THERE ARE GOOD REASONS NOT TO CALL AN OPPONENT’S ‘RIDICULOUS’ : PARTICULARLY IF THEY ARE, IN FACT, CORRECT
This blog has looked at issues relating to written submissions many times. Included in this has been the need to avoid hyperbole, which often backfires. A good example, borrowed from the United States, is the judgment in Bennett -v- Start Farm Mutual Insurance Company (United States Courts of Appeal 6th Circuit).
“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.”
The issue related to the extent of coverage to be supplied by the defendant insurer. The claimant was struck by a car and thrown into the hood. The court held that the fact that she was on the hood made her an “occupant” of the vehicle. The insurer described this argument as “ridiculous”. As can be seen above the “ridiculous” argument was, in fact, correct.
THE BIG DIPPER CASE
Similar statements were made in the “Big Dipper” case referred to in the judgment. In that case the City had barred “sexually oriented businesses” from operating in its area. The business appealed