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How not to write an appealable judgment

Abbreviating LSU in case names

Since no topic is too arcane or picayune for this blog — here is a case name that includes the name of a well known Louisiana institution:

Tolis v. Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

That’s a mouthful. How would you abbreviate it? Slavishly following the Bluebook or ALWD or both, you might come up with the following:

Tolis v. Bd. of Supervisors of La. State U. & Agric. & Mech. Coll.

Yikes, what an eyesore! I suggest something more compact and easier on they eyes:

Tolis v. Bd. of Supervisors of LSU

The second abbreviated name above is certainly more readable than the first. But is it permissible under the Bluebook or the ALWD Citation Manual? I say yes. Even though LSU isn’t in a Bluebook or ALWD list of approved abbreviations, both the Bluebook and ALWD allow use of widely recognized initials to refer to an entity. Bluebook (19th ed.) Rule 6.1(b)  says:

Some entities with widely recognized initials, e.g., AARP, CBS, CIA, FCC, FDA, FEC, NAACP, NLRB, are commonly referred to in spoken language by their initials rather than their full names; such abbreviations may be used without periods in text, in case names, and as institutional authors.

Similarly, ALWD (3d ed.) Rule 12.2(6) says:

When there is no danger of confusion, commonly known initials may be substituted for a party’s complete name. Do not insert period between the initials. Examples include ACLU, NAACP, and MADD.

Certainly in Louisiana, everyone capable of reading a legal document knows what LSU means. That makes LSU an acceptable abbreviation under both the Bluebook and ALWD.


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