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Court Quotes Poop Emoji, Upholds $17K Sanction

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By George Khoury, Esq. on August 16, 2018 7:05 AM

A recently issued opinion from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals is making some rather interesting headlines: The First Circuit Court To Use The Poop Emoji In A Published Opinion.

Yes, it is a real court opinion. See Emerson v. Dart. But no, the court did not "use" the poop emoji in the same way you or I would with friends and family. Rather, the court reproduced the poop emoji in a quote posted by one of the litigants to a Facebook group. That quote was the central piece of evidence that the lower district court relied upon in issuing a $17K sanction award against emotive litigant.

Show Me the Emoji!

The following quoted quote actually appears in the Seventh Circuit opinion, poop emoji and all:

To my fellow officers! DON'T GET IN A FIGHT THAT IS NOT, I REPEAT THAT IS NOT YOURS. I'VE JUST RECEIVED THE NAMES OF SOME PEOPLE THAT THE COUNTY IS ATTEMPTING TO USE AS WITNESSES, (1) IS A SGT, (2) OFFICERS, (1) OPR INVESTIGATOR, on the job 18mths, this fight is from 2009 & I've been off since 2012, sooooo do the math. Yes, I will definitely put your name out there in due time [insert smiley emoji here] This is a PSA for those of you still believing that being a liar, brown noser will get you something. MESSING WITH ME WILL GET YOU YOUR OWN CERTIFIED MAIL. SO GLAD THAT THE ARROGANCE OF THIS EMPLOYER HAS THEM BELIEVING THEIR OWN [poop emoji]

And if you're reading that right, yes, this is a quote from a litigant threatening potential witnesses with their own piece of "certified mail" a.k.a. a lawsuit, for testifying. Not surprisingly, that Facebook message led to a motion for sanctions and award against the verbose poster to the tune of $17K.

On appeal, the appellate court explained that the sanctions order was not an abuse of discretion, nor was the amount improper (though it also stated that our emoji using appellant failed to provide any evidence supporting their argument).

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