June 1989 - Did I Really Say That?
From a telephone hearing conducted by one of the bankruptcy judges in Dallas: the judge has been advised that 12 attorneys are ready for him on the conference call.
The Court: Okay. Thank you. I'm going to give the decision on the motion. I'm going to go through it all and make findings and conclusions of law and give an opinion ... if any of you can't hear me, let me know.
February 2003 - Don't Leave Me Out
From Donald J. Drago of Austin, upon the review of a document shown as an exception on a commitment for title insurance covering a tract of land in Harrison County, this "restrictive covenant" found in a Warranty Deed from the Smiths (the sellers) to an investment entity:
Item No. 11 — Buyers must invite the Smiths over for BBQ or party at least twice yearly. Smiths will bring beer.
May 1985 - What About Your Job?
Q. What do you do for a living?
A. I help my brother.
Q. What does your brother do?
Q. You said you went to Galveston in 1920, yet the first job you told me about was in 1946. What did you do between 1920 and 1946?
A. Well, I didn't go to work as soon as I got there.
From James V. Roberts of Dallas (Mankoff, Hill, etc.), this paragraph he discovered in a proposed contract drafted by the "other attorney":
"Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this agreement, the covenants, warranties, releases, and agreements made in this agreement shall survive the execution and delivery of this agreement."
The Judge: Have you got a lawyer?
Defendant: No, sir.
The Judge: Do you want a lawyer to defend you?
Defendant: Not really, sir.
The Judge: Well, what do you propose to do about the criminal case against you?
Defendant: Well, as far as I'm concerned, I'm willing to drop the case entirely.
Feburary 2002 - Those Jurors
Assistant District Attorney to a prospective female juror: "Could you return a verdict of guilty on the testimony of only one eye witness?"
Prospective Juror (with all seriousness): "No, I could not give a guilty verdict, the witness would have to have two eyes."
Mrs. Guerry Jordan of San Marcos (Guaranty Title) was a legal secretary for 10 years. She swears that the following incident happened in the law firm where she worked.
"A young, attractive woman had a writ of garnishment filed against her bank account at one of the banks my employer represented. We filed an answer to the writ of garnishment, and the opposing attorney served interrogatories on our client. When the client came to the office to answer the interrogatories, my employer explained that he would ask her the questions, and she would have to answer them truthfuly." This was one of the first questions:
Q. Are you a fiduciary.
A. (Very solemnly). Oh no, sir. I don't even date.
March 1988 - Promises, Promises ...
The defendant, a 15 year-old boy accused of stealing a car and leading the police on a high-speed chase, was appearing in juvenile court for the second time before the same judge. The judge noted that fact, and then chastised the boy "about the dangers he had created by his reckless efforts to avoid arrest."
Defendant: But judge, I did it for you.
Judge: What? You did it for me?
Defendant: Oh yes, judge. The last time I was in trouble I promised you I would never get arrested again — and I was just trying to keep my promise.
May 1989 - Did I Really Hear That?
Q. DId he pick the dog up by the ears?
Q. What was he doing with the dog's ears?
A. Picking them up in the air.
Q. Where was the dog at this time?
A. Attached to the ears.
February 1996 - Classic Typos
From Thomas E. Shute of San Antonio, these three classic typos, all from "the findings of fact and conclusions of law and appeal brief in an action attempting to restore retirement benefits of the former wife of an ex-Air Force officer."
The Court finds that the interrogatories inquired into property with a value of $250 or more and accumulated retirement benefits and that responses to both iniquities properly failed to disclose an expectancy of military retirement reinstatement ...
The Court finds that Mr. Jones was not a member of the Untied States Military retroactively and became an "Official Mistake" with the reinstatement.
In Baker v. Goldstein the court held. ... That is exactly what the fat finder did in the instant case.
March 1987 - Is That Really The Truth?
After testimony of a woman called as a witness by the prosecution, the young defendant was examined by the district attorney:
Q. You have heard what the last witness said and yet your evidence is to the contrary. Am I to infer that you wish to throw doubt on her veracity?
A. Not at all. I merely wish to make clear what a liar I am if she is speaking the truth.
January 2002 - Did They Really Say That?
