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11479 clicks; posted to Main » on 03 May 2014 at 9:44 AM (19 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-05-03 09:53:09 AM
I loved this case when it was going on.
 
2014-05-03 09:54:01 AM
farm4.staticflickr.com
 
2014-05-03 09:58:47 AM
I really hope the Times (or anyone) will continue this sort of series. Comedy drawn from real life and every day people and events. It's fantastic.
 
2014-05-03 09:58:58 AM
Oh my god that was hilarious. It reminds me of my parents' divorce case.
 
2014-05-03 09:59:15 AM
Okay that was funnier than I thought.

/bonus: case was 2 counties to the north
 
2014-05-03 10:01:11 AM
Ha what a racket.
 
2014-05-03 10:02:09 AM
I sent this to my father last week, who sent it to my police officer uncle. He called me crying with tears of laughter, said it reminded him of most his time as a beat cop, both being deposed and trying to talk to suspects.
 
2014-05-03 10:03:29 AM
Obstructionist asshat.  I'm glad the court ordered him to provide CDs full of digital documents at $1 each.
 
2014-05-03 10:04:34 AM
Meh. I can see why he was careful on answering the question.
 
2014-05-03 10:04:44 AM
Reminds me of Mamet.
 
2014-05-03 10:05:48 AM
It was a little too "shouty". I don't imagine too many depositions have a lawyer literally telling for 10's of minutes. It was a little overwrought acting-wise.
 
2014-05-03 10:05:55 AM

Cheesehead_Dave:


I had those and it was exactly what I thought of, too. Memories of the Apple II+
 
2014-05-03 10:07:08 AM
Yelling
 
2014-05-03 10:08:36 AM
"if you feel stupid it's not because i'm making you feel that way."
 
2014-05-03 10:19:17 AM

jbrooks544: It was a little too "shouty". I don't imagine too many depositions have a lawyer literally telling for 10's of minutes. It was a little overwrought acting-wise.


I don't know about depositions, but I was in court as a witness to a robbery and the defense lawyer was pretty aggressive and shouty with me. Of course, that came back to bite him. If you don't know what the answer to a question you keep hammering on about will be, don't ask it.
 
2014-05-03 10:20:16 AM

jbrooks544: It was a little too "shouty". I don't imagine too many depositions have a lawyer literally telling for 10's of minutes. It was a little overwrought acting-wise.


While true, I can assure you they are screaming on the inside. This is more like how lawyers wish they could talk to witnesses.
 
2014-05-03 10:30:29 AM
You are all doomed. Resume snacking.
 
2014-05-03 10:30:39 AM

TheWhoppah: Obstructionist asshat.  I'm glad the court ordered him to provide CDs full of digital documents at $1 each.



He's in IT.  Perhaps he's autistic or Aspie and takes things very literally?

Or perhaps he's a moran who's only heard the term "Xerox" instead of "photocopy", and is therefore unfamiliar with the term "photocopy"?
 
2014-05-03 10:36:47 AM

sarahthustra: "if you feel stupid it's not because i'm making you feel that way."


Yeah, that line was pure win.

odinsposse: jbrooks544: It was a little too "shouty". I don't imagine too many depositions have a lawyer literally telling for 10's of minutes. It was a little overwrought acting-wise.

While true, I can assure you they are screaming on the inside. This is more like how lawyers wish they could talk to witnesses.


This, and really, it spans for mankind in general.  It's infuriating when for whatever reason people make things ten million times as difficult as they need be.
 
2014-05-03 10:50:12 AM
Stop linking paywalls, subs.
 
2014-05-03 10:56:26 AM

Shadi: Meh. I can see why he was careful on answering the question.


Sure but at the end he names the machine "Xerox" which sort of reveals he was just being an obstructionist asshat.
 
2014-05-03 10:58:10 AM
This is when you realize that a D.A. really could get a Grand Jury to indict a ham sandwich
 
2014-05-03 11:01:01 AM
I've been through depositions (aka examination for discovery) a few times and the trick is always to answer as little as possible (yes or no is preferred), and to make absolutely sure what the questioner is asking. A good lawyer will ask deliberately ambiguously questions in order to draw additional information from you. As painful as it seems to ask someone to clarify what they mean by "photo copy machine" he was no doubt instructed to not answer until he was given a clear definition of what they meant by the term. Plus it really pisses off inexperienced attorneys and throws them off their game.
 
