Last week, the California Court of Appeal upheld a $18,950 fine against Thomas Mesereau, Jr., for failing to be "civil and courteous in communicating with adversaries." Specifically, Mesereau, who was representing Robert Blake in his murder trial, called his adversary a "clown" during Blake's civil deposition in 2003, and described the proceeding as "a clown show."
Nineteen grand seems like an awful lot just for calling someone a "clown," although I would vote to uphold the fine on the grounds that calling the proceeding a "clown show" rather than a "circus" is just irritating. Is there another kind of "clown show"? I guess Bozo or Krusty would qualify, but I think he meant "circus."
Anyway, the court called Mesereau's conduct "clearly improper," and rejected his argument that the plaintiff's attorney was equally to blame. Should have gone with, "He started it!", maybe.
Thanks again to Lisa Lukaszewski.