I Thought That I Should Never See An Opinion As Lovely As a Tree–Wrong!!

Who says appellate judges can’t be literate — and hilarious.

Fisher v. Lowe
122 Mich.App. 418, 33 N.W.2d 67 (1983)


    A wayward Chevy struck a tree
    Whose owner sued defendants three.
    He sued car’s owner, driver two,
    And insurer for what was due
    For his oak tree that now may bear
    A lasting need for tender care.The Oakland County Circuit Court,
    John N. O’Brien, J., set forth
    The judgment that defendants sought
    And quickly an appeal was brought. 

    Court of Appeals, J.H. Gillis, J.,
    Gave thought and then had this to say:
    1) There is no liability
    Since No-Fault grants immunity;
    2) No jurisdiction can be found
    Where process service is unsound;

    And thus the judgment, as it’s termed,
    Is due to be, and is, Affirmed.


Before BRONSON, P.J., and V.J. BRENNAN and J.H. GILLIS, JJ.

J.H. GILLIS, Judge.

    We thought that we would never see
    A suit to compensate a tree.
    A suit whose claim in tort is prest
    Upon a mangled tree’s behest;A tree whose battered trunk was prest
    Against a Chevy’s crumpled crest;
    A tree that faces each new day
    With bark and limb in disarray;
    A tree that may forever bear
    A lasting need for tender care. 

    Flora lovers though we three,
    We must uphold the court’s decree.

Judgment affirmed.

Source: Gavel2Gavel.com

Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

10 thoughts on “I Thought That I Should Never See An Opinion As Lovely As a Tree–Wrong!!”

  1. Jericho,

    I will stipulate there are times when jargon gets in the way of clarity and those times happen far too frequently, but law is a complex technical subject like any other and has attendant specialized language. Simpler is indeed better, but sometimes it’s just not attainable.

  2. What would have been really astounding and a true legal first is if the opinion had been understandable to the common man.

    Justice should be so easy a kid could explain it, but these brainiacs just can’t bring their educated little heads to actually use normal language for a change?

    Truly smart men can make the most complex of issues comprehensible, idiots can make even the simplest of issues seem insolvable.

    Well howwy, am I impressed… As if the legal jargon wasn’t already shamelessly useless. What a terrible joke.

  3. Elaine M.
    1, November 1, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Way to go! Gillis is one cool judge.

    You do the crime…and he’ll write the rhyme.


    I thought the verse was great but Elaine’s tid-bit made me laugh out loud … well done!

  4. That’s outstanding. At least one decision in verse should be required of all judges. 🙂

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