How do court stenographers keep straight faces?

On April 11, The Madera (Calif.) Tribune posted an article that included excerpts from NCRA’s Disorder in the Court.

Read more.

LAST LAUGH: Laugh and the world laughs with you

What lurks beneath
This bit of colloquy by my first and long-time client:
MR. SMITH: We do have to keep the exhibits separate from the original documents; otherwise, the court reporter will show signs of anger, and we don’t want that. Trust me, her innocent demeanor is a mask for a killer instinct.
Doreen Sutton, FAPR, RPR
Scottsdale, Ariz.

The company you keep
A. And I’ve also discussed with a number of other partners that they’re tired of dealing with the brokers, lawyers, thieves that are out there. I’m a trusted entity.
Q. I’m not sure I like that you put lawyers with thieves.
MR. DOE: Present company excepted. Objection.
Elsa Jorgensen
Birmingham, Mich.

Triathlon shaming
Q. How long is the bike portion of a triathlon? For a sprint triathlon, the one that you did?
A. For a sprint triathlon, right. The sprint is generally like 10 to 12 miles or — yes. The bike is 10 to 12 miles, the swim is just a quarter of a mile, and the run is 6 — 6 miles.
Q. And the run was how long? I’m sorry.
A. I believe the run is 6.
Q. Around 6 miles?
A. Yeah.
Q. I’m slightly humored when you say “just” a quarter-mile swim or “just” a 6-mile run. But that’s a personal issue.
Juliane Petersen
Beaverton, Ore.

Thinking under the influence
Q. Is your memory ever affected when you’re intoxicated?
A. Not often.
Q. Not often?
A. I can’t recall.
Sherry Ruschell, RMR, CRR
Atlanta, Ga.

If only it worked that way
MR. SMITH: You said 2006 again. I think we can have a stipulation that whenever counsel says 2006, she means 2016.
MS. JONES: Did I say it again? Heavens. I really – I am ten years younger in my mind.
John Wissenbach, RDR, CRR, CRC
San Francisco, Calif.

Rhymes with …
Q. And what did you do when you saw the rat with the cat in the trap?
A. I called Matt.
Q. Okay.
A. Is this Dr. Seuss?
Q. We’re writing a Dr. Seuss book here. And what —
MR. JONES: I was trying not to do that.
Jeanne McLaren, RMR
Landrum, S.C.

Terms of endearment
Q. Do you know why you were having those symptoms with your left wrist?
A. Something to do with the nerves being — I don’t remember if he said — it’s called honeymoon because honeymooners sleep with, you know, with your arm crook behind your neck, together, your husband and wife when you’re first married. Honeymoon something or other. I don’t know.
MR. JOHNSON: I’ve been married 10 years. I don’t know.
MR. DAVIS: You don’t have any problems with your arm though.
MR. JOHNSON: That’s a new one.
Helga Lavan, RPR
Hicksville, N.Y.

Inception point
Q. When was the first time that you met or had any contact with Dr. Smith?
A. First time ever?
Q. Yes, ever.
A. Ever ever ever?
Q. Ever ever ever.
Laurie Collins, RPR
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Whatever motivates you
Q. Why did you go back into driving after a three-month retirement?
A. He needed a driver, and I wasn’t doing nothing but sitting around and getting fat at the house.
Q. Okay. Fair enough. Fair enough.
Angeli English
D’Iberville, Miss.

Word association
A. So if he was in — was he living in Clay County?
Q. Peculiar.
A. Peculiar is on the northern side of Cass County, right?
Q. Yeah.
A. Yeah, Peculiar is not that far down the road. It’s definitely considered Kansas City, Mo. Why was I saying Clay?
Q. I don’t know.
A. Because I think at first you said Cass County.
Q. I said Cass, yeah. I don’t know —
A. I like Cass’s courthouse better than Clay’s.
Q. — Cassius Clay maybe?
Terri Huseth, RPR
Shawnee, Kan.

Yes or no
Q. Okay. You have to explain that a little more to me. So you said your father had lost a lot of weight.
A. Uh-huh.
MR. MARSHALL: Is that a yes?
THE WITNESS: Oh, I’m sorry.
MR. MARSHALL: No, it’s all right.
THE WITNESS: Sweet Lord, I’m not doing anything right now.
MR. MARSHALL: I’m just trying to help.
THE WITNESS: Yes. Keep me in check here.
Mary Seal
Albuquerque, N.M.

Starting young
Q. When did you speak with Doctor Smith?
A. I took my sister back and forth to her doctor’s appointments with him.
Q. Okay. What did he tell you about smoking?
A. He told my sister if she didn’t quit smoking, that it was going to prolong her healing. Then my sister did quit smoking. I bought her some e-cigarettes myself.
Q. Your sister was a — she was a smoker?
A. Yes.
Q. I think she said she started at age nine. Does that sound right?
A. Yeah, and I started at seven.
Q. You did?
A. (Nods head up and down.
)Q. And your other sister started at 10?
A. Yes.
Q. That’s crazy to me.
A. I know.
Q. Were your parents both smokers —
A. My parents was divorced and my —
Q. — and you’re sneaking cigarettes or what?
A. No, no, we could buy them any time we wanted. It didn’t matter if you were five or…
Q. Wow!
Lora Appino Barnett, RMR
Overland Park, Kan.

LAST LAUGH: That’s my attorney for ya

That’s sooooooo Portland
Q. What does your wife do for a living?
A. She is a baker.
Q. And where does she work?
A. In Portland.
Q. And who does she work for?
A. Liberated Baking. It’s gluten-free.
Q. I think that’s the only baked products you can sell in Portland now.
A. I know. Or if it has kale in it.
Q. Has your wife always been a baker?
A. No.
Q. Or has she done something else?
A. She’s done other things as well. She’s been a butcher and a baker. We keep joking what’s next.
Juliane Petersen
Beaverton, Ore.

