In what appears to be a trend (see prior post, In Search Of), another decision issued last week demonstrates a different kind of missing ingredient in legal briefs -- the argument:

"The jury awarded Quantum $1 million in damages. Subsequently, LV Associates moved for a new trial and judgment notwithstanding the verdict.  The trial court denied the post-trial motions, finding their one-page supporting memoranda lacked any discussion related to the facts or to the cited law, failing to comply with Rule 3.1113 of the California Rules of Court."  Quantum Cooking Concepts Inc. v. LV Associates Inc. 2011 Cal.App. LEXIS 951.  

Digging a little deeper, the case reveals that the thrifty approach to briefing in Quantum Cooking involved two separate issues assigned a half a page each.  Somewhere there is an attorney mourning the adage, "be brief" and pondering the high school English teacher's mantra that less is more, at least when taken to the extreme.

But if leaving the required statement of facts, specific evidentiary references and arguments out is problematic, there are greater sins of inclusion.  If you are going to let it all hang out in a brief, it's still a good idea to attend to basic spelling and grammar and it's always a good idea to refrain from calling the judge names.  A recent Fifth Circuit decision is, well, you decide:

http://www.virginiaappellatelaw.com/2011/07/articles/writing/dont-mess-with-texis-sic-legalwriting-lessons-from-a-fifthcircuit-benchslap/