Case Law Quotations

. . . in roughly chronological order, and here for no reason other than that I like them . . .

"The timorous may stay at home." Murphy v. Steeplechase Amusement Co., 250 N.Y. 479, 483, 166 N.E. 173, 174 (1929).

"Equity does not demand that its suitors shall have led blameless lives." Loughran v. Loughran, 292 U.S. 216, 229 (1934).

"Words are not pebbles in alien juxtaposition; they have only a communal existence; and not only does the meaning of each interpenetrate the other, but all in their aggregate take their purport from the setting in which they are used, of which the relation between the speaker and the hearer is perhaps the most important part." NLRB v. Federbush Co., 121 F.2d 954, 957 (2d Cir. 1941).

"[W]hen a judge says evidence is admissible because it is part of the 'res gestae' . . . [one often suspects] the judge has a hunch it should be admissible . . . and resorts to a foreign language he doesn't understand for a reason." Manning v. United States, 215 F.2d 945, 946 (10th Cir. 1954).

"As an attorney of our acquaintance once told the court, when asked for his response to the argument of the amicus, 'That fellow isn't any more a friend of the court than I am.'" Strasser v. Doorley, 432 F. 2d 567, 569 n.2 (1st Cir. 1970).

"An affluent society ought not be miserly in support of justice, for economy is not an objective of the system . . . ." Mayer v. City of Chicago, 404 U.S. 189 (1971) (Burger, C.J., concurring).

"There remains contemporary purpose in the hoary aphorism 'veritas nimium altercando amittitur'—by too much altercation, truth is lost." McRoy v. State 24 Md. App. 321, 322, 330 A.2d 693, 694 (1975).

"When the Teutonic gods tired of Loki's troublemaking, they chained him to the rocks with a poisonous snake suspended above him, dripping poison on Loki. World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 12, p. 382 (1978). That case arose prior to the Eighth Amendment." Green v. Arnold, 512 F. Supp. 650, 652 n.11 (W.D. Tex. 1981).

"In this appeal we are asked to determine whether '.82' is the equivalent of '82%.' Having successfully completed grammar school, we are able to answer in the affirmative." Oil & Gas Futures, Inc. of Tex. v. Andrus, 610 F.2d 287, 287 (5th Cir. 1980); cf. City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 121 (1983) (Marshall, J., dissenting) ("A federal court is capable of concluding for itself that two plus two equals four."); United States v. Connors, 441 F.3d 527, 531 (7th Cir. 2006) ("the jury permissibly concluded that one plus one equals two"); People v. Kilpatrick, 167 Ill. 2d 439, 449 (Heiple, J., dissenting) ("the fact that 9 plus 6 equals 15 has been considered self-evident for the last 2,500 years of recorded history"); but cf. People v. Bolden, 132 Ill. App. 3d 1047, 1057 (1985) ("it required the great British mathematician, Lord Bertram Russell, more than 300 pages to prove that one plus one equals two").

"To be clearly erroneous, a decision must strike us as more than just maybe or probably wrong; it must, as one member of this court recently stated during oral argument, strike us as wrong with the force of a five-week-old, unrefrigerated dead fish."  Parts and Elec. Motors, Inc. v. Sterling Elec., Inc., 866 F.2d 228, 233 (7th Cir. 1988).

"Claim 2 is 'Double Jeopardy . . . Threatening-as-Slaves . . . Still occurring . . . Threatening to caused violents Reactions from convicts.' This claim is totally incomprehensible and therefore without arguable basis in law." Jackson v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 641 (9th Cir. 1989).

"[T]he record does not reveal whether he is the life of the party wherever he goes."  Nash v. CBS, Inc., 899 F.2d 1537, 1538 n.2 (7th Cir. 1990)

"Judges are not like pigs, hunting for truffles buried in briefs." United States v. Dunkel, 927 F.2d 955, 956 (7th Cir. 1991); see also Nicholas Acoustics & Specialty Co. v. H & M Const. Co., 695 F.2d 839, 847 (5th Cir. 1983) ("Judges are not ferrets!"); Northwestern Nat'l Ins. Co. v. Baltes, 15 F.3d 660, 662-63 (7th Cir. 1994) ("District judges are not archaeologists."); Rivera-Gomez v. de Castro, 843 F.2d 631, 635 (1st Cir. 1988) ("Judges are not expected to be mindreaders."); cf. Tagatz v. Marquette Univ., 861 F.2d 1040, 1045 (7th Cir. 1988) ("Judges, by the way, are not wallflowers or potted plants.").

"Plaintiff contends she is a cyborg . . . ." Tyler v. Carter, 151 F.R.D. 537, 537 (S.D.N.Y. 1993).

