It is tempting to use metaphors or literary analogies in an appellate brief. Shakespeare is a favorite among lawyers because quoting the Bard of Stratford-on-Avon can add spice and erudition to an argument.
But not all appellate court judges appreciate lawyers’ creative flourishes. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld sanctions imposed on a Florida bankruptcy lawyer whose argument was in the form of haiku: “All know: talk is cheap; Liars can claim anything; No evidence?! Balk!”
The sanctions, however, did not stop the poet-lawyer from extending his creativity to his appellate brief, which concluded with a quote from the Bard of Cartoons, Bugs Bunny: “That’s all, folks!” The Eleventh Circuit was not amused and imposed additional sanctions. See In re: Peter Allan Wizenberg, No. 20-10641 (11th Cir. Dec. 15, 2020).
So, be careful who you quote. “That’s all folks!”