) example of judicial prose in the brief history of the genre.

A wayward Chevy struck a tree
Whose owner sued defendants three.
He sued car’s owner, driver, too,
And insurer for what was due
For his oak tree that now may bear
A lasting need for tender care.

The Oakland County Circuit Court,
John N O’Brian, J, set forth
The judgment that defendants sought,
And quickly an appeal was brought.
Court of Appeals, J H Gillis, J,
Gave thought and then had this to say:

1) There is no liability,
Since No-Fault grants immunity,
2) No jurisdiction can be found
Where process service is unsound;

And thus the judgment, as it’s termed
Is due to be, and is

Citation: 333 NW 2d 67 (Mich App, 1983) (citations omitted)

A Rock and an Island

When in doubt, refer to pop music lyrics: semantically illuminating and it demonstrates judicial hipness:

The Government argued that the Notty was in international waters or on the “high seas” because “Saint Vincent Rock is a rock. If it was an island, it would be called Saint Vincent Island, not Saint Vincent Rock.” Ultimately, we must determine whether it is a rock or an island according to the statutory definitions provided by the Archipelagic Act. We note in passing that for some purposes, the label is not altogether satisfying. Thus, for example, in the metaphysical sense, we can discern no reason why something could not be both a rock and an island at the same timeSee Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, I am a Rock, on Sounds of Silence (Columbia 1966) (“A winter’s day, in a deep and dark December. I am alone, gazing from my window, to the streets below, on a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. I am a rock, I am an island. I’ve built walls, a fortress deep and mighty, that none may penetrate. I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain. It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain. I am a rock, I am an island. Don’t talk of love. Well I’ve heard the word before. It’s sleeping in my memory. I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died. If I never loved, I never would have cried. I am a rock, I am an island. I have my books and my poetry to protect me. I am shielded in my armor. Hiding in my room, safe within my womb, I touch no one and no one touches me. I am a rock, I am an island. And a rock feels no pain. And an island never cries.”). Of course, neither Simon nor Garfunkel has been identified as a nautical expert.

Citation: 336 F 3d 1269 (11th Cir, 2003)

This case is rehearsed // reversed

Brown was accused of a drug offence. One of his key witnesses was unavailable at trial. Judge Harrison of the Court of Appeals of Georgia refused to grant an adjournment, and Brown was convicted as a result. On appeal, the defendant argued that a miscarriage of justice had occurred. Reversing the decision of Judge Harrison, the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial. In allowing the appeal, one member of the Court -- Evans J -- took the unconventional measure of giving his reasons in rhyming couplets -- apparently in response to a challenge issued by Judge Harrison one year previously. The poem is, with respect to Evans J, not in the league of Yeats or Auden -- indeed, his Honour is the first to observe that 'the language used, at best, is mere doggerel' and, perhaps by way of justification, that it was 'no easy task to write the opinion in rhyme'. We do not have such things in Australia.

The D A was ready
His case was red-hot.
Defendant was present,
His witness was not.[fn1]

He prayed one day’s delay
From His honor the judge.
But his plea was not granted
The Court would not budge.[fn2]

So the jury was empanelled
All twelve good and true
But without his main witness
What could the twelve do?[fn3]

The jury went out
To consider his case
And then they returned
The defendant to face.

“What verdict, Mr Foreman?”
The learned judge inquired.
“Guilty, your honor.”
On Brown’s face — no smile.  Read more »

Citation: Brown v State, 134 Ga App 771, 216 S E 2d 356 (1975)
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