Well, we’re not turning into Buzzfeed or anything, but we did think we would take advantage of this short week and do a bit of pop culture court blogging. Like some of you, we saw the new cinematic adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (about which we decline further comment). It got us thinking: How many courts have referenced the novel?
So, here are seven courts which refer to the novel by name, some in much more detail than you would suspect.
1. Legacy Healthcare Servs., Inc. v. Provident Foundation, Inc., No. 1:03CV00515., 2007 WL 275974, at *3 (N.D. Ohio Jan. 26 2007).
“While the billing documentation procedures will not likely read as clearly or fluidly as The Great Gatsby, the Medicare rules and regulations are not beyond the ken of the average layman.”
2. New York State Trawlers Ass’n v. Jorling, 16 F.3d 1303, 1312 (2d 1994).
“In closing, we are reminded of the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald. In the final passages of The Great Gatsby, Nick sits on the beach looking out over the Long Island Sound. While contemplating the Sound, Nick reflects upon the ‘fresh, green breast of the new world’ as it must have appeared to its first explorers. Not long ago, it would indeed have seemed that the Sound ‘year by year recedes before us.’ Increasingly, however, New York is recognizing its interest in protecting the rich natural resources of the Sound. The Amendments to N.Y.Envtl.Conserv.Law § 13-0329 are rationally related to that interest. Perhaps, ‘one fine morning-’.”
3. In re Compton, 97 B.R. 970, 980 (Bkrtcy. N.D. Ind. 1989).
“It strains the court’s credulity to believe the Defendant’s love-starved and tearful explanation for her conduct. The old adage that ‘the third time is a charm’ is not applicable on these facts. As they say in baseball, three strikes and you’re out. The court is not swayed by the Defendant’s tearful exhortations. The Defendant’s conduct bears a harsh resemblance to that of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s character Daisy in The Great Gatsby. The difference however, is that Daisy’s seemingly endless wealth could support her financial follies with the men and opportunities in her life. The Defendant did not have the same riches and affluence at her disposal.”
4. Stainton v. Tarantino, 637 F.Supp. 1051, 1082-83 (E.D. Pa. 1986).
“Plaintiffs’ theory of the case was that plaintiffs were a naive shop teacher and his wife who were hoodwinked by two unscrupulous lawyers. Tarantino’s theory of the case was that two educated, sophisticated people, with great wealth, set out to destroy him because Mrs. Stainton considered him a social climber. The closing argument of defense counsel presented Tarantino’s theory of the case. The references to the wealth of the plaintiffs, including the quotation from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby, were relevant to the financial sophistication of the plaintiffs and the motivation for bringing the lawsuit.”
5. Summum v. Pleasant Grove City, 499 F.3d 1170, 1179 (10th Cir. 2007)
“No one thinks The Great Gatsby is government speech just because a public school provides its students with the text. This is because the speech conveyed by the physical text remains private speech regardless of government ownership.”
6. CA, Inc. v. Simple.com, Inc., 780 F.Supp.2d 196, 250 (E.D.N.Y. 2009) (citations omitted).
7. In re Veal, 450 B.R. 897, 912 n.25 (9th Cir. 2011)
“The converse is also true: one can be a ‘person entitled to enforce’ without having any ownership interest in the negotiable instrument, such as when a thief swipes and absconds with a bearer instrument. See Comment 1 to UCC § 3–301. The ability of a thief to legitimately obtain payment on bearer instruments, such as bearer bonds, has factored in literature and film focusing on the dark side of humanity. See, e.g., F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby ch. 9 (1925) (part of Gatsby’s downfall connected with the theft or falsification of bearer bonds); Die Hard (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. 1988) (thieves masquerading as international terrorists seek to steal a highly valuable trove of bearer bonds); Beverly Hills Cop (Paramount Pictures 1984) (friend of protagonist is murdered for stealing bearer bonds from a drug operation’s kingpin).”
Finally, the authors of both R-Boc Representatives, Inc. v. Minemyer, No. 11 C 8433, 2012 WL 2905733, at *1 (N.D. Ill. July 16, 2012) and Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Barbour, 614 F. Supp. 2d 47, 48 (D.D.C. 2009) begin their opinions by quoting the very last line of The Great Gatsby: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”