Legal Poetic Parody


In 1982, a driver named Karen Lowe hit and damaged a tree in Michigan belonging to William Fisher. The tree was successfully repaired which cost Lowe’s insurer $550. However, Fisher was not satisfied and he claimed $15,000 of damages for the pain his “beautiful oak tree” suffered.

A trial court dismissed the case but an appeal was filed. Unfortunately for Fisher, the Court of Appeals of Michigan, composed of a three-judge panel, agreed with the lower court’s ruling.

The court’s judgment was written in a series of verses parodying the popular poem “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer. They took the phrase poetic justice literally.

Fisher v. Lowe, 122 Mich. App. 418, 33 N.W.2d 67

We thought that we would never see
A suit to compensate a tree,

A suit whose claim in tort is prest
Upon a mangled tree’s behest;

A tree whose battered trunk was prest
Against a Chevy’s crumpled crest;

A tree that faces each new day
With bark and limb in disarray;

A tree that may forever bear
A lasting need for tender care.

Flora lovers though we three,
We must uphold the court’s decree.


Afterward, the staff of WestLaw summed up the case with the following verses, parodying the parody:

A wayward Chevy struck a tree
Whose owner sued defendants three.
He sued car’s owner, driver, too,
And insurer for what was due
For his oak tree that now may bear
A lasting need for tender care.
The Oakland County Circuit Court,
John N. O’Brian, J., set forth
The judgment that defendants sought,
And quickly an appeal was brought.
Court of Appeals, J. H. Gillis, J.,
Gave thought and then had this to say:
1) There is no liability,
Since No-Fault grants immunity,
2) No jurisdiction can be found
Where process service is unsound;
And thus the judgment, as it’s termed
Is due to be, and is


[1] AUTOMOBILES k251.13
Defendant’s Chevy struck a tree
There was no liability;
The No Fault Act comes into play
As owner and the driver say;

Barred by the Act’s immunity,
No suit in tort will aid the tree;
Although the oak’s in disarray,
No court can make defendants pay,
M.C.L.A. § 500.3135.

[2] PROCESS k4
No jurisdiction could be found
Where process service was unsound;
In personam jurisdiction
Was not even legal fiction
Where plaintiff failed to well comply
With rules of court that did apply.
GCR 1963, 105.4.


About Edmark M. Law

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. I blog at You can find me on Twitter @EdmarkLaw and Facebook. My email is
This entry was posted in Humor, Oddities, Poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Legal Poetic Parody

  1. That’s hilarious! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hm, legal poetry. I think that might be a great addition to the bar exam!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. An uplifting story of a profession of which I am not too enamoured. Some of them do possess a glimmer of humour, obviously.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. craftysurf says:

    The paralegals must’ve had WAY too much time on their hands. They need to get back to work and quit writing poetry. Hippies! 😂😂😂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’ve just shared this to my Blog, I love it when poetry appears on odd places!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: Legal Poetic Parody | The Cheesesellers Wife

  7. Hi, I’ve nominated you for One Lovely Blog Award, I find your blog simply amazing! Here are the details about this award:
    Have a wonderful day,

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Garfield Hug says:

    The judiciary had humor in doing this! Great summary and poetic too😄

    Liked by 2 people

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