Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Why Not to Label an Opponent’s Argument “Ridiculous”

Bennett v. State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co., No. 13-3047 (6th Cir. Sept. 24, 2013):

There are good reasons not to call an opponent’s argument “ridiculous,” which is what State Farm calls Barbara Bennett’s principal argument here.  The reasons include civility; the near-certainty that overstatement will only push the reader away (especially when, as here, the hyperbole begins on page one of the brief); and that, even where the record supports an extreme modifier, “the better  practice is usually to lay out the facts and let the court reach its own conclusions.”  Big Dipper Entm’t, L.L.C. v. City of Warren, 641 F.3d 715, 719 (6th Cir. 2011). But here the biggest reason is more simple: the argument that State Farm derides as ridiculous is instead correct.


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