Selyaisms and The Federal Rules of Gallimaufry

In legal circles, Senior First Circuit Judge Bruce M. Selya is well-known for the broad and arcane vocabulary that he uses in his opinions, branded by many as “Selyaisms.”  Legal Blog Watch notes that in the late 1980’s, one of Selya’s clerks had a word-a-day calendar and that he and his co-clerks “tried to see who could successfully plant the day’s word in a published Selya opinion.”

In a copyright opinion issued last Friday, Judge Selya opined that a party’s counterclaims “assert[ed] copyright infringement and a gallimaufry of other federal and state-law causes of action. ” (Emphasis added.)

Gallimaufry.  Merriam-Webster Online states that it’s of Middle French origin and means “hodgepodge.”  In the context of pleading, what a wonderful word.  Of course, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were intended to permit liberal joinder of claims and defenses. Thus, the Rules (such as Rules 8 and 18) were designed with hodgepodgery in mind, subject to limits such as those in Rule 11. Thus, to an extent, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are Federal Rules of Gallimaufry.

2 comments on “Selyaisms and The Federal Rules of Gallimaufry”

  1. Ira Nathenson

    Thanks! Reading Selya opinions is like studying for the SAT, but much more fun. And thanks for the link to your post at CO, too, Frank. It’s a great post.

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