tApproaching the end of the year, I remember how the holidays of my first two years of college were overshadowed by the exams looming right after the New Year. Yes, the school scheduled exams to start immediately AFTER the holidays. Torture. I hauled all of my books and notes home, just to have the books sit there on my desk, day after day, where I glanced at them with a deep stab of guilt as I ran out to see my friends and do holiday things.“Tomorrow, I will study all day,” I would promise myself. What actually happened—as reflected in my grades those years—is that the books sat there until I hauled them back to Columbia in early January and crammed around the clock during the whole exam week.

Those were the good old days. I do not miss them. Today is much better because not only do I not have to take any tests, I can be the evildoer who gives them. Get out your No. 2 pencils.

1. “Vitilitigate” means:

  1. “litigation” in Italian
  2. “to litigate in a magistrate or municipal court”
  3. “to litigate cavilously, vexatiously, or from merely quarrelsome motives”


(C) Courts do not seem to like vitilitigation. Do not do it.

For its part, this court’s involvement in these frivolous cases is finished … To be explicit, before filing papers that violate this court’s order, the plaintiffs should note that the court has the power to arrange one-way flight accommodations to the D.C. Jail, courtesy of the U.S. Marshal Service.

Perhaps the specter of such unpleasantness will deter the plaintiff from engaging in any further meritless vitilitigation.

Sieverding v. Am. Bar Ass’n, 466 F. Supp. 2d 224, 229 n.4 (D.D.C. 2006) (castigating pro se plaintiffs for taking “an incredibly long walk down a short legal pier”).

2. Alice focuses her practice exclusively on:

  1. healthcare
  2. health care


They are both correct, and some courts use both terms inter- changeably even in the same opin- ion.  Based on an informal survey of law firm websites and court opinions, (A) seems to be the trend.

  • “In West Virginia, ‘[t]he failure of a [healthcare provider] to discov- er a birth defect and to advise the parents of its consequences will give rise to a cause of action” for “wrongful birth.’ ”Simms v. United States, No. 15-2161, 2016 WL 5864511, at *2 (4th Cir. Oct. 7, 2016) (brackets in original). But see in the same opinion id. at *1(“Simms received prenatal care at [Valley Health], a federally- supported health care center located in West Virginia.”).
  • “However, other licensed health- care professionals in South Carolina, such as occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and nurse practitioners may be employed by physicians.” Joseph v.S.C. Dep’t of Labor, Licensing & Regulation, No. 2014-001115, 2016 WL 4792205, at *6 (S.C. Sept. 14, 2016). But see in the same opinion id. at *6 (“Contrary to that deci- sion, we now find that the classification … has no rational rela- tionship to the legislative purpose of the statute—to protect con- sumers and government-spon- sored health care programs from conflicts of interest and potential misuse of medical services.”)

3.  Peter received a fax from the opposing counsel that contained a copy of an unfiled order signed by Judge Gary Hill of the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas, granting the opposing party’s motion for summary judgment.

The next day, Peter received an e-mail from the clerk of court attaching a copy of the signed, filed order from Judge Hill. The same day, he received an e-mailed copy of the same signed, filed order from opposing counsel.

Three days later, Peter received a copy of the same order in the mail from the court.

When is the deadline for serving  a Notice of Appeal?

  1. 30 days from receiving the signed, but unfiled order from opposing  counsel  by fax
  2. 30 days from receiving the signed, filed order from the court  by e-mail
  3. 30 days from receiving the signed, filed order from oppos- ing  counsel  by e-mail
  4. 30 days from receiving the signed, filed order from the court by U.S. mail
  5. 30 days from receiving the signed, filed order from the court by U.S. mail + five mail- ing days


(B) and (C) The deadline is 30 days after Peter received a copy of the signed, filed order whether from the court or opposing counsel because both constitute written notice of entry of the judgment.

The South Carolina Court of Appeals clarified a question that has aggravated lawyers for a long time in Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Fallon Properties S.C., LLC, 413 S.C. 642, 646, 776 S.E.2d 575, 577 (Ct. App. 2015), in which the court held that “receipt of written notice” of the entry of the order or judgment is the critical event to start counting the thirty days to serve a notice of appeal of the entry of a written order from the court of common pleas and that receipt can be by e-mail, fax, or U.S. mail. The thirty days started from the earliest time Peter received writ- ten notice, whether by the court or opposing counsel. Id.

Further, under South Carolina Appellate Rule 203(b)(1), the appel- lant must receive written notice of “entry” of the order or judgment.

Therefore, a signed—but unfiled— order does not start the thirty-day period because it is not yet entered.

Finally, mailing days are not added to the 30 days for serving a 

notice of appeal. Rule 6(e) of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure (“Additional Time After Service by Mail or Upon Statutory Agent”) does not apply to appeals.

4. (1) Bill did not consider the wrath of some Gamecock fans when he arranged for his Texas A&M Aggie fans to hold a rally at the State House;———  that was a bad idea.

(2) Matt had better ideas; , he arranged for the Aggie rally to be held in Clemson.

  1. i.e.
  2. e.g.


  1. (A) i.e. (id est) = that is, in other words
  2. (B) e.g. (exempli gratia) = for example

Personally, I would not use either of these abbreviations in for- mal writing; instead, I would write out “in other words” and “for exam- ple.” If you use them, however, be sure to use the correct abbreviation.

