Articles Posted in Lawyers

copier.jpgAs a Georgia Civil Lawyer I’ve taken hundreds of depositions, but it has been a long time since I’ve read a transcript as entertaining as what I recently read in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. The deposition was taken in a case filed by title companies against Cuyahoga County in Northern Ohio. At issue in the case is whether deeds and other documents at the county recorder’s office should be made readily available at a reasonable cost.

Below is an excerpt from the deposition transcript of the head of information technology for a county office. The plaintiff’s lawyer wanted to know whether the county recorder’s office had a photocopier. According to the Plain-Dealer it took nearly 10 pages of court transcript to figure that out. I imagine the Plaintiff’s lawyer needed several aspirin after this line of questioning was completed.

Plaintiff’s lawyer: During your tenure in the computer department at the Recorder’s office, has the Recorder’s office had photocopying machines?

Defense lawyer: Objection.

PL: Any photocopying machine?

Witness: When you say “photocopying machine,” what do you mean?

PL: Let me be — let me make sure I understand your question. You don’t have an understanding of what a photocopying machine is?

Witness: No. I want to make sure that I answer your question correctly.

DL: Dave, I’ll object to the tone of the question. You make it sound like it’s unbelievable to you that he wouldn’t know what the definition of a photocopy machine is.

PL: I didn’t ask him to define it. I asked him if he had any.

Witness: When you say “photocopying machine,” what do you mean?

PL: Let me be clear. The term “photocopying machine” is so ambiguous that you can’t picture in your mind what a photocopying machine is in an office setting?

Witness: I just want to make sure I answer your question correctly.

PL: Well, we’ll find out. If you can say yes or no, I can do follow-ups, but it seems — if you really don’t know in an office setting what a photocopying machine is, I’d like the Ohio Supreme Court to hear you say so.

Witness: I just want to make sure I answer your question correctly.

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GeorgeTSmith.jpgLast night the Cobb County Bar and State Bar of Georgia lost a true legal legend, George T. Smith. He was one of the first lawyers to welcome me to the bar when I arrived in Marietta as a baby lawyer, over a decade ago. George T. was in his early 80s then and an active member of the bar. He was humble, pleasant, and sharp as a razor.

Known as one of the most versatile men in Georgia politics, George T. had one of the most impressive legal resumes imaginable having served at the highest levels of all three branches of government; Georgia Supreme Court Justice, former Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, and Lieutenant Governor. He died last night at age 93. According to his law partner, Tom Browning, George T. was still practicing law until six weeks ago and last year he tried a jury trial. He truly was an inspiring figure.

As a practicing personal injury attorney, I can attest that truth is often stranger than fiction. A recent example is the fascinating story about the personal crusade of a California lawyer dentist determined to convince the world President Obama was born somewhere other than Hawaii. Her name is Orly Taitz, DDS, Esq. Last year year she filed a restraining order in U.S. District Court, Middle District of Georgia, to prevent her client, Capt. Connie Rhodes, a U.S. Army physician, from being deployed to Iraq. Apparently, Dr. Taitz’s argument is Obama is illegally serving as President and does not have the authority to deploy American troops.

As one might expect, Taitz’s argument was not well received by U.S. District Judge Clay Land and her case was dismissed. In response to Judge Land’s ruling Taitz publicly declared his decision “an act of treason” and filed a motion for a rehearing. Probably not a wise move. The Judge dimissed the motion and ordered Taitz to pay $20,000 in sanctions stating: “Counsel’s pattern of conduct conclusively establishes that she did not mistakenly violate a provision of law. She knowingly violated Rule 11. Her response to the Court’s show cause order is breathtaking in its arrogance and borders on delusional.”

Taitz appealed the sanctions order all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. On Monday, August 16th, the Supreme Court rejected her application without comment. Personally, I think she is lucky that she is only facing $20,000 in sanctions for her conduct in this case. If she enjoys practicing law, she would be wise to pay the fine and move on, but we shall see.

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