Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Akin Gump: The Seinfeld Brief

The following dialogue is from the Seinfeld episode "The Rain Coats," first broadcast on April 28, 1994:

ELAINE: N-I know they're your parents Jerry an' they're very nice people. But don't you think it's odd, that a thirty-five year old man is going to these lengths to see that someone else's parents are enjoying themselves? I mean don't you find that abnormal?

JERRY: It is a tad askew.

The following is a quote from Appellant's Brief on Appeal, Freedman v. Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, D.C.C.A. no. 96-CV-961 (Sept. 1, 1998).  I wonder if the judges on the D.C. Court of Appeals got the joke?

"Indeed, assuming that the employer's proffered reason for the termination is worthy of credence--that the employer did believe that appellant's report that he had been harassed during the entire period of his employment was the product of a psychiatric symptom that rendered him potentially violent--requires the court to infer that it did not strike the employer as a tad askew that appellant was able to perform his job, without exception, in an above-average or outstanding manner notwithstanding his infirmity: and, more, that it did not become evident to the employer's management team that appellant was in fact potentially violent and not suitable for employment until about 3.5 years into his tenure, in late October 1991--and then, only days after appellant lodged a complaint of harassment against his supervisor, Robertson, and others; advised the employer that he was homosexual; and requested a job promotion."

It's a case of what I like to call cartoon physics. Things like this only happen in sit-coms and cartoons -- and the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.

Cartoon physics is a jocular system of laws of physics that supersedes the normal laws, used in animation for humorous effect. Many of the most famous American animated films, particularly those from Warner Bros. and MGM studios, unconsciously developed a relatively consistent set of such "laws" that have become regularly applied in comic animation. For example, when a cartoon character runs off a cliff, gravity has no effect until the character notices and reacts.

In words attributed to Art Babbitt, an animator with the Walt Disney Studios: "Animation follows the laws of physics — unless it is funnier otherwise."

At the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld an unemployable employee is considered fully employable -- and may be permitted to accrue an outstanding employment history -- until such time that the firm's senior managers notice and react to the fact that the employee was unemployable the entire time he was employed. The employee is then officially unemployable.

The U.S. Department of Justice recognizes the validity of this principle. According to the U.S. Marshal Service it is a forbidden act for an officially unemployable employee to disclose publicly, by means of a blog, for example, that he had been fully able to work the entire time before the post hoc determination that he was officially unemployable.

According to the U.S. Marshal Service an officially unemployable employee should keep his mouth shut and just collect his $500,000 in federal benefits.

Thanks, Lanny!  I am so happy you recognize that the Justice Department follows the laws of the United States -- unless it is funnier otherwise.   Hahahahaha!  Remember, it's not a crime if it's funny!

"Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-... That's all, folks."


Gary Freedman said...

Eric, did they learn you this stuff at Columbia Law School?

Gary Freedman said...

Just one week till my next check. I am loving this!

Gary Freedman said...

1. I started work at Akin Gump as an agency-supplied temp on about Thursday March 3, 1988. Akin Gump admits that I had the perception I was being harassed (on the basis of sexual orientation) on the second day of employment, on about Friday March 4, 1988 (incident re: male employee with "sexy chest"). According to Akin Gump's own production, I suffered from "ideas of reference" at least as of March 4, 1988.

2. I was hired as an Akin Gump temp (without benefits) effective June 13, 1988. According to Akin Gump I displayed "ideas of reference" in mid-June 1988 (see incident re: David Hardee saying he smelled something "sweet" in the coffee room).

3. I was hired as a full time Akin Gump employee with benefits effective about August 1, 1989. In early August Stacey Schaar (who was later terminated for gross misconduct) stated to me: "We're all afraid of you. We're all afraid you're going to buy a gun, bring it in and shoot everybody." The Corporation Counsel proferred this statement as evidence that there was a widespread belief that coworkers feared I might become armed and extremely dangerous in early August 1989 -- at the same time Akin Gump showed its confidence in my by granting full-time status with benefits. According to the District, there was a widespread fear that I might become armed and extremely dangerous in early August 1989, but these fears were not reported to supervisors or senior managers -- and I was permitted to work at the firm more than two more years, until late October 1991.

I had offered Schaar's statement as evidence of job harassment. In fact in the form of subtle harassment known as mobbing, there arise fears among the mobbers that the targeted victim is violent.

Gary Freedman said...

Not worthy of credence under Burdine: