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Testimony That’s Like Pulling Teeth

At the end of the second day, the plaintiff called their witness. He was a trial attorney with over 20 years experience. Of course, he supported the interpretation that the arbitration clause was sound and should have been followed. The plaintiff also walked through several other possible interpretations and previous cases namely to establish what did not apply to the contract that would invalidate it. That was mostly it, and we all went home.

The third day was ridiculous. The plaintiff finished making their case and handed things over to the defense. At first, the defense seemed a little hostile. The attorney pushed hard on specific details, and the witness kept wiggling around them. It seemed like the witness was dodging a little, but also trying to provide an answer. He had over 20 years as a trial attorney, so no doubt he’d seen all kinds of testimony.

Several times, we ended up back in the jury waiting room. The witness and testimony was so convoluted, they had to have other conversations about the proceedings that weren’t about the case itself (presumably). I can’t be certain of that, as we were in the waiting room during these periods. However, it seems like we were sent there, because the discussions they were having were not about the facts of the case but something else.

Over time, it was clear that the witness was dodging answers with a shameful willfulness. The defense attorney asked the witness simply to confirm what was written in the contract. He asked a question, like “doesn’t it say BLAH BLAH BLAH in the contract?”, and the witness would be, “well, let me see here. Um, I’m not sure…” and so on. At this point, I certainly shifted from seeing the defense as hostile to feeling more sympathetic at managing a difficult witness. Oddly enough, this lasted nearly the entire day. I think the witness was finally excused at some point and the plaintiff moved on.

I swear, this kind of thing only happens on television, but somehow, I witnessed it right there. Of course, it had to be a trial attorney who had so much experience, he could only have intentionally resisted giving testimony. But the story doesn’t end here. We saw so many more revelations in the court room the next day.

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