December 31, 2003
 
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.

A. Yes.

December 30, 2003
 
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?

A. Correct.

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?


December 29, 2003
 
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.

Q. Why?

A. Well, it was a little less ostentatious than buying a Rolls Royce.

December 23, 2003
 
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.

December 22, 2003
 
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 19, 2003
 
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.

December 18, 2003
 
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.

December 17, 2003
 
October 1987 - Did I Really Hear That?

Rick Harrison 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?

A. Pleasant.

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.

December 16, 2003
 
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?

Q. 1985.

A. But this is 1988.

A. Yes, it has been brand new for three years.

December 15, 2003
 
October 1987 - But Other Than That

Q. So you've never been issued a traffic ticket for anything other than speeding?

A. No.

(Defendant and counsel confer)

A. Right, except on the night that I went through the red light at the accident.

Q. Okay.

Defense Attorney: Wait -

December 12, 2003
 
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?

December 11, 2003
 
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:

Dan,
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!

Thank you,
Patti

December 10, 2003
 
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.

December 09, 2003
 
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.

December 08, 2003
 
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.

Judge: 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.")

Defense Attorney: Your Honor, I move for continuance on the grounds of surprise. He promised me he wouldn't be here.

December 05, 2003
 
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 status.

December 04, 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.

December 03, 2003
 
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.



December 02, 2003
 
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.

December 01, 2003
 
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?

A. Yes.

Q. Like Captain Kirk?

A. I’d never say that to him, but he was in the Air Force.

Q. Okay.

A. If you had fun with that name, you’ll like this one. James Brown.

Q. How’s he feeling?

A. Good.

Mr. Anderle: I knew that he would.

Q. Okay. Who is next?

A. I’m trying to top those.


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About the Judge


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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