I'll String You a Song...
July 15, 2004
A fierce debate dealing with the continuing viability of the rule of law wages. If you thought the terrorist trifecta was important, well, you ain't seen nothing yet. Let me provide a summary.
The Uncivil Litigator took umbrage at a partner's suggestion that he provide pinpoint citations in an appellate brief.
In response, The Curmudgeonly Clerk wrote that "[t]here is a special ring of Hell reserved for attorneys who submit motions to the courts sans the appropriate pin citation." Shots were fired. I wrote: "When I read a brief citing a legal proposition that does not include a pinpoint citation and the actual language from the opinion, I assume the party is lying. [ ] Generally people who make these broad statments didn't read the case." (Comment 1, 6:12 p.m.)
UCL, seeking to avoid that special ring in Hell decided to "sit in silence no longer." He cited specific examples from the Hamdi case in support of his proposition that "it is perfectly acceptable to cite to a case without using a pin cite on every single occasion." He also defended his practice on the ground that pin cites are impractical when one is using string citations. (Comment 2, 8:30 p.m.) ("[I]f I choose to cite 4 cases in support of the same general proposition, following 1 cite which I analyze in detail in a given motion, do I have the time to make sure each one is pin-cited? No."). Gasp! UCL uses string cites?
But I offered a solution. If UCL would quit using string cites, then the issue of using pin cites becomes moot. (Comment 6, 9:27 p.m.) ("[I]f we ixnay the string cites, then pin cites within the string cites are no longer an issue. Sans string sites!")
UCL "couldn't disagree [ ] more" with my comment. (Comment 7, 11:03 a.m.)
Well, what do y'all think? Are string cites a waste of time, or a necessary way to butress your legal position? Should a party stringing citations provide a pin cite at each leg of the centipede? Please take your comments over to the origional discussion.