Funny Case – Smith v. Colonial Penn

You don’t often see transfer of venue cases turning into something that you would actually want to read. The judge in this case must have had his morning espresso before drafting this opinion. See Smith v. Colonial Penn Ins. Co., 943 F. Supp. 782 (S.D. Tex. 1996)

Defendant’s request for a transfer of venue is centered around the fact that Galveston does not have a commercial airport into which Defendant’s employees and corporate representatives may fly and out of which they may be expediently whisked to the federal courthouse in Galveston. Rather, Defendant contends that it will be faced with the huge “inconvenience” of flying into Houston and driving less than forty miles to the Galveston courthouse, an act that will “encumber” it with “unnecessary driving time and expenses.” The Court certainly does not wish to encumber any litigant with such an onerous burden. The Court, being somewhat familiar with the Northeast, notes that perceptions about travel are different in that part of the country than they are in Texas. A litigant in that part of the country could cross several states in a few hours and might be shocked at having to travel fifty miles to try a case, but in this vast state of Texas, such a travel distance would not be viewed with any surprise or consternation.

Defendant should be assured that it is not embarking on a three-week-long trip via covered wagons when it travels to Galveston. Rather, Defendant will be pleased to discover that the highway is paved and lighted all the way to Galveston, and thanks to the efforts of this Court’s predecessor, Judge Roy Bean, the trip should be free of rustlers, hooligans, or vicious varmints of unsavory kind. Moreover, the speed limit was recently increased to seventy miles per hour on most of the road leading to Galveston, so Defendant should be able to hurtle to justice at lightning speed. To assuage Defendant’s worries about the inconvenience of the drive, the Court notes that Houston’s Hobby Airport is located about equal drivetime from downtown Houston and the Galveston courthouse. Defendant will likely find it an easy, traffic-free ride to Galveston as compared to a congested, construction-riddled drive to downtown Houston. The Court notes that any inconvenience suffered in having to drive to Galveston may likely be offset by the peacefulness of the ride and the scenic beauty of the sunny isle.

Defendant will again be pleased to know that regular limousine service is available from Hobby Airport, even to the steps of this humble courthouse, which has got lights, indoor plummin’, ‘lectric doors, and all sorts of new stuff, almost like them big courthouses back East.

As to Defendant’s argument that Houston might also be a more convenient forum for Plaintiff, the Court notes that Plaintiff picked Galveston as her forum of choice even though she resides in San Antonio. Defendant argues that flight travel is available between Houston and San Antonio but is not available between Galveston and San Antonio, again because of the absence of a commercial airport. Alas, this Court’s kingdom for a commercial airport!

The Court is unpersuaded by this argument because it is not this Court’s concern how Plaintiff gets here, whether it be by plane, train, automobile, horseback, foot, or on the back of a huge Texas jackrabbit, as long as Plaintiff is here at the proper date and time.

3 Responses to Funny Case – Smith v. Colonial Penn

  1. […] March 31st, 2007 In Smith v. Colonial Penn, I think the judge must have had too much red bull before drafting his opinion. […]

  2. This must be one of the most humorous documents I’ve ever read. Ya just gotta love Texas! :-)

    I would love to see someone arrive for court on the back of a huge Texas jackrabbit. “I’m sorry I was late Your Honor, but my transportation was distracted by a cute little bunny.” :-)

  3. Alen O'Hran says:

    Dear Prof. Randazza

    I have been a lawyer quite sometime now and have been an associate to a Supreme Court Justice and have spent some time in Courts. But this is hilarious! Love it!

    I am not sure if you have ever read this, but it’s a famous Judge Issac Parker’s Death Warrant for a man convicted of rape and murder of a young girl. Sometimes, I wish judges had guts to say it, just like they did back in 1883!

    Enjoy – and warm regards from the other side of the world – Canberra, Australia.

    United States of America v Jose Manuel Gonzales
    Federal District Court , Indian Territory of Arkansas, Oklahoma, & Texas

    “Jose Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales, in a few months it will be Spring, the snow of Winter will flee away, the ice will vanish, and the air will become soft and balmy. In short, Jose Manuel Xavier Gonzales, the annual miracle of the year’s awakening will come to pass, but you won’t be here.

    The rivulet will run its purling course to the sea, the timid desert flowers will put forth their tender shoots, the glorious valleys of this imperial domain will blossom as the rose, still you won’t be here.

    From every tree top some wildwood songster will carol his mating song, butterflies will sport in the sunshine, the busy bee will hum happily as it pursues its accustomed vocation, the gentle breezes will tease the tassels of wild grasses, and all nature, Jose Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales, will be glad, but you won’t be here to enjoy it.

    For I command the Sheriff or some officer or officers of this county to lead you out to some remote spot, swing you up by the neck to a nodding bough of some sturdy oak, and there let you hang till you are dead, dead, dead.

    And then, Jose Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales, I command further that such officer or officers retire quietly from your swinging, dangling corpse, that the vultures may descend from the heavens upon your filthy body and pick the putrid flesh therefrom till nothing remain but the bare bleached bones of a cold-blooded, copper-colored, blood-thirsty, chili-eating, guilty sheep-herding son-of-a-bitch!”

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