English Grammar and Usage, Lawyer of the Day, Screw-Ups

Cease-and-Desist Letter Made For Etsy User Is Riddled With Handmade Errors

I used to have nightmares about the red pen, until I started drinking before bed.

As regular readers of this website will note, my grammar and spelling is not too well. As regular readers of this website will also note, this is a blog, not a legal document or a court filing. When I wrote legal documents for a living, I also had legal secretaries who would fix some of the liberties I’d take with the English language. Even without that help, no document leaves a Biglaw office until it has been looked at by a bunch of people. A typo emanating from my desk would have had to escape the notice of at least three other people before making it out of the building.

I could not have survived in the small-firm or solo practitioner environment. Without people who dot an “i,” and cross a “t,” and say, “I have no earthly idea of what you are trying to say, because your sentence has three subjects and no predicates,” I’m in a bit of trouble.

I’d probably end up looking a lot like Howard Roy Schechter — a California lawyer who seemingly sent out a cease-and-desist letter that could have been written in crayon for its childlike attention to detail….

In fairness to Mr. Schechter, this could not be his fault. At least not totally. A tipster reports:

Etsy advertises itself as being a venue for crafters to sell their handmade wares. Etsy has had rules for years governing the definition of “handmade” — basically that the item has to be made directly by the seller.

Recently, Etsy featured a handmade seller, who is actually only a distributor of items mass produced in Indonesia. This has put the community in an uproar. The kicker, though, is the seller is married to an attorney more than twice her age. That attorney is now reportedly sending out cease and desist emails. However, the emails are incoherent, and miss key legal terms. Many hypothesize that his wife is writing these letters herself and using his name and bar number.

We reached out to Mr. Schechter for clarification about who wrote this typo-riddled letter. He didn’t respond, but luckily his wife called us back. She said she was the one who wrote the letter “late on a Saturday night,” while her husband dictated it to her over the phone. She said she typed out the cease and desist on an iPhone. “If I made mistakes, I made mistakes. I’m Brazilian, not a paralegal,” she said.

Hopefully that puts this letter in context — funny, funny context. In the future, I think Howard Schechter should make sure that a paralegal looks over his wife’s legal documents — especially if they’re going out under his name. The internet has a long memory.

The C&D letter, printed in full on the next page, was originally posted on the Regretsy website. It’s a total train wreck. Check it out….

(hidden for your protection)

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