I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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Calling a Mississippi Supreme Court opinion everything but a Child of God

I want to start by noting that the opinions expressed in pleadings quoted in this post do not represent the opinions of the author of this post or the owner of this blog.

Yesterday, I wrote about an odd docket entry from the Mississippi Supreme Court, seeming to relate to a motion for a rehearing on a case where the mandate had gone down in December of 2007.   What was clear from the court’s orders was that the issue had come up about whether to issue a write of mandamus to the trial court to rule on a costs bill on the case.

The court seemed to be saying it was taking the appellee’s pleading as a third motion for rehearing, prohibited by the rules.  It struck language from the appellee’s pleading

The Court further finds that this motion for rehearing filed by counsel for the appellees contains language showing disrespect for this Court. Pursuant to Rule 40(c) of the Mississippi Rules of Appellate Procedure, the Court finds that this motion for rehearing should be stricken. The motion for rehearing filed by counsel for appellees is hereby stricken. Graves, P.J., does not join the order because he is of the opinion that the motion for rehearing should not be stricken.

Well, now I’ve read the Response, and things are a lot clearer.  First, they are arguing over a cost bill of almost $500K! (I’m hearing that a lot of this represents the premium for a supersedeas bond purchased by Prudential).  Second, most of the response isn’t about the cost bill at all but really is another attempt to bring seek a rehearing and argue that the original decision from 2007 was wrong.  The response explicitly suggests that the reason the trial court would not rule on the cost bond is that he did not wish to “lend his hand to the” Supreme Court’s opinion.

But beyond that, the language of the Response is scorching.  It is full of adjectives and other language like “pernicious” “distorted” “perverted” “very wrong” “distort” “fabrication” “egregious mistake” “pick… out of thin air” “incomprehensible but unconscionable” “misstatements and perversions”  “egregious wrong” “manipulate the facts…”

(Most are directed to the opinion of the court, some elsewhere– there’s also “an unconscionable cost bill” and the “ourageous cost bill”).

I understand the logic of the Response; the argument that it makes (that this opinion is outrageously wrong and its basis is a distortion of the facts in the record) would not in itself be subject to being stricken.  I think a lawyer has a right and obligation to tell a court it is wrong in plain language when the lawyer’s client’s interest demand it.  But… uh…

I’ll open comments for discussion.

I’m trying to decide whether to post the response and am really hesitant. Add to the discussion:  Surely there’s no problem in me republishing a pleading filed with the court…

I’ve decided to go ahead and put it online.  Response by Stewarts to Writ of Mandamus

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