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 —
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.
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.
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.
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.

(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.

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.

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.”
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.

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. 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.





It can be hard keeping a straight face as a court reporter

The Havana Herald, Havana, Fla., posted an excerpt on March 3 from Disorder in the American Courts submitted by one of its readers. The excerpt is an example of humorous exchanges courtrooms that were captured by court reporters.

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LAST LAUGH: I heard it in the funny pages

What’s on the telly tonight?
Dissing the witness’s choice of TV programming
Q. Do you have any hobbies that keep you busy when you’re not hanging around with family or watching sport events or anything?
A. Well, I — God, I guess kind of one of my hobbies now is watching TV. I watch a lot of History channel, American military channel because I was in Vietnam and I was in the Vietnam War. I do watch a lot of that because I love the history of World War II and, like, the Korean War, and some of my relatives were in both of those. So I do that.
And I do — oh, here’s one: Dancing with the Stars. My wife and I are ballroom dancers, and so we watch Dancing with the Stars and — oh, and I watch The Bachelor and Bachelorette with her.
MR. SMITH: All right. That’s quite enough of that.
Juliane Petersen
Beaverton, Ore.

Ah, memories
Marking an exhibit that is a printout of the deponent’s web page.
Q. That’s a good picture of you.
A. That was taken a number of years ago.
Q. I didn’t want to mention that.
A. That’s okay. I think it was taken in 2000. I’ll use any advantage I can to get people to visit my website.
Elsa Jorgensen
Birmingham, Mich.

Sometimes, it’s easier to just take the uh-huh
Q. Does he ever go outside through the garage door?
A. Well, yeah, when I took him out on the leash.
Q. Only on the leash?
A. Uh-huh.
Q. Yes? You said, yes?
A. Sir?
Q. Your answer was, yes?
A. What was your question?
Angeli English
D’Iberville, Miss.

Pick your favorite
Q. Okay. And how many stories did my client, Mr. Jackson, tell you?
STATE’S ATTORNEY: Objection. Relevance.
THE COURT: What’s the relevance?
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I want to know how many stories there were so that we can see which one we should believe for these proceedings.
THE COURT: Sustained.
Lisa Kwasigroch, RPR
Milwaukee, Wis.

He plays one on TV
MR. JONES: Who enjoys shows like CSI, NCIS, Law & Order? Is everyone comfortable with the idea that that’s television and things go differently in the real courtroom?
MR. SMITH: I know Judge Chase is very handsome; Mr. Wright is very handsome; and I’m very handsome. But we’re not probably quite up to the standard of television. Is everyone okay with that?
THE COURT: Speak for yourself, pal.
(Courtroom laughter.)
MR. JONES: Aside from Judge Chase, of course.
MR. SMITH: I object.
Betsy Cradic, RPR
Rochester, Minn.

If my friends were your friends …
After 300 pages of names like Mike, Mark, Bobby, and Anthony (friends of the witness) where no last names were known, the following questions come up.
Q. What friend did you used to run with?
A. Me, Bobby, and Anthony.
Q. Was it Bobby the bagel guy?
A. No.
Q. No?
A. No.
Q. Different Bobby?
A. Different Bobby.
Q. What’s Bobby’s last name?
A. He lives in Long Island.
MS. JONES: She didn’t ask you where he lived, she asked you his last name.
A. Bobby Anthony.
Q. What’s Anthony’s last name, Anthony Bobby?
A. Whatever you want to put.
MS. JONES: Do you know his last name, yes or no?
THE WITNESS: I’m lucky I know his first name.
MS. JONES: Okay. So is that a no?
Q. Can you still contact Bobby Anthony?
A. No.
Q. Can you still contact Anthony I-don’t-know-his-last-name?
A. No.
Q. Anthony Doe, shall we call him?
A. They’re gone; they moved.
Devora Hackner
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Who’s the boss?
Q. But you’re not doing any sort of consulting, anything else that’s generating income since you retired?
A. I’m doing “honey do” projects.
Q. Tell me what you mean by that, just so that the jury can hear it.
A. I get to do whatever my wife tells me needs to be done.
Laurie Collins, RPR
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Lightning before the thunder
(When swearing the witness)
THE WITNESS: Where is my Bible at?
MR. JONES: We’ll take your word on it.
THE WITNESS: That’s in court, isn’t it?
MR. JONES: Just on TV.
THE WITNESS: Oh, just on TV?
MR. JONES: Or when you’re getting sworn in to be a United States Supreme Court Justice.
Therese Casterline Kiernan, RMR, CRR
The Colony, Texas

