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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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"Baloney" Is A No-No In Appellate Briefs

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In Florida baloney is not a legal term.

First District: You Can’t Say That

If you are thinking about filing — or if a client, a colleague, or anyone else encourages you to file — an appellate brief that uses grandiose insulting characterizations of the proceeding below, the opposition’s position, or the opposition’s attorneys, stop. Don’t do it. Instead, break out a copy of this order.

The case involved a defamation suit based on how the defendants reported the circumstances surrounding a guardianship. The trial court entered summary judgment in the defendants’ favor, and the plaintiff appealed. The First District affirmed the summary judgment and sanctioned the plaintiff’s attorneys for the language they used in their initial and reply briefs.

*the initial brief quoted a portion of the trial court’s order and then stated, “Baloney.”

There are numerous other grandiose insulting characterizations in the briefs. But, baloney provides a taste of the language that troubled the Appeals Court.

What if the trial court’s order did contain baloney?