2014-05-03 11:06:01 AM

TheWhoppah: Shadi: Meh. I can see why he was careful on answering the question.

Sure but at the end he names the machine "Xerox" which sort of reveals he was just being an obstructionist asshat.



Not necessarily.  The guy may not be that bright.  The way "Band-aid" is the go-to word for any self-adhesive bandage, "Xerox" is commonly used in place of the word "photocopy."  If everyone in the office uses "Xerox" as the verb, the guy may not have any exposure to the word "photocopy".
 
2014-05-03 11:15:11 AM

FizixJunkee: TheWhoppah: Shadi: Meh. I can see why he was careful on answering the question.

Sure but at the end he names the machine "Xerox" which sort of reveals he was just being an obstructionist asshat.


Not necessarily.  The guy may not be that bright.  The way "Band-aid" is the go-to word for any self-adhesive bandage, "Xerox" is commonly used in place of the word "photocopy."  If everyone in the office uses "Xerox" as the verb, the guy may not have any exposure to the word "photocopy".


I doubt it.  My take was that he had been carefully instructed by his lawyer not to answer affirmatively to that question.  So he was trying to get the other lawyer to define the term "photocopy" narrowly enough that he could say no to the question.
 
2014-05-03 11:18:03 AM
I don't know what can or can't be asked in a deposition, but why not ask the guy if he's ever had to copy documents and ask him how he does that, what machines he uses.

I understand wanting to be cautious in a deposition, but this also seemed like a strategy to waste dollars and run out the clock (limited time and expense of a deposition). Since it was a gov employee employing that strategy, I say fark him.
 
2014-05-03 11:22:32 AM
That's exactly it.  The county's lawyer had prepped this guy to the point where he was not going to answer any question.
 
2014-05-03 11:24:20 AM

bmr68: This is when you realize that a D.A. really could get a Grand Jury to indict a ham sandwich


That sandwich was shifty-looking!
 
2014-05-03 11:35:36 AM

Troy McClure: That's exactly it.  The county's lawyer had prepped this guy to the point where he was not going to answer any question.


And his stating the brand of the machine was the ace pulled at the last moment.  Xerox is used as common parlance for photocopy machines of all types and brands by office people, but doesn't work for the guy asking the questions.  Touché, your move lawyer man.
 
2014-05-03 11:37:35 AM

XveryYpettyZ: I doubt it. My take was that he had been carefully instructed by his lawyer not to answer affirmatively to that question. So he was trying to get the other lawyer to define the term "photocopy" narrowly enough that he could say no to the question.


I can almost guarantee that's what was going on.  You can tell by the lawyer's interference and wording that he was pushing in that direction and had schooled the guy what not to answer.
 
2014-05-03 11:42:44 AM

olomana: Reminds me of Mamet.


Acute.
 
2014-05-03 11:45:51 AM
I'd love to hear the take from the actual person who did that deposition.  It had to be frustrating as hell.
 
2014-05-03 11:50:42 AM
I think the definition of "photocopier" needs to either evolve or be strictly qualified to Xerox-type machines, because a lot of devices these days are capable of duplicating an image. They have scanning wands that you can run over a book page, store the page digitally and then send it to a wireless printer. Should that count as "photocopying?"
 
2014-05-03 11:53:53 AM
Very, very funny.
 
2014-05-03 11:58:12 AM
That is some Coen brothers stuff right there.
 
2014-05-03 12:23:12 PM
John Ennis. Brilliant.
 
2014-05-03 12:25:27 PM
Wasn't this done with the Proposition 8 appeals trial as well? I'm on mobile or I'd find it and link it.

