Full of Sound and Fury, but Signifying Nothing: Why Comparing Federal Judges to Simon Cowell isn’t a Good Idea

By at 7 December, 2010, 12:43 pm

Interesting piece from the ABA Journal By Debra Cassens Weiss 7th Circuit Says Plaintiffs Lawyer ‘May Wish to Moderate His Fury’ in which the 7th Circuit chastises Illinois class action attorney Clinton A. Krislov for making statements in his motion for rehearing such as this one: “Indeed, the panel’s role as the self assured Simon Cowell of the circuits demeans not just us, but the court as well.” Obviously, this wasn’t the right tactic to take in his attempt to obtain a rehearing as the Court reacted to what it feels is, a certain lack of civility shall we say, from Attorney Krislov: Unknown Object
 The December 2, 2010 Order  of the 7th Circuit panel reads like a guidebook of what not to argue when trying to have your motion approved. It is refreshing and unusual to see judges speak so frankly and directly to issues of civility and what they believe is unacceptable behavior. You know things are probably not going to go your way when the Court opens its Order with:
But in view of the accusations leveled in the petition by the plaintiff's lawyer, Clinton A. Krislov, against the panel's decision, we have decided that a further statement, beyond merely reporting the denial of the petition, would be helpful to readers of the panel opinion (2010 WL 4286367, Nov. 2, 2010; our earlier opinions in this protracted litigation are reported at 547 F.3d 742 and 595 F.3d 759), readers of the petition for rehearing— and perhaps even Mr. Krislov, whose accusations are over the top, as we shall now explain, and who may wish to moderate his fury.
The Order only becomes more direct as you read though its six pages.  I wonder what Attorney Krislov felt (other than anger and perhaps contempt for the Judges) when he stated in his motion: “Indeed, the panel’s role as the self assured Simon Cowell of the circuits demeans not just us, but the court as well.” Or, when he said (about the panel) [their]"exceedingly facile approach disregards the highly desirable role of persuasive authority and its underlying reasoning in the American legal system….”  
 
You know you’ve struck a nerve when the Court writes “Well, he doesn't treat us with much respect…” Or “This is what is known as chutzpah…” is refreshingly frank from a member of the bench. Even more straightforward is the line they use to close their Order with: “The petition for rehearing is denied. No judge of this court in regular active service having requested a vote on the petition for rehearing en banc, rehearing en banc is also denied.”
 
Do not pass go, do not collect $200 but go directly to jail as they say in Monopoly. I don’t believe that Attorney Krislov did either himself or his clients a service by attacking the Court and the Court’s Order seems to bear this out. Another question is how this affect Attorney Krislov's public relations with these and future clients? Only time will tell.
 
 The ABA Journal did an earlier piece on the oral argument in this matter in Posner Targets Lawyer’s Remark about Wives and Clothes Dryers (Take Our Poll)  
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