June 30, 2009
 
July 2001 - Did They Really Say That?

From Steven K. DeWolf of Dallas (Bellinger & DeWolf), this excerpt from a recent deposition he defended.

Q. Did you name MB Trucking?

A. Yes.

Q. Does the MB stand for Mary Boyd?

A. I've been told it stands for the mean bitch.

Q. Okay. Was that the name that you were thinking of when you named it?

A. I named it Mary Boyd but -

Q. Okay.

A. - I've been called other.

Mr. DeWolf: (wisely): That's fine.

June 29, 2009
 
October 2000 - What Kind of Medication Is It?

From Judge Richard A. Beacon, Jr. of Greenville (354th District Court), this excerpt from the voir dire examination by defense counsel Ron Ferguson during a felon-in-possession of a firearm trial.

Mr. Ferguson: Anyone here have something that has to happen at 5:30? They've got to pick up the kids at daycare? Got to take medicine at 5:30? They've got to have dinner on the table at 6:00? No?

Prospective Juror: I have to have medicine during the day, but I carry it with me.

Mr. Ferguson: But you're not on a time schedule that if you don't -

Prospective Juror: If I don't get my medicine before then, I've got a problem.

Mr. Ferguson: What kind of problem? What kind of medication is it?

Prospective Juror: Birth control. And you have to take it on schedule.

(Laughter).

Prospective Juror: You asked.

Mr. Ferguson: I think she's picking on me y'all.

June 26, 2009
 
January 2002 - Did They Really Say That?

From Al Ellis of Dallas (Al is of counsel with Howie & Sweeney), this excerpt from “a routine personal injury deposition” in which he received “the final answer as to why the divorce occurred.”

Q. What was the reason for your mom’s first divorce, if you know?

A. My dad.

June 24, 2009
 
July 1999 - Praying with Judge Buddie Hahn

The contribution from District Judge Buddie J. Hahn of Orange (260th Judicial District) that was printed in the May 1999 et cetera - where the defendant being sentenced said, "I would like to just bow in prayer before I start" - caused Rodney Price of Vidor to send me the following story:

The account of Judge Buddie Hahn and the prayerful defendant brought to mind the Judge's own praying incident of several years ago. Judge Hahn was called upon to give the opening prayer in a men's Sunday School class at First Baptist Church of Vidor. Those present bowed their heads expecting to hear the customary "Dear Lord" or "Dear Father," but instead Judge Hahn began to pray by addressing the Deity as "Your Honor ..."

June 23, 2009
 
November 1999 - Did They Really Say That?

From Robert C. McCabe of Houston (Oldenettel & McCabe), this excerpt from the plaintiff's deposition in his suit against a real estate agent:

My question is really simple: Is this listing agreement the one that related to the listing that this listing agreement relates to?

June 19, 2009
 
July 1993 - Did She Really Say That?

From Thomas S. Terrell of Kerrville, this excerpt from the deposition of the wife in a custody case:

Q. Your husband says you smoke marijuana. Is that true?

A. I quit.

Q. Why did you quit?

A. My attorney told me I would have to, if I wanted to get custody.

June 18, 2009
 
September 2000 - Scary Sex

From Michael F. White of Killeen (Libersky & White), this revealing excerpt from his deposition of the wife in a temporary hearing in a divorce case involving [her] request for a restraining order.

Q. You say that you are terrified and fearful of Mr. John Smith.

A. Yes, sir.

Q. This is the same John Smith that you had sexual relations with just a month and a half ago, way past January of this year?

A. It was actually in April, a few days before my birthday, sir.

Q. And you're deathly afraid of him, but you are willing to have sexual relations with him?

A. We were in a public place, sir.

Mr. White (wisely): I pass the witness.

June 17, 2009
 
October 1999 - Did They Really Say That?

From Judge Joe M. Leonard of Greenville (196th District Court), this excerpt from "a hearing on a protective order."

Judge Leonard: The state by their evidence is claiming family violence.

Defendant: Yeah, that's why I was trying to show you guys, I mean. Okay, the police was involved. She said that - she allegates that I - I choked her and hit her and then she went next door and called the police and she said - and then later on in her statement she said the police came over and just took our names and left. If I'd of done all that, I would of went to the pen, Your Honor.

June 16, 2009
 
May 1999 - Let's All Bow in Prayer

From District Judge Buddie J. Hahn of Orange (260th Judicial District), this excerpt from the sentencing hearing in one of his cases:

Defense Counsel: And have you asked me for the opportunity to address the judge, the jury, and the court about this particular incident?

Defendant: That's correct.

Defense Counsel: What would you like to say about this particular offense?

Defendant: I would like to express my sincere apology to Mr. and Mrs. _____, and at this time I would like to just bow in prayer before I start.