/had big stars in it too, I think
 
2014-05-03 12:50:04 PM
Back in the day I used to be a trial lawyer.  I have taken literally hundreds of depositions.  You'd be surprised how often people try the "I don't understand what [totally common word] means."  Here's how I dealt with it:
Q:  Do you have any photocopy machines?
A: What do you mean by photocopy machine.
Q:  Are you seriously asking me what the definition of a photocopy machine is?
A: I just want to make sure I answer your question properly and understand it.
Q:  Sure.  Okay.  Let's do it this way.  Were you born in America.
A: Uh, yes, but I don't see what that has to do with this.
Q: Did you speak English growing up?  Is English your first language.
A: Yes.
Q: How old are you?
A: 45
Q:  So you've been speaking English for more than 40 years, right?
A: I guess so.
Q:  So that'd be about 14,000 to 15,000 days, right?
A: I guess.  I don't have a calculator.
Q:  In those fourteen to fifteen thousand days, did you ever, even once, hear the term "photocopy machine"?
A: I'm sure I have.
Q:  And what does that term, "photocopy machine" mean to you?
A: I guess it depends on the context or how it's being used.
Q:  Well, tell me your definition of it.  Pretend like you're on a game show or taking a quiz and are asked to define "photocopy machine" the way that term is used in everyday American English.  What would you say?
A: [gives some rambling definition]
Q:  Okay.  Using that definition of "photocopy machine," let me ask:  Do you have a photocopy machine in your office?
 
2014-05-03 12:53:17 PM

RoyBatty: I don't know what can or can't be asked in a deposition, but why not ask the guy if he's ever had to copy documents and ask him how he does that, what machines he uses.

I understand wanting to be cautious in a deposition, but this also seemed like a strategy to waste dollars and run out the clock (limited time and expense of a deposition). Since it was a gov employee employing that strategy, I say fark him.


I assume you didn't actually watch the video in the article?
 
2014-05-03 01:02:51 PM

ReverendJasen: XveryYpettyZ: I doubt it. My take was that he had been carefully instructed by his lawyer not to answer affirmatively to that question. So he was trying to get the other lawyer to define the term "photocopy" narrowly enough that he could say no to the question.

I can almost guarantee that's what was going on.  You can tell by the lawyer's interference and wording that he was pushing in that direction and had schooled the guy what not to answer.


Yeah, but I can imagine a line of questioning that would obviate that in about two seconds:

I don't know what you mean by photocopy machine.

Okay, do you use a xerox-type machine in the office?

Yes.

Is it a Xerox brand?

Yes. (Or No, it is a Ricoh)

And you make copies of documents on this machine.

Yes.

Nothing further.
 
2014-05-03 01:06:14 PM

ReverendJasen: XveryYpettyZ: I doubt it. My take was that he had been carefully instructed by his lawyer not to answer affirmatively to that question. So he was trying to get the other lawyer to define the term "photocopy" narrowly enough that he could say no to the question.

I can almost guarantee that's what was going on.  You can tell by the lawyer's interference and wording that he was pushing in that direction and had schooled the guy what not to answer.


Of course, at the same time, the questioning lawyer wouldn't define the term he was asking about, even when repeatedly asked. Neither of them ever said what a photocopier was.
 
2014-05-03 01:08:42 PM

Gunboat: Back in the day I used to be a trial lawyer.  I have taken literally hundreds of depositions.  You'd be surprised how often people try the "I don't understand what [totally common word] means."  Here's how I dealt with it:
Q:  Do you have any photocopy machines?
A: What do you mean by photocopy machine.
Q:  Are you seriously asking me what the definition of a photocopy machine is?
A: I just want to make sure I answer your question properly and understand it.
Q:  Sure.  Okay.  Let's do it this way.  Were you born in America.
A: Uh, yes, but I don't see what that has to do with this.
Q: Did you speak English growing up?  Is English your first language.
A: Yes.
Q: How old are you?
A: 45
Q:  So you've been speaking English for more than 40 years, right?
A: I guess so.
Q:  So that'd be about 14,000 to 15,000 days, right?
A: I guess.  I don't have a calculator.
Q:  In those fourteen to fifteen thousand days, did you ever, even once, hear the term "photocopy machine"?
A: I'm sure I have.
Q:  And what does that term, "photocopy machine" mean to you?
A: I guess it depends on the context or how it's being used.
Q:  Well, tell me your definition of it.  Pretend like you're on a game show or taking a quiz and are asked to define "photocopy machine" the way that term is used in everyday American English.  What would you say?
A: [gives some rambling definition]
Q:  Okay.  Using that definition of "photocopy machine," let me ask:  Do you have a photocopy machine in your office?


