May 2002 - I'm Not Appreciating Anything
From Sid S. Stover
of Jasper (Seale, Stover, Bisbey & Morian), this excerpt from the deposition of his client, Sharon Clark, being taken by Marc Scheiness of Houston (Scheiness, Scott, Grossman & Cohn). Sharon Clark testified that her arm had become entangled in a large machine, horribly injuring it and that she could hear the bones breaking in her arm. Then, the next question … .
Q. What I’m trying to establish is that from the time you appreciated that you were caught and the time that you realized that your bones were breaking —
A. I’m not appreciating anything like this. I’m not understanding you saying that. I didn’t appreciate this at all.
Q. I don’t mean it that way. I mean to appreciate as to understand and realize that your bone is breaking. By “appreciate,” I’m using it in a different sense. I do not mean appreciate it as something you liked was happening to you … . I’m using the word “appreciate” in the context of appreciating in your mind what’s going on.
December 2001 - The Whole Enchilada
From Stephen White
of Austin, this excerpt from a disciplinary hearing before the Texas Board of Medical Examiners heard by Administrative Judge Ann Landeros.
Q. And do you have your office space within this 1.4-mile area?
A. I do not.
Q. And some physicians do and some physicians don’t?
Q. But having — based upon your experience at the various hospitals, do all of the ophthalmologists who have — who are — have a special training or such specialty in guacamole —
THE COURT: You want a motion to strike?
MR. PICKENS: Move to strike guacamole and insert enchilada.
Q. (By Mr. Pickens) Let’s get back to the situation, and we’re talking about the whole enchilada here or tortilla here, it looks like on the map here. Do all of the physicians who have subspecialty training in glaucoma have privileges in all the hospitals?
January 1992 - From the Trials of Buchmeyer, Too
Q. What did you do with the money you got from the land flip?
A. Bought a Mercedes 450 SL convertible.
A. Well, it was a little less ostentatious than buying a Rolls Royce.
May 1985 - Tell Me About Your Family
Q. Has your son ever received a prior injury?
A. Well, when he was three he fell and broke his arm, that's all. Oh, yes, when he was two he got plowed under by a tractor and we didn't find him for twenty minutes.
February 2001 - Did They Really Say That?
From David L. Zedler
of Sherman, this contribution that occurred during testimony in a recent jury trial.
A. The last time I saw [the child who was the subject of the suit], she was eating a bowl of goldfish.
Mr. Zedler: You mean crackers don't you?
December 1989 - Let's Be Particularly Careful Out There
Q. Where was she calling you from?
A. Her house in Queens.
Q. What was her number?
A. I'm very bad with numbers.
Q. What is your profession?
A. I'm an accountant but I don't remember numbers well.
Q. Is that a handicap for an accountant?
A. No, it's not.
May 1989 - I'm Glad We Cleared That Up
From Mark H. Giles
of Corpus Christi, this excerpt from a deposition of Mark's client:
Q. Did you talk to anybody else with Cudd about your back at that time when you arrived that morning?
A. There weren't but two people there, Dan and I.
Q. So no one was at the yard?
A. No, ma'am.
Q. So that there wasn't anybody there to talk to had there been someone there?
A. No, ma'am.
October 1987 - Did I Really Hear That?
of Austin (McGinnis, Lochridge) sends an excerpt from a deposition "in which my client was being interrogated as to his family background."
Q. We may pursue that later, but right now let's not. What is your family situation, Mr. Hurd?
Rick adds that this answer was so straight forward that it "nonplussed his interrogator [and] there was a two-minute delay" between this answer and the next question.
September 1988 - Did I Really Hear That?
Q. And so, [Mr. Witness], is there presently a producing oil well on that prospect lease?
A. Yes, of course, we have a brand new oil well on that lease.
Q. And when did you drill this 'brand new' oil well?
A. But this is 1988.
A. Yes, it has been brand new for three years.
October 1987 - But Other Than That
Q. So you've never been issued a traffic ticket for anything other than speeding?
(Defendant and counsel confer)
A. Right, except on the night that I went through the red light at the accident.
Defense Attorney: Wait -
June 1991 - Did I Really Hear That?
From Larry Warner
of Harlingen, this voir dire excerpt from Mendoza v. State
, with the "hope that this woman's spouse has been rehabilitated":
Mr. Mendoza: Anybody else [have a relative who is in custody]? I'm sorry?
