Seventh Circuit Chastises Lawyer for Overlength Brief, Dismisses Appeal

Writing for the Seventh Circuit, Judge Richard Posner sharply criticized an Indiana lawyer for misrepresenting that his brief for the appellant complied with the 14,000 word limit when it actually contained 18,000 words.  Opposing counsel representing the appellee pointed out the violation in a footnote.  In response to an order to show cause why the brief should not be stricken and sanctions imposed, the lawyer explained that he had "inadvertently considered only the words included in the argument section."  Rejecting this explanation, the court emphasized that the rules are unambiguous regarding the parts of the brief that count toward the limit.  The court added that the brief was "rambling" and would be more effective if compressed to 14,000 words.  While it struck the brief and dismissed the appeal, the court stopped short of basing the dismissal on the rule violation alone, stating: 
The flagrancy of the violation in this case might well justify the dismissal of the appeal:  let this be a warning.  But in addition it is plain from the briefs that the appeal has no merit.  To allow time for the appellants to file a compliant brief and the appellees to file a revised brief in respons, and to reschedule oral argument, would merely delay the inevitable. 
The six-page opinion is posted here.