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5th Circuit Unloads on 'Disgruntled Cheerleader Mom'

How about this for the opening line in a federal circuit court opinion?

Reduced to its essentials, this is nothing more than a dispute, fueled by a disgruntled cheerleader mom, over whether her daughter should have made the squad. It is a petty squabble, masquerading as a civil rights matter, that has no place in federal court or any other court. We find no error and affirm.

On Wednesday, the 5th Circuit unloaded some serious frustration upon Liz Laningham, the "disgruntled cheerleader mom" who saw fit to waste the court's time with a claim that the court seemed to view as more appropriate for a cheerleading squad parents' meeting. In short, Laningham's daughter, Samantha Sanches, was involved in a series of disagreements with classmates, including whether the tryouts were fair, whether someone called her a "ho" at school, something about a "hickey," whether the freshman squad captain should be removed from her position because she kissed Sanches' then-boyfriend, and a whole bunch of other cheerleader drama that was ultimately memorialized in a six-page letter from a lawyer to the school superintendent.

I'm sure a more interesting account of 99 percent of what went down at Creekview High School can be seen in movies such as "Mean Girls", so I will dispense with any further recitation of the facts. But just know that 5th Circuit Judges Jerry E. Smith, Harold R. DeMoss Jr. and Priscilla Owen were not at all pleased with the plaintiff for darkening their judicial doorstep with this appeal, and were particularly peeved with the "unprofessional," "unjustified" and typo-ridden way that Sanches and her attorneys took issue with the magistrate's opinion.

The court wrote that this "attack" on the magistrate was "so poorly written that it is difficult to decipher what the attorneys mean, but any plausible reading is troubling" and added that the "miscues are so egregious and obvious that an average fourth grader would have avoided most of them." The court also quoted a passage from Sanches' brief that it labeled "an unjustified and most unprofessional and disrespectful attack on the judicial process in general and the magistrate judge assignment here in particular," adding that under any possible reading the brief was "reprehensible."

After fully venting (read the whole thing here) (via The Volokh Conspiracy), the 5th Circuit held that summary judgment on all of Sanches' claims was affirmed.

Posted by Bruce Carton on July 14, 2011 at 04:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)


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