[UPDATE: Minnesota Litigator has covered the hard-fought Cenveo v. Southern Graphic Systems case repeatedly. In the latest installment of this serial, Cenveo prostrates itself before the Court in abject apology for an over-length brief and an erroneous word count after having asked for leave to file an over-length brief, which the Court denied. The point of word limits, of course, is to lower the burden on the Court. Now the Court has an over-length brief from Cenveo and two letters (one from Minnesota counsel and one from out-of-state lead counsel), in addition, explaining the erroneously excessively long brief. Fortunately, Cenveo did not include briefing on whether the letters themselves should be submitted with word-counts and whether word counts should be accompanied by word counts of the word counts. Regardless, like a bureaucracy set up to reduce bureaucracy, one might ask oneself whether word count requirements are part of the solution or the problem.
On this issue the Court ruled: “The Court has reviewed the letter submitted by plaintiffs regarding their word count error. The Court will strike the footnotes in their objection and decline to consider them. ” ]
The earlier post is after the jump.
The linked letter is the second of three letters sent in a single day in a single case to U.S. Mag. Judge Arthur Boylan (D. Minn.) in an obviously hotly contested lawsuit between two companies (where employees of one went to work at the other).
Plaintiff Cenveo brought a motion to amend its complaint to add a claim for punitive damages, a motion required under Minnesota law in order to add a claim for punitive damages to a complaint. Needless to say, Defendant Southern Graphic Systems (SGS) opposed the motion, it was scheduled for argument, briefed, but Cenveo counsel really wanted the last word. That is, counsel wanted the ability to file a reply brief, prohibited without permission under local rules. Needless to say, SGS opposed this request, and then some — suggesting that the request for leave to file a reply, itself, was sanctionable. SGS has a little wind at its back, Cenveo already having requested leave to file a reply brief recently on another motion and having been denied.
Fighting for the last word, a responding request for sanctions, and a Spring day letter-writing campaign are par for the course for the practice of many civil litigators but clearly such exchanges are expensive sideshows (and do not please courts).