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.

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.

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