I have been a Magistrate Judge, a Chief District Judge and now a Senior District Judge. I have clerked at the Eighth Circuit and sat as a judge at that court by designation. I have had the pleasure of handling cases in several other district courts in the Eighth Circuit. I have appreciated more than I can explain the judicial collegiality that I have always experienced in the District of Nebraska and in the Eighth Circuit more generally. Sadly, however, I have now seen a Chief District Judge in the Southern District of Florida murder judicial collegiality. It makes me want to vomit.
Consider, please, footnote 2 to an opinion of Chief District Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida adopting in part and rejecting in part a report and recommendation submitted by Magistrate Judge Lisette M. Reid in a pro se case.[i] Here is the footnote:
The Court adopts in part Magistrate Judge Reid’s R&R with the following alterations: the pin cite in the citation on page six, line seven should be “1279” and omit citation to “n.2”; the pin cite in the citation on page seven, line seven should be “1223, n.2”; the case name on page seven, line nine should read: “Goebert v. Lee Cty.”; the quotation on page nine, line six should read: “[The] right must be . . .”; the pin cite in the citation on page nine, line thirteen should be “1121”; the quotation on page thirteen, line eleven should read: “We do not require a case directly on point, but existing precedent . . .”; the pin cite in the citations on page fourteen, lines one and six should be “589–90”; the quotation on page seventeen, line five should read: “Miami-Dade County and/or Public Health Trust”; the quotation on page eighteen, line nineteen should read: “[it] can rise to the level . . .”; the pin cite in the citation on page twenty, line seventeen should be “589–90”; the parenthetical on page twenty-one, line nine should read: “offering extraction over a root canal is not a constitutional violation if an extraction is medically appropriate to remove tooth decay”; the citation on page twenty-seven, lines five to six should read: “219 F.3d 132, 137 (2d Cir. 2000)”; and the citation on page twenty-seven, line nine should read “219 F.3d at 132.” Finally, the Court notes that it does not adopt citations in the R&R that do not conform to The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (Columbia Law Review Ass’n et al. eds., 20th ed. 2015).
Balbin v. L. Concepcion, et al., Case No. 1:18CV20875-KMM (S.D. Fla., (September 26, 2019). (Emphasis added by Kopf.)[ii]
Publicly upbraiding a colleague over citation issues is both nuts and harmful to the collegial functioning of the judges within his district. Chief Judge Moore owes Magistrate Judge Reid an apology. And, while he is at it, he should get a life.
Richard G. Kopf
Senior United States District Judge (Nebraska)
[i] Here is her background prior to being appointed a Magistrate Judge on January 3, 2019. The judge received a B.A. in Economics from the University of Missouri in 1983, and a law degree from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1986. She began her legal career as a law clerk for Chief Judge Andrew J. Higgins at the Missouri Supreme Court. In 1987, she was accepted into the United States Attorney General’s Honors Program, and moved to Miami, Florida, to serve as an Assistant United States Trustee. In 1989, she became a member of the Florida Bar and, in 1990, left the government to become a litigation associate at the Miami law firm of Valdes-Fauli, Bischoff, Kriss, & Mandler, P.A. For the next five years, her practice focused on bankruptcy law, and other commercial litigation in both state and federal courts. In 1995, she joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida as an Assistant United States Attorney litigating civil cases. In 1997, she transferred to the appellate division where she wrote hundreds of appellate briefs and argued both civil and criminal cases before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She also trained Justice Department lawyers at the government’s National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina, serving as an instructor on appellate advocacy, legal writing and ethics for appellate lawyers. The judge previously served on several court committees before her appointment. She served on the Rules Committee and on the Ad hoc Committee on Attorney Admissions, Peer Review, and Attorney Grievance of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
[ii] The 33-page R&R and the 16-page Opinion can be found at David Oscar Markus, Judge Moore is really serious about the Bluebook (updated), The SDFLA Blog (November 07, 2019). I tip my hat to Mr. Markus.