This is why we proof!
“Rectal fires” should be “rectifiers.” My brief for “rectal” is REBGT. Glad I proofed!
MR. ATTORNEY: On Page Eight, Your Honor, in Paragraph 24, Sub Paragraph E, CB alleges that the Defendants did not provide any manual controls for the rectal fires or the manufacturer’s software necessary to adjust the current. Therefore, it is impossible to adjust the current output of the rectal fires. And then they go on.
Debra M. Arter, RDR, CRR
Rockledge, Fla.


THE LAST PAGE: Happy time

Q. Do you have an elliptical in your home?
A. Yes.
Q. What brand is it?
A. Precor.
Q. I’m a fugitive from the gym most of time, but I did go at the hotel.
Virginia Dodge, RDR, CRR
Boston, Mass.

The phantom employee
Q. Okay. So first you said the other person was in cahoots and then you denied that there was another person. So I am confused.
A. Okay. Sorry.
Q. Are you saying that there is a phantom employee, there really wasn’t a fellow employee, or that this fellow employee was in cahoots with her? I mean, you can’t be in cahoots with a phantom, so help me understand what your testimony is.
Michelle Giangualano
Seattle, Wash.

Can you hear me now?
Q. Do you have any hearing difficulties?
A. I think I’m little a hard of hearing in one ear.
Q. You’re supposed to say “what?” when I ask that question.
A. I thought there was no levity involved.
Q. Oh, you can always have a little levity in life.
A. Oh, there is?
Q. Sometimes.
A. Oh, I hear you now.
Q. See?
(The cell phone ring sounded like a duck quacking.)
(Phone sounds.)
THE WITNESS: I’m hearing that better more than I hear you right now. I’m sorry.
MR. ATTORNEY: Do you want to hit the mute button or whatever?
THE REPORTER: You killed the duck.
THE WITNESS: I shot the duck.
Sandy Hancock, RPR
O’Fallon, Mo.

Too much thinking
Q. Mrs. Jones, I understand you were standing at the intersection where this accident happened.
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Would you tell the Court and Jury what you saw, please, ma’am?
A. Well, I think this blue car —
MR. SMITH: Judge, I object to what she thinks.
THE COURT: Sustained.
Q. Just describe what you saw, please, ma’am.
A. Well, I think that the blue car – –
MR. SMITH: Objection.
THE COURT: Sustained.
MR. SMITH: Judge, would you instruct the witness?
THE COURT: Ma’am, you can’t tell us what you think, just what you saw.
THE WITNESS: Well, Judge, Your Honor, Sir, I ain’t like them lawyers. I can’t talk without thinking.
(Utter chaos among the jury)
Richard Wilson, RPR (Ret.)
Montgomery, Ala.

Reading list
Q. Could you read D for me, 1D?
A. I read it.
Q. Could you read it out loud for me into the record?
MR. JONES: The document speaks for itself. If you want to ask him whether he was aware of it, that’s fine, and reading it seems like a waste of good eyesight.
Lora J. Appino Barnett, RMR
Topeka, Kan.

