Monday, March 6, 2017

Word of the Month for March 2017: Boilerplate

Blowing smoke up your dress
Never ceases to amaze how lawyers can take simple language and make it so it freaks non-lawyer people out of their minds.  For example, the other day an older lady comes in to the library.

Seems lady filed suit against a company for an incomplete installation. Company's lawyers' response to complaint to included no less than Forty-two (42) Affirmative Defenses of which only 2 dealt with the issues in the complaint.

This, of course, leads us to our word of the month: BOILERPLATE.  According to Black's Law Dictionary, BOILERPLATE is ready-made or all-purpose language that will fit in a variety of documents.  

The problem is that Company's lawyers were lazy and instead of paying attention to what they were doing, they included a whole bunch of smoke up her dress verbiage that didn't really have anything to do with anything related to what they were responding to and included everything and the kitchen sink just to confuse and obfuscate the issues.

To help lady sift the chaff, I suggested she take a gander at California Forms of Pleading and Practice (Volume 47, Ch. 537) paying particular attention to Summary Judgments.  I also suggested she look at Civil Discovery Practice (CEB) and The New Wigmore: A Treatise on Evidence (Wolter's Kluwer) looking at how to draft Request for Admissions and Interrogatories.

The thing to keep in mind is that finding answers to your most pressing law and legal stuff answers are pretty easy (if you know what you're doing or know someone who knows what they're doing).  So, don't freak out if you get something "scary" from a lawyer.  Take a deep breath and head on over to your local county law library and we'll help you find something to help you make sense of it all.