March 2002- And Then Things Went Downhill...
From Steven C. Laird
of Fort Worth (Russell, Turner, Laird & Jones), a contribution from the trial of a medical negligence case. The excerpt is “the very beginning of the cross-examination of the plaintiffs’ nursing expert” a “very attractive, statuesque nurse in her early 40’s.”
Q. All right. I don’t know why; but when I first took your deposition in Houston and even today, I get the feeling of how a dove must feel when my Russian blue cat is stalking it.
Do you have cats?
A. I have two Abyssinians.
Q. Big ones?
A. Abyssinians, by nature or their breed, are small.
Q. Because of that, I’m going to try to find areas as long as I can —
A. I’m sorry. Can you clarify? You’re stating that I’m stalking you?
Q. I’m just saying, I feel like a dove in the backyard.
A. Yeah. Don’t be afraid.
May 1985 - Were You in the Military Service?
Q. How far did you get in the service? It was in the Army, wasn't it?
A. Yes, sir, the Army.
Q. How far did you get?
A. Over to the South Pacific.
April 2000 - Aggressively Ambivalen
From Tom Alleman
of Dallas (Winstead, Sechrest & Minick), this remarkable excerpt from an amicus curiae
brief filed in a software antitrust case by a Harvard Law School professor:
For the foregoing reasons, in the manner described, this Court may conclude either that the government has succeeded
in establishing a "separate product" for purposes of "tying" under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, or that it has not
February 2004 - Bring Out The Dead
This contribution is from Kenneth Nash
of Huntsville. Kenneth, who is a staff attorney with the State Counsel for Offenders, recently received this poetic motion to dismiss from the state:
The accused is dead,
Our jurisdiction he’s fled,
Our case thus amiss,
The State must dismiss.
A recent New York Times article recounted that Lenny Bruce, the “potty-mouthed” beat-generation comedian, was posthumously pardoned by New York Governor George E. Pataki — 39 years after he was convicted of obscenity for using dirty words in a Greenwich Village nightclub act. The article subtly noted:“Being dead, Mr. Bruce is not expected to reap an immediate benefit from his pardon.”
February 1993 - Show me an honest man
From Judge Buddie J. Hahn
of Orange (260th District Court), this marvelous (!) excerpt from the cross-examination of an "alibi witness" in a drug possession trial:
Q. You would not have any reason to tell a lie about your meeting with him, would you?
A. Not unless I get something for it.
June 1991 - Did I Really Hear That?
From Rob Ramsey
of Wharton, this excerpt from the "deposition of a party whose record is tenativley clean":
Q. Do you have any criminal convictions?
A. Not right now.
Q. Are you planning on having some?
A. I've been charged with a couple of crimes.
Q. All right. What are those?
A. Assault, disorderly conduct, and posession of prohibited weapon.
September 1988 - Not That I Remember
From a deposition taken by Victor M. Carrera
of Corpus Christi (Wood, Boykin):
Q. (By Mr. Carrera) In your adult life, have you ever been treated by a psychiatrist?
A. Not that I remember.
Q. Or a psychologist?
A. Not that I remember.
Q. After your 1961 skull fracture, was there any thpe of information that you had to relearn, any blanks ion your past you jhad to fill in?
A. Not that I remember.
Q. Okay. I probibally deserved an answer like that.
November 2002 - She wasn't tiny, tiny
From Melissa A. Dorman
of Dallas (Hartline, Dacus, Dreyer & Kern), this deposition excerpt from a “recently settled Firestone tread separation case.”
Q. Okay. Do you remember what she looked like?
A. Just a cute little old blonde is all I can remember. I mean, as far as —
Q. That is a fair answer.
A. I mean she wasn’t tiny, tiny but she wasn’t just a big old hog either.
Q. She was in between.
A. Oh, yeah.
Q. Okay. Did you get her name, by chance?
Q. Okay. We won’t tell her how you described her if we find her.
A. Well —
Q. Oh, goodness.A. I mean, if I had been single now I might have paid a little more attention.
Q.I’m sure your wife will appreciate that.
June 2002 - It wasn't a pretty sight
From Wade Gent
of Arlington (Foster & Sear), this marvelous (!!!) deposition excerpt in a Dallas County asbestos case. Jay C. Zeleskey of Dallas is taking the deposition.
Q. Have you ever been hospitalized?
A. Broken leg. Clutch blew up in one of my cars one time and broke my foot.
Q. Was that back in ’57?
A. ’57 is when I broke my leg in high school, I was playing football. And I blew the clutch up on my car and — well, before that I cut my hand up real bad with a power saw in ’58 or nine, somewhere along in there, and they sewed it on. And then in ’63 or four, somewhere along in there, two, whatever it was, I blew the clutch up in my car and blew my foot half off, and they fixed that. And then after I was married, I got my hand caught in a drill and it pulled a finger off, so I just got rid of it.
Q. The drill?
A. No, the finger. My wife wanted — my wife found it a month later in the dirty clothes, and she washed it and it wasn’t a pretty sight. But I kept it in a jar. I gave it to a friend of mine, he showed his wife and she flushed it down the toilet. Or I would still have it.
MR. GENT: Objection, nonresponsive.
March 2004 - Did She Really Say That?
This contribution is from Jerome S. Levy
of Dallas. A small, uncertain, and nervous witness was being cross-examined. The lawyer thundered, “Have you ever been married?”
“Yes, sir, once,” said the witness in a low voice.
“Whom did you marry?”
“Well, a woman.”
The lawyer said angrily, “Of course you married a woman! Did you ever hear of anyone marrying a man?”
And the witness said meekly, “My sister did.”
October 1991 - Did I Really Ask That?
