Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"His analysis, however, slices far from the fairway"

I recently happened upon one of the best ever judicial opinions, written by Judge Wallace Dixon of North Carolina (thanks ATL). The plaintiff in Giuliani v. Duke University is none other than the son of Rudy Giuliani, Andrew Giuliani. Andrew Guiliani enrolled at Duke to play golf (and to attend school, or do collegiate actually attend classes?). He was not offered a scholarship, nor did he sign a letter of intent. Because the previous coach had recruited Giuliani with specific promises, Giuliani claimed there was an implied contract, which Duke broke when the coach released Giuliani from the team. The judge dismissed this claim in a straightforward analysis. The analysis, however, is not the interesting part.

In his 12-page opinion, Judge Dixon used golfing metaphors to explain his legal reasoning at least 10 time (there may be more examples that I missed). At one point the judge quotes a line from Caddyshack. Anyway, I included all of the references for your reading pleasure. Good stuff:

Plaintiff tees up his case . . . (p. 2). His analysis, however, slices far from the fairway (p. 5). This attempt to change arguments . . . is like trying to change clubs after hitting the golf ball–Plaintiff is stuck with the club (in this case the argument) that he first picked (p. 6). Therefore, Plaintiff’s reliance on four student policy manuals as evidence of a contract is a swing and a miss (p. 6). Ross serves as a putter, however, where Plaintiff needs a sand wedge to get out of the hazard (p. 7). Plaintiff attempts to take a mulligan with this argument; however, this shot also lands in the drink (p. 9). Plaintiff also shanks this claim (p. 10). Plaintiff’s promissory estoppel claim . . . brings to mind Carl Spackler’s analysis from the movie CADDYSHACK (Orion Pictures 1980): “He’s on his final hole. He’s about 455 yards away, he’s gonna hit about a 2 iron, I think” (p. 10). Plaintiff tries to get around the slow play of his promissory estoppel claim . . . (p. 11). Plaintiff’s fifth and final claim . . . can be disposed of with a hole-in-one sentence: no valid contract means no declaratory judgment (p. 11).

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