06 March 2008

Bad Behavior In Depositions

In non-criminal cases, witnesses are often asked questions under oath in an office away from a court house. This is called a deposition. A recent case is an extreme example of bad behavior by a witness, Aaron Wider, at a deposition and his lawyer, Joseph Ziccardi, Esq. For example, this testimony by the witness (on videotape in front of a court reporter taking dictation):

Q. [T]his is your loan file, what do Mr. and Mrs.
Fitzgerald do for a living?
A. I don’t know. Open it up and find it.
Q. Look at your loan file and tell me.
A. Open it up and find it. I’m not your fucking
Q. Take a look at your loan application.
A. Do it yourself. Do it yourself. You want to do
this in front of a judge. Would you prefer to
[do] this in front of a judge? Then, shut the
fuck up.
Q. Sir, take a look--
A. I’m taking a break. Fuck him. You open up the
document. You want me to look at something, you
get the document out. Earn your fucking money
asshole. Isn’t the law wonderful. Better get
used to it. You’ll retire when I’m done.

The judge observes that in 12 hours of a deposition:

Wider used the word “fuck” and variants thereof no less than 73 times. To put this in perspective--in this commercial case, where GMAC’s claim is for breach of contract and HTFC’s counterclaim is for tortious interference with contract--the word “contract” and variants thereof were used only 14 times.

The judge also notes that the lawyer's conduct in the case "violated several Rules of Professional Conduct."

No comments: