He was a pro. He had testified about four times a year for the defense in medical malpractice cases for the past 25 years. He knew how to handle himself on cross-examination. He was good.
His credentials were impeccable. His demeanor was excellent.
I knew I'd have a significant hurdle to overcome with this witness.
The cross-examination strategy was a quick one: Ask to see his notes and records. That was one of my strategies.
"Doctor, did you bring with you the records you reviewed?"
"Oh, no. My attorney told me not to bring anything to court," he answered.
"Did you bring any notes you made while reviewing the records?" I asked.
"No. Everything is on my desk in my office," he replied.
"Excellent...at the break, you're going to call your office and have them fax you the cover letter that the defense attorney sent you, to the Judge's chambers, so I can see it," I commanded.
"Uh...it's not there," the doctor said definitively.
"Really? (with a hint of sarcasm). Where exactly is it?"
"I was reviewing it yesterday at my desk and then I remember I had put it into the trunk of my car afterward," the doctor claimed.
"Excellent," I answered. "Where is your car now?"
"At the office," the doctor said.
"Teriffic. Who has the key?" I wanted to know.
"My office staff," he said.
"Wonderful. At the break, you will call your office, have them take your key and go to your car, open the trunk and take out the notes and cover letter and fax them into the Judge's chambers so I can see them," I demanded.
"Oh no...it's not there. I just remembered. (Bulls*%t. It was so obvious to everyone in the courtroom that he was full of it). It's not in the car, it's actually at my home..." the doctor tried to explain.
THAT WAS THE END OF THIS DOCTOR'S CREDIBILITY.
No matter what this doctor said afterward, nobody in the courtroom believed him anymore.
That strategy contributed to my client receiving a jury verdict of $1.55 million dollars to compensate her for the harms and losses she suffered at the hands of a doctor who violated the basic standards of medical care.