Isaiah 3:13 13 The LORD takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people.
Tom and I spent a few days out of town this week for our anniversary (22 years!), and we ate at Cracker Barrel on the way. I cannot eat at Cracker Barrel without remembering one of the craziest depositions I ever took. I was excited to do this deposition because it was a new client, a really nice young attorney we used to go to church with. Turned out this was his first deposition, which he tells me kind of nervously before the depo begins. I assured him that he would do great, may have even told him about actually throwing up during my first deposition, so he certainly couldn’t top that experience! He laughed, and the opposing attorney brings his client in, and the deposition begins.
I had noticed the young attorney had a neatly-typed outline before him, which is crucial for most attorneys, but certainly unseasoned one who don’t want to forget something or lose their train of thought. He starts out with the quintessential first question: “State your name, please.” The witness says, “Well, you want my name I go by now or the name my mama named me or the second name they gave me when the courthouse burnt down?” Well, even for me, with 20 years under my belt at that point, that was a new one. The young lawyer says, “Well, I’m not sure. I guess the name your mama gave you.” The witness starts down this trail of how he got his name at birth, then when he was four years old, the courthouse burned down and he had to get a new birth certificate, so they decided to name him after a relative, Uncle So-In-So because he was so successful in business (then we heard all about his business), and then when he got older, he decided he wanted to go by a different name.
No lie, this answer went on for FIVE full pages. I had never had this happen before, and as I look over at the lawyer, he has this deer-in-the-headlights look. The witness finally winds down, ready for the next question, and the lawyer goes back to his outline. Next question is address, followed by some background information like high school, work history, that type of thing. You know, the usual in every deposition. About three background questions in, this deponent decides he’s going to take control of this deposition. He says he doesn’t need to answer these questions because it has nothing to do with all that junk that Cracker Barrel had sitting around, and he wasn’t there to talk about himself – he wanted to talk about Cracker Barrel and how they injured his wife.
This kind young lawyer tries gently to get him to continue on the normal way, and his own lawyer even told him that “It’s just background – don’t worry, we’ll get there.” He balks at this and will barely give any information, which is totally frustrating the questioner. Not only is he giving little information, he is actually fighting about almost every answer. Finally, the lawyer gives up and heads to the day of “the incident.” He says, “Let’s talk about the day of your wife’s accident. What were you doing that day before you came to Cracker Barrel?” By then, this deponent has had it. He practically screams, “What in the world does it matter what we were doing that day? None of that has anything to do with the fact that you cannot walk into a Cracker Barrel without tripping over all that junk you guys want to put everywhere when all we wanted to do was come and eat. I don’t know why you’re wasting your time asking me these questions when if you hadn’t had that quilt rack where it was and that quilt hanging over so you couldn’t see the legs of that thing, none of this would have happened! Do I need to ask these questions for you?”
The lawyer tries to peel back to his question so he can stay with his outline. I mean, his order had already been blown way out of the water, but if he couldn’t keep control on the actual details of the accident, he was going to be in trouble. He explains that he will get to the actual incident, but that he needs to get the background so he can lay a foundation. The man just continues on and on and on, arguing and fussing and wanting to tell his story. I mean, it just wouldn’t stop. I cannot remember all the details, but about halfway in, I was spurting laughter, trying my best not to, but it was just impossible. The plaintiff’s attorney was Mike Ranson, and he was literally laughing out loud. I kind of thought during the whole thing that this would probably be about like trying to take my father’s deposition – he’s a storyteller, and sometimes he can get off on a yarn…
I hate to admit that as the day went on, I laughed out loud more than once, and literally wrote this young attorney an apology note for my behavior. I just could not help it. This man’s wife had tripped on a quilt rack, and he just couldn’t stop with the mantra of “If you didn’t have all this junk in the way and allowed people to just get into your restaurant to eat, none of this would have happened!” At the end of the day, this poor attorney looked like he had been run over by a train – well, a run-away witness of the likes I had never seen before nor since. And now I cannot walk into a Cracker Barrel without thinking he was probably right, and he sure gave this new attorney a story to tell about his first deposition. I think it beats my story of throwing up, actually…
The moral of the story is: Every day is an adventure to be enjoyed – sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow. And you’ll be happy to know the young lawyer is now a seasoned professional who manages a very successful law firm, so it all ends well. Enjoy those storytellers in your life, and make sure that God knows your name (you know, the one your mama gave you and the new one you got after the courthouse burned down and the one you like to go by….)
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.