District Attorney: Your Honor, I'm going to object to this. He can testify and answer questions but to -

Judge Hahn: I'll sustain the objection.

(Judge Hahn adds: "We don't know what the defendant would have prayed for if allowed, but I assume he would have asked that justice be done. I believe it was. The defendant received 30 years."

June 15, 2009
 
Did They Really Say That? - October 2000

From Bill Boyd of McKinney (Boyd & Veigel), this excerpt from a deposition he took.

Q. Now, how many members of Lisa's family ... are there that are alive and around and that show up from time to time at family reunions or events?

A. Lots of them.

Q. Give me an approximate estimate.

A. Thousands.

Q. Okay. And where are they based at the present time, if they're based anywhere?

A. Some of them's based in Baton Rouge. Just all over. Oklahoma, Texas. They're based all over. A lot of them's good people, you know. Some of them's you know, got out of the old ways and doing stuff like businesses now today.

Q. So some of them are at least trying to be legit?

A. Some of them are real legit. Some of them are lawyers.

(Laughter)

Mr. Boyd (wisely): No further questions ...

June 12, 2009
 
The Return of the Forces of Light v. the Powers of Darkness - March 2000

John Albach's "End of the World" contributions that appeared in the January 2000 column spawned two contributions of unusual, but very "nice" contract provisions:

(1) From Jack Hazlewood of Amarillo, who years ago "happened to stumble on to Roy Rogers' contract with his movie studio (or maybe his agent)" in Nichols Encyclopedia of Legal Forms, this clause buried "deep in the fine print":

Actor [Roy Rogers] shall never in performance to which he is assigned or which he agrees to perform be presented in any role other than the unalterable and unswerving enemy of evil, injustice, and wrong; but shall always be portrayed in roles in which he is to appear as the constant and dedicated champion of right and justice.

(2) From Steven R. Borgman of Houston (Vinson & Elkins), this provision he "drafted in a detailed contract (just to show that not all scriveners insist on aligning the opposing side with the powers of darkness)."

9.8 "Additional Promise to be Nice." Each party shall provide the cooperation, assistance, information, decisions, and approvals reasonably requested by the other from time to time in order to perform its obligations under this Agreement and will do so on a timely basis.

June 11, 2009
 
Taking a Break - September 1995

From Robert A. Schwartz of Houston, this excerpt from the deposition of his client, the plaintiff in a DTPA case, who contended that the defendant had falsely represented that a condominium unit, including the roof, was "new or virtually new" - but that the roof had to be replaced shortly after the purchase.

Q. (By defendant's attorney) That you were told that the unit you were purchasing was new or virtually brand-new.

A. Right.

Q. What I am asking is, in addition to ... the walls and the carpet ... is there anything else that you know now ... that tells you that the representation that the unit was new or virtually brand-new was not correct?

A. I don't know of anything.

Q. Okay.

Mr. Schwartz: What about the damn roof? I am going to take a break and you come with me.

(Brief recess)

June 10, 2009
 
Industrial Strength Stupid - July 1998

From Judge David L. Hodges of Waco (County Court at Law), this excerpt from a jury trial in which the State was seeking to commit the patient to the Austin State Hospital because he "had been depressed with suicidal tendencies." The attorney appointed to represent the patient asked his client:

Q. Mr. _____, the doctor has testified that you have suicidal tendencies and are a danger to yourself. Tell the jury, have you ever committed suicide?

No.

June 09, 2009
 
Classic Typos - September 1995

From Judge Lucius D. Bunton of Midland (W.D. Texas), from a brief filed with the Fifth Circuit:

Judge Walter, in his reasons, noted that the reputation of plaintiff's attorney is formidable. Willie Gary is a nationally renounced attorney having a celebrity client list.

From Wesley B. Strain of Midland (Woernole, Patterson, Strain & Miller), from the minutes of the 1962 organizational meeting of a corporation:

The First National Bank ... was designated as the company depository and ... the president was authorized to borry such money as he thought advisable.

From Vianei Lopez Robinson, an attorney/"medicator" in Abilene (Wagstaff, Alvis, etc), from a letter that, unfortunately, was not mailed:

I have been notified that the parties agree to submit the above-referenced case to medication on Wednesday, May 10, 1995.

From Stephen M. Schlacks of Conroe (Hope, Causey & Schlacks), from the medical report concerning "a very pleasant 28 year-old man ... who enjoys basketball and bowling":

On July 26 he was involved in a motor vehicle accident. A minivan made a right hand turn in front of him and they collided. He hit his jaw on the steering column. There was no loss of conscientiousness.

