Lawyer is fined after he flips the bird during Zoom oral arguments

  • Print

money and gavel

Image from Shutterstock.

A Michigan lawyer has been fined $3,000 for raising his middle finger during oral arguments in a Zoom hearing.

The Michigan Court of Appeals fined lawyer James Heos of East Lansing, Michigan, and referred him for possible discipline, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Heos told the Detroit Free Press that he had flipped the bird in frustration at a malfunctioning computer screen, and he had no idea he could be seen.

“I would imagine it appeared to them that I was flipping off the court and my opponent, which I would never do,” he said.

“I’ve been a lawyer 46 years,” said Heos, 74. “I’ve never been accused of inappropriate, unruly or rude conduct in the courtroom.”

Heos had represented a plaintiff at trial in a medical malpractice case being argued before the appeals court. He wasn’t participating in the arguments but wanted to watch them. His computer screen, however, was blank, and he was frustrated that it wasn’t working, he told the Detroit Free Press.

Heos flipped the bird during the oral argument for the defendant.

When questioned by the judges during the oral arguments, Heos had said he was merely pointing at a computer that doesn’t work.

“Mr. Heos exhibited shameful disrespect to the court and to opposing counsel in his offensive gesture and his dishonest replies to the court’s inquiries,” Judge Thomas Cameron wrote in a May 20 order.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.