July 31, 2007
 
October 1989 - I'm Glad We Cleared That Up!

From Judge Michael D. Schattman of Fort Worth (348th District Court), this exchange "between attorney Ken Kreis of Bosie, ID and a pretty hostile witness in a case I tried Feb. 15 of the year."

Q. Well, my question wasn't whether he made a lot of trips to the office. My question was, when he did bring anything over for you to sign, any of these administrative or corporate documents, was he personally present most of the times when he hand delivered these things to you?

A. Was Mr. Fugit present when he hand delivered them to me?

Q. Yes, ma'am.

A. Well, I think he would have to be.

Not able to restrain himself, Mike adds this note: "Did tempus fugit or had Fugit already fugited?"

July 30, 2007
 
March 1998- Did They Really Say That?

From Nelson V. Shaw of Texarkana (Dunn, Nutter, Morgan & Shaw), this excerpt from the deposition of the plaintiff's wife in a workers' compensation case - with Nelson's explanation that the husband was "an honest to goodness cowboy" whose numerous job-related injuries resulted in "three back surgeries, a knee surgery and bipolar illness."

Q. Even being an experienced cattle person like your husband, you know, it's just a dangerous environment to work in with all the cattle running through there a lot of times. Do you agree with that?

A. That it's a dangerous environment?

Q. Yeah, with people getting hurt a lot. Is that right?

A. No, sir, I don't think it's a dangerous environment. No, sir. I sure don't. I think pilots are dangerous environments. I think being a lawyer and working with irate people would be a dangerous environment -

July 27, 2007
 
April 1998 - How Far Did You Go In School?

From Rob Ramsey of San Antonio (Soules & Wallace), this trial excerpt:

A. I known him [Mr. Barrera] since we started school. We went to school together and part of college.

Q. Did you go to the same high school together?

A. Went to the same elementary, same high school. We're Ben Bolt graduates.

Q. Ben Bolt? Were you in the same class?

A. Graduated top 10, both of us.

Q. You both graduated in the top 10?

A. Yes. There was 10 of us.

July 26, 2007
 
May 1995 - The Thinker

From Martha Hardwick of Dallas (Bauer, Rentzel, Millard & Hardwick), this deposition excerpt - with Martha's admission that she was "the obviously surprised questioner":

Q. What made you decide to do that?

A. I am thinking.

Q. That's all right.

A. That's a good question.

Q. I never had anybody stop to think in a deposition before.

July 25, 2007
 
July 2007 - New Tires for the Judge's Car

This marvelous contribution is from Kevin A. Wiggins of Steptoe & Johnson, P.L.L.C. in Clarksburg, W.V.

Wiggins writes: "A local businessman in rural West Virginia who owns an automobile tire store wanted to retire and move to Florida. However, he couldn't find any buyers so he decided to liquidate his inventory by selling it for 90 percent less than the retail price."

The national tire chain heard what he was up to and hired Kevin's firm to obtain an injuction. They promptly went before the judge to schedule a hearing. After Wiggins explained to the judge why his client wanted the injunction, the judge said, in a southern drawl:

"I don't think I can give you a hearing until after 4:00. I have to get new tires for my car.

July 24, 2007
 
January 2001 - Classic Typos

From Sue F. Reid of Dallas, this marvelous typo in "an order appointing special commissions ... in an eminent domain proceeding for the appointment of three free-holders (disinterested parties) ... for the county court at law to hear testimony and assess damages ... to the property owner." Instead, the order provided:

... for the appointment of three disinterested freeloaders ...

July 23, 2007
 
April-2000

Classic Typo's

From Patricia Nasworthy of Grand Prairie (Patricia is prosecutor with the Grand Prairie Municipal Court), this angry typo from a letter sent to her court:
I am surprised and shocked over citation #J010425, which allege me of family assault. I have enclosed the citation and plead not guilty....
I have not assaulted my wife, and feel this is a direct attack upon my charter as a man.

July 20, 2007
 
April-2000

Did They Really Say That?

From Jeffrey M. Gamso of Toledo, Ohio, this answer from a completed jury questionnaire from a capital trial in which Jeffrey is co-counsel for the defendant.
34. In your opinion, who is (was) the greatest American to ever live? Why?
NAPOLEON-HE WAS LITTLE BUT MIGHTY-ALWAYS 1 WARM HAND.

July 19, 2007
 
November-2000

Did They Really Say That?