"A complaint is not a puzzle, . . . and we are loathe to allow plaintiffs to tax defendants, against whom they have leveled very serious charges, with the burden of solving puzzles in addition to the burden of formulating an answer to their complaint." In re GlenFed, Inc. Sec. Litig., 42 F.3d 1541, 1554 (9th Cir. 1994) (en banc); see also United States ex rel. Garst v. Lockheed-Martin Corp., 328 F.3d 374, 378 (7th Cir. 2003) ("Rule 8(a) requires parties to make their pleadings straightforward, so that judges and adverse parties need not try to fish a gold coin from a bucket of mud.").

"The law is not a poultice for every social bruise." Ward v. Papa's Pizza to Go, Inc., 907 F. Supp. 1535, 1541 (S.D. Ga. 1995).

"Practitioners dealing with situations such as this sometimes refer to the 'Three Pony Rule.' That is, no child, no matter how wealthy the parents, needs to be provided more than three ponies." In re Patterson, 920 P.2d 450, 455 (Kan. App. 1996).

"We thought—incorrectly, as it turned out—that the trial courts would simply follow our opinion even if they disagreed with it. Stare decisis and all that stuff. . . . But sometimes it seems as though we have to remind the lower court there is a judicial pecking order." Gwartz v. Superior Court, 71 Cal. App. 4th 480, 481, 83 Cal. Rptr. 2d 865, 866 (1999); see also People v. Mejia, 72 Cal. App. 4th 1269, 1274 (1999) (Crosby, J., dissenting) ("they should presumably honor stare decisis (and all that stuff)").

"God may know; my colleagues cannot." People v. Mejia, 72 Cal. App. 4th 1269, 1274 (1999) (Crosby, J., dissenting).

"An old adage warns that a fool and his money are easily parted. This case shows that the same is not true of a district court judge and his common sense." FTC v. Affordable Media, LLC, 179 F.3d 1228, 1231 (9th Cir. 1999).

"[T]he conundrum with which we are presented is unique to bankruptcy proceedings. . . . We do not often encounter th[is] kind of creature in the law. It is no griffin, but it is a rara avis." In re Marino, 181 F.3d 1142 (9th Cir. 1999).

"And it is FURTHER ORDERED that the parties lighten up." Citizens Coal Council v. Babbitt, Civil Case No. 00-0274 (JR), slip op. at 1-2 (D.D.C. May 22, 2001).

"Congress . . . does not alter the fundamental details of a regulatory scheme in vague terms or ancillary provisions—it does not, one might say, hide elephants in mouseholes." Whitman v. Am. Trucking Ass'ns, 531 U.S. 457, 468 (2001).

"[The phrase] chicken butt has no generally accepted meaning of an actionable nature." Seelig v. Infinity Broadcasting Corp., 97 Cal. App. 4th 798, 811 (2002).

"While Schrödinger's cat may be both alive and dead at any given moment, even in theory, claim limitations cannot be concurrently both met and not met." Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co. v. Chemque, Inc., 303 F.3d 1294, 1299 (Fed. Cir. 2002).

"Those with short attention spans are advised to break out a new highlighter or be prepared to take notes." Miller v. Superior Court, 101 Cal. App. 4th 728, 734 (2002).

"There is an important distinction between difficulty in ascertaining damages and engaging in unqualified guesswork. In the case at bar, the latter applies." Search King, Inc. v. Google Technology, Inc., No. CIV-02-1457-M, slip op at 7 (W.D. Okla. Jan. 13, 2003).

"Judgment reversed. Again." State v. Pitts, 2003 Ohio 1740, slip op. at 4 (Ohio Ct. App. 2003).

"[T]here is no indication that [it] . . . was simply an inadvertent misstatement . .  . for which the applicant should be given a mulligan." Springs Window Fashions LP v. Novo Indus., L.P., 323 F.3d 989, 996 (Fed. Cir. 2003).

"Litigation is not a game of hopscotch." Cochran v. Quest Software, 328 F.3d 1, 22 (1st Cir. 2003).

"One person with a fantastic view may be suspected of delusions; two people with the identical view are just oddballs." United States v. James, 328 F.3d 953, 956 (7th Cir. 2003).

"We are all too often reminded that 'justice delayed is justice denied.' But, it is equally true that in some situations 'justice rushed is justice crushed.' " McMullen v. Bay Ship Mgmt., 335 F.3d 215, 218 (3rd Cir. 2003).

