Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Barrister’s Toolbox Hits 100,000 Views… Thanks to All Who Have Patronized This Site!

I write this blawg (blog) as a labor of love with gratitude for the privilege to pursue my dream job as a trial attorney. I have handled all sorts of cases involving misdemeanors to ones seeking the death penalty. I have been blessed to handle civil rights claims, class actions, along with personal injury claims from small monetary values to ones in the millions.

I have learned that there are no small cases. Every case is the most important case you are handling for that client. I have gained more from my failures, than my successes. Nothing focuses your mind like a loss… so thanks for the loses. They made me a better attorney. My goal every day is to be the best attorney I can and to hopefully be better than the day before.

I have tried my share of cases over the last three plus decades. I have attempted to share some of the lessons I have learned along the way. Hopefully, it will help you as you move forward with your career.

If you read this and have any thoughts or questions you would like to share please post below.

I hope you all have a blessed holiday season and thanks again for reading by blawg.

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Misbehaving and Dealing with the Same During a Deposition

Depositions are legal proceedings which are not typically officiated by a court officer. During such affairs attorneys can behave quite badly. Such behavior can range from simple rudeness to conduct that borders on criminal conduct such as threats of bodily harm or emotional charges to go outside and handle the matter like a man. Needless to say, you don’t want to be that guy. Only the trial court can legally terminate a deposition for abusive conduct by an attorney. Rule 30(d)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a party may move to terminate or limit a deposition “on the ground that it is being conducted in bad faith or in a manner that unreasonably annoys, embarrasses or oppresses the deponent or party.” If the deposition is terminated you must immediately seek the trial court’s assistance and approval.

This not a course to chart unless it is justified. You and you client can be subject to sanctions and even disciplinary action for improperly terminating a deposition. See Rule of Professional Conduct 3.4. If you guess wrong and do not terminate the deposition properly, you can be responsible for paying the other party’s attorney fees. Smith v. Logansport School Corp., 139 F.R.D. 637 (N.D. Ind. 1991). Here is a famous example of things going south during a deposition courtesy of YouTube:

https://youtu.be/ZIxmrvbMeKc

So be ready if abusive behavior occurs during a deposition. Act quickly and wisely… and remember don’t be that guy.

An Unforeseen Value to Loss of Consortium Claims in Selecting a Jury.

As a Plaintiff’s attorney you want to identify jurors who will refuse to follow the Court’s instructions directing the grant of money damages for pain and suffering. I inadvertently found something that is even more polarizing and controversial than claims for such intangible losses… Loss of consortium!

I was picking jury in a rural county and questioned jurors about our claim for loss of services, love and affection . My concern was that religious jurors might feel that when you marry someone it is for “better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or health till death do you part” thereby disqualifying them for monetary compensation. I was also concerned that other people may consider it double dipping since the injured spouse would recover for interference with the marital relationship as part of their claim for loss of enjoyment of life.

To my surprise and the court’s, there were so many jurors who stated they could not follow the law on this point and were unable to fairly consider such a claim, that we nearly ran out of jurors to empanel.

So include a claim for loss of consortium when supported by the evidence. It may be your best barometer for finding and eliminating for cause, jurors who cannot follow their oath and fairly compensate your client and their spouse for all their harms and losses.

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