May 30, 2003
 
February 2002 - Classic Typo's
From Trish Nasworthy of Grand Prairie (Trish is an Assistant City Attorney), this mistake she spotted in an ad in the Dallas Morning News.

LITITAGATION ATTORNEY needed immediately. Large plaintiff's personal injury firm seeks associate. Duties include depositions, medication, and trials ...

May 29, 2003
 
May 1989 - Did I Really Hear That?
This is from a post-trial hearing before me; the attorney was placed under oath so he could "make a record" in connection with a motion to dismiss on Speedy Trial Act grounds.

The Court: Why don't you just do a narrative?

Attorney: I will not question myself, your Honor. I am concerned that I might impeach myself.

May 28, 2003
 
October 1993 - Back to the Basics
From Charles R. Erickson of Houston (Triton Tool & Supply), these deposition excerpts from a "typical oilfield personal injury case with numerous defendants, cross-plaintiffs and, of course, attorneys":

Q. Are you married?

A. Yes.

Q. What is the name of your spouse?

A. Susan.

Q. How long have you been married?

A. Too long.

Q. Well, I move that be stricken.

Def. Counsel Two: I concur.

Def. Counsel Three: Well, it goes to establish his credibility.

Def. Counsel Four: Right, leave it in.

Def. Counsel One: Leave it in.

Q. How long have you been married?

A. Twenty — I believe it's 22 years.

[Later}

Q. What happened to James Smith? Is he dead?

A. He was killed in a domestic dispute. His wife shot him.

Def. Counsel Two: He was married too long, too.

Def. Counsel Four: She heard the comment, also.

Def. Counsel One: She read his deposition.

Def. Counsel Three: He was apparently married one day too long.

May 27, 2003
 
May 1985 - Were You in the Military Service
Q. Were you in the Army?

A. No sir, I didn't go.

Q. Why?

A. Well, when I was ready to leave they said, 'Well, everything is over,' and I say, 'Okay,' So I didn't go.

May 23, 2003
 
April 2003 - Doing Voir Dire
From Paul Mewis of Houston, this excerpt from a voir dire record in a criminal case.

The Court: What kind of work do you do?

Prospective Juror: I'm a financial analyst.

The Court: How long have you been doing that?

Prospective Juror: 610 years.

The Court: Do you like it?

Prospective Juror: Yes.

May 22, 2003
 
March 1988 - Does Orkin Know About This?
Ben Taylor, who works as a briefing attorney for Judge Kilgarlin of the Texas Supreme Court, found this testimony in a gas explosion case (reported at 736 S.W.2d 836). He explains that the defense attorney "was attempting to cross-examine one of the plaintiff's fact witness."

Q. Did you ever see any roaches killed by natural gas?

A. I'm sure a lot of them died when it blew up.

Q. No, but I am talking about —

The Judge: At least I hope so.

Q. Did you see any of those that were blown up?

The Judge: Did you see any mangled bodies of roaches?

A. Please repeat the question.

Q. Prior to the explosion, did you ever see any roaches that have been asphyxiated by the natural gas?

A. I wouldn't — I don't recall. I wouldn't know if a roach had died from gas.

The Judge: A natural death, or —

Plaintiff's Attorney: No autopsies were done on the roaches.

Q. We don't have any further questions of this witness.

May 21, 2003
 
September 1997
From Walter Cowger of Dallas (Akin, Gump), this excerpt from the deposition of the plaintiff in a wrongful discharge case.

Q. Did you come here today [from Oregon] just for this deposition?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. You're not planning to move back to Texas anytime soon?

A. We're planning on moving back this summer. Or I am. I think my wife wants to stay in Oregon.

Q. Why are you planning to move back?

A. Because I think Oregon sucks!

Q. (Wisely) Well, of course.

May 20, 2003
 
February 2002 - Are You A Spirit?
From Karan Hogan of San Antonio (Karen is the Court Investigator for Judge Polly Jackson Spencer, Probate Court No. One in Bexar County), this note sent to Judge Spencer by William Goodman, the court-appointed attorney ad litem " in the guardianship proceeding of the proposed ward the day after the hearing."

