A cartoon from Barnett’s Notes.

The Sixth Circuit considered a case today that illustrates a trial lawyer indulging her dislike of opposing counsel.

Anna Mayday sued the Saginaw Public Library after she lost her job in the genealogy and history division.  She alleged age discrimination and violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act.  A jury poured her out.

On appeal, Ms. Mayday argued that trial counsel for the library poisoned the jury by making improper statements about Ms. Mayday’s lawyer.  These included that "I have to sit back and just bite my knuckles" and that "it’s like nails on a chalkboard" while listening to opposing counsel.  The district court had none of it, and the Sixth Circuit agreed, noting that "it is likely that [library counsel’s] demeanor and tactics negatively influenced her own client’s case as much as they might have Mayday’s."  Mayday v. Public Libraries of Saginaw, No. 05-2637 (6th Cir. Mar. 28, 2007).

Blawgletter can imagine situations that may justify reminding jurors of bad behavior by opposing counsel.  But let’s not personalize it.  Channel those feelings; don’t indulge them.

Barry Barnett

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