And then you sit back smugly, proud of your legal training and refusal to let this mook steer your deposition, not realizing you've let him define the term in a way that discounts your argument.
 
2014-05-03 01:11:04 PM
Ever since Martha Stewart got sent to jail for being wrong during an interview I've concluded that you shouldn't talk to anyone. This guy gets it.
 
2014-05-03 01:18:57 PM
Theaetetus: And then you sit back smugly, proud of your legal training and refusal to let this mook steer your deposition, not realizing you've let him define the term in a way that discounts your argument.

No, he (or rather his lawyer) is going to define the term however he wants. Nothing I do can change his definition of the term.

  The approach I use is a no lose.  Remember, this a deposition, not trial, so it's okay if I elicit testimony that wouldn't be helpful.  Depositions are the place for that (whereas trial is not).
  In depositions, if a deponent's definition fits my purposes, great, we can go with the definition he uses, and he can hardly complain about it when I use that definition at trial.  If, in the deposition or trial, he insists on using an improper definition, then I get a dictionary and get him on the record disagreeing with the dictionary.
 
2014-05-03 01:26:57 PM

Gunboat: If, in the deposition or trial, he insists on using an improper definition, then I get a dictionary and get him on the record disagreeing with the dictionary.


Well, I'm sure that went over well with juries. Incidentally, you said you're no longer a trial attorney?
 
2014-05-03 01:32:10 PM

Cndn Bacon: RoyBatty: I don't know what can or can't be asked in a deposition, but why not ask the guy if he's ever had to copy documents and ask him how he does that, what machines he uses.

I understand wanting to be cautious in a deposition, but this also seemed like a strategy to waste dollars and run out the clock (limited time and expense of a deposition). Since it was a gov employee employing that strategy, I say fark him.

I assume you didn't actually watch the video in the article?


Why would you assume that?

Did you watch the video?

Did the lawyer at any time in the video ask the dude what machine he uses to copy documents when he is at the office?

The video just shows everyone arguing about if the dude should understand what a "photocopy machine in an office setting" means. The lawyer never asks how the guy copies documents when he is at the office to get his work done.

a) I use the photocopy machine
b) I use the xerox machine
c) I use the copier
d) I use the secretary
e) I don't copy documents

(I am curious to see the gas powered photocopy machines the guy said existed.)

Here's more on the case by the way

http://www.cleveland.com/cuyahoga-county/index.ssf/2014/04/upright_c it izens_brigade_reenacts_absurd_cuyahoga_photocopy_deposition_for_new_yo rk_times_video.html

Turns out the farkfaces at the county wanted to charge $100,000 for a CD filled with documents because I gather they somehow compared copying documents onto the CD as a photocopy and so charged the per page photocopy fee.

To launch its "Verbatim" video series, the Times had actors from the Upright Citizens Brigade reenact a deposition from December 2010, in which Lawrence Patterson -- the acting head of information technology for the county recorder -- asks, "When you say 'photocopying machine,' what do you mean?" See video below.

The transcript went on for 10 pages. And the dispute lasted for nearly two years, until the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in a 7-0 decision that the county must provide CDs of recorded deeds and mortgages for $1.

The lawsuit cost county taxpayers as much as $55,000, as well as some international mockery.

Even a new reform government, led by county Executive Ed FitzGerald, did not end the suit, which began under then-county Recorder Lillian Greene.

Two title information companies sued Greene over her policy of charging $2 a page for property records contained on a CD.
The companies argued the county must provide copies of master CDs -- which the county makes each day to backup digital images of documents recorded -- at cost, as required the state's public records law.

Greene and her staff based their charges on a state law that requires a $2-per-page fee to photocopy or fax documents.

Based on that law, they argued that CDs containing copies of 104,000 pages of records should cost $208,000.
Hence the hubbub over the definition of the word "photocopy."