From Elisa Maloff Reiter of Dallas, this letter which she received from a legal assistant at another Dallas firm.
RE: In The Matter of the Marriage of ...
Dear Ms. Reiter:
Pursuant to Mr. Brumley's request, following you will find the initialed page 18 by Mr. Brumley and our client. Mr. Brumley apologizes for the incontience.
February 2003 - Did She Really Say That?
From Tony J. Wilson of Houston (Sheehy, Serpe & Ware), this excerpt from a deposition of a widow in an asbestosis case who was having difficulty remembering just when she worked outside the home.
Q. Okay. Have you ever worked outside of the house?
A. Oh, for a while I worked — I don't know just how long it was — at the school cafeteria.
Q. What school was that?
A. Oh, Jackson junior high school.
Q. Was that in Pasadena?
A. Yes. In the cafeteria.
Q. About how long did you work in there?
A. Oh, I'd say a couple of years. Not too long.
Q. Do you rememeber what years those were?
A. No, I don't.
Q. Do you remember what decade? Was it in the Fifties? Sixties? Seventies?
A. Let's see. I was working there — I was working down there when John Kennedy landed on the moon.
Q. So —
A. I don't know what year that was.
Q. — 1969?
A. It's been a long time. Maybe so. I don't really know.
Judge Buddie J. Hahn of Orange (260th District Court) sends this excerpt from "a murder trial that recently took place in my court."
During Voir Dire:
D.A.: Has anyone served on a criminal jury before?
(One juror raised his hand)
D.A.: Without telling me whether you found the person guilty or innocent, what was your verdict.
November 1986 - At the Harris County Court House
Q. When did you begin to plan your wedding?
A. Well, actually, I didn't plan my wedding; my mother did.
Q. Did you participate in your mother's planning of your wedding?
A. No. My family is Italian.
Q. When did your mother begin to plan your wedding?
Q. When I was born.
March 1987 - At the Harris County Court House
Q. The truth of the matter is that you are not an unbiased, objective witness, are you? Because you, too, were shot in the fracas.
A. No sir! I was not. I was shot midway between the fracas and the naval.
February 2002 - Classic Typos's
From Robert G. Moll of Houston (Hill Rivkins & Hayden), this typo in a letter he received from a claims adjuster:
Thank you for your recent faxes of Oct. 12 and 16th. I want to assure you that this matter is now being ignored.
L. Javier Cavazos of Harlingen shares an excerpt from a deposition in which the opposing counsel "had examined my client fairly extensively on the issue of whether he had been appointed as guardian of the person and estate of his disabled mother." He explains that the client became "very upset at the continued questions on the same issue," and his next answer "caught all of us by surprise."
Q. Of course, you would have been — that's July 23rd of 1985. I believe your prior testimony was that your mother hadn't gone into the hospital yet, so you had not been appointed, whether court guardian or whatever? You're not sure now what you were; at the time of the affidavit, it clearly says that you were a court-appointed guardian, but you're not sure now what you were, right?
A. Well, I'm sure that I was her son.
Opposing Attorney: I move to strike that answer as being unresponsive.
From County Judge Ken Andrews of Graham, this marvelous exchange that took place "during a teen court trial."
Defense Attorney: Why didn't you have insurance on your car?
Defendant: Because I didn't have a driver's license.
October 1993 - Number One Easy Street
From Hollis Horton of Beaumont (Orgain, Bell, etc.), this excerpt from the plaintiff's deposition in a workers' compensation case — which was settled, "sometime after the deposition, for an amount which reportedly allowed the plaintiff to maintain his standard of living."
Q. What's your address [in Lumberton]?
A. My mailing address?
Q. Well, tell me where your residence address is. If it has a house number, tell me that.
A. Well, we just named our street last summer; went before city council and named it "Easy Street." It didn't have a name on it. I've never been on easy street ... I'm the only person that lives there — I'm going to put me a number out there. Number One Easy Street, as a matter of fact ... I saw Easy Street down here one day in Beaumont. I said I ain't never been on easy street, but I am now.
Q. You got to pick the name, yourself?
A. Drew up a petition. Everybody that lived on it signed it, which was only me. I went before the city council. But you do have to drive easy on it because it's rough.