FEBRUARY 15, 2019
PROOFREAD, PEOPLE! PROOFREAD! Oops! ‘Meh’ parenthetical ended up in published federal decision.
A federal judge’s case dismissal is getting some attention because of an apparent note-to-self that didn’t get removed from the published order.
The writer was apparently dissatisfied with a statement summarizing the requirements for a false advertising claim. The parenthetical on page 11 reads: “(Meh I need a better rule statement than this.)”.
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel of San Diego signed the Feb. 5 order, but one of Curiel’s law clerks likely wrote the “meh” phrase, according to the Recorder.
Reynold’s own comment:
I had to warn a student last semester about including snarky statements in drafts, with the expectation of editing them out later. Sooner or later, I warned her, you’ll miss one. Back when I was practicing law, there was a partner who somehow let a footnote reading “CITE USUAL CRAP HERE” get into a brief.
UPDATE: The infamous “Bedbug Letter”, as confirmed by (the sometimes reliable) Snopes:
The tale of the “bedbug letter,” in which a complaining business customer receives a seemingly personalized and polite written apology in response to his correspondence — marred by the inadvertent inclusion of crude instructions from a manager to send the recipient “the standard SOB letter” — has been a part of contemporary lore since at least the 1920s.
Did a real event spark off this legend? Possibly. Folklore Jan Harold Brunvand reported on a 1992 letter from the corresponding secretary of the George Mortimer Pullman Encomium Society in which it was claimed the bed bugging took place on 4 March 1889 to a Mr. Phineas P. Jenkins, a salesman of pig-iron products. After spending a night in the company of far too many bedbugs (which in my book would number “one”), Jenkins penned a note of complaint to George M. Pullman, President of the Pullman Palace Car Company. In return, Jenkins supposedly received a wonderfully detailed and heartfelt apology from Pullman. Its effect was undermined, however, by the enclosure of his original letter, across which Pullman had handwritten “Sarah — Send this S! O! B! the ‘bedbug letter.'”