From U.S. District Judge Tom Stagg
of Shreveport, LA, this excerpt from one of his "trials" (so to speak):
Q. Has Mr. James Madden ever been in your office?
A. Yes, he has.
Q. Has his father, Grady Madden, ever been in your office?
A. Yes, he has.
Q. Prior to his death?
October 2003 - That’s a Good Point
From Judge Bob McCoy
of Fort Worth (48th Judicial District), this exchange that took place in his court where “a general insurance agent [was] being cross-examined about the damage he’s claiming in the way of lost commissions.”
Q. If you die, do they keep paying you a commission if it’s vested?
A. They’re not paying me if I am dead.
Q. That’s a good point.
June 2002 - Tell Us What You Really Think
From J. Robert Arnett II
of Dallas (Sopuch, Nouhan, et. al.), this deposition testimony “taken in a trespass/nuisance by dumping case between neighboring landowners” in a case that recently settled.
Q. Do you have any idea where _____ is now?
A. I hope he’s dead. I have no idea other than I hope he’s dead.
Q. How about _____ ?
A. I hope he’s on top of him dead. But that’s all I know.
June 1989 - Did I Really Hear That?
Richard S. Robinson
of Irving (NCH Corporation) - through a friend in Brazil, Dr. Percy Heckman
- shared with me a column from the Lawyers Journal of the Brazilian Bar Association. The column deals with testimony from Brazilian Labor Courts, and it does demonstrate "that our U.S. witnesses have no monopoly on saying the most unexpected things."
The Labor Court Judge was questioning the owner of a bar who had been sued for overtime pay.
Q. Mr. Manual, the claimant says that he worked a minimum of two overtime hours per day. Is that true?
A. Your Honor, deep down inside it is true, but he'll never get any witnesses to prove it.
October 1991 - The Old "Limited Purpose" Ploy
From Al Ellis
of Dallas, who after finishing his year as Dallas Bar Association president is now (apparently) specializing in personal injury cases involving ostriches, sent this contribution from a recent deposition:
Q. Are ostriches kind of mean?
A. Well, that is what they keep telling me, but I haven't met one yet that is terribly mean.
A. Of course, I haven't pushed the issue either. They are real nice from outside the door.
October 1989 - Did I Really Hear That?
From Martha Failing
of Houston (Martha Failing & Co.), a trilogy of "words that blossomed" in hearings before Judge Jim Scanlon
(Probate Court No. 3 of Harris County):
, earnest lawyer speaking to witness in hearing to determine heirship:"
Q. Tell me, ma'am, how well did you know the late
Martha comment: How well did she know the early
decedent? Or was there a later one?
, intense lawyer summarizing the testimony elicited during a hearing, the point of which I never got."
...your Honor, that the decendent was hit and killed by the truck without just cause
Martha comment: I would have objected that the testimony of the truck was not in evidence and besides, maybe the truck did
have just cause, but I was just an innocent bystander.
, grave lawyer with arm around the shoulders of the client, in beseeching voice:"
And your Honor, we respectfully request that this will be admitted to probate as a monument of title
Martha ends with this note: "Lawyers never cease to amaze me: what we say as opposed to what we mean." How true!
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 of facts and conclusion of law and give an opinion, and to be able to do this. If any of you can't hear me, let me know.
March 1994 - Classic Typos
From an amended complaint in Dallas:
"the defendant was formerly the acting chef
and deputy chief of the Dallas Police Deparmtent."
July 1989 - Did I Really Hear That?
From Randy L. Fairness
of Houston (Weitinger & Tucker), this excerpt from a personal deposition. Randy is the defense attorney, and Davis Willis
of Houston (Hardy, Milutin) represents the plaintiff.
Q. All right. You also brought with you - what is that, your subpoena?
Q. Okay. I'll give that back to you with your dollar.
Mr. Fairless: Keep an eye on that dollar now.
Mr. Willis: I'll object to side-bar remarks.
Q. (By Mr. Willis) Let me - what is this, a computer list here?
A. That's just a computer printout to show maintenance on a vehicle. You know, they are maintained. We just don't put a piece of junk on the road.
Q. Ok. What's the difference between line-haul equipment and city equipment, city for delivery local?
Q. And line-haul is more 18-wheelers, or is that how its breaks down?
A. Sir, I don't understand the 18-wheeler question. I guess that's more of that barroom jive you're talking about.
Q. What kind of jive?
A. What was you-all talking a while ago that's barroom.
Mr. Fairless: Side-bar.
April 1987 - Did I Really Hear That?
After granting a divorce to a very elderly couple - he was in his eighties, she was in her late seventies - the judge just had to ask why they had waited so long to get a divorce.
A. (By husband). Because of the children. We didn't want to embarrass them, so we waited until they were all dead.
January 2004 - Judicial Notice
This contribution, which is also from Joseph W. Kline
of Lubbock, happened during a criminal trial where Lubbock attorney Marvin Williams
asked the court to take judicial notice of the on-line weather report for the day in question.
Mr. Williams: I'm going to ask the Court to take judicial notice of the weather conditions on that day. And in that regard, I'm going to provide the court with a copy of the Lubbock Online article from January the 28th regarding the conditions on the 27th, and also a copy from the National Weather Service of the report for that particular day, and ask the court - and I think the court can take, under Rule 201, judicial notice of those facts. You guys want to look at this?
Mr. Kingston: I don't want to look at them, Marvin.
Mr. Williams: Can I have these marked, Your Honor, for the record?
(Defendant's Exhibit Nos. 1 and 2 were marked).
The Court: Mr. Williams, -
Mr. Williams: Yes, sir. That suffice?
The Court: - the request for me to take judicial notice of Lubbock Online.com is denied. The newspaper is inherently unreliable.