Friday, April 30, 2010

When life gives you lemons, appeal until you get lemonade and vodka

“I have nothing further…”

Once those words were echoed yesterday, I was 100% confident that I had just won a defense verdict. Then the verdict came back.

And I lost. Big time.

This case was a he said vs. he said that was going to be won or lost on the credibility of the parties. The Defendant (my client) was solid. He presented his story, held up on cross and delivered a solid account with every prior statement he had given.

The Plaintiff on the other hand had a wicked case of the I-make-sh**-up’s.

My belief is that the Plaintiff’s lawyer got him infected with this fatal disease. The Plaintiff’s direct examination was too well rehearsed and the details created were damning to my case, but not unbelievable enough to raise the red flags with the fact finder. Out come the photos of the scene and the Plaintiff’s deposition transcript and solid impeachment spews forth from my mouth.

The Plaintiff’s testimony at trial and the deposition were at major odds with each other. The Plaintiff’s testimony at trial was at odds with the photographic evidence. The Plaintiff’s testimony at trial was at odds with common sense, physics and human nature. The Plaintiff was pissed off at me as I hammered him on cross and the general demeanor only got worse as the proceeding progressed.

The Plaintiff was a liar. Simple. Strung up by his glaring inconsistencies and departure from a believable reality, I had him dead to right. And my close put forth these arguments. It was a solid closing arugment and I felt as if I had the courtroom eating out of my hand. The Plaintiff’s rebuttal was weak and scattershot. I had it. I felt it.

Then, as I said above, the verdict came back. My partners don’t understand it. They looked at the evidence, looked at my arguments and reached the same conclusion. The advice was simple: you either have a situation where you needed to work harder or needed to go drink. I was pointed to the bar.

Oh well. Time to get back on the horse.