It’s bad enough when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turns down a lawyer’s appeal in a per curiam opinion. But it’s even worse when the court describes a lawyer’s conduct with an arcane word that might require a trip to the dictionary for full explanation.

Just ask Cletus Erenster, a Houston civil rights lawyer and partner in Washington & Erenster, whose appeal associated with long-running litigation against Dillard Department Stores Inc. was dismissed after the 5th Circuit found that the history of the case reflected “extreme pettifoggery by and on behalf of” appellant Erenster and others. A pettifogger, according to Webster’s New World Dictionary, is “a lawyer who handles petty cases … .”

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