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Protip: Don't Call a Judge a 'Succubus'

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

Lawyers know better than to call a judge a ... succubus?

If you didn't know, a succubus is a mythical female demon that has sex with men in their sleep. But even if you didn't know that, you know you can't say just anything about a judge.

At least not in writing; that's where Benjamin Pavone went wrong. He said it in a brief.

Gender Bias?

Pavone was upset with Carmen Luege, a temporary judge in Orange County, California. She had denied his motion for attorney's fees, prompting a tell-tale appeal.

In Martinez v. O'Hara, Pavone filed an appeal that said exactly the wrong thing. The Fourth District Court of Appeal reported him to the State Bar for his very poorly worded brief.

"We publish this portion of the opinion to make the point that gender bias by an attorney appearing before us will not be tolerated, period," Judge Richard Fybel wrote for the unanimous panel.

It wasn't just the succubus reference that put Pavone in a hole. He dug deep into the thesaurus to complain about "pseudohermaphrodic misconduct," and "reverse peristalsis."

Vomit Inducing?

Reverse peristalsis, if you're wondering, is another way of saying "induced vomiting."

So yeah, the appeals court made Pavone choke on his brief. The panel upheld the denial of attorney's fees and reported him to the State Bar.

In Greek mythology, that would be Tartarus. Basically, it's deeper than hell.

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