The Joys of the Nasty Letter

letter.jpegOn the topic of ways to make law-folks happy, you should read this brief article about Pittsburgh coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht. Wecht has been indicted on federal public corruption charges, including using employees to further his political ambitions. One such employee allegedly typed out the following letter, in response to a citizen who had criticized Wecht’s political ambitions:

Mr. Sueker:

When I am testifying as an expert witness in major cases around the country; appearing on national television and radio shows; lecturing at major universities; writing books; accepting honors and accolades from various organizations; and making a hell of a lot of money, I have found that I am able to enhance and sustain the substantial pleasures and great joy that accompany such endeavors and accomplishments by thinking of insignificant a——- like you.


Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D.

Hee: the JD tag makes this story doubly-true. Writing nasty letters is one of the anti-social, but undeniable, joys of being a litigator. I can well recall associates in my Firm passing around particularly tough examples of the craft, commenting on them in the way that (I imagine) young Huns gossiped about Tamerlane’s piles of skulls. A little horrified; a little disgusted; a little jealous. Wecht’s letter is a nice example of the genre. Do readers want to share others?

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6 Responses

  1. Scott Moss says:

    Below is the entirety of a letter I wrote enclosing motion papers that I filed on time after defense counsel refused me a three-day deadline extension — which I had requested because the deadline set by the Court fell on Pasover (an inadvertence by the Court, which had set a slew of deadlines at a motion conference).

    Dear Helen:

    Enclosed are Plaintiff-Intervenor’s expert witness motion papers. I had indicated to Mr. Dutton that we would contact the Court to seek the three-day deadline extension that you refused to grant us late Tuesday afternoon, but it turned out that we were able to complete our papers just fine, as you can see. Please also note that we obtained permission from Judge Ellis to submit a 27-page memorandum of law in opposition to your motion to exclude Mr. Wishnick.


    Scott A. Moss

  2. Scott Moss says:

    Now that I look at it, my letter doesn’t hold a candle to the writing of Everyone’s Favorite Coroner… but it’s about as obnoxious as “enclosure” leters get.

    (Apologies for messing up the italics; I’d meant to put the whole letter in italics, but I suppose it’s clear enough.)

  3. PG says:

    Wecht’s strikes me as stupid and unlawyerly, more the sort of thing that Donald Trump would write. I liked Scheherazade Fowler’s description of “mean” letters better.

  4. Former EEOC Attorney says:

    When I was a trial attorney at the EEOC, the district director had responded to a letter from a local attorney alleging that a mediation agreement previously entered by the attorney’s client was being violated. The director responded with a lengthy and thoughtful letter (drafted by one of the attorneys) explaining why the Commission did not believe the agreement was being violated, but, if it was, the attorney’s client was more likely to be in breach than the other party.

    The attorney resonded to the director’s letter as follows:

    Dear Director:




  5. Andrew says:

    For nasty letters, why not just revisit the original source? A citizens’ group wanted to eliminate Wecht’s office as Allegheny County coroner:

    “Anytime you or any of your minions, sycophants, or other assorted motley crew wish to publicly debate the activities of my office, just let me know….I can only hope that you will have occasion to require the services of this office in the most possible personal fashion….

    “Very truly yours, Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D.”

    So tawdry. But really, what sort of thing would you expect from a person who tastelessly and thoughtlessly places the “JD” after the MD?

  6. Randy B. says:

    There is a legend floating around my firm about an old partner who responded to a particularly nasty letter as follows:

    Dear _______:

    Fuck you. Strong letter to follow.