From Donald A. Ferrill of Fort Worth (Brown Thompson, etc.), this statement from a Petition for Review filed in the Texas Supreme Court by opposing counsel:
Evidence does exist that the body was destroyed. Dr. Reed's Single Animal Record reflects that he conducted his own autopsy.

July 18, 2007
 
November-2000

Did They Really Say That?

From Rita J. Stevens of Wichita Falls (Schenk & Schenk), this rather surprising response she received from her Rule 194 Request For Disclosure:

Q. State the legal theories, and in general, the factual bases of the claims or defenses on which you will rely.

A. Respondent does not have any legal theories and, in general, and does not have any factual bases of the claims or defenses of Respondent.

July 17, 2007
 
December-2002

Lawyers, Stockbrokers, Chickens and Camels

From Jay S. Siskind of Houston (Jay is an Assistant County Attorney of Harris County), these excerpts from a deposition "in which the Plaintiff was being questioned by the defense attorney about how settlement proceeds from other defendents had been split among numerous plaintiffs."

Q. How much of the settlement money did you receive?

A. I got a whole bunch, $2,400. Enough to feed my chickens.

Q. You don't have chickens, do you?

A. That's the only chicken I've got, right there. (Pointing to his wife).

Q. Do you know how your share of the settlement money was calculated.

A. Well, like I said, if it's good enough for my lawyer, it's good enough for me, I mean, you know. The way I look at it, like I told you when you were at the house, all lawyers lie, all lawyers are thieves, and I don't trust none of them. But the whole bottom line is, I'll get my fair share, whatever I'm supposed to get.

And like it says in the Bible, it's harder for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than a lawyer to get into the kingdom of God.

Q. Now I don't think it says that in the Bible.

A. It does, too.

Q. I think it's the rich man, because stockbrokers are bad, too.
And I'm just going to object to the responsiveness of your answer.

July 16, 2007
 
May 1997 - A Joint Submission


From Julian T. Lopez of San Antonio (Julian is with the law offices of Fidel Rodriguez, Jr.), this deposition excerpt from a case in which his client was run over in the parking lot of a local nightclub by a "driver" who had a blood alcohol level of between .31 and .33. The other San Antonio attorneys are Samuel B. Katz (representing the driver) and Christopher Strawn (for the nightclub). The witness is an off-duty police officer who worked security in the parking lot.


Q. By Mr. Strawn: From what you recall did those lights across the top if it illuminate the lower level, too?


A. Well, that's basically I think what they were for. The lights were across the top of the parking lot for that parking lot.


Q. How did those lights fulfill their function?


A. Well, from an engineering stand-point, I guess electrons went through the wires to -


Q. I mean, it illuminated the parking lot?


A. It illuminated the parking lot. We already said that, though, so -


Q. Okay. I'm sorry.


Mr. Lopez: I'm going to submit that to the Bar Journal.


Mr. Strawn: No you're not.


Mr. Katz: That was good. I want my name on there. Do it as a joint submission.


Mr. Strawn: No. No, you better not.


Mr. Lopez: Too late. It's your punishment for us still being here.

July 13, 2007
 
April 1997 - He Could Be Out Practicing Law?

From John Lamonaco of Dallas (John, a very successful businessman who admits to being friends, with past DBA President (etc.) Louis J. Weber), this deposition excerpt sent to John by his son, a doctor in Houston - who thinks the witness is Dr. "Red" Duke of Houston.

Attorney: So, doctor, you determined that a gunshot wound was the cause of death in the patient?

Doctor: That's correct.

Attorney: Did you examine the patient when he came to the emergency room?

Doctor: No, I performed the autopsy.

Attorney: Okay, were you aware of his vital signs while he was in the hospital?

Doctor: Yes, he came in to the emergency room in shock and died in the emergency room a short time after arriving.

Attorney: Did you pronounce him dead at that time?

Doctor: No, I am the pathologist who performed the autopsy. I was not involved with the patient initially.

Attorney: Well, are you even sure, then, that he died in the emergency room?

Doctor: That is what the records indicate.

Attorney: But if you weren't there, how could you have pronounced him dead, having not seen or physically examined the patient at that time?

Doctor: The autopsy showed massive hemorrhage into the chest, and that was the cause of death.

Attorney: I understand that, but you were not actually present to examine the patient and pronounce him dead, isn't that right?

Doctor: No sir, I did not see the patient or actually pronounce him dead, but I did perform an autopsy and right now his brain is in a jar over at the county morgue. As for the rest of the patient, for all I know, he could be out practicing law somewhere.

