A loss of civility

Practice area:

I don’t talk about appeals I lose, and I do lose some. There’s a new book out with a famous quote from ex-FBI director James Comey as to what prosecutors with perfect records are called – it’s not pretty, because he was making the point that to do your job properly you don’t obsess about your win-loss record and think about how it’s all about you, as opposed to the client.   

Moreover, not only would whining about a decision that didn’t go my way sound pretty cheesy, there would be no point – what is right is what the Law Court says is right.  No one appointed me Queen of the Law, and by definition, the Court – the members of which were appointed – is always right.     

That said, I don’t file an appeal unless I think I have reasonable grounds to do it.  I have never filed an appeal I thought was frivolous.  So I’m disappointed in an article in the Maine Lawyers Review quoting the lawyer on the other side as saying that the Law Court accused me of this in oral argument.  The oral argument itself is no longer posted on the Court’s website.  My recollection is that a member of the Court expressed frustration at the lack of clarity in ordinance language, not a lack of substance to an argument presented in our briefing.  Nothing in the written decision states an argument we made was frivolous.  Counsel never sought fees for a purportedy frivolous claim.

I’m no spring chicken, so over the years I’ve confronted my share of lawyer hyperbole and invective from the other side.  But in these days of lack of civility on every front, I’m not sure why this attorney and publication sought to contribute to this toxic atmosphere. 

Attached hereto are links to our briefs in the case.  (Brief of Appellants, Reply Brief)  You be the judge.