February 28, 2005
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.

February 25, 2005
October 1992 - Death and/or Taxes

From J. Mark Hansen of Dallas (Vial, Hamilton, etc.), this excerpt from "a deposition I took recently [which] comes under the heading, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

Q. Have I named all the places you've lived in your life as best you can remember?

A. In this life, yes?

Q. What do you mean by that?

A. Well, my greatest fear is reincarnation. You think God's going to up my deal?

Q. Do you think you're an older soul or a young soul?

A. I think this is my first try.

Q. So there wouldn't have been any other places you lived in your life before this, right?

A. I don't think so.

February 24, 2005
September 1992 - Death

From Tom Mills of Dallas (Mills & Presby), this excerpt from a recent trial before Judge Sue Lykes of Dallas (303rd Family District Court)

Q. Did you go over to their home?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you tell them you were there to see Steve?

A. I said, "I'm going upstairs to see Steve." They said, "Fine."

Q. What did you observe upstairs?

A. The nurse was in the room folding some clothes. I said to her, "He doesn't look well at all to me, Mary."

Q. What did she say?

A. Well, he's dead!

February 23, 2005
June 2001 - Nobody Nose the Trouble I've Seen

From Margery Huston of Corpus Christi (Baker, Leon, Fancher & Matthys), this excerpt from the deposition of the Plaintiff in a legal malpractice case.

Q. I noticed you're wearing something over your nose. What is that?

A. Oh, this is a prosthesis nose. (Witness removes prosthesis.) Margery adds: "If this were not enough, the same attorney ... subsequently took the deposition" of the nephew of the man with the prosthesis nose - and "continued in the same vein":

Q. And your uncle is in his seventies?

A. He's about 70.

Q. Is he the one that doesn't have a nose?

A. Yes.

Q. We took his deposition .... Does he take that nose off in front of you ... like he did for us?

A. No. He left it in the shower one time, though. Knocking (and yelling), "Hey, I forgot my nose."

February 22, 2005
January 2005 - Did They Really Say That?

From Joe. G. Roady of Houston (Hirsh & Westheimer) this contribution "in a Juror Information Form" used in Judge Robert Frost's 116th District Court in Dallas:

In the block for information concerning the 'Highest Level of Education,' one prospective juror wrote 5'6".

February 18, 2005
September 2004 - Did They Really Say That?

From Matt Anderson of Wichita Falls (Gibson, Hotchkiss, Roach & Davenport), this excerpt from a deposition taken by his friend, John Rosentreter:

Q. Would you state your full name for the record, please?

A. William Robin Hood.

Q. Did you get teased a lot as a kid?

A. Not until now.

February 17, 2005
February 1992 - "Is it too late to get out on bail?"

From sentencing in a murder case:

The Court: The defendant saying nothing in legal bar, it is the order of the Court that the Sheriff of Cameron County, Texas, deliver the defendant to the Director of Corrections of the Texas Department of Corrections, and there he be confined for life.

The Defendant: Damn.

February 16, 2005
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.”

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.

February 15, 2005
November 2003 - That’s One For Buchmeyer

From Anton Paul Hajek III of San Antonio (Aaron & Quirk), this excerpt from his deposition in a slip-and-fall case that was taken by Carmine Giardino.

Q. Where were you born?

A. In a base hospital in England. Actually it was Burtonwood (phonetic) Air Force Base, Manchester, England.

Q. Were your parents living in England at the time that you were born there?

A. Yep, especially my mother.

MR. GIARDINO: That’s one for Jerry Buchmeyer.

February 14, 2005
July 1991 - Expert Opinions

From Judge Jay Patterson of Dallas (101st District Court), these excerpts from the testimony of an expert psychologist in a recent case that settled just before the verdict was read.

Assisting The Trier of Fact: "The psychologist remembered that the plaintiff's father had 'significant conflict with a sibling of the plaintiff.' I would say he was right. The father shot and killed the sibling."

Mastering the Obvious: The psychologist also assisted the trier of fact by stating, 'Those things that are obvious from simple observation are those things that are obvious.'"

February 11, 2005
January 1997 - The Wonderful World of Pro Se

From Bradley G. Rigor of St. Joseph, Mo. (Bradley is a member of the State Bar of Texas), this letter from the pro se defendant in response to the summons in a collection case which Bradley filed in Kansas shortly after he graduated from law school.

Dear Mr. Rigor,

In my summons it states to reply to you in 30 days giving you my answer. Could you please let me know what the question is. I will gladly cooperate in any way I can.


February 10, 2005
October 1991 - The Animal Farm

From Scott Nichol of Dallas (with the Law Offices of Tom Blakeley), this excerpt from the deposition of one of his workers' compensation claimants - which was being taken by Tim Stanford of Dallas:

Q. Did you ever hurt yourself while working for Hensle-Phelps construction?

A. Yes.

Q. And what happened?

A. Got bit by a bobcat.

Mr. Nichol: No.

The Witness: Serious.