July 12, 2007
 
December 1996 - Did They Really Ask That?

From L. Chris Butler of Houston (Shell Oil Co.), this request is made by a pro se plaintiff in a scheduling conference before U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas:

(Judge Atlas calls the case)

Plaintiff: Your honor, I would like to move for a contusion.

As Chris resisted the temptation to say that the motion was unopposed, Judge Atlas astutely granted a continuance.
_____

From P.T. Moore of South Padre Island, this excerpt from trial cross-examination by the opposing counsel:

Q. Show you what's been marked as Defendant Adams Exhibit No. 4, Mr. Freeland, and see if you recognize what that picture portrays?

A. Oh, I see, yeah, okay. All right. I recognize it.

Q. You do?

A. Uh-huh.

Q. Does that picture accurately portray what it purports to portray?

A. What does it purport to portray?

July 11, 2007
 
November 1996 - The Big Fight

From Sydney Beckman of Fort Worth (Law Offices of Gary L. Nickelson), this deposition exchange between Gary Nickelson and William Kirkman:

Q. So you don't recall any big fight that happened [between you and your ex-wife] in either late December of '92 or January of '93 at all? I mean, if you don't, you don't.

Mr. Kirkman: But - Okay. You say big fight, and, again, I am -

Mr. Nickelson: Okay.

Mr. Kirkman: - not sure what that means. A big fight to Jackie Gleason is different than a big fight to me.

Mr. Nickelson: Probably so since he's dead.

July 10, 2007
 
December 2001 - Classic Typos

From Al Ellis of Dallas (Howie & Sweeney), this typo which he discovered in a letter by him to a withdrawing attorney before the letter left his office:

I have been asked by other members of the Doe family to represent them in regard to their wrongful death claim. It is my understanding ... [that] the Does have terminated your services in this regard. Will you please send me a copy of your entire family at my cost ...?

July 09, 2007
 
July 2001 - Time is of the Essence, Most of the Time

From Larry Warner of Brownsville, this excerpt from a hearing in a criminal case in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

The Court (after noting that his watch was about two minutes faster than the one in the back of courtroom): I remember years ago in Gainesville there was a circuit judge by the name of John Cruz, and the story is told that court was set to start at 9:00 and he took the bench at 9:10. And as he did, the state attorney looked at his watch and looked at the clock in the back of the courtroom. And the judge says, "It now being 9:00, the court will come to order." And the state attorney looked at his watch again and looked at the clock in the back of the courtroom. And the judge saw him and says, "Counsel, are you questioning the court that it's 9:00?"

He said, "No, sir, I'm resetting my watch."

July 06, 2007
 
September 2000 - The Jury Selection

From Judge Nancy Robb, a Grand Prairie Municipal Judge, this exchange that took place during voir dire in one of her recent trials.

Judge Robb: Other than the things we have already discussed, please raise your hand if there is any reason you believe you should not serve on this jury.

Juror #5: I don't think I better be on the jury.

Judge Robb: Can you explain why or do you need to approach the bench?

Juror #5: Oh, I don't think the other jurors would like me being on the jury.

Judge Robb: Why is that?

Juror #5: Because I have gas really bad.

July 05, 2007
 
June 1999 - Did They Really Ask That?

From Staff Attorney Fred A. Helms of Austin (126th District Court), this excerpt from the defense attorney's voir dire in a recent personal injury trial.

Q. You have two children. How old are they?

A. Eight and five.

Q. And which one is older?

July 03, 2007
 
June 1997 - A Treasury of Typos

From Barbara Botello of the Amarillo firm of Hinkle, Cox, etc.

PLEADINGS

1. Statements made by any person, witness, or patties...

2. Identify with peculiarity everything relating to...

3. Damages for loss of contortions...

4. And for the praise of general relief...

6. On this day personally appeared John Doe, who was not incapitated in manner...

7. The defendant in all things holy defaulted...

July 02, 2007
 
September 1994 - How Boring Was It?

From John R. Brumbelow of Tyler, this excerpt from a very lengthy trial before Judge Sam Bournias (87th District Court, Anderson County). John explains that one of the jurors became ill with heart problems on the fourth or fifth day of trial; that Judge Bournias, sua sponte, excused the juror, and that he then gave the attorneys a lengthy explanation of the events which led to the dismissal of the juror. No one objected, but then this colloquy took place:

Mr. Hankins: Judge, did she say who brought on the symptoms?

Court: I think that you were boring her to death.

Mr. Hankins: How's your heart?


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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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