Juror #1: My brother-in-law at Bayview.
Mr. Mendoza: Baview Detention Center?
Juror #1: Uh-huh.
Juror #2: My husband is with the Border Patrol and my cousin is at the Brownsville Police Department.
Mr. Mendoza: (wisely) Did I skip someone?
July 2003 - Just Do It
From Richard E. "Ted" Hanson
of Wichita Falls (Oldham, Hanson & Florendine). Mr. Hanson writes, "in a claim file I received from an insurance company operating in New York City, I found what I think is the most interesting pre-suit negotiating techniques I have seen employed by Plaintiff's counsel. Unfortunately, the Plaintiff's objective was not reached.
By Fax on 07/13/00:
Surely you have the authority to settle this small claim. Please give me a call at your earliest convenience so that we can get this off our desks. Communicate please before we melt down here in Wichita Falls. The heat index is at this moment 120!
June 1990 - I'm Glad We Cleared That Up - Trials
Rodney M. Phelps
of Richardson sent me the following from the husband's testimony in the trial of a divorce case in Harris County.
Q. Now, as you understand it, your children's intentions are to attend school in Texas; is that correct?
A. I think it's my daughter's intention to attend school in Texas if my wife does move to Texas.
Q. You at one time lived in Texas; the last time you lived in Texas was in 1973?
A. That's correct.
Q. Since that time you have been a resident of Panama as well as Germany and various other countries?
A. And Arkansas as well.
Q. And you're telling this court that you have no intention of -
COURT: Certainly can't leave out a foreign country like Arkansas.
October 1987 - Did I Really Say That?
The ubiguitous Anonymous
writes from San Antonio to share this attempt by the attorney to relax a nervous witness at the beginning of a deposition:
Q. Let me set you at ease. Myself and your attorney are both here strictly to find out what information you know. This is not a Perry Mason type technique where we cross-examine you and put you on the rack and screw.
June 2003 - The Not-So-Absent Witness
From Jim. D. Bowmer
, in this criminal case the defense counsel had just moved for continuance on the ground of absence of a defense witness.
Well, why don't we call the list of witnesses and see who's here? (The list was called and the supposedly "absent" witness answered "Present.")
Your Honor, I move for continuance on the grounds of surprise. He promised me he wouldn't be here.
December 2003 - The Right to Proceed Without Incurring Costs, Court Fees, or Diapers
From Cody Skipper
of Dallas (who is a law clerk for U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Stickney), this statement from a motion to withdraw as counsel of record.
Plaintiffs have not yet obtained substitute counsel, and may qualify for in forma pampersis
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.
June 2001 - My Spell Chequer Tolled Me Sew
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks
of Austin (W.D. Texas) publishes a quarterly newsletter for the Fifth Circuit District Judges Association. His last one, issued April 2001, ended with a poem he received over the Internet which, as Sam said, "is not only amusing, but [it] explains some of the errors in our opinions."
Ode to the Spell Checker
Eye have a spelling chequer,
It came with my pea sea.
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss Steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
and weight four it two say
Weather Eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid,
It nose bee fore two long,
and Eye can put the error rite -
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no,
Its letter perfect awl the weigh.
My spell chequer tolled me sew.
May 2001 - Did They Really Say That?
From Roger A. Berger
of Houston, who was defending a hospital emergency room group in a malpractice case, this excerpt from the deposition of the administrator of the Group. The question by the plaintiff's counsel was intended to define the different types of emergency room patients - but it elicited a literal answer.
Q. What's the difference between a bed and a chair?
A. One you lay on, one you sit on.
March 2003 - Beam Me Up, Scottie
This contribution is from Timothy K. Borchers of Seattle, Wash. (Cozen O’Connor). It’s from the deposition of an accountant “who was adjusting the damage claims offered by a plaintiff in a $100 million products liability class action. The witness was asked to identify all of the managers, staff accountants, and other employees who worked on the project.”
A. And at times, I have conferred with Marilee Hopkins, Charles Kuyk, spelled K U Y K.
Q. And you say that Kuyk?
Q. Like Captain Kirk?
A. I’d never say that to him, but he was in the Air Force.
A. If you had fun with that name, you’ll like this one. James Brown.
Q. How’s he feeling?
Mr. Anderle: I knew that he would.
Q. Okay. Who is next?
A. I’m trying to top those.