April 30, 2004
 
April 2004 - Defining the Specialties

This excerpt from the recent deposition of a doctor comes from Richard E. Hanson of Wichita Falls (Oldham & Hanson).

Q. But when it comes to a surgeon, you’re kind of separate and distinct from all the other medical specialties; that is, you actually go in and perform surgical procedures on the human body; is that correct?

A. Well, it brings to my mind an old aphorism. Internists, which is kind of what, in part, you know, gastroenterology is, they know everything but they don’t do anything. Now, surgeons aren’t supposed to know anything, but they do it all. Now, pathologists know everything and do everything, but it’s all too late.

April 29, 2004
 
September 1996 - A Christian in El Paso

From Al Weisenberger of El Paso, these excerpts from the deposition of his client in a discriminatory terminatino/worker's compensation case - which was being taken by James Carroll of El Paso (Spurgin & Carroll).

Q. What kind of social background interests do you have? Do you belong to any clubs or churches or other organizations of that nature?

A. I'm a Baptist.

Q. Southern Baptist.

A. No. I'm - no. Christian.

April 28, 2004
 
April 2004 - Can You Describe the Pain?

This deposition excerpt is from Marvin L. Cook of San Antonio (he is general counsel of Southwest Business Corp.). The plaintiff in a slip-and-fall case is being questioned about the injuries allegedly suffered at the time of the fall.

Q. And you say you also complained about pain down your right arm?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you describe that pain?

A. It hurt like hell. …

April 27, 2004
 
April 1993 - Did I Really Hear That?

From Bonnie Cade of Arlington, this testimony taken by her daughter, Betty Lynn Cade, who is a court reporter in Nashville, TN - "Where reporters follow their clients through discovery into the courtroom where they take the testimony":

Q. Where were you at the time of the accident?

A. In my car.

April 26, 2004
 
April 2004 - Did He Really Say That?

This contribution is from Harvey L. Morton of Lubbock, who was presiding as the trustee over a first meeting of creditors where “a rather nervous defendant was being represented by Dan Wallis, an associate of Phil Black’s office in Abilene.”

Q. Did you give truthful answers to the questions asked in the Statement of Financial Affairs?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. … Complete answers?

A. As complete as my attorney would allow.

Harvey adds: “After the laughter subsided and the order was restored, the debtor asked to amend his answer because it was “not really what I intended to say.”

April 23, 2004
 
October 1998 - Someone Should Call Dudley Do-Right!

C. Mark Murrah of Houston (Hughes, Watters & Askansase) submits both the "Dudley DO-Right" title and this excerpt from a medical reords affidavit filed in an El Paso case.

HPI: This is a 33-year-old male who was found unresponsive at home by his wife. EMS was called and has a history of heroine abuse.

April 22, 2004
 
January 2004 - Did He Really Say That?

This contribution is from Dean A. Cole of Lafayette, La. (LaBorde & Neuner), who sets the stage: "Representing the defendants, we offered significant evidence that the plaintiff had not ever been struck by a wire on the back of the boat as he claimed. We also questioned the extent of plaintiff's alleged spinal injury by pointing out that plaintiff's wife had recently filed for divorce, alleging plaintiff had parented a child with his next-door neighbor several months after the alleged accident. Plaintiff's counsel called plaintiff back to the witness stand on rebuttal, where the following exchange took place."

Q. All right. And would you have any reason to lie about getting hit?

A. No, ma'am.

Q. Why not?

A. I mean, why lie? I mean, if something happened, it happened. I mean, I'm not going to fornicate no story about the wire hitting me or not. I mean, I have no reason to be here today if the wire didn't hit me.

April 21, 2004
 
September 1994 - Pleading Guilty

Court: What type of work do you do?

Defendant: I've got a Master's in Accounting and this time of year I do a lot of tax work.

Court: You do tax work for the public, you mean?

Defendant: Yes sir, I do, but it drives me crazy.

Court: Well, that' s normal.

April 20, 2004
 
March 2004 - Don’t Have A Cow

Todd Anderson of Midland (Todd is a court reporter for U.S. District Judge Robert Junell) submits an excerpt from a 404(b) hearing involving Assistant U.S. Attorney John Klassen.

Mr. Klassen: The problem is if I introduce it [the defendant’s prior conviction] and I’m wrong, then the case is going to get reversed. And these cases do get reversed for — You know what, Judge? I’m not going to offer it, but I am going to have a cow if there is an argument at closing that ‘the Government hasn’t brought you any evidence that my client knows anything about cocaine.’

The Court: Okay. Could you not have your cow on the carpet?

Mr. Klassen: I will try not to do that.

The Court: Because it is expensive to clean the carpet when you have your cows there, Mr. Klassen. Could we get you to use the linoleum to do that?

Mr. Klassen: Certainly.

April 19, 2004
 
January 1992 - Tell Me About Your Injuries

From James N. Haltom of Texarkana (Hubbard, Patton, etc.), this deposition excerpt from a toxic tort litigation in East Texas:

Q. Did you ever have an X-ray of your brain on those occasions?

A. I got an X-ray on my head at one time.

Q. Was it negative?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. That was good news to you?

A. Oh, yes.

James added: "The questions seemed appropriate. The answers were dead solid in response. Amazingly, the deposition continued for an additional 200 pages."

April 16, 2004
 
November 1989 - Did I Really Hear That?

From John E. Cline of Snyder (court reporter for the 132nd District Court), this excerpt of trial testimony which John puts under the category: "The defendant's story was awfully pat until cross-examination."

Q. Okay. You all never quite made it home, did you?

A. No, sir.

Mr. Lefeuvre: That is all. I pass the witness.

