I’m Back. Sorry about that.

28 Jan

Well, hello gang. It has been a while, I know. It’s kind of awkward.* Like running into an old acquaintance three years later who you could barely classify as a friend, and then forgetting their name. Sorry Mike.** What have I been doing all of this time? Funny you should ask.

As you know I have spent the last six months attending law school. I began my journey in August, wide-eyed and full of innocence and enthusiasm. Now, not so much. I’m a little more cynical, a little less impressionable, and certainly not any more rested.*** Exam week for a first-year student is torturous. Nothing you have done in the 22 years leading up to 1L exam week prepares you for the four test you have to take, four hours each. My friend compared it to running a marathon, finishing, and then turning to your friend who just took a nap and asking them to race you to the end of the block.

Having said that, I feel approximately 27% justified in failing to post for the past two months. Really though, it was kind of lame, since I have all kinds of irrelevant stuff to show you guys. Intern Derrick picked up the slack though, and fate awarded him with a really sweet job. So if blog gods really do exist, then I should start receiving job offers within the hour. I’m putting all my apples in that basket…

In any case, my first semester turned out alright. I passed. I might still be a lawyer one day. And that leads me to the substance of my post, which is probably the most fabulous piece of lawyering I have ever seen.

Below is an excerpt from the appellant’s brief in Taylor v. Mercer University (2000). This case was a lawsuit brought by a student (well a former student I suppose) at my esteemed law school. While the case was dismissed in federal district court, and then that dismissal was affirmed by the Court of Appeals, the appellant brief is fantastic. I’ll include a big excerpt of it, since you don’t want to read the whole thing. I’ve redacted the professor names, just because I don’t want people associating these statements with something I’ve said. For your pleasure, I have provided a running commentary to the piece, all in blue. Here we go:

Appellant Taylor desires that the prudent and learned members of this appellate court hear his arguments. Mr. Taylor, as a young African-American male, has clear and convincing evidence that his instructors at Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law acted in collusion to deprive him of a law degree.

Alright, so we are looking for “clear and convincing” evidence. Sounds pretty serious. And collusion, because that is a legal cause of action. Taylor’s saying, “you conspired, and that’s bad”. He’s leaving out the part where it is their job to conspire and collude to give somebody a grade…

The prudent and learned members of the Eleventh Circuit United States Court of Appeals have an affirmative duty to find that employees of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia(1990-92), d.b.a. the faculty and administration of the Walter F. George School of Law assigned an arbitrary and capricious grade threshold.

An arbitrary and capricious grade threshold. No argument from me. Grades suck in law school. Heck, school in general.

Another issue before the Court is to determine that although Mercer Law School employees granted Appellant Taylor an offer of admissions and he enrolled, he relied to his detriment that the employees would exercise due care and assist him in his matriculation. Therefore, Mercer Law School employees committed fraudulent inducement.

Prepare for an overuse of the word “matriculation”.

This Court is to determine that comments from Mercer Law School employees were extremely harsh and judgmental towards the young African-American United States Army veteran Taylor.

Notice how he throws in the US army veteran here. Talk about capricious, that has nothing to do with his claim. And not to mention African-American, what’s that doing here? C’mon with the gratuitous adjectives.

They mercilessly infringed upon his constitutional and civil rights in a collusive effort to enslave his mind with inferiority.

The single best line in the entire brief. Maybe the best line I have ever read. Those teachers sure know how to enslave minds with inferiority. Is it a mistake he mentioned “enslave” after mentioning African-American?

This Court is to determine the seriousness of Appellant Taylor’s desire to serve the public as an attorney-at-law and review credentials that would allow him admission to the bar to have a license to practice in Georgia and Alabama. May it please the Court to correct the wrong that Mercer Law School employees inflicted upon the eager Taylor and grant him admission to the bar in the states of Georgia and Alabama.

Unnecessary adjective three: “eager”.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Taylor, an honorably discharged United States Army Veteran who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science received an offer of Admission to enroll at Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law for the class entering in the fall of 1990. He enrolled, which was acceptance. Payment of his tuition constituted consideration. However, Mercer Law School employees breached their contractual obligations to Mr. Taylor to make a good faith effort to educate him and help him to matriculate towards completion of the law degree.

