‘Poetic Justice’ takes on insurance fraud

by R.J. Lehmann on December 30, 2011 · View Comments

Justice J. Michael Eakin, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s notorious “rhyming judge,” has struck again, this time in a majority ruling vacating an insurance fraud conviction.

Eakin, who has rankled some on the state’s high court with his penchant for delivering opinions written in rhyming verse, applied his unique brand of poetic jurisprudence to a six-page Dec. 21 opinion from the court, which found that while appellant Daniel Goodson III’s attempt to pass off a forged check from State Farm did constitute theft and forgery, it did not constitute insurance fraud.

Or, as Eakin put it:

We find the elements of the statute are not proved in Goodson’s case.

No insurance claim was instituted, by writing or face-to-face.

Goodson gave nothing to an insurer, and what he gave the bank exec

was neither “statement” nor “insurance claim” — it simply was a check.

That’s not to say appellant’s acts are free from any blame,

it’s just they’re neither part nor parcel of an insurance claim.

Eakin was re-elected to the court in November and is scheduled to serve through Dec. 31, 2018. Under the state’s constitution, justices must retire on the last calendar day of the year in which they turn 70.

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