The Witness: Uh-oh.

April 15, 2004
 
December 2002 - Inmate Mail

From R. Neel McDonald of Wortham, Texas, this letter he received from an inmate, “Rev. Luther B. Sneed, Jr.” of Tennessee Colony — which Neel found “perfectly charming.”

Pay anyone $100,000 to find me a wife, will pay $200,000 if she is 6’4” or taller, and will have 25 children by me.

Neel adds: “Haven’t found ‘just the right gal’ yet, but the offer is so good, I’m keeping my eye out.”

April 14, 2004
 
September 2002 - "The Suicide Question"

From U.S. Magistrate Judge Marcie A. Crone of Houston (S.D. Texas), this “excerpt from a recent employment discrimination” trial in her court in which the Plaintiff alleged mental anguish as well as other claims.

BY MR. STAMBUSH:

Q. I’m not asking if you attempted suicide.

A. Oh.

Q. I’m asking if you ever said you were going to commit suicide.

A. Oh, yes.

Q. And why did you do that?

A. To get people to talk to me, feel sorry for me, want to be around me, watch me, attention.

Q. Did you ever actually commit suicide — or — I’m sorry.

(Laughter)

THE COURT: Obviously not.

April 13, 2004
 
April 1987 - Did I Really Hear That?

Q. And was the marriage consummated?

A. Not while I was there.

April 12, 2004
 
June 2003 - Habla Usted “In Tongues”?

From Curtis W. Fitzgerald, II, Texas Bar Journal, Vol. 63, No. 8 — September 2000.

Q. And we’ve spent a number of hours questioning you today and you understand the English language very well?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Are you fluent in Puerto Rico, too?

A. Spanish?

Q. Spanish.

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. So, you’re bilingual?

A. No, I am Pentecostal.

April 09, 2004
 
February 1989 - Did I Really Hear That?

From Larry Warner of Brownsville (Carinhas &Chosy), this deposition excerpt:

Q. Okay. How many years did you go with him before you married him?

A. Barely three and a half or four.

Q. And you married what year?

A. 1973.

Q. What happened after you married him?

A. We had three children: one girl and two boys, Jessica, Hector, and Carlos.

April 08, 2004
 
January 2004 - One in 100,000

From Barrett W. Stetson of Dallas, this excerpt from the deposition of a defendant in a car accident case.

Q. So the impact of the collision was severe enough to cause you a back injury?

A. Yes, sir. I mean, my back is already kind of messed up as it is. I mean, it's not like - I mean, it hurt, but I mean, I have an extra set of ribs. And I have a vertebrae that doesn't know what it is. It only happens to one in 100,000 people.

Q. Do you know what the condition is called? Does it have a name?

A. No, sir, I do not know.

April 07, 2004
 
February 1989 - Let's Keep Out of This

Drew Mouton of Big Spring (Bancroft & Mouton) has a client "who prefers to represent himself in administrative hearings involving Mine Safety & Health Act violations." In one case, the client had been issued a citation for a "serious violation" of the Act. At the hearing, the client was examining the government inspector who issued the citation - and challenging the "seriousness" of the offense charged:

Mr. Price: Could you define the word blatant for me please?

Government Attorney: I object, your honor, this is not a spelling bee or an English class.

Mr. Price: Your honor I want to question the witness at length about the seriousness of this offense and I want to make sure he understands the meaning of the term "blatant."

The Judge: Overruled, you may continue.

Mr. Price: Could you define the word blatant for me please.

The Witness: I think it's something that sheep do.

Drew adds: "Could a lawyer have done any better? By the way, at the end of the testimony the Judge took the matter under advisement, no doubt to refer to Websters."


April 06, 2004
 
October 2002 - “A/K/A BUBBA”

From David A. Rutledge of El Paso, who found the style of this case so interesting that he sent a copy to Jay Leno as well as “et cetera.”

The State of Texas, Plaintiff
v.
Cox, Sylvester, A.K.A. Butler, Sylvester,
A.K.A. Sylvester Butler, A.K.A. Bubba

April 05, 2004
 
June 2002 - My Spell Chequer Told Me Sew

From Craig H. Clendenin of Houston (Benckenstein, Norvell & Nathan), this excerpt from a plaintiff’s original petition filed in Houston.

“As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s negligence, Plaintiffs have been damaged in an amount in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limits of this Court. Plaintiffs damages proximately caused by the incident in question include, for each Plaintiff, physical pain and suffering in past and to be sustained in the future, mental anguish sustained in the past and to be sustained in the future, physical impairment sustained in the past and to be sustained in the future, disfigurement sustained in the past and to be sustained in the future, reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred in the past and to be sustained in the future, and loss of wagering capacity sustained in the past and to be sustained in the future, and loss of contortion as a result of the injuries sustained by their respective spouses.”

Craig adds “there is no worse plaintiff than a gambling yoga instructor.”

April 02, 2004
 
February 2004 - Ask The Dead Lawyer

This contribution is from Janis L. Scott of Victoria (Anderson, Smith, Null & Stofer). Janis explains that “for payroll purposes for closing a home sale, I sent a request to a real estate agent to find out who the current lender was. Apparently, the seller had obtained owner financing but the realtor did not have many details.” Her written response was: I asked owner if she remembered who did closing papers and she said it was a dead lawyer. Perhaps you should check with them.

Janis adds: “I did not ask if the lawyer died before or after they did the closing papers.”

April 01, 2004
 
December 2003 - Classic Typos

From Ira D. Joffe of Houston (who practices with David W. Barry), this signature page from a “Consulting Agreement” between a trucking company and the owner-operator.

IN WITLESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have executed this Agreement as of the date and year first above written.


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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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