Court Reports Lawyer for Filing Brief Filled with “Gibberish”

We have all seen this brief before. But the Seventh Circuit could take it no more. In a November 2019 opinion, the court noted that “[b]ad writing does not normally warrant sanctions, but we draw the line at gibberish.” See McCurry v. Kenco Logistics Servs., LLC, No. 18-3206 (Nov. 7, 2019).

The court held that the plaintiff’s appeal from a summary judgment in an employment-discrimination case was “a shameful waste of judicial resources” that was “patently frivolous.” Id. at 11-12. For example, the appeal contained wholly unsupported allegations that the defendant employer had attempted to murder an African-American employee with a forklift and had distributed food products contaminated with vermin and feces. See id. at 15.

Aside from having no merit, the plaintiff’s brief spanned “86 interminable pages,” was “chock-full of impenetrable arguments and unsupported assertions,” and was “organized in ways that escape our understanding.” Id.at 14. Moreover, the brief was “a typographical nightmare,” employing “five different fonts and various font sizes, including three different fonts in one sentence, and words seemingly [capitalized] at random.” Id. at 13 n.5.

At oral argument, the court confronted the plaintiff’s lawyer about his brief. He replied that he was a “solo practitioner” who tried “to get the help of . . . clients and whoever can provide help to [him]” and then “merge[s] that information.” Said the court:

Whatever that means, it in no way excuses this unprofessional conduct.

As a result, the court ordered the lawyer to show cause why sanctions should not be imposed. It also referred the matter to disciplinary authorities.

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