Some days I feel like it
A. Uh huh.
Q. That’s a “yes”?
A. “Yes.” Sorry.
Q. You and I communicate fine. The court reporter needs a little help, especially after she’s been drinking.
Melody Jeffries Peters, RDR, CRR, CRC
Missoula, Mont.

Risks? What risks?
Q. Does that mean that there are costs associated with those risks that also aren’t covered by insurance?
A. You said “those risks.” What risks?
Q. “Those risks” are “these risks” as used in that sentence.
Laurie Collins, RPR
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Take a bath
Q. Just so I have a clean record, Dr. Stockman —
A. Sure.
Q. — can you identify idiopathic for me?
A. Idiopathic means of undetermined cause.
Q. Thank you.
A. Or some people would say because your doctor is an idiot.
Q. Alternatively.
A. Alternatively, yes
Cinnamon Boyle, RPR, CRR
Fate, Texas

A riddle a day
A. There is an infinity of issues on which I didn’t make notes about what didn’t happen.
Q. You mean, didn’t put in your affidavit what didn’t happen?
A. That’s right. I didn’t put in my affidavit that I didn’t make an infinity of, an infinite number of notes on what didn’t happen.
Deborah Elderhorst
Toronto, Ontario

A room with a view
(The defendant had just been told his at formal arraignment he would plead guilty and get out of jail but formal arraignment was two months away.)
THE DEFENDANT: That’s a long time.
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I’m going to try to get you in ahead of time.
THE JUDGE: The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they do grind.
THE DEFENDANT: I hope I can get in the kitchen unit.
Karen Noel
Easton, Pa.

Higher power
MR. BOOTH: Fair enough. All right. We have a document we’re going to introduce as our exhibit next in line. God knows what the number is.
THE REPORTER: God does know, and it’s 169.
Leah Nelson
Wyoming, Pa.

In the hot seat
(Talking about a fast and furious email exchange between the witness and his broker.)
Q. And he answered you from the dentist chair; right?
A. I assume he was at the dentist. I wasn’t there with him, unless I was the dentist. At this time I might have pulled out a few teeth.
Robin Nodland, FAPR, RDR, CRR
Portland, Ore.

It’s who you know
MR. SANDERS: Has anyone ever worked with an attorney or have a close friend or family member who was a practicing attorney?
JUROR: Aside from the judge’s family — her father, sisters, uncle, and the lot — a lot of my son’s friends are attorneys. And other friends of mine are attorneys, too. There’s several attorneys I have called friends.
MR. SANDERS: You need better friends.
Liebe Stevenson, RMR
Liberty, Mo.

The power of a subpoena
Q. Is there concern on your part about testifying today, about the possibility that Mr. Plaintiff may retaliate against the raceway?
A. Do I have to answer that?
THE COURT: Well —
A. A loaded question. Do I have to answer it?
THE COURT: Yes.
A. I mean, I’d be a numbskull if it wasn’t of some concern. But I’m not here because I’m afraid. I was subpoenaed.
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You’re not here voluntarily.
A. Correct.
Q. You did not want to testify.
A. No. Why would — why would anybody want to sit in court?
THE COURT: Well, I get paid.
THE WITNESS: I’m not.
Jan Hunnicutt, RPR, CRR
Santa Rosa, Calif.

Fractured memories
The following is an excerpt of colloquy during a deposition where a very contentious attorney was attending telephonically. After repeatedly interrupting and talking over the witness, the other present attorney had to call his name seven times before he finally stopped talking:

MR. SMITH: Joe, you are making it extremely difficult for the court reporter. You are trying to talk over the witness’s testimony. You cannot do that especially when you’re attending by telephone. So, if you would, do not talk over the witness again, please.
MR. JONES: I didn’t realize that was occurring, so I don’t mean — okay.
MR. SMITH: Well, when I start screaming your name, that means you need to stop talking because your witness is still speaking, okay? Now, Joe, ask your question, please.
MR. JONES: Well, after that lecture, I don’t quite remember it.
Angeli English
DIberville, Miss.

Fall fashion questions
Q. Had he lost weight so that his shorts were too big?
A. His shorts were a little loose-fitting.
Q. So if he didn’t hold them up, would they slip down?
A. They weren’t down below his butt, but they were probably below the normal waistline.
Q. Below where a guy like me would wear them, an older guy?
A. Yes.
PLAINTIFF COUNSEL: Objection. Normally you wear yours up under your breasts.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: I’m not quite there yet, but soon.
Lora Appino Barnett, RPR, RMR
Overland Park, Kan.

When antecedents matter
BY MR. SMITH:
Q. And are you still currently married?
A. Yes.
Q. All right. And is that the same marriage from 1970?
A. Yes.
Q. Congratulations.
A. Thank you.
Q. Working on ten myself in a month or two, so…
MS. JONES: Ten marriages?
MR. SMITH: Ten years, not ten marriages. Should have clarified on that one.
Jeni Bartel, RPR, CSR
La Mesa, Calif.

My attorney thinks he’s funny
Q. If I ask a question and the question calls for a yes or no, affirmative or negative response, even though you and I can communicate just fine by nods of the head or shrugs of the shoulders or “uh huh,” the severe — and I do mean severe — limitations of the court reporter prevent us from being able to communicate that way and have it recorded.
She’s my court reporter for 25 years or longer and I always talk about her limitations in depositions.
Doreen Sutton, FAPR, RPR
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Flip or flop?
Q. You’re not going to be able to sell it for loft apartments downtown?
A. Right. The view of the unkempt lot across the street.
MR. DOE: Hipsters will live there anyway.
Elsa Jorgensen
Birmingham, Mich.

LAST PAGE: The alleged testimony

What more is there to say
Q. Okay. How did you come to have a daughter?
A. The usual way.
Mary Seal, RDR, CRR
Albuquerque, N.M.

