"I am a personal injury attorney.
One time, I had a lady who needed back surgery after her wreck. All the doctors said she didn't need it before an 18-wheeler wrecked into her, but that she needed it after. It was a multilevel cervical discectomy (removing the soft tissues from between the vertebrae in the back of her neck), and it was going to leave her unable to work for the rest of her life due to all her restrictions.
My client repeatedly swore that she had never had a neck problem prior to the car wreck. The defense lawyer found records from 12 years prior where she had been treated by a doctor due to neck pain for two years and sprung them on her at trial. My client's reaction was, 'that's a lie! that's not me!' even though the records had her name, birth date, and social security number.
The jury came back and gave her $0, despite the fact that wreck was the fault of an 18-wheeler driver. When I talked to the jury after the case, they said, 'We just couldn't allow money in our verdict for someone who would lie under oath like that.'
If my client had simply told me that she had prior treatment on her neck, so long ago, it would not have been a big deal. All the doctors agreed that she needed the surgery because of the wreck. That case would have been worth more than a million dollars in future medical care and future lost earnings."
"One of the attorneys/doctors that lectures at our school told us that people in pain generally look like it. They don't put on make-up, get really dressed up, etc. Stories:
1. He was representing one woman who was in an auto accident suing for pain/back injuries, and he told her to dress 'casual' to the deposition and not to where the six-inch heels she normally wears. She showed up to the deposition in the heels and her case got thrown out because how can you wear such high heels when you are claiming your back hurts.
2. An expert witness who was a doctor was testifying in a deposition that plaintiff sustained knee injuries, my doctor/lawyer teacher was part of the defense and straight up asked the other doctor: 'Sir, I see on your wall that you graduated from John Hopkins in 1968.' Doctor: 'Yes' Attorney: 'So you haven't had an orthopedic residency since 1967 or worked in that field since then?' Doctor: 'no' Attorney: 'So you aren't qualified to be an expert in orthopedics?' Doctor: 'no.' Case dismissed.
3. One attorney was questioning a witness and straight up asked them in court, 'Mrs. isn't it true that you were nervous to testify today because you have lied throughout this whole case?' Witness: 'Yes'
4. Another doctor in a medical malpractice case removed a non-cancerous body part from a child, knew beforehand it was not malignant and testified on the record that he would have removed the (body part) even if the parents had not given their permission. The jury found for the parents."
"In a personal injury case, a claimant was going for permanent total disability because he injured his back on the job, and was apparently unable to walk without assistance or use any of his limbs with any amount of power or dexterity.
If the guy won the PTD, he'd get tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars from his employer the rest of his life. A week before the trial, my dad, who was representing his employer, got a vague tip from one this guy's coworkers (apparently the claimant was not well liked) to 'watch jeopardy tonight.'
So that night he tuned in and lo and behold, the claimant was a contestant. And he's winning! So this guy, who claims to be permanently disabled, is jumping around in celebration and waving his arms around on national television.
My dad, never one to pass up a zinger opportunity, called the attorney representing the claimant the next day and told him they'd settle the case out of court for $50, or he could ask his client if he wanted to 'spin the wheel.' Opposing counsel was pretty indignant until he repeated this offer to his client.
They took the $50 settlement."
"This happened when I was in law school observing court cases. A man (client) was attempting to sue his attorney for the return of the attorney's fees alleging that his representation was not a good attorney.
Necessary backstory: Said attorney had gotten the client off for child abuse case on a technicality - basically a huge win for the client. The client is upset and doesn't want to pay because the attorney didn't put the client on the stand to defend himself. 1) The client didn't need to due to the technicality the attorney found, and 2) The attorney knew the client would perjure himself because of things the client said to the attorney beforehand.
Back to the case- client keeps asking the attorney (who is on the stand) why he wouldn't let him testify in the previous case and attorney keeps saying that he cannot answer that question because of attorney-client privilege and answering could put his entire career in jeopardy. After about 20 of these repeated questions - the judge asks the client if he wants to waive this privilege so the attorney can answer his question and informs the client of the risks involved. Client says yes, and the attorney proceeds to tell the entire story along with the gruesome details (it was some horrible stuff).
Result: The judge awards full attorney's fees to the attorney, and now that this information is on the public record, the DA can use the testimony against the client for other charges not previously charged. I felt bad for the attorney, as he was a great guy in a bad situation (got to speak to him afterward about what he thought about the whole deal -- essentially it was his greatest mistake and biggest regret of his life, but he believed in the 'process' of a fair trial). I never did find out whether the client was charged - but I hoped/still hope it happened and he got what he deserved."
"When I was a law student, I worked in a criminal defense clinic.
We got assigned clients who were in deep, deep trouble and couldn't afford lawyers.
This guy was in serious trouble. He was a gangbanger and was up on charges for RICO violations and several murders. The FBI had wiretapped him and videotaped him talking about murders and running illegal substances.
