As if getting crushed in the BP Oil Spill litigation wasn’t enough, District Judge Carl Barbier is calling out BP’s lawyers for cheating by sneakily exceeding the Court’s 35-page brief limit. My favorite article on the ruling is from the Christian Science Monitor. From the article:

The BP legal team had tried to reduce the line spacing in a brief to sneak six extra pages in without exceeding the page limit. US District Court Judge Carl Barbier (a double-spacing purist? a stickler for formatting?) was unimpressed.

“Counsel’s tactic would not be appropriate for a college term paper,” Judge Barbier wrote in a ruling Monday. “It certainly is not appropriate here.”


“BP’s counsel filed a brief that, at first blush, appeared just within the 35-page limit. A closer study reveals that BP’s counsel abused the page limit by reducing the line spacing to slightly less than double-spaced,” Judge Barbier wrote. “As a result, BP exceeded the (already enlarged) page limit by roughly six pages.”

My Take:

I’d love to have a video of the BP lawyers high-fiving when they came up with the crafty ploy to sneak in a few extra pages.

“Hey S. Steven the 3rd, look at this, reducing the spacing to 1.75 gets us an extra six pages.” “Wow, that’s awesome R. Biff! Judge Barbier is sure to buy our aurguments when we overwhelm him with six extra pages of brilliant legal writing.”

“Yea, we’re awesome. That’s why we make the big bucks and work on the 53rd floor of a big city office building. Let’s go tell the other forty-six lawyers in the firm billing on the case how smart we are.”