U.S. courts often seem reluctant to award attorneys’ fees and, when they do, they often cut the lawyers’ fees claimed — the proverbial haircut, discussed here repeatedly.
But it is exceedingly rare for a trial to include lawyers literally trying to cut their own hair during the trial. Nevertheless, we learned recently that this too has passed — right here in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. In denying a petition for attorneys’ fees, Chief U.S. District Court Judge John R. Tunheim (D. Minn.) explained, in part:
[C]ounsel placed his own human hair on the projector to demonstrate whether fibers would show on a white background. That tactic may be exceptionable, but it is not exceptional in light of the fact that [opposing counsel] escalated the matter on redirect: there was a notable pause in trial as …counsel tried to locate either [the first lawyer’s] hair or a pair of scissors with which to cut his own hair before settling on the use of a paper clip as a demonstrative.
How can we ignore the irony that a petition for attorneys’ fees was rejected in part because of the lawyer’s attempt to give himself his own haircut at trial?