Spell it for the record
MS. SMITH: Your Honor, I mean, it’s probably not that important, but for some reason, it says two o’clock.
MR. JONES: I noticed that.
MS. SMITH: My name is spelled wrong, too, but I will let that one go.
MR. JONES: I wasn’t responsible for that. I know how to spell your name. I heard it on the radio.
Adam H. Alweis, RPR
Syracuse, N.Y.

Remember this
Q. And do you believe that you would have a memory if that question had been answered?
MR. SMITH: Object to whether or not you would have a memory of something you can’t remember.
MR. JONES: Good objection. It’s one of the best I’ve heard.
Therese J. Casterline, RMR, CRR
The Colony, Texas

Name that number
Q. Okay. Have you tried to talk to him about his medical condition and he walks away?
A. Yes.
Q. Okay. How many times has that happened?
A. A handful.
Q. So six times?
A. Five.
Q. Five times?
A. Yes.
Q. Oh, yeah. Five.
Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC
Wausau, Wis.

It’s all about the bass
Q. What other surgeries have you had?
A. I had liposuction.
Q. Is that for weight loss?
A. Cosmetic.
Q. I think I was reading somewhere – it was kind of interesting, but they actually take some fat tissue out of you, and then they inject it somewhere else?
A. Yeah. Yes.
Q. Did you have some problems when they injected your lower back with that – whatever material they removed?
A. They didn’t inject my lower back. What do you mean? My buttocks?
Q. Your buttocks.
A. Not the first time. Now, the second time, I don’t know if it was because of the surgery, but I ended up with an abscess somewhere in my leg.
Q. I don’t want to get too personal, but why would they inject it into your buttocks? Is it to make them, I guess, rounder or bigger or something?
A. Yes. Yes.
Q. More appealing to the male gender?
A. Yes.
Elizabeth A. Tubbert, RPR
Highland, Mich.

Break time
MR. JONES: When you get to a good stopping point, I could use a break.
MR. SMITH: No breaks for you, Mr. Jones.
MR. JONES: It could be uncomfortable for you, then.
MR. SMITH: Uncomfortable for you, perhaps. We’ll take a break.
Debra M. Arter, RDR, CRR
Rockledge, Fla.

And now for something completely different
Q. The nonworking, retired partner who’s received close to —
MR. JONES: Excuse me?
MR. JONES: Departed. Well, departed has a whole different meaning sometimes.
Q. The now departed but still living, not quite dead, as they would say in Monty Python —
Laurie Collins, RPR
Brooklyn, N.Y.

LAST PAGE: Now that’s just silly!

Speaking volumes
Q. If I get too loud, tell me. My wife likes me to use my inside voice, so I don’t mean to be yelling at you.
A. I’m Italian. It’s okay.
Q. Well, I don’t want you to think I don’t have manners, ma’am.
Virginia Dodge
Boston, Mass.

Big or little
Q. Now I’m curious. How big is your ex-wife?
A. Well —
MR. DOE: Or how small? What is her size?

Elsa Jorgensen
Birmingham, Mich.

Spoken well enough
Q You also — you kind of alluded to a minute ago, you speak some other languages other than English; is that correct?
A Yes. Sort of.
Q Okay.
A I think I do.
Q How about the people on the other end?
A They get used to it after a while. It sounds better than — you know, like, I worked in California many years ago in a Hispanic – primarily a Hispanic town, and basically I say that I — you know, that I butchered the Spanish language every day for nine years.
Michelle Giangualano
Seattle, Wash.

It’s not the destination
A. It was, like, my shoulder. And then it was popping. You know, I would catch myself, like, walking like a helicopter. You know what I mean? Because it would just hurt, you know, here and in the back, like my chicken wing.
Q. Okay. So — I’ve lost my train of thought.
A. And I know I caught myself when I fell in the basement. I know I did.
MR. ROGERS: You were thinking whether rooster beak would be an appropriate or efficacious treatment for a chicken wing?
MS. STAUCH: There you go. You’re going to take me further off the track.
Carrie Arnold, RPR, CRR
Arvada, Colo.