"True, this court did enter an order on June 20, 2003 ordering the parties not to flyspeck each other, but how could such an order apply to a motion filed almost five minutes late?" Hyperphrase Techs., LLC v. Microsoft Corp., No. 02-C-647-C, slip op. at 2 (W.D. Wisc. July 1, 2003).

"Of course, neither Simon nor Garfunkel has been identified as a nautical expert." United States v. McPhee, 336 F.3d 1269, 1276 n.9 (11th Cir. 2003) (discussing repeated assertion by the protagonist in Simon and Garfunkel's I am a Rock that, "I am a rock, I am an island.").

"Barbie, the ubiquitous doll produced by Mattel, has been a frequent visitor to our court." Mattel, Inc. v. Greiner & Hausser GmbH, 354 F.3d 857, 859 (9th Cir. 2003) (citing Mattel, Inc. v. MCA Records, Inc., 296 F.3d 894 (9th Cir. 2002) (popular song "Barbie Girl" protected under fair use and nominative use doctrines), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 1171 (2003); Christian v. Mattel, Inc., 286 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir. 2002) (addressing Rule 11 sanctions in a Barbie-related case); Walter v. Mattel, Inc., 210 F.3d 1108 (9th Cir. 2000) ("Pearl Beach Barbie" did not infringe rights under the Lanham Act of artist known as "Pearl Beach")); see also Mattel Inc. v. Walking Mountain Prods., 353 F.3d 792 (9th Cir. 2003) (nude Barbie photographs protected under fair use and nominative use doctrines).

"[Counsel's] success should not be attributed . . . [to his] unrestrained and unnecessary use of the bold, underline, and 'all caps' functions of word processing or his repeated use of exclamation marks to emphasize points in his briefs. .  . . [S]uch techniques, which really amount to a written form of shouting, are simply inappropriate in an appellate brief. It is counterproductive for counsel to litter his brief with burdensome material such as 'WRONG! WRONG ANALYSIS! WRONG RESULT! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!' " B.A.M. Devel., L.L.C. v. Salt Lake County, No. 20010840-CA, 2004 UT App. 34, 2004 Utah App. LEXIS 8, at *80 n.30 (Feb. 20, 2004).

"[P]retrial discovery is a fishing expedition and one can't know what one has caught until one fishes. But Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(c) allows the fish to object, and when they do so the fisherman has to come up with more than the government has been able to do in this case despite the excellence of its lawyers." Northwestern Mem'l Hosp. v. Ashcroft, 362 F.3d 923, 931 (7th Cir. 2004).

"[T]he complaint is incoherent, even crazy. We cannot imagine a reputable lawyer being interested in taking the case on a contingent basis . . . ." United States ex rel. Lu v. Ou, 368 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2004).

"When a friend is false, blame the friend, not the government." United States v. Connors, 441 F.3d 527, 530 (7th Cir. 2006).

"[R]edundancy in this context, we do not doubt, is preferable to incoherence." Marshall v. Marshall, 547 U.S. 293, 296 (2006).

"A trial is not a masquerade party nor is it a game of judicial hide-n-seek . . . ." Zocaras v. Castro, 465 F.3d 479, 484 (11th Cir. 2006).

"However, . . . for better or worse, lawyers are necessarily an integral part of the information exchange about legal services." In re Reed Elsevier Properties, Inc., 482 F.3d 1376, 1379 (Fed. Cir. 2007).

"When I call out to my wife, 'There isn't any butter,' I do not mean, 'There isn't any butter in town.' The context makes clear to her that I am talking about the contents of our refrigerator." Ali v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 128 S. Ct. 831, 650 (2008) (Breyer, J., dissenting).

"[C]alling her a cockroach obviously cannot be interpreted as a statement of actual fact." Krinsky v. Doe 6, 159 Cal. App. 4th 1154, 1176 (2008).

"For purposes of this litigation, the Court assigns no significance to the Facebook 'friends' reference. . . . Regardless of what Facebook's apparent popularity or usefullness may say about the nature of 21st century communications and relationships, the site’s designers' selections of icons or labels offer no substance to this dispute. . . . Indeed, 'friendships' on Facebook may be as fleeting as the flick of a delete button." Quigley Corp. v. Karkus, No. 09-1725, slip op. at 10 n.3 (E.D. Pa. May 19, 2009) (declining to rely on Facebook "friend" status as evidence of a conspiracy).

"[W]ith the help of a good Internet search engine, you can prove anything, including that pigs can fly." Martinez v. Board of Parole Hearings, 183 Cal. App. 4th 578, 602 (2010) (Sims, J., dissenting).
. . . and one final quote, not from a case: "In Hell there will be nothing but law, and due process will be meticulously observed." Grant Gilmore, The Ages of American Law 111 (1977).