May 22, 2015

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.

May 21, 2015

February 2002 - Did They Really Say That?

From David Bryant of Dallas (Hughes & Luce), this excerpt from the deposition of a defendant who had promised a former employee (the plaintiff) stock in the defendant’s company. The Defendant “was not quite clear about inter vivos trusts, even though he had created one for himself.”

Q. Do you consider yourself an alcoholic?

A. Sometimes I do; sometimes I don’t.

Q. Do you recall any particular occasion when you called [plaintiff] when you were intoxicated during business hours?

A. I’ve called him when I’ve been drinking. I can’t recall being intoxicated, no …

Q. I guess it’s pretty hard to remember that sometimes, but ...

A. It really is ….

Q. Did you talk with anybody else in 2000 about the possibility of selling stock?

A. Probably my trustee, just casual talk. I can’t recall anybody else.

Q. And what trust is he a trustee of?

A. My trust, my personal.

Q. Does it have a name?

A. Intravenous, whatever you say it, Trust — these legal words. I can get my checkbook out and show you what it says, but that’s as close as I can tell.

May 20, 2015

July 1987 - Do You Swear to Tell the Truth...

Judge: (To young witness) Do you know what would happen to you if you told a lie?

Witness: Yes, I would go to hell.

Judge: Is that all?

Witness: Isn't that enough?

May 19, 2015

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 18, 2015

October 1987 - 71,000 Pounds of Nickel

Thomas A. Croft of Houston (Porter & Clements) confesses that he asked the following questions in a deposition in a case involving "the unexplained disappearance of 71,000 pounds of nickel from a warehouse." He also apologizes for the "court reporter's misspelling of your name."

Q. (By Mr. Croft) What kind of physical volume are we talking about, Mr. Williams, with this 71,000 pounds of nickel? How much does it weigh?

A. 71,000.

Q. That one may make Jerry Buchmeyer's column. In other words, what kind of volume are we talking about?

The witness eventually answered that "the nickel would fit in two 40-foot trailers."

Tom does explain that after the deposition, he learned that this question was "not quite as stupid as it sounds. Apparently, the nickel involved was less than 100 percent pure, and the 71,000 pound label refers to the weight of the nickel itself and not the weight of the semi-pure compound. Thus, the real answer to the silly question is something more than 71,000 pounds."