Summarize. Don't overparticularize.
the following passage to improve the story line by omitting needless details:
On September 25, 1997, in a Texas federal
district court, R&B Music sought injunctive relief against the McCoys to
prevent them from any further use or disclosure of R&B's trade secrets. On
September 26, 1997, the Texas court issued an order restraining the McCoys from
using or disclosing certain R&B property and proprietary information. On
September 26, 1997, the court set an evidentiary hearing for Tuesday, October
7, 1997, on R&B's preliminary-injunction motion.
On October 6, 1997, the McCoys moved to
dismiss for an alleged lack of venue and personal jurisdiction. Alternatively,
they asked the court to transfer the case to an Illinois federal court under 28
U.S.C. § 1404 or § 1406.
On October 7, 1997, when the parties
arrived for the injunction hearing, the Texas court indicated an intent to hear
testimony and rule on the McCoys' dismissal or transfer motion, to which
R&B had been given no chance to respond. The testimony established that
both of the McCoys had had significant contacts in Texas for the past eight
years--including daily phone calls and faxes to and from R&B; their three
visits to R&B's Texas headquarters; and their work in negotiating R&B
contracts with Texas musicians.
On October 8, 1997, the Texas court
transferred the case to this Court, noting that the transfer was for the
reasons stated on the record. As the October 7, 1997 transcript reveals, the
Texas court decided that while it has personal jurisdiction over John McCoy, it
lacked personal jurisdiction over Kate McCoy. According to the court, the case
should be transferred because "to accord relief to R&B down here while
leaving the Illinois court to deal with Kate McCoy simply would not provide an
effective situation" for any of the parties. The judge did not indicate which
statutory section governed the transfer.
On October 8, 1997, in the same order, the
Texas court further ruled that its September 26, 1997 order restricting both
John and Kate McCoy from using or disclosing R&B's trade secrets would
remain in effect until further orders of the Illinois court. On October 13,
1997, R&B filed the present supplemental motion for a preliminary
injunction, asking this Court to extend and expand the injunctive relief
already granted by the Texas court.
the following passage to prune the overparticularized facts and to improve the
story line. The passage comes from an appellant's brief--specifically from a
section entitled "Nature of the Case and Material Proceedings in the Lower
Courts," just after the preliminary statement.
On December 26, 1999, the Division of Child
Support Enforcement ("DCSE") issued a Mandatory Withholding of Earnings Order
directing the Social Security Administration to deduct $200.00 per month for
current child support and $100.00 per month for payment on child-support
arrears. On June 18, 2000, Skelton filed a Motion to Quash the Mandatory
Withholding of Earnings Order with the Buchanan County Juvenile and Domestic
Relations District Court. In the pleading, Skelton requested that the
withholding order of the Division be reduced and that he be given credit
against arrears for the amount of social-security benefits received by the
children, and that the court recalculate the arrears. Hearings on the Motion to
Quash in Buchanan County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court were
held on September 11, 2000, and October 13, 2000. At the September 11, 2000
hearing, the court entered a temporary order requiring $28.50 per month toward
current support and requiring $71.50 per month toward the arrears. The Motion
to Quash was treated as a Motion for Reduction. The court took the issue of
arrears under advisement and directed that the counsel for the parties prepare
briefs on the issue concerning credit for a lump-sum social-security payment.
The child support was set by using the appropriate code provisions, and neither
party objected to the child-support award or the arrears payment.
On October 13, 2000, the Buchanan County
Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court denied the Motion to Quash and
ruled that "credit for social-security payments made to the children as to debt
owed to the Division is denied. The Court declined to exercise equitable relief
for Mr. Skelton (Appellee) as to any debt owed to custodial parent. Appeal
Noted in open court, so no bond is required for appeal."
This matter was subsequently appealed and
tried de novo in the Circuit Court of Buchanan County. At the circuit-court
level, the court denied the Division's request for an appeal bond and ruled
that Skelton should receive credit for the $7,086.10 lump-sum social-security
benefits paid on behalf of the children of Mr. Skelton. This reduced the
child-support arrears from $14,017.14 to $6,931.04. At the date of the
circuit-court hearing, all the children were over the age of 18.
The circuit court was reminded that on
October 14, 1995, Skelton was found guilty of contempt by the Buchanan County
Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court and was advised "to immediately
notify the court of any change in employment, layoff, reduction in wages or
hours worked." The court further warned that "no further delinquency would be
tolerated and any change in circumstances must be followed up with a petition
to decrease, or contempt sanctions will be imposed."
a passage in which too much detail impedes the progress of the writer's
thoughts. If you're part of a writing group or class, be prepared to discuss
why you think the detail is excessive and how you might prune it.
- Exercise -
© 2001, Bryan A. Garner
These exercises appear in Bryan A. Garner's Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text with
Exercises, published by The University of Chicago Press and available at bookstores and
on the Web at www.press.uchicago.edu.