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How to Respond When Your Opponent Calls You Stupid

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

'OMG, are you stupid?'

When your opponent says that in the midst of litigation, it means at least one of two things: either you are stupid or your opponent is stupid. It could also mean you are both stupid, but let's keep it simple.

In the case of Bradley P. Moss against Donald Trump, history will be the judge. For the rest of us, maybe we should keep our "stupid" thoughts to ourselves because it's never a good look to say everything that comes to mind.

"Stupid" Comments

First, a word from our sponsor. Moss, who is seeking government records under the Freedom of Information Act, posted his "stupid" comment on Twitter. Moss is not the only one to express negative comments toward POTUS, but his comment went viral.

"You just blew apart two different cases your DOJ is defending against me," Moss continued. "I'm going to take you apart, Mr. President."

The faux pas, apparently, was the President's tweet that the DOJ and the FBI should give up records about surveillance of Trump's associates. That's what Moss wanted all along, but the DOJ had denied their existence.

"The president's tweet this evening is a rather clear and concrete official acknowledgement of the existence of records responsive to the Plaintiff's FOIA requests," Moss wrote to the court in support of his case. You can guess what the government's response will be...

Never Say It Writing

The problem with calling out your opponent in writing is that it may become part of a court record. And judges do not take kindly to attorneys' "uncivil" practices. If your motion isn't denied, your attorney's fees request probably will be.

Best practices dictate that attorneys should strive to be civil -- especially in writing -- for so many reasons. Effectiveness, client retention, and professional reputation are only a few.

Countless articles, studies, rules, and court decisions make the case for civility in law practice. Some say it is the core of professionalism.

"Not only does our profession require us to be civil, and it is simply the right thing to do, but professionalism among lawyers is required by the larger American society in order to preserve a great profession and survive as a civil society bound to the Rule of Law," wrote Jayne R. Reardon for the American Bar Association.

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