Reading Stockton bankruptcy files can make your head spin and your eyelids droop.
But looking through some recent files today, I came across an item that made me smile because it was so inadvertently revelatory of the laboriousness of the Chapter 9 process.
The four-page document chronicles a spat between the attorneys for Stockton and dissident creditor Franklin Templeton Investments. The tiff is over a Franklin motion to exceed the word limit requirements in its appeal before the U.S. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel.
Franklin requested to “extend the type-volume limitations” of U.S. bankruptcy code, “which provide(s) that a principal brief may not exceed 7,000 words. Assuming a 14 point type face in a proportional font, this results in a brief that is in excess of the alternative 30-page limit but one of a size the Rule’s drafters presumably considered equivalent. Appellants request a 50% increase over the maximum word count allowed by the rule (21,000 for principal briefs and 10,500 for reply brief).”
Stockton objected, and earned a “strongly agree” from federal bankruptcy Judge Laura S. Taylor. But, Taylor continued:
“We, however, accept the representations that the trial transcript exceeds 1,340 pages and that the trial exhibits approximate 1,534. To the extent the type-volume extension is used in part to provide a complete but streamlined statement of the relevant facts, this could be helpful to the Panel. “
Taylor then noted that Franklin argues it has “five critical issues” it wants discussed in its appeal.
“To the extent the type-volume extension is used to discuss five critical issues, it appears appropriate. We note that briefing below exceeds 1,000 pages; Appellants’ articulation of only five issues leads us to hope that the type-volume extension will not be used to plan an alphabet soup, kitchen sink, or otherwise undifferentiated mass of issues before the Court. … ‘[B]revity is a soul of wit.” Hamlet, Act 2, scene 2, 90. Notwithstanding, we agree to the requested word count extension for all parties. … The opening brief filed by appellants must contain no more than 21,000 words and any appellee may file a responsive brief of no more than 21,000 words. Appellants’ reply brief must contain no more than 10,500 words.”
Somewhere, Shakespeare is weeping.