February 26, 2018 Articles

Silly Lawyer Tricks XI

The latest column in our continuing series on real mistakes and misdeeds by real lawyers on appeal.

By Tom Donlon – February 26, 2018

This is the latest column in our continuing series on real mistakes and misdeeds by real lawyers in cases on appeal.

Russell v. City of Philadelphia, 698 F. App’x 709 (3d Cir. 2017)
A repeating theme in appellate counsel errors is the failure to follow the old adage “Quit while you’re ahead.”

In the district court, the plaintiffs’ discrimination and retaliation claims were dismissed on summary judgment, “based solely on Plaintiffs’ attorney’s failure to comply with a rudimentary procedural rule,” specifically, the requirement under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 to cite to particular materials in the record to support the claim of disputed factual issues. Id. at 711. The district court’s extensive decision granting summary judgment laid out this error in great detail. However, while the clients’ claims were dismissed, the district court did not explicitly blame counsel. See Russell v. City of Phila., Civ. No. 13-3151, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113725, 2016 WL 4478764 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 25, 2016).

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