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Keep Fact Statements Factual, Relevant, Short & Clear, Court Warns

Kansas family law attorney Ron Nelson shared a recent opinion from an Indiana federal court, Williams v. Lovchik, attacking a too-common practice that makes court cases significantly more expensive, irritating, and time-consuming, conflictual, and harder to settle:

Plaintiff’s counsel needlessly complicated the Court’s task of summarizing the relevant facts. Local Rule 56.1(b) requires non-movants to include a “Statement of Material Facts in Dispute” that responds to the movant’s asserted material facts “by identifying the potentially determinative facts and factual disputes which the nonmoving party contends demonstrate that there is a dispute of fact precluding summary judgment.” ... Rather than identifying potential factual disputes in a concise fashion, Plaintiff’s counsel unfurled an 18-page narrative that is replete with argument and a 15-page surreply that is no better as it contains a great deal of immaterial information. ... And, for reasons that remain unclear, the brief devotes a paragraph to explaining the 15th century origin of the phrase “cat’s paw,” a legal doctrine that is inapplicable to the present matter. ... Accordingly, the Court had unnecessary difficulty excising the arguments from the facts when piecing together the background section.


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