5.  Reaching a compromise in the divorce settlement was complicat- ed by the two ——— constant interference.

  1. mothers’-in-laws
  2. mothers-in-laws’
  3. mothers-in-law’s
  4. mother-in-laws’


(C) To form the plural posses- sive of a compound noun (whether solid, hyphenated, or spaced), take two steps.

First, make the noun plural. In this case, the plural of “mother-in- law” is “mothers-in-law” since “moth- er”  is the  most  important element.

Next, if the plural already ends in “s,” such as “board of directors,” just add an apostrophe after the final “s” (for example, board of directors’ meeting).

If the plural does not end in “s,” add an apostrophe + “s” (for exam- ple, mothers-in-law’s).

6. The following citation has multiple parentheticals. What is the correct order?

Harrison v. Barbara, Edith, & William Baby Prods., Inc., 786 F.3d 8, 10  (4th Cir. 2001).

  1. (Shedd, J., dissenting)
  2. (italics in original)
  3. (emphasis added)
  4. (quoting Richardson v. Fanjoy, 455 F. Supp. 2d 12 (D.S.C. 2016)) [NOTE: The word “quoting” is not italicized in parentheticals.]
  5. [hereinafter Harrison II]
  6. (citations omitted)
  7. (en banc)
  8. (citing Bower v. McTighe, 36 U.S. 106, 109 (1850)) [NOTE: The word “citing” is not italicized in parentheticals.]
  9. (expressing disagreement with the correct standard of care)
  10. (footnote omitted)


5, 7, 1, 2, 3, 10, 6, 4, 8, 9

Harrison v. Barbara, Edith, & William Baby Prods., Inc., 786 F.3d 8, 10 (4th Cir. 2001) [hereinafter Harrison II] (en banc) (Shedd, J., dis- senting) (italics in original) (emphasis added) (footnote omit- ted) (citations omitted) (quoting Richardson v. Fanjoy, 455 F. Supp. 2d 12 (D.S.C. 2016)) (citing Bower v. McTighe, 36 U.S. 106, 109 (1850)) (expressing disagreement with the correct standard of care).

When a citation requires multi- ple parentheticals, place them in the following order:

(date) [hereinafter short name] (en banc) (Last name, J., concurring) (plurality opinion) (per curiam) (alteration in original) (emphasis added) (footnote omitted) (cita- tions omitted) (quoting another source) (citing another source), www.domainname.com (explana- tory parenthetical), prior or subse- quent history.

The prior or subsequent history of a case (rule 10.7) or of a statute (rule 12.7) may be appended to the main citation for that case or statute. See rules 10.7 and 12.7 for circumstances in which the subse- quent history of a case or statute must be indicated.

THE BLUEBOOK, Rule 1.6(b), at 65 (Columbia Law Review Ass’n, et al. eds., 20th  ed. 2015).

7. Rhett was a real _______ in staying up all night to write the brief and staying in the office throughout the day to make sure everything was filed and served on time.

  1. trouper
  2. trooper


A) A “trouper” is someone who works though a difficult situation without complaining. It is based on the word “troupe,” an acting company. A member of a troupe is called a “trouper,” and when she works her way through a difficult role, she is called “a real trouper.” See Mignon Fogarty, GRAMMAR GIRL’S 101 MISUSED WORDS YOU’LL NEVER CONFUSE AGAIN 111 (2011).

A “trooper,” on the other hand, is a police or military officer. Id.

8. Kat was writing her bio for the law firm’s website

  1. Does she have a bachelor’s or bachelors’, or bachelors degree from N.C. State?
  2. Does she have a master’s or masters’ or masters degree?
  3. Does she have a juris doctor or juris doctorate degree?


  1. bachelor’s (However, if this were part of the name of a specific degree—such as a Bachelor of Arts—the degree would not have an apostrophe and would be capitalized.)
  2. master’s (This follows the same rule as above for a master’s degree.)
  3. juris doctor (A “juris doctorate” degree does not exist.) (I have not found a definitive rule for when to capitalize “juris doctor.”) 

9. Choose the correct word:

  1. impugn or impugnity
  2. impunity
  3. impute

(1) ​“As a result, the court declines to ________ this exception into the [Act] until the Congress decides to act.” Perrodin v. United States, 350 F. Supp. 2d 706, 711 (D.S.C. 2004).

(2) “The mere possibility of a conflict of interest is insufficient to _______ a criminal conviction.” Fuller v. State, 347 S.C. 630, 634, 557 S.E.2d 664, 665 (2001).

(3) “[G]ang intimidation and violence against witnesses contributed to a climate of _____ from criminal prosecution …” Hernandez-Avalos v. Lynch, 784 F.3d 944, 952 n.9 (4th Cir. 2015).


  1. (C) “Impute” in this sentence means “to ascribe” or “regard as being done.” See Bryan A. Garner, GARNER’S MODERN AMERICAN USAGE 450 (3d ed. 2009).
  2. (A) “Impugn” means “to challenge” or “call into question.” Id. The word “impugnity” does not exist.
  3. (B) “Impunity” means “free from punishment or adverse consequences.”

 10. Who unfairly made fun of me because my last column was devoted entirely to the important subject of dashes?

  1. my brother
  2. a large assortment of close friends
  3. a large assortment of strangers
  4. a state court judge and a federal court judge
  5. all of the above


All of the above. OK, just go ahead and laugh, but someday you will thank me when your case turns on the kind of dash that is used in a statute, see, e.g., Mitchell v. Chapman, 343 F.3d 811, 829 (6th Cir. 2003) or if you are chosen to appear on Jeopardy! and the category is “Esoteric Questions About Dashes.”