Q. I take it that's a wild animal?

A. It was when I found it.

Q. What were you doing with a bobcat?

A. Removing it from the underground storage tunnel.

Q. A wild animal got down in there, and they sent you in to get it out?

A. Well, they told me there was a cat in the tunnel.

(Later in the same deposition)

Q. Okay. Are you seeing anybody, an ear specialist?

A. I saw one about a month and a half ago.

Q. Who was that?

A. Dr. Ripp.

Q. Doctor - how do you spell his last name?

A. R-i-p-p.

Q. Does he have a first name?

A. Probably.

Scott adds. "The last question was answered with one of those "ask a stupid question" smiles from the witness."

February 09, 2005
June 2004 - Classic Typos

Charles W. Hury of McAllen received this last page of an apartment lease guaranty form from a friend whose son is attending Texas A&M.

7. Binding Nature. This Guaranty shall be binding upon and unsure to the benefit of the parties hereto and there respective heirs, legal representatives, successors and assigns.

Charles adds: “Apparently … the parties to the contract, in an unusual flash of honesty, are actually admitting they do not have a clue as to how a guaranty actually works.”

February 08, 2005
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 the fact and conclusions of law and give an opinion, and I appreciate that you are all available. I thought we ought to be able to do this. If any of you can't hear me, let me know.

February 07, 2005
June 1989 - Did I Really Hear That?

A lampshade company employee had been fired for cursing at a co-worker when they were installing a chandelier at a customer's residence. The employee denied that he had used profanity, so the Labor Court judge asked him to explain what happened.

A. Well, your Honor, my colleague was soldering some wires close to the ceiling and I was holding the ladder. He was not paying attention to the solder that fell, and I complained more than once. At a given point in time, on purpose, he let fall onto my shoulder a red-hot piece of metal.

(Judge, interrupting) And at the moment, what did you say?

A. I said, "Look here, dear colleague, at the hole you made in my shirt. That's all."

(There was general laughter)

February 04, 2005
July 1998 - Verbal Typos

From Louis J. Weber, Jr. of Dallas, these verbal typos which were sent to him by John J. LoMonaco (also of Dallas).

Q. You stated in your complaint that your son was treated roughly by the police at the time of his arrest. Is that correct?

A. Yes it sure is. Then my daughter-in-law tried to get them to stop and the police used cursory language on her.


Q. So you claim that you didn't know what to do with the money?

A. That's right. I thought about giving it back to the police and I did think about giving it back to Johnson.

Q. But you didn't do either one of those things. You just kept the money? Is that correct?

A. Well, yes...you see, it was a cash 22 sitution so I just kept it.

February 03, 2005
January 1994 - God Only Knows

From Pamela Muehlberg of Dallas (Pam is a legal assistant with Touchstone, Bernays, etc), this excerpt from a personal injury deposition being taken by her boss, Webber W. Beall, Jr.:

Q. (By Mr. Beall) See, I want to know what Mr. and Mrs. Goodnight did or did not do that caused an injury to your child.

A. I don't know.

Q. Well, if you don't know what Mr. and Mrs. Goodnight did or did not do that caused injury to your child, who would know?

A. God's the only one.

Q. Well, I can't take God's deposition.

February 02, 2005
February 2004 - Keep Them Breathing

Bruce Bigelow of Austin (Blazier, Christensen, Bigelow & Virr), an administrative attorney, was defending a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) before the State Office of Administrative Hearings Administrative Law Judge Carol S. Birch, when this exchange occurred on cross-examination:

Q. (By Mr. Johnston) The - am I - okay. You were testifying earlier about how CRNAs operate in this facility and elsewhere and routine. They are interchangeable; is that correct?

A. That is correct. ...

Q. Okay. And this is for patients who are under anesthesia, right, who are unconscious and whose hearts are stopped and paralyzed and are on breathing machines?

A. Wrong. Their hearts are not stopped. Our job is to keep them breathing.

Q. Oh, I'm sorry. That's right. Their breathing is stopped?

A. Their breathing is not stopped. We keep them breathing.

Q. Keep them breathing how?

A. Machines.

Q. Machines, right.

February 01, 2005
January 1994 - Did He Really Say That?

From David A. Willis of Houston (Willis & Associates), this excerpt from the deposition of the defendent in a rear-end collision - with the explanation the defendant's "overall attitude helped get this csae settled for probably more than my client's injuries would have dictated":

Q. Now, all three lanes as you came on top of that hill were blocked, weren't they?

A. No.

Q. Only yours?

A. The right lane was congested with traffic. The other two lanes were still flowing.

Q. Okay. And you never tried to move over?

A. I couldn't, there were cars beside me. What am I supposed to do, push the other cars out of the way?

Q. I don't know; what were you supposed to do? Is that what you'd do today if the same occurrence happened?

A. No. Today I believe I'd drive over the guardrail and kill myself.

Q. That's your answer -

A. That's it.

Q. - under oath?

A. Right.

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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


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