Funny for lawyers, but a cautionary tale for all who dare set pen to paper, or fingers to keyboards

And the horse you rode in on

And the horse you rode in on

From Glenn Reynold’s Instapundit:

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.'”

Credit: Snopes

Credit: Snopes