Full disclosure
THE COURT: Before counsel asks you another question, where did you receive your bachelor’s in history?
THE WITNESS: University of the Pacific.
THE COURT: Do you have a brother Ross?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
THE COURT: Have you ever worked with my wife?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
THE COURT: Okay. She’s not the accountant for —
THE WITNESS: No.
THE COURT: We’ve never met though, have we?
THE WITNESS: We were in a class together, but you wouldn’t remember it.
THE COURT: I won’t take that personally. There’s a lot of college I don’t remember. What class was that?
THE WITNESS: Constitutional law.
THE COURT: Okay.
MS. BROWN: “Constitutional law.” That’s classic. Well set up.
THE COURT: I remember that class. I don’t remember you in that class. I remember your brother. Okay. But we don’t know one another.
THE WITNESS: That’s right.
THE COURT: As you were testifying, I recollected I’d heard your name in conjunction with accounting stuff. So I just want everybody to know about that. Perhaps we will find out about it later. I didn’t realize we were in class together.
MS. BROWN: I just hope we have no constitutional law issues in this case, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Yes. And that was only a couple years ago that we took that class. All right. With that trip down, memory lane, Ms. Brown.
MS. BROWN: Thank you, Your Honor.
Jan Hunnicutt , RPR, CRR
Santa Rosa, Calif.

Butt out
A. No. I’m not aware that I’m limited to that. But —
Q. Are you seeking — well, go ahead. Were you going to say something?
A. I withdraw my “but.” From the room.
Q. The “but” is withdrawn.
Jennifer Honn, RPR
Phoenix, Ariz.

Easy come, easy go
Q. Then we can move on to income. Do you know how much you make in a year average?
A. I just work.
Q. Yeah.
A. I’m a guy.
Elsa Jorgensen
Birmingham, Mich.

The (non) retirement plan
Q. Before this incident happened in January of 2015, what was your intention in terms of your remaining work life? How much longer were you going to go?
A. Oh, up until lunch time at my funeral. I mean —
Q. When was your funeral going to be?
A. Exactly. Exactly. As long as I could.
Sarah J. Dittmer, RPR
Centerville, Iowa

Lost in translation
The witness is being deposed about a car accident through a Spanish interpreter.
BY MR. SMITH:
Q. Can you compare the impact to anything else you’ve felt in your life?
A. No.
Q. Sometimes people will tell me they played sports growing up.
A. No.
Q. How about did you ever go to the fair and do the bumper cars?
A. I’ve never been on them.
Q. There’s nothing you can think of to compare the forces to?
A. No.
Q. What about have you ever been on a roller coaster?
A. No.
Q. Mierda? Does that mean scared?
MS. JONES: No. It means shit.
MR. SMITH: I didn’t know that. That’s funny.
Here, let’s go off the record for a second.
(Discussion held off the record.)
BY MR. SMITH: (continuing)
Q. Now that I’ve shown you how poor my Spanish is, I’ll keep speaking English.
Juliane Petersen
Beaverton, Ore.

The true cost of your time
There were 13 attorneys in attendance at this deposition of an expert witness:
Q. And then the total repair cost of 13,241
MS. WHITE: 13 million.
Q. (BY MR. BLACK) Let me try that again. I like my number better, but let’s go with the 13 million.
A. I think 13,000 is the hourly cost of this deposition.
Carrie Arnold, RPR, CRR
Arvada, Colo.

That’s a new tactic
WITNESS ATTORNEY: Same objection.
THE WITNESS: Objection.
Q. BY TAKING ATTORNEY: You — I’m not asking you about what you talked about with your attorney. I’m just asking if you talked to anybody else about the lawsuit.
A. Objection.
Q. You’re –
A. I don’t know what I’m doing.
Q. — required to answer.
Sarah Fitzgibbon
Seattle, Wash.

LAST PAGE: Laugh it up

It’s too darn hot
A. I was just going to say it’s all been in-house insurance company training.
Q. Is that in the Toledo office?
A. I’ve been to Toledo and Phoenix for my training.
Q. I much prefer Phoenix.
A. I prefer it as well.
Q. Except in July.
Elsa Jorgensen
Birmingham, Mich.

The right address
Q. Can you give me your address?
A. An address?
Q. Please.
A. Don’t laugh. All of you. 20783 Jackass Hill Road.
Q. That’s the best street I think I’ve ever heard.
A. Looks good on a driver’s license.
MR. SMITH: Are you the king of Jackass Hill?
THE WITNESS: No, it’s the last house so I live on the back of Jackass.
Laura D. Fowler, RPR, CRR, CRC
Modesto, Calif.

The perfect date
A. In October we got married. And then in the next year —
Q. What day in October?
A. The 23rd.
Q. Shut the front door.
A. Is that your wedding anniversary?
Q. October 23rd.
A. Nice.
Q. I know.
A. Ours was on a Tuesday because it was cheaper.
Q. Really? Nice.
A. And then you can invite everyone, but the people that really care will take the day off and come, and you don’t have to pay for everyone.
Q. We got married on a hill in Vermont with nobody there. First did the vows, you know. And then we did it, like, for everybody else later. And I thought that would help me, but I still — we were role-reversed. I was just, like, a weeping mess, and she was the stud, you know. So whatever. Sorry.
A. We all have our moments. It just wasn’t yours.
Q. Everybody thought it was really endearing, and I was just like, “Oh, my God.” But anyway.
Juliane Petersen
Beaverton, Ore.

Timing is everything
Q. Okay. And No. 51 would be the casualty —
A. Correct.
Q. — of the night? Okay.
A. That would be correct.
Q. And was the cow still dead when you got there?
A. It was still dead, yes.
Britta Helland, RPR
Bismarck, N.D.

