A pro se plaintiff pursues a lawsuit, claim, hearing, or other legal proceeding without the aid of an attorney. I’m sure they think themselves an educated, cavalier lot, but most of us who get their cases find them to be nutjobs. It’s not that I can’t empathize with where they’re coming from–after all, attorneys are overpaid assholes; why would anyone want to spend time with one and then hand him/her 33%-40% of your take? Because you look like a jackass if you don’t.
The greatest pro se plaintiff I’ve ever had the pleasure of working against was Douglas Quest. Rather appropriate name, I thought. He was a truck driver who’d fallen out of his vehicle during a long haul to New Jersey and needed a new shoulder. We started off as BFFs, as I felt a little sorry for him, but he turned on me when he realized I was taping his calls. Shortly afterward, during a heated discussion, I called him “Doug.” He got pissed at my informality. I told him, “Fine, Mr. Quest. But from now on, you address me as ‘Major’.”
I hung up and then heard laughter erupting in the hallway, as my secretary had told most of the members of our section who was on the phone with me, so when I looked up, there were ten spectators.
“Major?” they asked.
“He was being an asshole. So, yeah. Major.”
“Nice. Do we get to call you ‘Major’, too?”
And so it was that I became addressed by a military prefix in a civilian occupation. And it still goes on, years later.
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