Coal company asks court to strike protest song lyrics from activists’ lawsuit

Coal company asks court to strike protest song lyrics from activists’ lawsuit.

{Image: four parallel coal trains rounding a bend in the track, the front two with coal cars full of coal.}

Image credit: energycatalyzer3.com

There is just so much to love about this.  That the plaintiffs’ lawyer — our friend Darold Killmer — included John Prine’s beautiful lyrics in his complaint.

Then the coal company came with the world’s largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man …
And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay?
Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking
Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away.

That this annoyed Peabody Energy, the defendant.  That they were so annoyed and clueless that they moved to strike the lyrics as “irrelevant, immaterial, impertinent and/or inflammatory.”   (I love “impertinent” with its overtones of the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey.)  That this motion gave Darold the opportunity to write things like this:

Defendant Peabody Energy Corp. has paid its lawyers thousands of dollars to submit a 17 page brief in support of its four page Motion to Strike song lyrics from the Complaint because . . .   it wants “to avoid the expenditure of time and money that must arise from litigating spurious issues . . .”

and

A song can’t hurt Peabody, and recitation of a portion of the song will not cause Peabody undue difficulty or expense, except that which is self-inflicted.

and

Undersigned counsel is happy to report that the frequency of references to Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics in all types of legal writing is rising.

In fact, there is an entire section of the brief entitled “Non-Traditional Legal Writing is Good,” and I commend that to my vast audience of word nerds (hi, Mom!).

Obviously, the most delicious thing of all is that if Peabody had just put on its big-kid undies, ignored the lyrics, and moved on, no one would know.  Well, all of us with the privilege of hearing Darold recite his legal exploits would know, but it might not have surfaced outside the bar/bars of Denver.

Now, however, it’s in the ABA Journal.  And U.S. News & World Report.  And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  And Wyoming Public Radio.

Self-inflicted, indeed!

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