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Lyrical Court Tells Taylor Swift to Shake It Off

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on November 13, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Judges are writers, among other roles. Some write logically and others lyrically but few can do what Judge Gail Standish managed in her latest opinion dismissing a lawsuit against Taylor Swift. She wrote it using the pop diva's lyrics.

The US District Court judge from California put Swift's words to work, dismissing the case against her filed by musician Jesse Braham, the Daily Mail reports. Standish concluded, "At least for now, Defendants have shaken off this lawsuit."

Unusual References

The court's sources were odd, not caselaw but Swift's songs, "We Are Never Getting Back Together" and "Blank Space." "At present, the Court is not saying that Braham can never, ever, ever get his case back in court. But, for now, we have got problems, and the Court is not sure Braham can solve them."

Swift was accused of lifting lyrics from Braham. But Judge Standish said his case had bullet holes that could not be fixed with a band aid. Legally speaking, the plaintiff did not provide enough factual evidence to lift his allegations above a speculative level, she ruled.

Judicial Style

With this opinion, Standish joins the many funny, literary, and lyrical judges who do their serious business stylishly. The Gallagher Law Library of the University of Washington School of Law collects quirky cases and notable legal opinions online and Standish on Swift will surely be added soon.

It is an especially entertaining collection that anyone can enjoy. The library's Judicial Humor page includes choice morsels for low- and high-brow tastes alike. There is a lot to choose from, including an opinion inspired by the movie Wayne's World, one that parodies Poe's poem, The Raven, and this terse verse:

The defendant herein is a truck,
The vehicle is a pick-up,
Alleged by a fed
To be found in a bed
Of marijuana, caught in the muck.

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