Judge uses football in opinion

September 17, 2009
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You know it’s football season when a judge references two National Football League teams in his opinion.

Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals must love football, or think that the sport is something most people understand because he mentioned the Packers and Colts today in an opinion dealing with a complicated financial deal between an energy co-op, life insurer, and a company that deals in credit-default swaps. Too bad he didn’t throw in the Chicago Bears for good measure, since they also are in the 7th Circuit.

Example 1: “’Economic purpose’ is not a requirement for the enforceability of contracts. If the Green Bay Packers cut a player one day and then re-sign him the next, a court would not dream of canceling the new contract on the ground that a release-and-resign sequence lacks economic purpose.”

Example 2: “Suppose that Hoosier Energy had an in-the-money option to purchase the Indianapolis Colts by the end of December 2008, and that as a result of the reduced availability of credit it was unable to find a lender to finance the transaction.”

As a non-attorney, I appreciate it when judges attempt to help readers understand the legal issues by using examples I can relate to, such as sports. If this opinion came out in the spring, I wonder if he instead would have used references to Major League Baseball or National Basketball Association. Maybe he’s just got football on his mind.
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  • Judge Easterbrook\'s brother Gregg Easterbrook writes a well known column Tuesday Morning Quarterback for ESPN which cover the NFL. It must run in the family.

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