Friday, April 9, 2010

Judge Carnes, Storyteller.

I think Judge Carnes has really raised the level in terms of how to write clean, simple, narrative-driven appellate opinions.

His last few all bear the hallmarks of fine storytelling -- a powerful introduction, a strong hook, a sense of leaving the reader wanting more, and a matter-of-fact exposition that flows cohesively from beginning to end.

Consider the opening three paragraphs of this illegal-immigrants-serving-rich-people-fancy-steak tale:
Ruth’s Hospitality Group, the parent company of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, is proud of its origins. The company boasts that forty-five years after its founder, Ruth Fertel, mortgaged her home to purchase her first restaurant, it has grown into a chain of more than 120 steakhouse restaurants in seven countries. Though it has become an international operation, the company insists that “our success continues to be driven by our adherence to Ruth’s core values.” Ruth Fertel 1 “understood the value of each and every employee’s contribution to her success,” and that is why the business continues to be a place “where respect, integrity and pride are a way of life.”2 Not only that but the company “continues to value the unique differences of each and every team member.”3 Or so it says.

The seven former employees of one Ruth’s Chris Steak House franchise who are the plaintiffs in this lawsuit not only beg to differ but also have pleaded to the contrary, at least insofar as the franchise where they worked is concerned. According to their allegations, that particular franchise had the core values of a criminal enterprise and provided anything but an atmosphere of respect, integrity, and pride for its employees. More specifically, they allege that the Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Birmingham, Alabama, knowingly provided illegal aliens with names and social security numbers of American citizens to use for illegal employment, unlawfully took employees’ tips, discriminated on the basis of race, and retaliated against employees who challenged those and other practices.

Those allegations are contained in an amended complaint that asserts claims based on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and Alabama common law. The district court dismissed four of the fifteen counts in the amended complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and certified those rulings as partial final judgments under Rule 54(b). The plaintiffs have appealed those four rulings, and they have attempted to appeal a number of others that were not certified for interlocutory appeal. Our decision, like the complaint and the district court’s judgment, is a mixed bag. We end up reversing the district court’s judgment with respect to the RICO claim, affirming the judgment insofar as it includes the other claims that were certified to us under Rule 54(b), and dismissing for lack of jurisdiction the attempted appeal of the rulings that were not certified to us.
The Judge also employs a continuing "meat" metaphor throughout the Court's RICO discussion that -- ok it's a bit odd -- but maybe that's why it worked for me.

Of course then Judge Carnes goes on to cite Iqbal and that kind of ruined it for us, but he definitely had us going there for a good while.


Anonymous said...

Is Marco Rubio smoking some of Bo's dope?

"Charlie Crist’s liberal appointments to Florida’s judiciary demonstrate a flawed perspective on the judiciary, while his recent position on Justice Sotomayor’s nomination showed his inconsistency in standing up for constitutional rights."


South Florida Lawyers said...

Where's swlip when you really need him?

Anonymous said...

two words:

Steely Dan

Anonymous said...

Royal Scam?

Don Fagen said...

2:05-- Better suited song for this post.

Anonymous said...

And they wandered in
From the city of St. John
Without a dime
Wearing coats that shined
Both red and green
Colors from their sunny island
From their boats of iron
They looked upon the promised land
Where surely life was sweet
On the rising tide
To New York City
Did they ride into the street
See the glory
Of the royal scam

They are hounded down
To the bottom of a bad town
Amid the ruins
Where they learn to fear
An angry race of fallen kings
Their dark companions
While the memory of
Their southern sky was clouded by
A savage winter
Every patron saint
Hung on the wall, shared the room
With twenty sinners

See the glory
Of the royal scam

By the blackened wall
He does it all
He thinks he's died and gone to heaven
Now the tale is told
By the old man back home
He reads the letter
How they are paid in gold
Just to babble in the back room
All night and waste their time
And they wandered in
From the city of St. John without a dime

See the glory
Of the royal scam

South Florida Lawyers said...

I thought of it, but couldn't find any decent live youtube footage.

This is the best I could come up with -- don't say I never listen!

Anonymous said...

Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding

Anonymous said...

Go back to Zep.

It's Rolling, Bob said...

I pity the poor immigrant
Who wishes he would’ve stayed home,
Who uses all his power to do evil
But in the end is always left so alone.
That man whom with his fingers cheats
And who lies with ev’ry breath,
Who passionately hates his life
And likewise, fears his death.

I pity the poor immigrant
Whose strength is spent in vain,
Whose heaven is like Ironsides,
Whose tears are like rain,
Who eats but is not satisfied,
Who hears but does not see,
Who falls in love with wealth itself
And turns his back on me.

I pity the poor immigrant
Who tramples through the mud,
Who fills his mouth with laughing
And who builds his town with blood,
Whose visions in the final end
Must shatter like the glass.
I pity the poor immigrant
When his gladness comes to pass.

Anonymous said...

SFL posted a song with no hidden metaphors. A straight song about immigrants

Shoot half the fun is analyzing the song.

Anonymous said...

zep. better.

Anonymous said...

Harbours opened their arms to the young searching foreigner
Come to live in the light of the beacon of liberty
Planes and open skies, billboards would advertise
Was it anything like that when you arrived
Dreamboats carry the future to the heart of America
People were waiting in line for a place by the river
It was a time when strangers were welcome here
Music would play, they tell me the days were sweet and clear
It was a sweeter tune and there was so much room that people could come from everywhere
Now he arrives with his hopes and his heart set on miracles
Come to marry his fortune with a hand full of promises
to find they've closed the door, they don't want him anymore
isn't anymore to go around
Turning away he remembers he once heard
a legend that spoke of a mystical magical land called America
There was a time when strangers were welcome here
Music would play, they tell me the days were sweet and clear
It was a sweeter tune and there was so much room that people could come from everywhere
There was a time when strangers were welcome here
Music would play, they tell me the days were sweet and clear
There was a time when strangers were welcome here
Music would play, they tell me the days were sweet and clear

Anonymous said...


We come from the land of the ice and snow.....

SFL had it right the first time.

Anonymous said...

The Man Is A G-d

gaohui said...

The holidays are a time ed hardy of getting together with friends ed hardy shoes and family, attending elaborate ed hardy clothing parties, and other exciting events ed hardy clothes that involves dressing up in stunning ed hardy store wardrobes. If you ed hardy Bikini are pregnant during ed hardy swimsuits the holidays, it does not ed hardy Caps mean that you are unable buy ed hardy to look fabulous and ed hardy swimwear stylish. Now, an expectant ed hardy sale mother has many styles of chic ed hardy glasses maternity clothing that allows cheap ed hardy her to show off her baby bump Christian audigier while looking spectacular.

Alan said...

So, I don't actually suppose this may have success.
English Saddle | fringe dress | custom hoodie