Google and the 80-year-old solicitor
MR. YOUNG: If we can identify it, we can provide you with the model number or whatever it is, and you can google it and read up all about it.
MR. JACKSON: “Google it” sounds obscene to me, so I won’t be doing that.
MR. YOUNG: We had this discussion yesterday, didn’t we?
MR. JACKSON: I could find better things to “google” than that.
MR. YOUNG: I don’t think we talked about that yesterday.
Kathryn Burke
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

Yours, mine, and ours
Q. Mr. Green, who is being paid salaries?
A. Myself, and then I’ve had a part-time employee.
Q. And who is that?
A. Sam Jones.
Q. How about your wife?
A. Not really. My wages are her wages, so —
MR. JONES: Isn’t that the truth.
Sharon M. Champa, RMR
Lathrup Village, Mich.

Lost in translation: Time to retire
The question is: “Have you ever gone to Alcoholics Anonymous?
My translation: “Have you ever gone to clocks and mouse?
Patricia Tyszka, RMR
West Hartland, Conn.

A matter of perspective
Q. Okay. He said he had guns and that he would shoot animals?
A. Yes. He would shoot animals.
Q. Which animals?
A. He said something about squirrels.
Q. Did he say anything about cooking them?
A. No, he didn’t. He did not mention that it was for food.
Q. I tried my first squirrel the other day. It was all right. Anyway, did he mention any other animals besides squirrels?
A. That I cannot recall.
Q. Did he tell you where he was shooting these squirrels?
A. That I cannot recall for certain.
Q. And you viewed that as a threat towards you or towards someone else or towards just squirrels?
Angeli English
D’Iberville, Miss.

Facts are facts
Q. BY MR. JONES: Good morning, Ms. Roberts. Could I ask you –
MR. SMITH: I’m going to object. Okay? It’s afternoon.
Kim Nerheim
Portland, Ore.

Takes two to tango
Q. And this wasn’t just an altercation between one person; correct?
A. No, ma’am.
Stephanie Fernandez, RMR
Ridgecrest, Calif.

Cutting through the craziness
During this products liability trial, the cross-examination of the defense expert Smith was riddled with a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo. Mr. Plaintiff’s Attorney had shown a line chart he made. On redirect examination, the defense attorney was trying to show that it didn’t make sense or apply to this case, so he asked the witness:

Q. Dr. Smith, based upon your research, someone who’s spent a career looking at and analyzing these kinds of meta-analyses, if one of your students came to you and presented this analysis that took uncontrolled data and active control data and mixed it with placebo-controlled data, what would you say to that student?
THE COURT: A student?
MR. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: A student.
BY THE WITNESS:
A. If one of my students came to me with this, I’d suggest they pursue another career, perhaps in the legal profession.
THE COURT: Pretty good answer.
MR. PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: Amen to that.
(Laughter all around.)
Judy Walsh, RDR, CRR, CCP
Chicago, Ill.

Betcha got a chick on the side
Q. What street are we talking about? Is it on Minock or on Manor?
A. Every street — Minock, Manor. The street where my mother lived. The street where my auntie stay. The street with a girl I cheat on my girlfriend lives at.
Elizabeth A. Tubbert, RPR
Highland, Mich.

Last page: Wit and witnesses

A laugh a day
Deponent’s injury was a dog bite.
Q. And your date of birth?
A. October 1, 1932.
Q. Which makes you how old?
A. Old. Older as I sit here.
Q. Hopefully I won’t age you too long while we’re here. Okay?
Later in that same depo:
Q. Do you recall in the few months before September of 2013, just before the incident — you had just moved into the Spring Ridge facility — can you tell me what your daily routine would have been at that point?
A. Well, I’d still be walking because I was just used to doing that. And either a water exercise in the pool that’s there — or not — daily, depending on how many bodies there were in the pool. And so I wasn’t just sitting.
And I always walked downstairs. And I’m on the third floor in that place. And it’s a long walk to the elevator. Very long. I’m thinking of contacting the airport and seeing if I can rent one of their moving sidewalks.
Later in that same depo:
Q. What I’d like to do, if it’s okay, could I take a look at your leg now?
A. Yes. It isn’t Betty Grable. It never was.
Juliane Petersen
Beaverton, Ore.

Define your terms
A. It was a phrase people used called “morning sickness,” which is where it would take longer to stop the vehicle in the morning than was expected or was normal because the linings would absorb moisture overnight.
Q. So it had nothing to do with pregnant women?
A. Correct.
Q. Okay.
MR. DOE: Unless they were in the car.
MR. SMITH: That’s true.
Elsa Jorgensen
Birmingham, Mich.

Don’t take it for granted
Q. Do you think you’ll be working five years from now at XYZ Company?
A. If I am alive, yes.
Q. Do you have concerns about your health where you think you may not be alive in five years?
A. If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.
Q. Do you hope to be alive in five years?
A. What if I’m going to die right now in front of you?
Q. That would be horrible. I’m asking if you hope to be alive in five years.
A. It’s real easy to ask this question when you’re 26, but when you’re over 60, every day counts.
Therese J. Casterline, RMR, CRR
The Colony, Texas

How to keep a secret
A. All I know is, right across the freeway on Wyoming, it’s before you get to that Circle K and that 7-Eleven right there.
MR. JONES: You hang out there a lot, don’t you?
MS. JACKSON: All the time, yes.
A. Really?
Q. (By Ms. Jackson) No.
A. I was going to say, “Wow.”
MR. JONES: It’s now on the record that she does.
MS. JACKSON: Now the world knows.
Mary Abernathy Seal, RDR, CRR
Albuquerque, N.M.

What happens in Florida
THE COURT: Is there anything about your experience as a juror on the civil case back in Florida that would affect your ability to be fair and open-minded here?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR NO. 6: Other than hating it, no.
THE COURT: Well, we will do our best to give you a much better experience.
PROSPECTIVE JUROR NO. 6: It wasn’t like — I understand everything, but it was mostly — I didn’t trust the people that were on the jury.
THE COURT: Well, I can see that the people here are much more trustworthy.
PROSPECTIVE JUROR NO. 6: It was Florida.
THE COURT: There’s that.
Desiree Tanner, RPR
Long Beach, Calif.