Prior to the hearing, I was talking with my client, the proposed ward, about her belief in spirits, and about how her deceased husband is a spirit who lives with his spirit girlfriends in the walls behind the bathroom. At one point she asked, "Are you a spirit?" I said I wasn't sure — and anyway, how would I know?

"Well, to be a spirit," she said, "you would have to be appointed by God."

"I guess not then," I replied. "I'm just an attorney apointed by the judge."

May 19, 2003
 
June 1987 - You Coulda Been A Contender
Court Jesters collects these Major-League Stupid Questions — "the standard against which all others are measured: — as well as some Truly Great Contenders:

Q. Now isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, in most cases he just passes quietly away and doesn't know anything about it until the next morning?


***

Q. The 24th of December — was that the day before Christmas?

***

Q. Were you acquainted with the deceased?

A.Yes.

Q. Before or after he died?

***

Q.In your opinion, how far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?

***

Q. And how did you know the policeman wasn't a dog?

May 16, 2003
 
October 2002 - Dumb and Dumber
From Les Pickett of Houston, this marvelous deposition exchange between the defense lawyer and the plaintiff:

Q. Did you ever have a discussion with either a supervisor or your boss at Midkiff as to why you should wear an air-fed respirator while sandblasting?

A. No. First of all, because I wouldn't have understood what they were saying.

Q. Are you dumb?

A. I don't believe I am but I don't know.

May 15, 2003
 
May 1989 - Did I Really HearThat?
Will Pryor of Dallas (Wilson, Taft & Pryor) found this gem in reviewing depositions in a rear-end collision case in his preparation for a mediation session with the parties.

Q. Do you drink?

A. Occassionally.

Q. Had you had any drugs in the 24 hours prior to the accident?

A. No.

Q. We're talking about prescription drugs?

A. I haven't had a prescription drug in quite awhile. I only take recreational drugs.

May 14, 2003
 
October 1993 - The Genderful Bunny
From Kelli A. Norris of Austin (Naman, Howell, etc.), this deposition excerpt from a "multi-party personal injury lawsuit":

Q. Who is the contact person [at the company]? Do they have, like, a scheduler or a supervisor or somebody that you call?

A. Yes.

Q. Who is that?

A. First name is Bunny.

Q. Bunny?

A. There could only be one.

Q. I'm not going to get punched if I call and ask for Bunny, right?

A. No.

Def. Attny: Is Bunny a male, or female? The reason I'm asking, I had an uncle and we called him Uncle Bunny, so —

Witnes: She's a male — she's a female. An Uncle Bunny must — she must be a male.

May 13, 2003
 
February 2002 - Did They Really Say That?
From David Bryant of Dallas (Hughes & Luce), this excerpt from the deposition of a defendant who had promised a former employee (the plaintiff) stock in the defendant's company. The Defendant "was not quite clear about inter vivos trusts, even though he had created one for himself."

Q. Do you consider yourself an alcoholic?

A. Sometimes I do; sometimes I don't.

Q. Do you recall any particular occasion when you called [plaintiff] when you were intoxicated during business hours?

A. I've called him when I've been drinking. I can't recall being intoxicated, no...

Q. I guess it's pretty hard to remember that sometimes, but...

A. It really is...

Q. Did you talk with anybody else in 2000 about the possibility of selling stock?

A. Probably my trustee, just casual talk. I can't recall anybody else.

Q. And what trust is he a trustee of?

A. My trust, my personal.

Q. Does it have a name?

A. Intravenous, whatever you say it, Trust — these legal words. I can get my checkbook out and show you what it says, but that's as close as I can tell.

May 12, 2003
 
July 1989
Q. Did your father have any other children?

A. I didn't know about them. I weren't born yet.

Q. If you don't know, just say, "I don't know." Now, Mr. J., you don't know much about your family, do you?

A. I don't know.

May 09, 2003
 
June 1989
Q. And so that, whether or not that money was actually being used to buy stocks, she really wouldn't know otherwise, correct?

