The Court of Petty Appeals is the highest appellate jurisdiction court at UVa Law. The Court has the power to review any and all decisions, conflicts, and disputes that arise involving, either directly, indirectly, or tangentially, the Law School or its students. The Court is comprised of four associate justices and one Chief Justice. Opinions shall be released periodically and only in the official court reporter: the Virginia Law Weekly. Please email a brief summary of any and all conflicts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Class of 2019 v. 2017 OGI Firms et. al.
8 U.Va 230 (2017)
JANI, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, joined in part by GOLDMAN, C.J., and VANDERMEULEN and ZABLOCKI, JJ.
As we open this term of the Court of Petty Appeals, this Court has the annual opportunity to introduce the newest batch of fresh meat to this Court and its jurisprudence. To the incoming 1L class, welcome.
Today this court addresses a complaint that came to us before the start of the school term. During what is now considered the yearly feat of strength challenge, Dean Donovan tries to carry as many floundering 2Ls as he can manage to a BigLaw job, otherwise known as OGI. The petitioner is the Class of 2019, a group that as a whole qualifies as an eligible class because the withered husks of their bodies in aggregate adds up to about fourteen whole people. The first respondent is, as a group, the Firms of 2017 OGI. (The original complaint did specify several firms that were more complicit than others; however, I am still weighing job offers from a few of these firms, and therefore, I will not allow their good names to be individually slandered. For those who will say that I should recuse myself from this case, you don’t get how this works.) The second respondent is University of Virginia School of Law’s Office of Career Services.
The facts of this case are simple and are as follows: throughout the OGI process many firms manned “hospitality suites” where they provided students refreshments while giving them the opportunity to learn more about the firm. (As an aside, the term “hospitality suite” is unfitting, as no place that mandates attendance should be described as “hospitable.”) The food of choice at many of these suites were bagels. While this Court stands in support of healthy snacks, observers to and historians of the 2017 OGI process will note that the sea of contrived and unconvincing smiles that flooded the halls of Slaughter and Withers-Brown were often propped up by a complex matrix of refined carbohydrates. As such, this Court takes no issue with the complete lack of imagination when it came to food choice. Nevertheless, the complaint does not concern the offering of bagels, but rather the offering of Panera bagels in lieu of our own local and beloved Bodo’s Bagels. The petitioners bring two claims. The first, against the 2017 OGI Law Firms, is that the offering of this fraudulent ‘bagel’ constitutes an intentional infliction of emotional distress. Second, by subjecting students to this harrowing experience, Career Services violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishments. We have decided to consolidate both cases for the sake of efficiency, and because we can.
This court dismisses the first declaration of intentional infliction of emotional distress. This complaint falls apart on the tortious element of duty. Law firms have no duty not to offend the sensibilities of students. If anything, they have an affirmative duty to do so. (Shouts out to the interviewer who asked a student what their “favorite equitable decision case in Property class was.”) The entire fantasy of a BigLaw, $180k firm job, that allows young attorneys to have a work life balance, while engaging in sophisticated legal work in a diverse and collegial environment that students hallucinate on by drinking the free alcohol and finger foods provided to us is an exercise in emotional distress. (Again, full disclosure, I am one of the people who has been running on this proverbial hamster wheel, but to those who know me, the fact that I am willing to exchange my body, mind, and soul for shiny things should be of no surprise.)
The second claim, that Career Services violated students’ rights by subjecting us to a cruel and unusual punishment, stands on more solid ground. Career Services is supposed to be our protectors by talking us off the ledge in our desperate times of need. By forcing us to visit these hospitality suites and choke down the chalky carbohydrates made by corporate drones that they offer (no disrespect to Panera– this court recognizes that it just called your workers corporate drones, but your only real crime here is not being Bodo’s, an establishment that I have eaten at all of two times) Career Services is arguably subjecting us to an arbitrarily painful punishment. Some may argue that asserting an Eighth Amendment violation against our own school is extreme, however, if there is one thing that this court has recognized is that law students will let no opportunity to react extremely to something pass. The facts of this case run congruent to the four principles that constitute a “cruel and unusual punishment” laid out in Justice Brennan’s concurrence in Furman. Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972) (Brennan, J., concurring) (I’m not going to list them out; do your own research.) Nevertheless, two associated yet separate common-law principles sit above all Eighth Amendment case law. The first, Snitches get stiches, and the second, Don’t whine and moan, nobody cares. The claim before us today fails both of these doctrinal tests. If anyone thought that this court would enjoin the Office of Career Services from anything besides dealing with the incoming horde of gunner 1Ls who have already made appointments with career counselors, they were severely mistaken.
So there it is, welcome to the 2017-2018 term of the Court of Petty Appeals, it will only get better from here. Or, maybe not, who knows. Feel free to send any disputes you would like heard to email@example.com. We won’t look at them, but feel free to send them anyway. Finally, this court would like to condemn the recent violence in Charlottesville; hate and intolerance have no place in this world, this school, and especially in this court.
ZABLOCKI, J., concurring in judgment
I, Justice Zablocki, in whole body and mind, swear that I like Panera bagels and by extension show no loyalty to Charlottesville. Although I have a cat, a wild and noxious beast, which shows my utter lack of judgment, by some mix-up I have been granted a seat on this court. I definitely wrote this opinion, me, Zablocki, J.
VANDERMEULEN, J., concurring in part and concurring in the judgment
I join nearly in full the opinion of my colleague Justice Jani. I write separately only to note my complete and total opposition to so-called “hospitality suites.” These tools of oppression are so noxious, loathsome, and filled with fidget spinners as to merit their total injunction, should a case seeking such an outcome arise. I depart from Justice Jani’s decision only insofar as it relies on the opinion of Justice Brennan. Professor Woolhandler was very clear that Justice Brennan is never, under any circumstances, to be cited approvingly.
GOLDMAN, C.J., concurring in part and dissenting in part
I concur with Justice Jani’s dismissal of the first claim and note that Bodo’s bagels are superior to all bagels in Charlottesville. I would also suggest that SBA pass a decree stating as such (is that what SBA does?)
As to the second count, and speaking as an employed 3L, I give Career Services total impunity.
HOPKIN, J., recuses herself because, “nOGI, b*tche$.”