Matriculate. Cringe.

Mercer University Law School employees knowingly, wantonly, and willfully awarded Mr. Taylor grades that would not be equal to or surpass the threshold of 76, the minimum required grade point average to continue to the next law school term.

I love the juxtaposition here, how employees wantonly and willfully  awarded. Award connotes something earned through merit, but wanton just makes me think of Chinese food.

Appellant Taylor’s original complaint in the District Court resulted in a judgment for Mercer University. It is on appeal in the Eleventh Circuit United States Court of Appeals.

Taylor received grades that mysteriously stayed between 69 and 72, other than the 80 he received in legal writing. His cumulative grade point average, based upon what Mercer Law School employees issued to him, was approximately 71.6, after the first two semesters of law school.

These bad grades are so mysterious! Agatha Christie would be miffed!

The “76” grade point average cutoff is arbitrary and capricious. It is in violation of Mr. Taylor’s right to Due Process and Equal protection under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

Somebody wasn’t paying attention in Con. Law…

Members of the Mercer Law School faculty talked to Appellant Taylor in a cruel and unusual manner in violation of his Eighth Amendment United States Constitution right not to be subject to cruel and unusual punishment.

(Speechless).

[A Torts professor] said, “You should be doing something else.”

[A Intro to Law professor] said that Mr. Taylor’s self-worth depended on those “tests.” “I heard you did not do too terribly well in intro (to law study),” [He] said, indicating that his colleagues discuss students’ grades amongst each other.

[A Criminal Law professor] made explicit sexual and lewd comments such as “Pussy” in a classroom setting where Mr. Taylor was under [his] supervision. Such statements constituted a hostile environment and equate sexual harassment.

[A Sales professor] said, “You did not give me anything” in reference to Mr. Taylor’s final exam.

[Constitutional Law professor] made derogatory remarks about the black intellect in the classroom setting. [He] said that regardless of what test scores blacks may have, we may still believe that they are inferior.

[He] said, “We don’t like prizefighters” and Mike Tyson is a rapist. [He] insulted homeless people, “They don’t bathe.” [He] admitted that when he was in college he cheated on exams by looking at his neighbor’s assignments. [He] admitted in reference to his college buddies, “we stayed up all night and we got really inebriated.”

Why isn’t “Mike Tyson is a rapist” in quotations? Is he paraphrasing? And how is bashing homeless people offensive to this kid. Homeless people do stink!

[He] told another student in reference to Taylor, “His grades are under strict scrutiny.” [He] told Mr. Taylor, “You found one thing that you could not do,” an effort to enslave Mr. Taylor’s mind with inferiority.

Next time this professor asks me a question, I’m going to say, “I don’t know, because you have enslaved my mind with inferiority. Stop doing that.”

[A Dean of the school] told Mr. Taylor, “If you come back, you will flunk out.”

[A Civil Procedure professor] indicated that his exams intentionally created stress for students and would affect their academic performance adversely.

[A different Civil Procedure professor] told the young Christian man, Taylor, “Someone with a very religious background could not do well in law.” “Jesus could not get through law school,” [he] said.

Mr. Taylor’s own faculty advisor, [a Contracts professor] said, “I think you’ll flunk out”

[A Dean of the School] told Mr. Taylor that his grades were not “close” enough to the threshold to remain in law school.

But, he can put “close” in quotations.

[A fantastic Contracts professor] made derogatory remarks about people who did not have a college education. [His] lewd remarks included, but are not limited to: “Me so horny; you get no nookie; and PMS” [He] told Mr. Taylor that he could not be a lawyer.

Nookie is a legal term. You wouldn’t understand.

[He] subjected Mr. Taylor to a hostile environment that constituted sexual harassment.

SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT

Taylor, a young African-American male, a Christian man and an honorably discharged United States Army Veteran, enrolled at Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law in the fall of 1990. Such enrollment equated acceptance to the offer of admissions from Mercer Law School. Mr. Taylor’s payment of tuition constituted consideration. A contract existed.

