The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ordered a judge to reassess whether a lawyer who sent what he called a “smartass and unprofessional” email to a law clerk should have sanctions imposed.

U.S. District Chief Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. of the Western District of Louisiana used his inherent power to impose sanctions against Texas attorney Victoria Plante after she sent an email to a law clerk ahead of a pretrial conference last year expressing frustration about the length of time it was taking for the court to issue a decision on a motion in the case.