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DISTRICT COURT, WELD COUNTY, COLORADO

901 9th Avenue, P.O. Box 2038, Greeley, CO 80632


(970) 475-2400

Plaintiff: Sinclair Transportation Company, d/ba/


Sinclair Pipeline Company
v.
Defendants: Ivar E. Larson; Donna M. Larson;
Lauren Sandberg; and Kay F. Sandberg

DATE FILED: January 28, 2016 12:00 PM


CASE NUMBER: 2012CV907

COURT USE ONLY


Case No.
2012 CV 907
Division 4

Order on Sinclairs Motion to Set Emergency Hearing


Regarding Briefing
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet (Act 2, Scene 2)
I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the
time.
Blaise Pascal, Lettres Provinciales (English tr.)
Sinclair has filed several motions that fail to comply with this Courts
page limitations. These limitations, which are based on C.R.C.P. 121, 115(1)(a), require a party to obtain permission before submitting motions or
briefs in excess of ten pages. Sinclair has filed the following motions and
brief in excess of ten pages:

Plaintiffs C.R.C.P. 56(h) Motion for Determination of Question of


Law, filed 12/14/15 (15 pages) (fully briefed and ripe for ruling)

Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment, filed 1/11/16 (17


pages)

Motion to Exclude Expert Opinions of Robert Myers, filed 1/19/16 (21


pages)

Motion to Strike Expert Opinion of Ivar Larson, filed 1/19/16 (24


pages)

Motion to Strike Expert Opinion of Ashley Ahrens, filed 1/19/16 (24


pages)

Motion to Strike Expert Opinions of Charles Koch, filed 1/19/16 (19


pages)
The Initial Case Management Order, entered in November 2012, put the

parties on notice that they must first obtain permission from the Court to
exceed the ten-page limitationor face the consequences. Because the
parties elected not to put this page-limitation provision in their Stipulated
Case Management Order, which I approved in July 2015, Sinclair takes the
position that it is no longer bound by page limitations.
Au contraire.
I was not asked to relieve the parties of the page-limitation provision
when I was asked to approve their Stipulated Case Management Order. Nor
would I have done so if I were asked. Slipping something that the judge has
not actually ordered into a proposed order is never a wise tactic. And not
slipping something into a proposed orderso that a party can then argue
that the court has acted by omissionis even less wise.
So, to be clear, the ten-page limitation is alive and well in this case. Its
purpose is to preserve the parties resources, by protecting them from being
forced to respond to unnecessarily-long motions and briefs, and to preserve
judicial resources so that I have the time to rule on the parties motions,
plus time to rule on the pending motions in the over 300 other active cases I
am currently responsible for.
Thus, [e]nforcing page limits and other restrictions on litigants is
rather ordinary practice, which is rather strictly, and cheerfully,
enforced. Watts v. Thompson, 116 F.3d 220, 224 (7th Cir. 1997). Page
limitations are
designed as much for the benefit of the litigants as for the
benefit of the court. If extra pages mean stronger argument,
Order on Sinclai rs Moti on to Set Emergency Hearing Regarding Briefing
Sinclair Transportation Company v. Larson, 2012 CV 907
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enforcement of the page limit protects those who obey the


rules. But extra pages may not be stronger argument. A
limitation induces the advocate to write tight prose, which
helps his [or her] clients cause.
Morgan v. South Bend Community School Corp., 797 F.2d 471, 480481 (7th
Cir.1986) (Easterbrook, J,).
For these reasons, I rarely grant permission to exceed page limitations.
Brevity is an essential part of the art of advocacy, see, e.g, People v.
Galimanis, 728 P.2d 761 (Colo. App. 1986), as is the winnowing of issues
and argument, see, e.g., Fleming v. County of Kane, State of Ill., 855 F.2d
496 (7th Cir. 1988). Overly long briefs may actually hurt a partys case,
making it far more likely that meritorious arguments will be lost amid the
mass of detail. United States v. Keplinger, 776 F.2d 678, 683 fn. 1 (7th Cir.
1985).
I sometimes try to imagine what the lawyers are thinking when they
submit a 20-page brief seeking relief on a single issue. Do they think that
their clients will be impressed? In my experience, clients are only impressed
when the judge rules in their favor. And I can say with certainly that I am
not impressed by a long motion or brief. My reaction instead tends to be that
the lawyer must not have a very strong argument if takes that many pages
to get to the point. Strong arguments get to the point concisely and do not
waste my time with unnecessary facts and legal fluff. If lawyers think that
they must submit long motions and briefs to preserve the record for the
Court of Appeals, then they should acquaint themselves with how that court
enforces page limitations.
Should there be any doubt about just how long courts have enforced
page limitations and just how upset they can become when the limitations
are ignored, I offer this ancient example. Over 400 hundred years ago, an
English court imprisoned the pleader of a 120page replication. See
Mylward v. Weldon, (1596) (first reported in 1 G. Spence, Equitable

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Jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery 375 n.h (Philadelphia, Lea &


Blanchard 1846). In addition, it ordered the prison warden to:
cut a hole in the midst of the same engrossed Replication
and put the said [pleaders] head through the same hole, and
so let the same Replication hang about his shoulder with the
written side outward.
Id. The warden was then to:
lead the said [pleader] bareheaded and barefaced round
about Westminster Hall, whilst the Courts are sitting, and
show him at the Bar of every of the three Courts within
the Hall.
Id.
I do not often wax nostalgic for the rigors of the common law. But, then
again, sometimes I do.
In any event, Sinclair has inundated this Court with 120 combined
pages between all its recent motions and briefs. Assuming that the
defendants are feeling insecure about their positions, they will likely feel
compelled to retaliate in kind. And then Sinclair will submit equally verbose
replies. So I face the prospect of wading through nearly 400 pages in an
attempt to identify the pertinent facts and law which should control my
rulings. This I will not do.
So I enforce the page limitations and strike all of Sinclairs papers, with
the exception of the Motion for Determination of Question of Law, filed
12/14/15. Because that motion is now fully briefed, it would be waste of all
the parties resources to strike it. But the remaining motions and briefs
identified above are hereby STRUCK.
I am somewhat sympathetic to Sinclairs argument that many of its
papers comply in spirit with the page limitations because it submitted
double-spaced motions and briefs. And certainly the page limitations
provide for ten pages of single-spaced text (so long as proper fonts and page
Order on Sinclai rs Moti on to Set Emergency Hearing Regarding Briefing
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margins are used). But some of Sinclairs papers are overly long, even if I
consider the double-spacing. And my hope is that Sinclair will use this
opportunity to winnow down the facts and legal arguments that I truly need
to be informed about so that I can efficiently rule on the issues it seeks to
raise.
I therefore give Sinclair permission to refile the motions and brief I have
struck. Recognizing that trial is fast-approaching, Sinclair must refile any
motion or brief by no later than February 2. The defendants need not
respond to any motion or brief that has been struck.
But I also recognize that the defendants have already had an
opportunity to consider the issues raised by Sinclair. I therefore exercise my
discretion under C.R.C.P. 121, 1-15(1), to shorten the defendants response
time. Any response to the refiled motion or brief must therefore be filed no
later than February 8. Any reply by Sinclair must be filed by no later than
February 11. I will then do my best to rule on all pending issues before the
trial begins.
Given my resolution of Sinclairs motion, I deny the request for an
emergency hearing.
So Ordered:
January 28, 2016

BY THE COURT:
______________________
Todd Taylor
District Court Judge

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