by Eve Byron, Ravalli Republic
“As the battle over the gate across Hughes Creek Road headed to court, attorney Jesse Kodadek filed what he considers a once-in-a-lifetime Montana Supreme Court brief — in the form of a play.
He figures that judges get a little bored reading legal briefs all day, every day. And since the Hughes Creek Road-gate case has taken so many twists and turns, he thought writing the opening brief as a play might make it a little easier to understand.
‘I think about it all the time, especially with appellate judges, who read people’s writings every day,’ said Kodadek, who is based in Missoula. ‘The Montana Supreme Court can’t tell what’s going on half the time, so I tried to be as clear as possible and lay out the story. I think there’s one time in your lifetime you can do something like this…’
After stating the three issues for review, Kodadek then makes his statement of the case in ‘Act I: The Political Process,’ which appears to have some potential for comic opera.
‘County: Hey, some people want us to make you take down that gate.’
‘Landowners: The gate in front of our house? The one that has been there since at least the 1970s?’
‘Landowners: Didn’t you sue us in 1984 to try to get the very same gate removed?’
And on it goes for four more pages, with Act II taking place at the courthouse. A footnote reminds the Supreme Court judges that this isn’t a verbatim transcript.”