By now, you have all seen the infamous motion for summary judgment filed by Mark Cuban in the law suit brought by a company alleging that Cuban had mismanaged the Dallas Maverick basketball franchise. The four page motion – which can be found here – is brief and amusing, as it uses imagery in the body of the motion to suggest that the claims against Cuban are baseless. (Apparently, because of its novelty, some law professors are already teaching the motion in class.). On its second page, the motion includes a large photograph – which takes up nearly half the page – of Cuban and the Mavericks celebrating their recent national championship win.
Cuban’s motion reminds us of a post we did late last year encouraging the use of such tactics.
Back then, in a post on modernization of judicial opinions, we noted that attorneys haven’t traditionally included images in motions and wrote as follows:
[T]his is a product of tradition, and attorneys – as authors of briefs which are predominantly prose – are equally at fault. While it is customary to attach photographs as exhibits to memorandum in support of motions, rarely does the attorney actually embed the photograph into the image itself. (This is changing for the better, though.). Thus, the Court, or the reader of the brief, is required to flip from the particular page being read back to the exhibit index and then back to the argument again. It seems that in 2010 this is unnecessary in both written submissions to the Court as well as in the resulting opinions themselves.
These days, with so much information on the Internet, with so many visual learners, with so many maps, photographs, schematics, images, and so many other types of non-prose information, we believe that embedding images into one’s motions is a growing trend and may in fact help and simplify issues. In a products case in which the product at issue is relatively obscure, a photograph accompanied by a brief description can speak volumes more than a lengthy technical treatise. If location is an issue in the case, then a photograph of a scene might be appropriate, provided that the photograph is, of course, favorable to your argument. If the distance between two sites is at issue, then a Google map screen capture can be input into the motion itself to showcase the distance at issue. There are many, many options.
We as lawyers use words by trade, but often we use far too many of them. The readers of our motions and briefs have much to do and many other items to review. We suspect that they, most of all, would appreciate efforts to simplify the briefing process. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Just ask Mark Cuban.