Culture clash
THE COURT: Okay. Question 14 is the question about whether you’ve served as a juror in a criminal case or on a grand jury before.
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: When I was living in Maryland, when I just came to the country and got my citizenship, I was in some case when guy took a hammer and somebody cut him off and he broke the window of the car. You know, it was obvious, you know. It was obvious case he was guilty, but I was afraid they would put him in the prison, because he’s crazy; he has to go to mental house. Right?
THE COURT: So this case doesn’t involve any kind of assaults or any —
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yeah, good.
THE COURT: — of the kind of conduct that you talked about. Is there anything about that experience that would make it difficult for you to be fair and impartial to the defendant in this case?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: You know what can be said on that that — you know, I’m from Soviet Union. For me, corruption is okay.
(Laughter)
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: It’s like maybe if they don’t kill each other, I am on his side, probably.
THE COURT: Okay. So as — I will instruct you on what the law is in this case.
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yeah.
THE COURT: And whether somebody — whether the Defendant in this case has broken the law and violated the law, that would be a decision for you as a juror if you’re selected. Would you have any trouble applying the law as I instruct you to in this case?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I don’t know, but I don’t want to.
THE COURT: I’m not sure what you mean, you don’t want to.
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Because it’s too much responsibility to, you know, to take on myself to blame somebody or judge someone.
THE COURT: Counsel, any questions?
Bryan Wayne
Washington, D.C.

Spelling bee
Q. What is the current name?
A. I believe it’s A&T.
Q. ANT?
A. No, A and sign T. I guess she can’t see that, can she?
MR. SMITH: I think you meant ampersand.
MR. JONES: Ampersand, yeah.
Q. A and sign T, not A and sign — AT and sign T but A and sign T. All right.
Laurie Collins, RPR
Brooklyn, N.Y.

LAST PAGE: Get punny with it

On memory
Q. Prior to this accident, did you have any other pre-existing injuries?
A. I had broke my leg, my ankle, riding motocross.
Q. Which ankle?
A. My right ankle. And I’d separated my shoulder riding a skateboard.
Q. When did the shoulder separation happen?
A. Four — four, five years ago.
Q. How about the broken ankle?
A. Roughly around the same. I forgot I was 40.
Juliane Petersen
Beaverton, Ore.

Wanted: Dead or alive
Q. Just to make sure we covered this, the last trial you testified live was the Doe case in 2013?
A. I’ve never testified dead so, you know — so that’s true, yes. I’m sorry.
Elsa Jorgensen
Birmingham, Mich.

There’s no need …
Q. Could you state your full name for the record.
A. Grant Ford.
Q. F-O-R-D?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. All right. Just because I have a receding hairline doesn’t mean you have to call me “sir.”
Therese J. Casterline, RMR, CRR
The Colony, Texas

Only in Florida
THE COURT: Is there anything about your experience as a juror on the civil case back in Florida that would affect your ability to be fair and open-minded here?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR NO. 6: Other than hating it, no.
THE COURT: Well, we will do our best to give you a much better experience.
PROSPECTIVE JUROR NO. 6: It wasn’t like — I understand everything, but it was mostly — I didn’t trust the people that were on the jury.
THE COURT: Well, I can see that the people here are much more trustworthy.
PROSPECTIVE JUROR NO. 6: It was Florida.
THE COURT: There’s that.
Desiree M. Tanner, RPR
Long Beach, Calif.

You think you know someone
Q. Okay. And did anyone assist you in preparing your report for this litigation?
A. Yes.
Q. Who?
A. My paralegal.
Q. And what’s your paralegal’s name?
A. Nina Craig.
Q. And is she a licensed paralegal?
A. Yes.
Q. And where did she obtain her license or certificate, I should say?
A. At the license-getting place. Paralegal school.
Q. Where did she go to paralegal school?
A. I have no idea. Probably one in Philadelphia.
Q. How long has she been working with you?
A. She reminded me the other day, 12 years.
Q. What’s her name?
A. It’s still Nina Craig.
Q. It hasn’t changed since the last time I asked you?
A. Correct.
Susan R. Chastek, RMR
Ledgewood, N.J.

Text C to confirm
Q. Then approximately four weeks after the accident, you saw Dr. Smith because you were in the same building?
A. Yes.
Q. Did you have an appointment with him when you saw him four weeks after the accident?
A. No.
Q. How did you happen to see him? Did you just see him in the hall or something else?
A. He has his office in the same place where the chiropractor is.
Q. I understand that. Doctors generally don’t see you unless you have an appointment.
A. Yes, that’s correct, but I didn’t have an appointment.
Q. Did you go to his reception area and tell them you wanted to see Dr. Smith?
A. Yes.
Q. And he saw you without an appointment?
A. No.
Q. How did he see you?
A. I had to make an appointment first.
Heather Mastrorocco
East Rockaway, N.Y.

Hear no evil
Attorney Susens was appearing via video.
THE COURT: Attorney Susens, are you ready? Attorney Susens, you may proceed.
MR. SUSENS: I can’t hear you, your Honor.
THE COURT: That’s great, so I can say whatever I want.
MR. SUSENS: I can’t hear anything. I’m sorry.
Barbara Ulrich, RPR
Baraboo, Wisc.

Codebreaker
(This was cross examination of the arresting officer by the attorney representing a defendant who had three kinds of illegal drugs in his car.)
Q. Officer, did the defendant also inform you he had just gotten the drugs from someone or that someone was going to place the drugs in the car?
A. No.
Q. No? Okay.
A. What he said to me: the drugs were some other guy’s drugs.
Q. Did you at any point get the feeling that he didn’t know that the other two drugs were in there?
A. (Pause.) I got the feeling that he has seen the movie before.
Q. Okay. I got you. We’re talking in code.
Karen Noel
Easton, Pa.

