TURN SQUARE CORNERS WITH THE MSPB
Quick question: who said "Men must turn square corners when they deal with the government?"
The MSPB did not say it, but in Morris v. Dept. of Navy, 2016 MSPB 37 (Oct. 31, 2016), the Board dismissed a PFR with prejudice for the appellant's repeated failure to file a petition for review that complied with the MSPB regulation governing the word count in a PFR.
What word count? Under Section 1201.114(h) of the Board's regulations, a PFR is to be 30 pages or 7,500 words, exclusive of tables of contents and authorities, attachments, and a service certificate. Mr. Morris submitted several PFRs in succession, each failing to meet either the requirements of the regulation or instructions concerning necessary corrections from the Board's Clerk. The Board surveyed its own regulation on sanctions and its own caselaw, helpfully observing that "we note that the Board's interpretation of its own regulations is entitled to great deference." (If the Board won't defer to its own interpretation, who will?) The Board also surveyed a couple of decisions from circuit appellate courts dealing with noncompliant briefs. The result was that the PFR was dismissed with prejudice, meaning it was not considered on the merits.
Lesson learned, practitioners? Be mindful of the Board's instructions on PFRs. Rewriting one of these pleadings is best avoided by getting it right the first time. Check out Morris at: http://www.mspb.gov/mspbsearch/viewdocs.aspx?docnumber=1351634&version=1356961
And the answer to the question? Mr. Justice Holmes in Rock Island, Arkansas & Louisiana Railroad Co. v. United States, 254 U.S. 141 (1920).