Also here:
http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2011/03/public_records_costing_a_few _d .html
 i.imgur.com
 
2014-05-03 01:32:34 PM

Theaetetus: Well, I'm sure that went over well with juries. Incidentally, you said you're no longer a trial attorney?


Juries did like that.  The showmanship aspect plays more of a part than we'd like to think.  Typically, I'd whip a dictionary out of a box, start waving it around; other side objects; judge agrees and tells me to put it away; jury thinks other side is shady and hiding something.

Yeah, I used to be a trial attorney.  Did it for ten years, then went back to my roots as a nuclear engineer.  I now do nuclear licensing, which is the unholy combination of law and engineering.  A half-orc, if you will, in the professional world.

I see you're a patent attorney.  Good for you.  I considered that, but went another route.
 
2014-05-03 01:34:06 PM

Theaetetus: Gunboat: Back in the day I used to be a trial lawyer.  I have taken literally hundreds of depositions.  You'd be surprised how often people try the "I don't understand what [totally common word] means."  Here's how I dealt with it:
Q:  Do you have any photocopy machines?
A: What do you mean by photocopy machine.
Q:  Are you seriously asking me what the definition of a photocopy machine is?
A: I just want to make sure I answer your question properly and understand it.
Q:  Sure.  Okay.  Let's do it this way.  Were you born in America.
A: Uh, yes, but I don't see what that has to do with this.
Q: Did you speak English growing up?  Is English your first language.
A: Yes.
Q: How old are you?
A: 45
Q:  So you've been speaking English for more than 40 years, right?
A: I guess so.
Q:  So that'd be about 14,000 to 15,000 days, right?
A: I guess.  I don't have a calculator.
Q:  In those fourteen to fifteen thousand days, did you ever, even once, hear the term "photocopy machine"?
A: I'm sure I have.
Q:  And what does that term, "photocopy machine" mean to you?
A: I guess it depends on the context or how it's being used.
Q:  Well, tell me your definition of it.  Pretend like you're on a game show or taking a quiz and are asked to define "photocopy machine" the way that term is used in everyday American English.  What would you say?
A: [gives some rambling definition]
Q:  Okay.  Using that definition of "photocopy machine," let me ask:  Do you have a photocopy machine in your office?

And then you sit back smugly, proud of your legal training and refusal to let this mook steer your deposition, not realizing you've let him define the term in a way that discounts your argument.


Kinda what I was thinking. By letting him define your question, aren't you making the response kinda subjective and, thus, useless to you?
 
2014-05-03 01:39:30 PM

ArcadianRefugee: Kinda what I was thinking. By letting him define your question, aren't you making the response kinda subjective and, thus, useless to you?


   Potentially, yes, but in a deposition, it's the way to go.
Hypo 1:  Deponent refuses to accept my definition.  Deposition therefore goes nowhere.
   Therefore, I use Hypo 2:
Hypo 2: Make deponent define the term.  Then,
   2a:  If deponent's definition is helpful to me, use deponent's own definition.
   2b:  If deponent's definition is unhelpful (and usually it's unreasonable) explore all the other definitions that deponent disagrees with, e.g., the dictionary, at which point (at the deposition) you get testimony of how deponent disagrees with dictionaries, experts, etc., and that can be used on cross at trial to make deponent look ridiculous.
 
2014-05-03 01:44:51 PM

Gunboat: ArcadianRefugee: Kinda what I was thinking. By letting him define your question, aren't you making the response kinda subjective and, thus, useless to you?

   Potentially, yes, but in a deposition, it's the way to go.
Hypo 1:  Deponent refuses to accept my definition.  Deposition therefore goes nowhere.
   Therefore, I use Hypo 2:
Hypo 2: Make deponent define the term.  Then,
   2a:  If deponent's definition is helpful to me, use deponent's own definition.
   2b:  If deponent's definition is unhelpful (and usually it's unreasonable) explore all the other definitions that deponent disagrees with, e.g., the dictionary, at which point (at the deposition) you get testimony of how deponent disagrees with dictionaries, experts, etc., and that can be used on cross at trial to make deponent look ridiculous.


"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean-neither more nor less."
 
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