Heard it through the grapevine
The mother was suing the ambulance company, claiming they did not give her son adequate triage and he died. To lead into the following questions, she is claiming she’s had dreams where her son is talking to her about his death.
Q. Have you had any other dreams or visions about Sam’s death?
A. I can’t recall right now.
Q. Has the Lord ever spoken to you about Sam’s death?
MR. SMITH: Objection. Hearsay.
Sue Ash, RMR
Norfolk, Va.

Can I connect with you?
MS. SMITH: So I want a five-minute break. I need to go to the bathroom. This deposition has been less than an hour and a half.
MS. JONES: Are you finished?
THE WITNESS: It’s an hour and a half already?
MS. JONES: Are you finished with your question, is what I’m asking.
MS. SMITH: I want to review my notes to make sure I haven’t missed anything.
MS. JONES: I am objecting to her asking any further questions. Go ahead. Just as you said, you’re the queen of the deposition today.
THE WITNESS: Can I just like check in on Facebook and tag you guys? Make it official?
Jessica F. Story, RPR
Lynn, Mass.

What lawyers do for fun
(The witness’s name is Phillips. PNM’s counsel is Mr. Phillips, with two ls.)
HEARING EXAMINER STEVENS: PNM, you have cross-examination? And Mr. Phillips, you reserved 60 minutes.
MR. PHILLIPS: I will not take 60 minutes. That is for sure. But I didn’t want to give up the opportunity to address a Mr. Phillips and see how the court reporter does with the colloquy. It’s a test.
Mary Seal, RDR, CRR
Albuquerque, N.M.

 

 

 

THE LAST LAUGH: Expert advice

Don’t drink and propose
This was from the deposition of an 89-year-old man.
Q. So you got engaged early on in the relationship?
A. I don’t know how long ago we got engaged. I don’t remember that.
Q. Okay.
A. It just happened one night, and I don’t drink. I don’t drink neither. I don’t drink, so I can’t say all that because I don’t drink. I don’t smoke and don’t drink.
Q. Oh, I get what you’re saying. So you got engaged, but it wasn’t because you were feeling, I guess, pretty tipsy that night.
Elsa Jorgensen
Birmingham, Mich.

Dating yourself
Q. I will apologize in advance if I ask you to repeat things. I’m old. I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin way too loud, so my hearing is not —
A. I listen to Led Zeppelin, too, so I know how old you are. I’m coming right up there.
Therese J. Casterline, RMR, CRR
The Colony, Texas

What does it all mean?
MR. SMITH: Objection, calls for speculation. And asked and answered.
THE WITNESS: And as an answer?
MR. SMITH: Asked and answered.
THE WITNESS: Past and answered?
MR. SMITH: No. It’s “asked and answered.” It’s part of the objection. You go ahead.
MR. JONES: Go ahead.
THE WITNESS: That means I can answer it?
MR. JONES: You can answer it.
Mr. SMITH: You may.
THE WITNESS: Oh, I may —
MR. SMITH: You have to.
THE WITNESS: I have to answer it. So that’s not “may,” Counsel. That is “thou shalt.”
MR. SMITH: You’re correct.
Laurel L. Hall
Chimacum, Wash.

You can never go home again
Q. Were you born and raised here in Oregon?
A. No. I was actually born near Chicago and raised in Detroit, Mich.
Q. Oh, you were?
A. Yeah. And then I roamed around the country working for newspapers in Ohio and New York and all over. But I’ve been in Oregon now since 1980.
Q. My wife is from just outside of Detroit.
A. What town?
Q. There was a movie about it. You could probably guess. They have forest parks, city parks.
A. Oh, yes. Grosse Pointe. Yes, okay. You know, I was from the poorer side of town.
MR. SMITH: There was a movie about your wife?
MR. JONES: Isn’t there some movie about Grosse Pointe?
THE WITNESS: Well, there’s Grosse Pointe Blank.
MR. JONES: Yeah. But I can’t remember which part of town she was — so it wasn’t too high-end, but she had a good life.
Juliane Petersen
Beaverton, Ore.

Expert opinion
Q. Doctor, in what other ways has the fall affected Mrs. Jones?
A. She had absolutely no bone density loss because of the cross country skiing that she did. Now she is at risk for hip fractures and osteoporosis.
Q. This is what Mrs. Jones has told you?
A. Yes.
Q. Doctor, you don’t portend any expertise in osteoporosis or the aging propensity?
A. I’m married to an aging woman. I know what osteoporosis is.
Sandra Chadwick, RMR
New Milford, Conn.

Alphabet soup
Q. What does CVGG do for Oxy to market the NGLs to DCP NGL?
A. I believe that DCP NGLs markets the NGL’s Enterprise at the MAPL point.
Denyce Sanders, RDR, CRR
Houston, Texas

Lost in translation
An interpreter was involved in this depsotision, which is probably why the witness was confused.
Q. And when you went back at that time, what hours were you working?
A. Nine. My schedule.
Q. The same hours you were working before the accident?
A. I don’t remember because I have so many.
Q. So many what?
A. Sweaters. Aren’t you asking me about sweaters?
Q. No, I’m not. I could care less about your sweaters.
David Novick
Howard Beach, N.Y.

Inquisition or deposition?
Q. And why did you write those notes?
A. Just to remember because I knew I was coming in for the inquisition. Is it the inquisition?
MS. SMITH: Yep. That’s what it is.
WITNESS’S WIFE: Deposition.
Virginia Dodge, RDR, CRR
Boston, Mass.

Accidents happen
The captain of a tug was pushing a barge and hit a bridge, causing damage to it.
Q. Were you also the captain of your tug when your tug hit the Alligator Bridge down at Albemarle Sound? Is that correct?
A. The Alligator Bridge?
Q. Yes, sir.
A. The bridge hit me.
Q. Yes, sir. I won’t even touch that.
Sue Ash, RMR
Norfolk, Va.

