Legal Poetic Parody

I just found this tale of legal poetry, and wanted to share it with you.

Karen Lowe hit and damaged a tree in Michigan belonging to William Fisher. The tree was successfully repaired which cost Lowe’s insurer $550. However, Fisher was not satisfied and he claimed $15,000 of damages for the pain his “beautiful oak tree” suffered.

A trial court dismissed the case but an appeal was filed. Unfortunately for Fisher, the Court of Appeals of Michigan, composed of a three-judge panel, agreed with the lower court’s ruling in poetry!

We thought that we would never see
A suit to compensate a tree,

A suit whose claim in tort is prest
Upon a mangled tree’s behest;

A tree whose battered trunk was prest
Against a Chevy’s crumpled crest;

A tree that faces each new day
With bark and limb in disarray;

A tree that may forever bear
A lasting need for tender care.

Flora lovers though we three,
We must uphold the court’s decree.


Source: Legal Poetic Parody

4 thoughts on “Legal Poetic Parody

  1. Poetic legal decisions are few (and some would say, fortunately) far between. But even a U.S. District Court Judge can was poetic. (The following is part of the decision in MACKENSWORTH v. AMERICAN TRADING TRANSPORTATION CO.

    EDWARD R. BECKER, District Judge.
    The motion now before us
    has stirred up a terrible fuss.
    And what is considerably worse,
    it has spawned some preposterous doggerel verse.
    The plaintiff, a man of the sea,
    after paying his lawyer a fee,
    filed a complaint of several pages
    to recover statutory wages.1
    The pleaded facts remind us of a tale that is endless.
    A seaman whom for centuries the law has called “friendless”
    is discharged from the ship before voyage’s end
    and sues for lost wages, his finances to mend.
    The defendant shipping company’s office is based in New York City,
    and to get right down to the nitty gritty,
    it has been brought to this Court by long arm service,2
    which has made it extremely nervous.
    Long arm service is a procedural tool
    founded upon a “doing business” rule.
    But defendant has no office here, and says it has no mania
    to do any business in Pennsylvania.
    Plaintiff found defendant had a ship here in June ‘72,
    but defendant says that ship’s business is through.
    Asserting that process is amiss,
    it has filed a motion to dismiss.
    Plaintiff’s counsel, whose name is Harry Lore,
    read defendant’s brief and found it a bore.
    Instead of a reply brief, he acted pretty quick
    and responded with a clever limerick:
    “Admiralty process is hoary
    With pleadings that tell a sad story
    Of Libels in Rem—
    The bane of sea-faring men
    The moral:
    Better personally served than be sorry

    Later on, the judge concludes:

    In view of the foregoing Opinion, at this time
    we enter the following Order, also in rhyme.
    Finding that service of process is bona fide,
    the motion to dismiss is hereby denied.
    So that this case can now get about its ways,
    defendants shall file an answer within 21 days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hilarious !! When my parents finally got a record player – stereogram, no less – in the 1960’s, Dads choice of records included John Charles Thomas. One of his favourite songs was “I think that I shall never see…….” What vintage were these judges ? Or has this song become popular again ?

    Liked by 1 person

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