From J. Michael Lytle of Richmond (Lytle & Moore), from an application to declare heirship:

6. All children born to or adopted by decedent have been listed.

7. To the best of my knowledge, decedent died interstate.

June 08, 2009
 
Headaches and Interrogatories - July 1995

From Donald Lee Wolf of Tyler (Calame, Linebarger etc.), these responses for admission presumably submitted by "someone suffering from Post 1040A Syndrome." (These answers were prepared by Al D. Thigpen of Tyler.)

Request for Admission No. One: That the following individuals are living: C.C. Martin.

Answer: Denied.

Interrogatory No. One: If the immediately preceding Request for Admission has not been admitted, state all facts known to you directly or indirectly, and which by diligence on your part and on the part of your attorneys can become or be made known, which form the basis of your denial of the immediately preceding Request for Admission or which form the basis for your inability to either admit or deny the immediately preceding Request for Admission.

Answer: Defendant objects to this interrogatory because trying to read it made defendant's attorney dizzy, disoriented, frustrated, perplexed, chagrined, confused, and feeling as if he just re-did his tax returns. Subject to this objection, defendant answers as follows: I attended his funeral.

Interrogatory No. Two: If Request for Admission No. One was denied in whole or part due to the fact that any or all of the individuals named in Request for Admission No. One are known by you to be deceased, state the date and place of death of each such deceased individual, whether such individual died with or without a will, whether such will was entered into probate, whether there is or has been any other probate action on each such individual, and as to any type of probate action, in what court and what court cause number and who are heirs or devises of each such individual.

Answer: Defendant makes the same object as above, except that defendant's attorney now has a headache. Subject to the above and this additional objection, defendant answers as follows: C.C. Martin died testate on Jan. 18, 1986...

June 05, 2009
 
Matters of Opinion - October 1994

John E. Clark of San Antonio (Goode, Casseb & Jones) - speaking with authority, as "an ex-appellate judge" - quite correctly urges me "not to overlook the carefully chosen words of our Learned Appellate Courts when you need one more item (besides trials & depositions) for et cetera." So, let's begin this new (and obviously fertile) department with a gem that John found "in Brooks v. Sherler, 859 S.W.2d 586, 588 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 1993), a suit filed by a city employee against several co-workers who had accused him of sexual harassment: - where, in recounting the facts, the appellate court made this "intriguing observation":

...The summary judgment proof established that the city had instituted a sexual harassment program, consistent with the federal and state law, that required the participation of all employees..."

June 04, 2009
 
February 2002 - Did He Really Say That?

From Paul A. Leche of Austin (Paul is General COunsel of the Texas Department of Human
Services), this contribution:

Years ago in Washington, D.C., I had a case before a large federal agency in which I was eager to call as a witness a highly placed administrator in tha agency. Opposing counsel was sure to object that the witness would not be able to add anything new. When I made my request, he jumped to his feet and said that the proposed witness' testimony would be "duplicitous." For the record, I agreed.

June 03, 2009
 
April 2005 - A Marvelous Answer

This contribution from David W. Lindemood of Midland is from a CPS trial before District Judge Dean Rucker (318th District Court) in which Lindemood was the attorney ad litem for the child. The witness, who was the CASA guardian ad litem, is being questioned by Chris McCormack of Midland.

Q. As I understand your testimony about Ms. Ybarra's residence, living situation, you only went into one of the homes that she lived in? Do I have that right?

A. Two.

Q. Two. And on each occasion that you went in there, the residence was clean and orderly, generally - or actually, one was clean and orderly, and one was a little messy, a bachelor pad, as I recall now.

A. That's right.

Q. But no - other than being a little messy, it was not filthy or dirty? Umkempt?

A. It was being swept up and picked up with a shovel.

June 02, 2009
 
July 1993 - Did She Really Say That?

From Thomas S. Terrell of Kerrville, this excerpt from the deposition of the wife in a custody case:

Q. Your husband says you smoke marijuana. Is that true?

A. I quit.

Q. Why did you quit?

A. My attorney told me I would have to, if I wanted to get custody.

June 01, 2009
 
February 1994 - The Payment Plan

From Thomas G. Sharpe, Jr. of San Antonio (Whetley & Sharpe), this excerpt from his deposition of a defendant regarding the collection of a judgment for Tom's client:

Q. First of all, what I'm asking, sir, is what are you going to do to pay this judgment?

A. Well, you said you had a payment plan and I said I would pay you half when I die and the other half when I come back or, if you have another plan - do you have a plan where I can pay nothing down or nothing a month?

Q. Neither one of those would be satisfactory to settle the judgment.


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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.

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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

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Order Buchmeyer's new book, Texas Courtroom Humor (pdf format)

Ernie The Attorney Searching for Truth & Justice (in an unjust world)

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Lawhaha Andrew McClurg's Legal Humor Headquarters




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