I don’t remember
Q. Is dementia in the family? Do you know?
A. No.
Q. Unless you forgot. Just kidding.
Diana D. Sabo
Tinley Park, Ill.

Follow the bouncing ball
ATTORNEY: At the conclusion of the trial, the court will give the jury a packet of instructions to follow in reaching their verdict. Do you think you will be able to follow the court’s instructions, even if you may not agree with the law?
JUROR: I’ve been married for 17 years, so yes, I can follow instructions, even if I don’t agree.
Kari O. Narey, RMR, CRR
Waterloo, Iowa

THE LAST LAUGH: People say the craziest things

Where you get your information
OTIS is the Offender Tracking Information System in Michigan. This was over signing a form without reading it first.
A. I mean, I inadvertently put myself in a bad position, you know.
Q. Right, right. You won’t do that again, though. See? Big, giant lesson learned; right?
A. Yeah, we’ll see if I end up on OTIS.
Q. I don’t think you’re going to end up on OTIS. It’s funny that you know what OTIS is.
A. Well, everybody does.
Q. I know. That’s true. Everybody really does.
A. Everybody goes on there and sees “I remember him from high school, or her. Let’s see.”
Q. I know. That is true. It is true. I think it would be more important if you ended up on Ashley Madison.
A. Oh, no, no. I just think that’s hilarious.
Elsa Jorgensen
Birmingham, Mo.

First deposition nerves
A. And my children, both my daughter and my son, have the same kind of memory I do, different than what my husband has. You had him so scared. I mean, he was just unbelievably. I couldn’t believe it.
Q. I was trying not to scare him, really.
A. I know, but he has watched too much TV.
Q. Oh, he thought I had chains and whips in here?
A. Yeah. He was all ready. He had told me he was going to have to do some cussing and swearing. And I said, “You are not.”
Q. Well, I hope I disappointed him.
A. You did.
Q. And how about you? Have I got you scared too?
A. No. I am not that way at all. I talk to the world.
Michelle Giangualano
Seattle, Wash.

Numerology
Q. I will represent to you, sir, that in the snippet that you are looking — which for record purposes is Bates-labeled 666 —
A. Yes.
Q. You’re laughing because —
A. He was laughing.
MR. BROWN: The devil.
MR. JONES: It’s late in the day, and 666 is striking somebody in the room as funny.
Therese J. Casterline, RMR, CRR
The Colony, Texas

Experience is the best teacher
A. And I was going to turn left, and a car came and I didn’t — well, I saw it, but I thought I had time, and I pulled out and she hit me from the side.
Q. Do you remember what your mom said to you?
A. To not say anything.
Q. Okay. Is she a defense attorney?
A. No.
MR. JONES: Just a wise person.
Laurel L. Hall
Chimacum, Wash.

Un-Belieb-able
The woman being deposed and several members of her family were at a lake for a family reunion. Together they pulled eight strangers from the water who were drowning.
Q. Other than with family and just talking about what happened, there’s nobody else that you spoke with that came and asked you questions about what happened outside of your family?
A. People I worked with that saw the news, you know, just that typical type of thing. “What happened? We saw you on the news.” That sort of thing.
Q. And the news media folks talked to you that day as well?
A. The next day they did. And then that Monday the Today Show went out to Mom and Dad — or to Dad’s at the time, Dad and Evan’s, and interviewed us.
Q. And so you were on the Today Show?
A. Well, we were bumped for Justin Bieber’s mom, but they interviewed us.
Q. And so they played your interviews on the Today Show?
A. They did not. They were going to, but Justin Bieber’s mom took precedence.
Q. Did they give you copies of the interviews?
A. No, they didn’t. And that’s okay.
Q. Well, I’d have rather watched your story.
Juliane Petersen
Beaverton, Ore.

Listen to the judge
A. Well, you asked me what I would do, and that’s what I would do.
MR. JOHNSON: Objection. Sidebar.
MR. GARCIA: I’m going to overrule both of those.
Q. (BY MR. JOHNSON) My question is —
MR. SMITH: You’re out of your jurisdiction.
Denyce Sanders, RDR, CRR
Houston, Texas

Spelling test
THE COURT: You’re going to have a baby?
DEFENDANT: I already had him, and I already did that class.
THE COURT: Oh, you did?
DEFENDANT: (Inaudible)
THE COURT: Is that a “yes”? I don’t understand “mm-mm.”
DEFENDANT: Yes.
THE COURT: And neither does the court reporter. She just — doesn’t even know how to spell that, probably. Do you know how to spell it?
DEFENDANT: Yep. M-h-m-m-m-dot-dot-dot.
THE COURT: All right. But I don’t, so you’re going to have to speak “yes’s” and “no’s” with me, okay?
DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.
McKayla McHugh, RPR
Austin, Texas

Dumb phone
Q. Do you use a smartphone?
A. No. Just a normal one. I don’t know how smart it might be.
Jeannette Samoulides
Walnut Creek, Calif.

If the shoe fits
This has to do with a bank robbery, wherein the Defendant is on the stand testifying and claiming he did not rob the bank. They had video of him robbing the bank. The shoes he wore made an imprint on the counter when he jumped over to rob the teller.
Q. Did you make any attempt whatsoever to dispose of those shoes in any way?
A. No, I didn’t.
Q. Could you have disposed of those shoes?
A. Yes, I could have. I could have had my people come down and get all of my property.
Q. Why was it that you did not dispose of those shoes?
A. Because I wasn’t involved in no robbery, and them shoes wasn’t neither.
Sue Ash, RPR, RMR
Norfolk, Va.

Turning a blind eye
Q. Do you have to submit to any additional tests or anything when you go to the MVD?
A. Well, because I’m blind in one eye.
Q. So what do you have to do for that?
A. Well, I just got to make sure that I can see out of the right eye.
Mary Seal, RDR, CRR
Albuquerque, N.M.