Inside out or outside in?
A. I guess you would say it’s like a terrance (sic) — like a terrance they call it.
Q. Terrace?
A. Yes, terrace, that goes to your unit. So you have to go from the outside to the inside to the outside and then when – so I’m on the inside going to the outside to get to my door.
Ellen Muir
Wareham, Mass.
Where did that come from?
Q: Do you know how Ford Motor Company becomes aware of the fact that they need to issue a TSB directing its technicians on how to complete a repair?
MR. JONES: Object to the form.
THE WITNESS: No, I do not.
Q. Okay. Is it your understanding that it comes from someplace other than thin air?
MR. JONES: Object to the form.
THE WITNESS: I would think so.
Debra M. Arter, RDR, CRR
Rockledge, Fla.

Here’s the wind-up, and here’s the pitch

Q. Now, here we are at January 23, 2008, with an alleged injury that happened in late November, 2007; correct? Is it ——
THE COURT REPORTER: I didn’t hear an answer.
MR. ATTORNEY: It really was not a good question.
MR. LAWYER: Was there an answer?
MR. LAWYER: I didn’t hear him say anything.
THE WITNESS: I didn’t think you were through.
MR. ATTORNEY: Let me rephrase it. I wasn’t really looking for an answer there. I was just kind of reciting some facts as background to this question.
MR. LAWYER: Otherwise known as leading. I’m just kidding.
Liebe Stevenson, RMR
Liberty, Mo.

When you’ve been doing this job so long
Mr. Jones: So let’s jump ahead then. I mean, what’s next, Molly?
Court Reporter: Recreational activities?
The Witness: Wow, you gotta ask the reporter what’s next, huh?
The Witness: Holy moly.
Mr. Janis: Can I make a suggestion? Why don’t you just get right to it: How are you doing today?
Mr. Jones: Exactly. How are you doing today?
Marlene “Molly” Ward, RPR
Boise, Idaho
What’s that sound?
The cell phone ring sounded like a duck quacking.
(Phone sounds.)
THE WITNESS: I’m hearing that better more than I hear you right now. I’m sorry.
MR. ATTORNEY: Do you want to hit the mute button or whatever?
THE REPORTER: You killed the duck.
THE WITNESS: I shot the duck.
Sandy Hancock, RPR
O’Fallon, Mo.

I don’t even know what to say about this other than these donuts are so good they affect our ability to spell.

Q. But I want to also point out that if you turn the page to page 4 of the return, which is denoted as Schedule K, as in Krispy — Kreme, I’m sorry.
Laurie Collins, RPR
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Listening skills
Q. BY MR. JONES: Tell me about how that conversation went.
A. I told him she shouldn’t be doing our taxes, and he said it’s easy, we just send her everything and she does it. I said she still shouldn’t be doing them, because I didn’t want anything to do with her.
Q. But he kept doing it?
A. Of course. Do men listen? No.

MR. SMITH: Yes, we do, for the record.
Doreen Sutton, RPR
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Technical terms
Q. If I were to ask you how long it took me to eat dinner last night, would you be able to tell me that approximately?
A. 15 minutes.
Q. So you can approximate that, but if I was to ask you, you wouldn’t know, you’d be guessing. Do you understand?
A. 30 minutes.
Q. No, how much time I was eating dinner last night, not you.
A. You, 30 minutes.
Q. All right. How would you know how long I had dinner for yesterday?
A. Because my husband reads the newspaper and he takes 30 minutes.
Q. No, how much time I was eating dinner last night, not you.
Terri L. Ochipinti, RPR
Mount Holly, N.J.

Deposition horrors!

JCR publications share buttonIn honor of Halloween, JD Supra Business Advisor posted a blog on Oct. 27 that features several humorous horror stories from the deposition room. The blog was written by Suzanne Quinson of Planet Depos.

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