On paper, it appeared as if he drove a nice car.
The defense learned from his research that my client drove an Infinity.
Infinity is a luxury line made by Nissan.
My client was bringing a lawsuit against doctors who violated the basic standard of medical care causing them significant cardiac damage.
During the course of his lawsuit, the defense had an opportunity to question him during his pretrial question and answer session known legally as a deposition. This was held in my office with a court reporter present.
This testimony is given under oath and carries the same exact weight as if he is testifying at trial.
The defense lawyer spent hours questioning my client. There was much to discuss.
One issue that the defense attorney kept harping on was what type of car my client drove.
You should know that the defense lawyer was a young, novice attorney.
How did I know that?
Because he came into my office with a 1 inch stack of typewritten questions that he was reading from as we proceeded forward with the day's deposition.
He was more focused on getting through each and every question listed on his typewritten sheets rather than paying attention to the answers that were given and following up with those answers.
I knew he was a novice attorney when I would make objections and he could not give me clear, concise, coherent reasons why he was asking certain questions.
It was almost as if he was a robot simply getting whatever responses he could from the questions he believed he needed to ask.
You will find that the best trial attorneys in New York do not approach pretrial testimony the way he did.
Instead, there are clear strategies that will help establish liability, causation and damages if done correctly.
There also strategies that defense attorneys can and will use to show that their client did nothing wrong or that the damages the injured victim is claiming it's not really as severe as they believe it to be.
The defense attorney asked this series of questions:
"Sir, what kind of car do you drive?"
“Objection! The type of car he drives has nothing to do with our claims of medical malpractice or damages. Move on to your next question counselor.”
The defense attorney then began arguing with me why this was an appropriate question. I told him if he had a problem, he was more than welcome to address it with the judge either by telephone or in formal papers.
He wisely moved on.
However, about 10 minutes later he came back to the same question.
“Sir, is it true you drive an Infinity luxury vehicle?”
My client answered before I had an opportunity to object.
“Yes, I drive an Infinity.”
I again noted my objectionand said that this question and his answer are irrelevant and had nothing whatsoever to do with claims we made or the defenses that they were raising. I even asked the defense attorney what this question and answer had to do with any defenses they were raising in this case.
He could not give me an an answer.
A few minutes later this young attorney began to ask my client questions about when he purchased the car, for how long he's owned the car, what was the purchase price and what was the residual value now.
After each of these questions, I made an objection for the record in order to preserve my right to make an objection at the time of trial and should this issue need to go before the judge.
I explained to this attorney that his question was totally inappropriate.
Whether my client drove a 10-year-old used beat up car or a Rolls-Royce made no difference whatsoever with regard to the claims he was making or the damages he incurred because of the doctor's carelessness.
It turned out that my client purchased this car used with lots of mileage on it.
By no means would you consider this to be a luxury car. Instead it was a used, beat up clunker that in its prime was certainly a nice car. However, it was certainly well past its' prime and my client had gotten a good deal when he bought it used.
The bottom line: It had absolutely nothing to do with our claims or damages and the jury would never learn this information because it was totally irrelevant.