1. This is an action alleging personal injuries . . . .
2. Trial is set to begin on June 15, 2009.
3. It is well known in the legal community that Michael Robb, Esquire, wears shoes with holes in the soles when he is in trial.
4. Upon reasonable belief, Plaintiff believes that Mr. Robb wears these shoes as a ruse to impress the jury and make them believe that Mr. Robb is humble and simple without sophistication. . . .
* * *
6. Part of this strategy is to present Mr. Robb and his client as modest individuals who are so frugal that Mr. Robb has to wear shoes with holes in the soles. Mr. Robb is known to stand at sidebar with one foot crossed casually beside the other so that the holes in his shoes are readily apparent to the jury . . . .
7. Then, during argument and throughout the case Mr. Robb throws out statements like “I’m just a simple lawyer” with the obvious suggestion that Plaintiff’s counsel and the Plaintiff are not as sincere and down to earth as Mr. Robb.
8. Mr. Robb should be required to wear shoes without holes in the soles at trial to avoid the unfair prejudice suggested by this conduct.
See also this Palm Beach Post article.
UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Ming etc. for the pointer to this followup story:
A lengthy auto negligence case ended in a mistrial this week after jurors saw and discussed a Sunday Palm Beach Post column about two lawyers in the case.
Jurors had heard nine days of testimony and were about to hear closing arguments Monday when a juror showed other panel members Frank Cerabino’s column headlined “Does lawyer who bares sole have ace in the hole?” Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Donald Hafele had earlier instructed jurors not to read or consider any information about the case outside court and not to discuss the case at all before they began deliberations….
Hafele, however, did not tell the jurors of the mistrial and allowed them to deliberate and reach an “advisory verdict.” In that verdict, which will not apply, jurors found Bone’s client should receive the entire $2.2 million in damages he had sought….
The case will likely have to be tried again, [Bone] said, and that will again cost more than $50,000 in expenses….