A. That's correct.

Q. Okay. Because the confirmation slip stayed the same for a real as opposed to a fictitious stock transfer?

A. That is correct.

Q. You've talked in a lot of generalities with regard to the last 90 days and what went on. Am I correct?

A. Yeah, — whatever I testified to, that's what I said.

May 08, 2003
 
April 1998
The Judge: Do you know what the oath you have just taken means?

A. Yeah. It means if I swear to a lie, I gotta stick to it.

May 07, 2003
 
April 2003 - Court TV
Q.Ms. Goodman, my name is Bruce Fyfe. And I tried to talk to you today, correct?

A. Uh-huh.

Q. I came up and I introduced myself as a district attorney —

A. Yeah.

Q. — or assistant? And I asked if you would talk to me about this case. Do —

A. Right.

Q. — correct? Okay. Now, is it the lawyers from McDonalds who told you not to talk to us or the lawyer for the Defense who told you not to talk to us?

A. Nobody. I know that I can decline.

Q. Okay. How are you aware of the fact you can decline?

A. Because I watch Court TV.

Q. Okay. Very good.

May 06, 2003
 
January 1990 - Did I Really Hear That?
From Robert A. Markowitz of Houston (Brochstein & Slobin), this excerpt from a Harris County deposition:

Q. Did Mr. Garrett receive any of the proceeds of that $189,000 promissory note you referred to?

A. No, I don't believe so.

Q. Why is that?

A. I'm not sure of the mechanism, you would have to check with the lawyer who handled the transaction.

Q. What was the name of the lawyer that handled that?

A. Jim Cornish.

Q. Where is Mr. Cornish located?

A. I'm not sure which cemetery he's buried in.

May 05, 2003
 
February 1996 From Harding J. Rome of Houston (Harding is the general counsel of Southern Pacific Lines), this classic typo which "popped up in a brief [he] was preparing to file" concerning the plaintiff's ex parte contacts with railroad employees:

"To state that the railroad must consent to tush interviews, however, is not to say such interviews may be conducted in violation of state etical rules."

May 02, 2003
 
June 1989
James P. Walker, Jr. of Dallas (MckInney, Dubner) shares an excerpt from the deposition of a bankruptcy debtor who is serving time for stock fraud at the La Tuna Federal Corrections Institution. This cross-examination is by Wade Williams of Galveston (Mills, Shirely).

Q. And so that, whether or not that money was actually being used to buy stocks, she really wouldn't know otherwise, correct?

A. That's correct.

Q. Okay. Because the confirmation slip stayed the same for a real as opposed to a fictitious stock transfer?

A. That is correct.

Q. You've talked in a lot of generalities with regard to the last 90 days and what went on. Am I correct?

A. Yeah, — whatever I testified to, that's what I said.

James astutely notes: "I am not sure if it ever gets much clearer than this."



May 01, 2003
 
March 1987
Q. I take it that before this accident happened you lived with your brother in-law and sister for about six months>

A. Yes.

Q. You got to know him quite well?

A. Yes.

Q. And you saw him interact with our sister, and I believe they had one child?

A. I didn't see the actual interaction, but they did have one child.



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In Memory of Judge Jerry Buchmeyer, 1933-2009
Real life Texas Courtroom Humor.
From 1980 to 2008, U.S. District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer entertained lawyers far and wide with his "et cetera" column in the Texas Bar Journal. For this page, we've reached into the vault to bring you classic material spanning two decades of courtroom humor, most of which comes straight from actual depostions and trials.


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Buchmeyer's First Podcast

In June 2006, Judge Buchmeyer was interviewed by the Legal Talk Network.

Click here to listen (Windows Media format)


Classic Articles

Labor Relations: The Wututtut Review Brimelow v. Casson (& A Strike)
June 1983

Jurisdiction: Serving Satan Mayo v. Satan & His Staff
February 1984

Judicial Reasoning: "The Law Is A Ass"
December 1983

'Tis the Season
December 1984

A Fable
March 1985

Classic Article Archive

Links

Order Buchmeyer's new book, Texas Courtroom Humor (pdf format)

Ernie The Attorney Searching for Truth & Justice (in an unjust world)

Inter alia An internet legal research weblog

Lawhaha Andrew McClurg's Legal Humor Headquarters




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