October 01, 2014

March 1995 - Objections Sustained!!

From W. Bernard Whitney of Fort Worth, two trial excerpts involving objections. The first is from a plea in an abatement hearing before Judge H.M. Lattimore (who is now on the Fort Worth Court of Appeals):

Q. You transacted this business for her because she did not seem to have any capacity for it; is that correct, sir?

A. She just could not absorb it and she needed the money. Her husband is crippled.

Q. And that was the purpose in your dealings in all of these things that have her name on them; is that correct?

A. That's right, and Mr. May said that was fine.

Defense Attorney: Your Honor, I object to that last comment. Whatever Mr. May said is hearsay. Further, it is non-responsive to the question.

The Court: Yes, that is not a proper response.

Defense Attorney: I move that the testimony about Mr. May's comment be stricken.

The Court: What do you want me to do?

Defense Attorney: I am no sure I understand your question.

The Court: I can't take it out of the record. It is there forever. I will try not to remember it and instruct myself accordingly.

Defense Attorney: Thank you.

Bernard's second excerpt is from the trial transcript in a case he was asked to handle on appeal:

Q. All right. You have admitted to kissing Joanie Elliston on Christmas Eve of 1982; is that right?

A. I admit to giving her a little buss.

Q. A little what?

A. Buss.

Q. All right. What is a buss?

A. It's just like a little peck on the cheek.

Q. A meaningless asexual kiss? Is that a meaningless asexual kiss?

A. Well, it's not a sexual kiss at all. All kisses don't have to be sexual. This was just a little buss on the lips which -

Q. Okay. But using Mr. Curry as a model for Joanie, would you show the jury how that kiss was done?

A. I beg your pardon?

Mr. Curry: I don't believe we need to use me - Your Honor, what is all this? I've never heard anything like this before. Certainly I'm not going to kiss the witness.

The Court: Is that an objection?

Mr. Curry: Yes, it's an objection.

The Court: I'll sustain the objection.

Mr. Curry: I can't believe this.

September 30, 2014

February 2002 - Classic Typo's

From Trish Nasworthy of Grand Prairie (Trish is an Assistant City Attorney), this mistake she spotted in an ad in the Dallas Morning News.

LITITAGATION ATTORNEY needed immediately. Large plaintiff's personal injury firm seeks associate. Duties include depositions, medication, and trials ...

September 29, 2014

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. Maual, 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 witness to prove it.

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.

Q. (Judge, interrupting) And at that moment, what did you say?

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

(There was general laughter.)

September 26, 2014

May 2004 - Ask A Stupid Question …

Hal Monk of Bedford, who confesses that he has enjoyed the et cetera column for so many years that he “feels plum guilty for not having sent … any contributions in the past,” sent in this excerpt from the January 1993 deposition of Hollywood celebrity Zsa Zsa Gabor, Monk’s client. Larry Macon, with Akin Gump’s San Antonio office, took the deposition.

Mr. Macon: What is your date of birth?

The Witness: I don’t know.

Q. You misunderstood my question. When were you born?

A. I understood your question perfectly well. My answer is I don’t know; don’t remember.

Q. I demand an explanation of that absurd response.

A. Before we come up here, my lawyer told me how to make a good —

Mr. Monk: Just a minute, hold on —

The Witness: witness or how to do good in three —

Mr. Monk: Ms. Gabor, you don’t need to —

The Witness: Monk said I must follow three easy steps. First, to listen to the question and be sure I know what you mean. Then, answer the question just if I know for sure. But OK to say I don’t remember or I don’t know if that is truth. Do you remember being born? Of course not. It's a stupid damn question. Now, ask me something maybe I know for sure.

• • •

Monk’s Epilogue: Although the deposition continued for several hours, Mr. Macon never ascertained the witness’ birth date. But then, neither did her attorney.

September 25, 2014

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.