Friday, June 10, 2011, 03:29 PM
Posted by Administrator
This happened 10 years ago. The names and locations have been changed. Except for it is...

The rule is that lawyers are not allowed to sit idly by and let their client lie under oath or to the court.

One day, I was sitting in a small room in the Galleria Bldg. in downtown West Palm Beach along with my client ...who had been injured in an auto accident... , the defense lawyer (a high strung woman named Linda) and a court reporter who was busy taking down everything that everyone said. My client owned a small Greek restaurant in Delray Beach. It was mostly takeout and he had only one employee. I had been there and I had met the employee.

My client was claiming, among other things, that he didn't work for a while because of his injuries and that he had trouble, now, lifting.

This is, more or less, how the questioning went:

LINDA: Do you have any employees at your restaurnt?
ME: Could you repeat the question, please.

Linda repeated the question. The answer was still "no".

I said that I needed to take a break and talk to my client. Linda, the other lawyer, was shocked.

LINDA: I'm not going to stop in the middle of the deposition so that you can have a conference.
ME: The rules say that I have to do this.

She did not seem to know what "rules" I was referring to.

Out in the hallway, I told my client that I couldn't just let him lie. "But", he said "my employee is here illegally from Argentina and they will deport him if they find out." I told him that I really didn't think that anyone at the deposition cared about the status of his employee or that the immigration people would come to his restaurant and cart the man back to Argentina.

He seemed to understand. We went back into the room. The court reporter sat down. The deposition started again.

LINDA: Do you have any employees?

We went back out into the hallway. I told him that he needed to answer the question "yes" and say that he had an employee.

The third time was bound to be the charm....

LINDA: Do you have any employees at the restaurant?
CLIENT: Yes (beginning to cry) I have an employee. He is a good man. He is from Argentina and he is here illegally and they will deport him if they find out.

By the end of this, my client was crying his eyes out. He was shaking and rocking back and forth.

Linda now understood what we were doing in the hallway. But, she was by no means done questioning him about that illegal Argentinian man whose existence my client was trying so hard to hide.

LINDA: So, just the one employee?

...ok,then she was done.

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