Mercer Law School employees breached this good faith contract because they did not make a bona fide effort to assist Mr. Taylor in his matriculation at the American-Bar-Association Approved Law School. Therefore, the law gives Mr. Taylor a remedy. Also, Mercer Law School employees had a duty to educate Mr. Taylor and assist him in his matriculation towards his earning a law degree.

Matriculate.

Mr. Taylor’s duty was to attend classes, complete assignments and exams, and matriculate towards the completion of a law degree. Mercer Law School employees did not meet their mutuality of obligation.

Matriculate.

Mr. Taylor relied to his detriment. His remedies stem from the doctrine of promissory estoppel.

A preponderance of the evidence indicates the Mercer Law School employees deprived diligent law student Taylor of a law degree and a license by the bar to practice law in Georgia and Alabama, Mr. Taylor’s objective.

It would be only fitting that the prudent and esteemed member of this Court grant Mr. Taylor’s remedies, both compensatory damages and relief in the form of credentials in the State Bars of Georgia and Alabama. Taylor completed the equivalence of one year of law school. A Master of Law degree would be a feasible solution.

Bahahahaha! You finished one year of law school, and you want an automatic acceptance into the bar of two states? Your competence in writing this brief demonstrates your lawyerly capacity. You’re a shoe-in dude.

Furthermore, this Court may find it compelling to review further credentials of Appellant Taylor and admit him to the State Bars of Georgia and Alabama.

Mr. Taylor prays that the learned, prudent, and esteemed members of this Court will render unto him his remedies under the law, which include a degree of law and license to practice law.

Just to summarize:

Honorably-discharged, African-American, eager, Christian, diligent law student Mr. Taylor didn’t get good grades in law school because there was a conspiracy to enslave his mind with inferiority and verbally punish him cruelly and unusually. As a result, he mysteriously received grades which were below the capricious threshold and he failed to matriculate. Matriculate. So now, as remedy he wants a free pass admission to the State Bars of Georgia and Alabama. Clear and convincing, indeed.

*Does anybody else try to spell awkward as “ackward” like I do. Seriously, every time. Same thing with judgment, I’m always trying to add an “e” to make it “judgement”. But I have no problem with “government”, even though that “n” is ridiculous.  Ridiculous, I say!

**Or maybe it’s Mark, I can’t remember…

***Sitting in ethics class last week, a guest speaker said that the worst thing you could possibly be is a “cynicist”. And I thought, well, that’s not even a word. Then my sleeve caught on fire. I think it was the irony.

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2 Responses to “I’m Back. Sorry about that.”

  1. derrickvanleer 2.1.10 at 1:14 pm #

    Wow, I think you made up for the quantity of two of your three + months of absence with this one. Way too long for footnotes, unless you were to employ page breaks, line numbers, or some other organizational tactic. Scrolling to the bottom and back was a dizzying experience indeed.

    Does appellant have anything to do with apellido? As in a person with a last name? D.b.a?

    Some of my students last semester had to read some Agatha Christie–“Elephants Don’t Forget” or “Elephants Always Remember”, in another lapse of irony, I have forgotten–and I realized that she is much more British than I had previously believed. Even I couldn’t answer the Chilenos’ questions about “tallboys” and some obscure idiomatic expression involving cheeks without heavily consulting my bud Google UK.

    Anywayzz, that whole case is hilarious! Kinda makes Law School look fun, becoming cynical while being entertained with such beautiful crap… She said, in a cruel and unusual manner, “You did not give me anything” in reference to Mr. T’s final exam. Good stuff…

    Oh, and just so you know, you slipped with your big attempt to protect yourself from Mercer’s search engines by omitting faculty names. You mentioned the lewd remarks of a professor named after the Juice-ish day of rest in line…. oh, right. There are none.

  2. Anonymous 2.9.10 at 7:54 pm #

    Hi,
    I just read your brief about Taylor. It was interesting and very entertaining. If you only knew the man. He is a convicted murder. Most of his claimed accomplishments are untrue. You can look him up in the Georgia Dept. of Corrections. He was convicted in Harris County Georgia. I believe it was in 2006. He was sentenced to life without parole. I sat thru the trial and believe me he is a nut-case…

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