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Briefs – Issue-Selection, Generally

S.C. Johnson v. Milton E. Morris, 2010 WI App 6, PFR filed 12/30/09

Issue/Holding: ¶5 n. 1:

Justice Robert Hansen once wrote the now familiar phrase that “[a]n appellate court is not a performing bear, required to dance to each and every tune played on an appeal.” State v. Waste Mgmt. of Wis., Inc., 81 Wis. 2d 555, 564, 261 N.W.2d 147 (1978). We are not required to search for the proverbial needle in the haystack that the appellant asserts exists but has not cited to. See Keplin v. Hardware Mut. Cas. Co., 24 Wis. 2d 319, 332, 129 N.W.2d 321 (1964). So to the extent that we may have missed an objection or point of contention, the fault lies with appellate counsel, not this court.

Right time, right place, a bear may hold your rapt attention; the court just wants you to know that it has no intention of providing fodder for your entertainment. (On Point isn’t similarly constrained.) The lesson: in the appellate world less is typically more. Or, if you prefer sports metaphors, “Addition by subtraction.” We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Justice Hansen’s phrase is “now familiar” precisely because his aphoristic style is timeless.

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