Law Reporter Commentary

It may seem odd that the commentary on this case exceeds in words the actual case itself but that is precisely the special feature of this opinion, brevity.

Given that no lesson of law whatsoever exudes from the decision, it is peculiar that it was nonetheless picked up for publication by Westlaw for publication in the North Western Reporter. At page 289 of volume 184 of the North Western Reporter, second edition, one can actually find this completely pointless legal decision, pointless to all but the parties themselves.

We, of course, at USFJDO specialize in the strange, unusual and funny legal decision. That's the topic of the USFJDO law report. There is no way Denny v Radar Industries does not make the cut.

Another oddity of this decision is that it is not some random decision made by an aging judge in some remote court in the back countries of Arkansas. Instead, this is a judgment of a three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals. On the panel that heard this appeal and that agreed to the opinion, sat the chief justice of the state, Justice John Lesinski.

For the record, and on behalf of the entire panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals, the decision was written by the Honorable Mr. Justice John Gillis. Justice Gillis had not only been a judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals since 1965 but he later became an acting chief justice. He left the court in 1992. Chief Justice Lesinski had joined the court at the same time as Gillis. Lesinski was made Chief Justice in 1965 holding that position until he retired from the bench in 1976.

The third member of the Michigan Court of Appeals panel that signed off on Denny v. Radar Industries was Justice William Beasley. He was not then a full member of the court that day; he was a Michigan circuit judge, sitting on the Court of Appeals by assignment. Later, though, Justice Beasley was elevated to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 1976 where he served until 1989.

17 second clock, Denny v Radar IndustriesIt is not known whether the Hon. Mr. Justice John Gillis had a flight to catch or some Christmas shopping to do. One thing can safely be assumed about the 17-second opinion (our testing showed that it takes 17-seconds to read the opinion), if it can be called a judicial opinion: it must have left a bad taste in the mouth of the litigants. The appellant was an individual and the respondent, a corporation. Both were represented by big law firms which is typical for hearings at the appellate level.

The hearing of the appeal occurred at great cost for to the litigants and for this, they paid for the opportunity of having justice. They had every right to expect that the Michigan Court of Appeals would take their appeal seriously. In this regards, we should also point out that the use of the words "couldn't" and "didn't" in the verbatim decision below, are not typographical errors at this end. They appear in the original judgment as published on December 2, 1970.

The Decision

The appellant has attempted to distinguish the factual situation in this case from that in Renfroe v. Higgins Rack Coating and Manufacturing Co., Inc.. He didn't. We couldn't. Affirmed. Costs to appellee. All concurred.


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  • The reference to Renfroe v. Higgins Rack Coating and Manufacturing Co. is to a 1969 decision of the same Michigan Court of Appeal for which the legal citation is 17 Mich App 259.