We convinced him to cooperate with the government to go after the bigger fish. He made a statement to the government admitting to murders, admitting to trafficking and admitting to the racketeering activities. If he agreed to testify against the higher-ups, he would have gotten out in like 20 years. Not bad for a dude that murdered people.
The gang members must have gotten to him because he suddenly decided he would stop cooperating with the government and wanted a trial. He was tried and convicted along with all of his gang members that he ratted out.
Life in prison with no possibility of parole.
What an idiot."
"I had a client in jail awaiting trial on kidnapping charges. About a month before trial, my client sends a letter (through intermediaries) threatening the victim as well as anyone that helps them.
This was after the client was instructed numerous times that other than me, there was not to be any communication in any way with anyone about the case.
The prison listens in on all calls to inmates and reads all outgoing mail. Needless to say, the letters were intercepted and new charges of witness intimidation were filed. Prior to this, the client had a pretty decent case.
Several months later, the client did it again."
"Man, there's a lot of examples.
1) Openly talking about illegal substances sales on their home phone after they had already been arrested by the FBI for the same thing. These geniuses lived in a mobile home out in the middle of nowhere. The cops installed a pole next to their house and put a camera on it. Aimed it right at the house. They did not stop using the phone or selling the substances out of their house. Total morons.
2) Being incredibly sloppy on their cell phones. Do not talk about illegal substances, do not text about illegal substances. Do not think your codewords will work. Nobody ever paid $180 an ounce for green beans (real-life example).
3) Reacting to getting arrested by treating the cops like they are your parents. No, coming clean won't shave a week off your grounding, so maybe you can go to prom. It's going to ensure a conviction and make sure you have no leverage at all.
4) Believing that the reason I'm telling them to take the plea deal is not that they have taken every conceivable step to screw themselves, it's because I'm a moron. If they had a real attorney, he'd pull some 'Law & Order'/'How to Get Away With Murder' shenanigans and get you off in spite of the fact you did it on video, you confessed to it, and your friends are ratting you out. No, you screwed yourself, own up to it and do what you can to mitigate the damage. You ain't getting probation for a ten-year mandatory minimum. If you listen to me I can get you three years instead of 12, but you need to do what I say."
"I'm not a lawyer, but when I went to go live with my dad, we went to court to say I was now living with him and cease child support to my mom. When my mother got the notice in the mail, she flipped out, saying she needed the money and how terrible my dad and I were being to her. Because we were states apart, she was able to 'appear' in court through a conference call. Knowing how her mind works, I think she thought if she didn't answer the phone then my dad would have to keep paying her. When the call went to voicemail, my dad and I exchanged a glance and the judge was annoyed (he's dealt with my mom before on child support matters, and she already made a negative impression). He noted that she had failed to appear in court, and ceased support payments then and there.
And then my dad and I celebrated with frittatas."
"I had a client that admitted to the crime he was accused of over the jail phone which, for those of you who don't know, is recorded.
He had been maintaining his innocence up until that point, and there was a good chance he'd be acquitted since the prosecutor didn't have much of a case until he ran his mouth. We were ready to go to trial and everything.
What makes it even dumber is that he'd been to jail numerous times beforehand and knew his calls were recorded. The jail phone even tells you the calls are recorded before you make the call. I had to plead him out to 10 years since he was facing 25-to-life."
"Not a lawyer, but my mom was in a pretty bad car accident five years ago in which the driver of the other car ran a red light and t-boned my mom's car (totaled). She was expected to get a decent settlement given her injuries and psychological complications, but between the time of the accident and her deposition, she was involved in a fender bender in which the driver in the car behind her was fully stopped at a red light and turned around to quiet his screaming kid and accidentally released the brake pedal and rolled and barely nudged my mom's car.
My mom, apparently not having her hunger for attention satiated by everyone close to her, let it slip at the deposition that she was the victim of two car accidents. They basically discredited her defense with the 'How do we know all your pain wasn't caused by the second accident?' counterargument. Five years and multiple hearings later, she still hasn't seen a dime and is still convinced that she will. I personally think she screwed herself out of a settlement."
"Not my client, but a case I've seen:
A couple is separating. They've got a house together and three kids. Both lawyers have worked hard to try to get an agreement about who will have the house, where the kids will live, etc. They were making progress until the wife made some bad decisions.
Bad move number one: During a discussion between wife and husband about dividing the assets and a payout for the house, wife attempts to murder husband.
After getting out of the hospital, the husband (recovering from wounds) remains in the house with the children. The wife gets out on bail but is required to stay away from husband and house. She doesn't want children living with husband, thinks he is a danger to them.
Bad move number two: Wife calls the power company and asks them to shut off power to the home.
Husband finds out when power company leaves a hanger on the door notifying that power will be shut off in two days and to call the power company if they want to change this. Nothing says 'I'm looking out for my children's best interest,' quite like having their power disconnected."
"Not a lawyer (yet) but just this summer in Maryland a guy decided to take his sure thing acquittal and toss it out the window.
