Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram

“This is not a pomp and circumstance firm.”

Marty Saturn – Executive Vice President, Meisel Capital Partners

SMACKDOWN: Disrespectful and Uncivil Language

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a rebuke to the US Attorneys Office regarding the use of disrespectful or uncivil language in appellate briefs. In U.S. v. Venable, No. 11-4216 n.4 (4th Cir. February 15, 2012), the court stated:

"[W]e feel compelled to note that advocates, including government lawyers, do themselves a disservice when their briefs contain disrespectful or uncivil language directed against the district court, the reviewing court, opposing counsel, parties or witnesses. … Unfortunately, the government’s brief is replete with such language: it disdains the district court’s “abrupt handling” of Appellant’s first case; sarcastically refers to Appellant’s previous counsel’s “new-found appreciation for defendant’s mental abilities”; criticizes the district court’s “oblique language” on an issue unrelated to this appeal; states that the district court opinion in Jones “revealed a crabby and complaining reaction to Project Exile”; insinuates that the district court’s concerns “require[] a belief in the absurd that is similar in kind to embracing paranormal conspiracy theories”; and accuses Appellant of being a “charlatan” and “exploit[ing] his identity as an African-American.” The government is reminded that such disrespectful and uncivil language will not be tolerated by this court. (citations to Appellee’s brief omitted)."

This note should serve as a reminder to anyone writing pleadings—stay civil. No matter how much you think the object of your derision deserves it, keep the snide comments out of your writing.

Found In: Litigation

Did You Know . . .

Members of the SLS trial group have tried in excess of 50 jury trials and 75 bench trials?

The SLS construction group has worked on sports stadiums across the country including Orioles Park in Baltimore and Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati?

The SLS construction group has worked on power plant projects across the country?

In 2007 SLS was selected for an Honorable Mention as one of the Best Places To Work in Washington DC?

Ron Shapiro, Steve Schram and Judd Lifschitz have all been selected as SuperLawyers by Law and Politics?

The SLS office building is an historic townhouse constructed in the late 1800s?

SLS has been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a Preeminent Law Firm?

SLS trial lawyers have argued appeals in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal for the 4th, 5th, 9th, D.C. and Federal Circuit?

SLS trial lawyers have been lead trial counsel in cases in Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia, - to name just a few?

Virtually all the cases that SLS trial lawyers mediated have been favorably settled at mediation?

The transactional group at SLS was lead counsel on one of the largest, most complex mixed-use projects in downtown Washington, DC involving 4 lenders and 6 property owners?

In appreciation for the outstanding efforts of each of its employees during 2007, SLS gave everyone (attorneys, paralegals, and staff) a 4 day/3 night expense paid trip to Key West, Florida?

The transactional group at SLS has represented tenants in more than 200 retail leases in the Mid-Atlantic region?

Every attorney in the transactional group at SLS has at least 15 years experience?

The transactional group at SLS has represented developers in the purchase, construction, financing and/or sale of more than 75 multi-family apartment projects?

The transactional group at SLS has represented real estate investors and developers with respect to property in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Michigan and the U.S. Virginia Islands?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented eight national banks in commercial real estate loans?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented the FDIC, the Resolution Trust Corporation and several banking institutions in loan workout transactions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region?

The transactional group at SLS has represented homebuilders and commercial real estate developers in work-outs of individual loans and also for work-outs of large portfolios involving dozens of properties in several states?

The trial lawyers of SLS have numerous reported decisions to their credit?