Given the craziness of the past 12 months, I want to end the year on a lighter note. The entertaining side of litigation!
At a recent deposition opposing counsel said to my colleague: “At your late stage in life, I would expect you to behave more professionally.” My colleague responded, “Did you just call me OLD?” Notably, opposing counsel was much older than my colleague.
In another deposition, this same lawyer said to my colleague, “I will not speak to you about settlement. You’ve been swimming in the jerk waters this whole deposition.” First, my colleague was not a jerk. Second, what are “jerk waters” and how does one swim in them? Third, why not talk settlement if you hate the opposing counsel. You’ll be done with him sooner if you do, and oh, wait, it should be about the client, not you.
At another deposition… what can I say, depositions bring out the worst/best/funniest in people.
I was wearing hammock pearls from J. Crew. There is no question that they are fake, nor was I trying to act like they were real. Nonetheless, a feisty older woman who was being deposed stated on the record: “He wanted to give her real pearls.” Pointing to me she said: “Not like those, honey. I hope he didn’t tell you they were real.”
This same deponent was none too pleased to be attending said deposition and so instead of getting a hotel room, this couple drove their RV to Baltimore and parked in the surface lot outside the building. Oh, and they brought their dog.
I was defending a case where a vendor sued my corporate client. During the investigation of the plaintiff, I was contacted by local police who told me that the man who owned the business was the biggest fence of toner cartridges on the East Coast and that he was being investigated by local police. Who even knew that was a thing or that there was a black market for it?
In this same case, we were prepared to go to trial, with a jury, on a Monday. My colleague and I are there on time ready to go. We set up the courtroom, the client is there, our witnesses are lined up. An hour goes by and plaintiff’s counsel is not there. The judge finally comes out and says we are going to try to get a hold of counsel. When he still didn’t show up, we asked for a dismissal. Opposing counsel finally shows up two hours after trial was supposed to start. He was in jeans, a leather jacket and had a pony tail. He had no justifiable reason for this, which led to a series of entertaining hearings about why he believed the trial was not going forward and why his client was in Florida.
This delay turned out to be a good thing for me, who had broken my heel on the way into the courthouse and had to get my husband to drive a new pair of shoes to Upper Marlboro.
In yet another case, I was investigating a defendant who failed to return valuable property – wine – to my client. In this case, I again learned that the defendant was being investigated by the local and federal authorities for fencing wine. Note to self – be careful who you trust your wine to.
In a complete twist of irony, my paralegal, my right-hand man for all things litigation and trial, was called for jury duty the exact same date my two-week federal trial started. We were both in the courthouse, in separate courtrooms, the whole two weeks. (He actually stayed for a third week).
In the courtroom there are microphones that pick up every word that is spoken so that the court can produce a transcript of the proceedings. When was I clerking, we had a trial and the parties hated each other, immensely. While I was in chambers, I could turn on the sound to the courtroom. Unbeknownst to counsel, the long string of profanities stated about the opposing party were clearly heard. I had to go into the courtroom at a break and remind counsel that the microphones picked up every word spoken, unless the husher was turned on.
Do you want to share your stories? I would love to hear them!
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ABOUT ANGELA PALLOZZI
Angela Pallozzi works with business owners to create policies that are beneficial to their businesses. She regularly helps her clients with transactions, negotiations, disputes, litigation, and all types of daily business matters. Ms. Pallozzi advises business owners to prevent litigation and, should litigation occur, leads them through every step of the process to reach the best resolution. She works closely with her clients to understand their challenges and resolve them in the most efficient and effective manner.
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