In this area of Maryland stealing cars from gas stations is popular, and this exactly is what our criminal did. He stole some woman's car while she was pumping gas. Shortly thereafter when police are talking to the woman at the same gas station the thief drives right by in the stolen car as she's describing it, so she just points at it and says 'that's actually it right there.' The two officers on scene decide to chase him.
The problem is, their department's policies only allow chases in very limited circumstances: generally armed crimes are the only way to get to chase a suspect. Car theft is not one of the excuses to initiate a chase, so the officers are breaking their own self-imposed rules.
Our thief leads this cruiser on a chase down the highway, zipping between cars until the cruiser swerves to avoid another car, flips, throws the driver from the vehicle and kills him. The thief is eventually caught, but with evidence showing that the officers engaged in a chase they weren't allowed to begin the guy was set to get off, because all he had done was steal a car and commit some reckless driving offenses that were only going to get him like six months, which he had basically served by the date of trial.
But rather than get away with it, our thief decided to write a letter to his friend from jail asking him to kill a witness he thought might help convict him. I sat in the courtroom just facepalming as the prosecutor read from the letter. The thief went from time served to 15 years with a single sheet of paper."
"Not me but I was in court early in the morning, and this one guy was there to see if the Judge would end his probation term early. Dude had one problem though, he was hammered! He appeared fine, but when he walked up to the podium, he was clearly slurring his words. They made him do a breathalyzer test on the spot and he a blew a .29 in front of the judge and also had a half-pint in his pocket. What's also crazy is that it was like 8 a.m. The judge had him locked up right then and there."
"Probably everything that my mom did during my parent's divorce.
I was staying with my dad because my mom had been mentally and physically abusive towards me, which was the main cause of their divorce.
She and her best friend made a fake call to CPS and claimed that my dad was abusing me. That went over well.
After she started pretending to be nice and I started driving, I started visiting her once in a while. One day she stole my keys, purse, and phone and beat me and said that I was never going to get out of her house. So I ran a mile through the woods and made it to a church, where I used their phone to call my dad. When he knocked on her door to get my belongings, she attacked him. She was arrested for child abuse and domestic violence.
When my dad got a girlfriend, my mom found out where she lived and sat in her driveway for over an hour, with her two friends in the car, trying to get them to come outside and repeatedly honking the horn. Cops were called again.
My dad ended up giving her whatever she wanted so the nonsense would stop. It was wearing on my little brother and me because she constantly tried to use us as tools against him. She got the house and a lot of money from him, but my dad didn't care as long as he didn't have to see her anymore."
"My parents got divorced about ten years ago. Before that, they both ran a successful company, but my mom did all the work while my dad just played the CEO role and spent the cash. My dad ended up getting caught sleeping with multiple men and women during the marriage. To avoid responsibility for his actions, he claimed insanity and even stabbed himself. During the divorce, he claimed to be responsible for half of the companies revenue. The judge sided with my mom because he wouldn't allow my dad to claim insanity and be a successful CEO at the same time."
"I was involved in a custody case where the father was attempting to get custody from his baby mama. Mother appeared at a hearing a week prior to the final hearing where custody was to be decided. Mother testified that she had a job (didn't), her car was 'in the shop' (we knew it had been repossessed), and was moving into a new home (had previously been living on a friend's couch with the child). We spent the next week getting affidavits that the car was repossessed and the owner's home she was attempting to rent had never heard of her and that she wasn't likely to be getting the job she claimed to as it required special licensing that she didn't have.
The mother then no-showed for the final hearing so the father won full custody and everything he'd asked for (limited visitation for mother and no geographic restrictions on his residence). Then as icing on the cake, the judge ruled that since the mother had testified to having a job, she'd now be paying the father child support (extremely rare in my state)."
"Not a lawyer, but over the summer I interned at a forensic accounting firm in the litigation department where I would sit in on arbitrations. One time, there was a dispute between a famous author and an accounting firm she contracted to investigate some of her missing assets. Well, until her deposition, she was winning the case and it was substantially leaning in her favor. And then she talked. She was crazy; couldn't give a straight answer to anything, to the point where the opposing lawyer specifically asked the arbitrator if allowed, and then asked the author if she could please just answer in yes or no answers. This would normally not be allowed as it limits her responses, but she wouldn't answer questions and would instead go on forever telling her story of what she thought was going on, that the arbitrator allowed it. She had a story she wanted to tell, and used every question to try and tell it, no matter how unrelated it was. It went a little like this:
Lawyer: 'Miss Crazy, did you read the contract agreement and sign it in your contracting of the accounting firm?'
Miss Crazy: 'Well you see, I've worked really hard, and I've gotten a lot of money and investments and I was looking into these accounts and noticed the money is missing, and when I looked into it, I found blah blah blah.'
Completely shot herself in the foot, instead of winning all money demanded, she lost and had to pay from a counter lawsuit."
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