Theft prevention
Q. How long had you owned that 1991 Honda Accord at the time of the accident?
A. For about four or five months.
Q. And were you the only driver of that Honda Accord?
A. Yes.
Q. And was that vehicle an automatic or a manual?
A. Automatic.
Q. Do you know how to drive a manual?
A. No.
Q. Nobody does anymore. It’s the best security device you can get.
Juliane Petersen
Beaverton, Ore.

THE LAST PAGE: Wait, there’s more!

Flattery will get you everywhere
Q. All right. Was she a young woman?
A. Probably somewhere around my age.
Q. So a young woman?
A. Yeah. Oh, good one.
Elsa Jorgensen
Birmingham, Mich.

Don’t twist my arm
THE WITNESS: And so my husband and I were getting married in June. And I said, “I am getting this thing fixed before we get married because I don’t want to be walking in with my arm in a sling because everybody is going to say you twisted my arm and married me.”
Michelle Giangualano
Seattle, Wash.

Priorities
Q. And since we talked a little bit about athletics off the record at the start of this deposition, I’m a little curious as to how one goes to Yale as an undergrad and Harvard for medical school, and where does one sit during The Game.
MR. SMITH: You’re under oath.
A. I tend to sit on the Yale side, but I haven’t gone in a while.
Q. The good answer would be either the home team side or whoever has the best tailgates.
Virginia Dodge, RDR, CRR
Boston, Mass.

Last laughDon’t sit downwind
MR. JONES: Michael, your dog has gas.
MR. SMITH: Yes.
MR. JONES: May the record reflect that Michael’s dog has gas. I don’t need coffee anymore.
MR. SMITH: I would hate to have to validate or invalidate that assumption, but…
MR. JONES: The south end of your north-facing dog is facing me.
MR. SMITH: Yes, the south end of the dog is facing Mr. Jones. And it’s a direct hit, I have to say.
MR. JONES: You sunk my battleship.
MR. SMITH: That’s the kind of luck you’re going to have this week, Mr. Jones.
MR. JONES: I start a trial next week. You don’t need to tell me that.
MR. SMITH: Hmm. You may have to take a shower before you get there.
Holly Goodwin
Portland, Ore.

Gotta be from somewhere
Q. Dr. Green, you grew up in Dumas, Texas?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. When was the last time you were out in Dumas?
A. It’s probably been a couple of years.
Q. Do you consider yourself to be one of the Ding Dong Daddies?
MR. SMITH: He’ll know what that means.
MR. JONES: Yeah, I don’t know.
MR. SMITH: You’re not from out there?
Therese J. Casterline, RMR, CRR
The Colony, Texas

Avoidance behaviors
Q. Have you ever been in a deposition before?
A. No, I never have. I don’t know how I’ve avoided it.
MR. SMITH: Carefully.
THE WITNESS: Carefully, yes.
MR. JONES: So that’s a good thing.
Juliane Petersen
Beaverton, Ore.

Speed trap
Q. Do you mind just starting that answer again a little bit slower?
A. I’m sorry. Yes.
THE COURT: See the nice court reporter?
THE WITNESS: Yes, your Honor, I do. She’s very lovely. By the way, I love the scarf. I will slow down.
THE COURT: Then don’t kill her.
THE WITNESS: I will not. I will not. I promise. Mea culpa.
THE COURT: It’s accepted. But you be true to your word and speak slowly.
THE WITNESS: Yes, ma’am.
Lisa Edwards, RDR, CRR
Miami, Fla.

Location, location, location
MR. JONES: Okay. And, for the record, she’s used her right hand and put it directly below her neck, right at her chest.
MR. SMITH: Actually, it was by her heart, your Honor.
MR. JONES: Okay. That’s fine.
THE COURT: Okay. With that important distinction on the record, we’ll accept that modified stipulation, Counsel.
Stephanie Fernandez
Ridgecrest, Calif.

As long as you’re not hangry
Q. As you sit here today are you feeling impaired in any way that would affect your ability to testify about past events?
A. No. A little hungry. But…
Helga Lavan, RPR
Woodbury, Conn.

Oh, the fear I instill!
A. Yes, ma’am.
Q. Did I read that correctly?
A. Uh huh. Yes, ma’am, you did. I’m sorry. I said “uh huh,” and I want to make sure I got it straight.
Q. Thank you for catching that.
A. I didn’t want Denyce to get me.
Q. That’s fair.
Denyce Sanders, RDR, CRR
Houston, Texas

What’s the diff?
Q. Tell me about that carpet.
A. It’s a rug.
Q. What’s the difference between a rug and a carpet?
A. Carpet is wall-to-wall. Rug is a piece.
Q. I’ve always had this picture of a flying carpet, and that’s not wall-to-wall.
MR. JONES: See, that’s where lawyers get their information — is from cartoons.
Cassy Kerr, RPR, CRR, CRC
Tulsa, Okla.

The secret lives of pets
Q. Do you own any pets of any kind?
A. Yes.
Q. Tell me about that
A. I own a rabbit, a cat, a snake, and three fish.
Q. Did you ever have a dog as a pet?
A. Yes.
Q. Did you ever have any issues with that dog?
A. No.
Q. Did that dog ever bite you or growl at you or attack you?
A. No.
Q. Same question but for any other dog?
A. No.
Q. Prior to the accident that we’re here for today, were you ever attacked or bitten or scratched by any other dogs?
A. No.
Q. This may be a silly question, but I’ll ask the same question for the rabbit, the cat, and the snake. Did you ever have any issues with any of those pets?
A. No.
Q. Where they attacked you or bit you or scratched you, anything like that?
A. No.
Q. Okay.
MR. SMITH: What about the fish?
Q. I’m going to give the fish the benefit of the doubt. They’re not piranhas; right?
A. No.
Kelly Palazzi, RPR
South Hackensack, N.J.