Many lawyers too quickly fall into the trap of pasting huge expanses of single-spaced block text from a favorable opinion.  But even if the law is perfect for your case, you don’t do yourself any favors by simply cutting and pasting it into your brief.  First, you miss a perfect opportunity to show the judge that you actually understand what you just appropriated from one of that judge’s colleagues.  You also come across as woefully unoriginal and perhaps even lazy.  On the other hand, the opposite danger is resorting to lose paraphrasing that barely even remotely approximates the opinion you’re citing.  The happy median is what I like to call embedded quotes.  This is where you do more than just sentence-drop — you actually incorporate and assimilate the quoted text into your own.  However, you must know how to wield a pair of quotation marks and precisely aim those all-important brackets in order to make the cited material fit seamlessly into your usage without obscuring or distorting the original quote.

Note the following example of embedding, where all text from the quoted opinion is in red, and all of my original text is in black.  I wanted to show that my expert was the functional equivalent of an expert in the case I was citing.  Since that expert was found qualified to testify, I argued that mine was too.  I could have deposited a chunk of prose directly from the opinion.  I chose instead to interweave the quoted text with my own text, to help emphasize the parallels between the two experts.  Brackets can help you do this without being cumbersome or awkwardly shifting tense, aspect, modifiers, or antecedents.

In Ledford, the expert “testified [that, among other things,] he kept up with the literature” on the defendant’s area of practice (Ledford at 647), just as Dr. Johan did here (Johan at 62:12-17).  The Ledford expert had taught courses on the same medical assessments at issue in that case (Ledford at 647-48), just as Dr. Johan did here (Johan at 175:12).  The Ledford expert was personally “familiar[] with the medications [at issue in that case], the restrictions on their use, and the necessity for close supervision.Ledford at 647-48. Dr. Johan is equally familiar with the diagnosis of urinary tract infections like the one at issue here (Johan at 80:3-5; 82:13-83:7).  The Ledford Court found that “th[o]se facts ma[d]e [the expert’s] testimony relevant to the issues in th[at] case” and allowed the claim to “proceed to trial on the merits.”  Ledford at 649.  Dr. Johan’s qualifications warrant the same finding here.

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