Thursday, February 23, 2006

Pretrial Answer Handed Back

The adjunct handed back last week's assignment last night. It was a Answer to a Complaint we did the week before. Mine was fine, I got the equivalent of a check, which is all I shoot for in a pass/fail class. But among his numerous written comments, this jumped out at me:

"I do not think its is appropriate to include 'humerous' comments on your written assignments. Please refrain from doing so in the future."

Now its very likely that this post is about to turn into a rant. I was quite infuriated, but also embarrassed. I have a habit of not taking some things seriously enough. But before I go on, you may be wondering what my "humerous" inclusion was. Well, as my fourth affirmative defense, I wrote that the Plaintiff was a member of a communist front organization. To me, this is funny. Two things are worth noting though: first, I had five other legitimate affirmative defenses and without the fourth defense, the answer was complete and correctly done; second, being a member of a communist front organization is a specifically listed affirmative defense in the age discrimination statute my client was being sued under. No joke. Congress provided that if your employee is a communist, they are not covered by the age discrimination statute. So it was a meritorious argument.

Not only was it conceivably meritorious, but Answers are filed prior to discovery, so it's possible that the plaintiff is/was a communist! So it really wasn't even a "humerous" comment. It was a legitimate affirmative defense. And to me, one who is steeped in love for comedy, that makes it EVEN FUNNIER!!!

Now I understand that he's an adjunct, meaning that he's a full time attorney with a caseload and clients to keep happy, and grading these papers takes time away from his real job. When he has to go through a dozen answers, I'm sure he would prefer them to be as brief and to-the-point as possible. And when he sees obnoxious kids like me wasting his precious time, it probably annoys him. And understandably so.

But he wasn't involuntarily drafted to be an adjunct. No. In fact, he gets a pay check for teaching. In addition, he gets to put it on his resume and his firm gets to put it on their website. So he is being remunerated well for his time. And I am paying him. That's right. I pay tuition to fund his hobby-class. And to me, that means that I have a captive audience for my "humor." If he doesn't like it, too goddamn bad. I don't include jokes in my assignments to make his job easier. I do it because it makes me laugh. That's right. ME.

And what's so wrong with enjoying life a little? Now it's a different matter if we were dealing with real clients with whom I had a fiduciary duty. Then it would be inappropriate to get laughs on the client's dollar. But this is pretrial and we litigate in make-believe. Also, as I said earlier, the class is pass/fail!

In conclusion, I will not refrain from including "humerous" comments in future assignments. It makes me happy to do so, it wastes very little of anyone's time, and it has no other social or individual costs. Thus, there is a net gain to society when I use viable legal defenses to make myself chuckle.

3 Comments:

Blogger Anne West said...

All great points...you've won your case!

9:30 AM  
Blogger warm fuzzy said...

If I were the person reading a million of these, I would be happy to get a chuckle out of one of them. He wasted much more time writing that you shouldn't that then he did laughing. And let's be honest - he did chuckle. Oh yes, he did.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Xeno said...

Who can't laugh at any joke about Communism I ask you? Only dirty pinko commies!!!!

6:37 PM  

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