It was sweltering outside.

It was a brutally hot summer day.
There was 90% humidity.
If you were outside for more than five minutes, you were sweating like crazy.
As we were heading to the courthouse to begin this medical malpractice trial, I could envision how cool and comfortable the courthouse would be.

The court has great air-conditioning.

Even though it's an old building with majestic walls and paintings, they did a great job making it cold.
It was ice cold in the summer months.
Upon entering the courthouse, I felt like I was still outside.
It felt like I was in the subway, waiting for the train to come.
You know that feeling.

When you're wearing a suit, it's one hundred degrees and it feels like you're in an oven.

Dry heat.

Except this was moist heat.
I quickly learned the air-conditioning unit wasn't working.
Not only was it not working in the central part of the courthouse, it wasn't working in our courtroom either.
The windows were wide open.

There was no breeze anywhere.

There was a small little desk fan blowing on the court clerk.
It didn't look like it had much effect since she was using someone's motion papers to fan herself furiously as we walked in.
She told me that the air-conditioning would not be fixed for the next three days.
The air conditioning company was waiting for parts coming from overseas.

I asked the judge for permission to take my jacket off during trial.

In light of these unusual weather-related circumstances, he quickly agreed.
The jury was then brought and trial began.
Shortly before our lunch break I sat down, having finished questioning my medical expert.
As we approached the lunch hour, It got hotter and hotter in the courtroom. 
The defense lawyer began questioning my medical expert.

During his questioning, I noticed he reached over to a large box on his table and opened what appeared to be a big cooler.

The kind you bring to the beach.
This one had wheels and a big handle.
As he opened the top, everyone in the courtroom was watching the defense lawyer.
It looked as if they expected him to take out boxes of ice cream for the entire courtroom and jurors.
It also looked like he had a bunch of beers sitting in the cooler, packed in ice.

He then pulled out an ice cold bottle of Poland Spring water.

You could see the water drip down the outside of the bottle.
You could see the condensation on the outside the bottle.
Because everyone was hot and bothered, everyone's eyes were on the defense attorneys actions as he pulled out this water bottle.
He cracked open the plastic top and gulped down half of the water bottle in the span of two seconds.

Then he let out a satisfying sound of quenching his immediate thirst with a resounding "AHHHH!"

That could've been the dumbest mistake this trial attorney ever made.
Think about it...
He was actually accomplishing something useful when questioning my medical expert just a few moments ago.
He was harping on a few minor contradictions my expert made between answers he gave when I questioned him and answers he gave in another trial.

Yet this defense attorney made a rookie mistake...

Failing to realize how uncomfortable everyone was in the courtroom because of the temperature and humidity, he failed to realize that no one else had any cold water to drink.
The judge didn't have any cold water.
The jurors didn't have any water.
I didn't have any water.

The court officer didn't have any water.

The court stenographer didn't have any water.
The jurors saw that the defense lawyer had additional bottles of beverages sitting in his cooler on top of counsel's table.
The defense attorney neglected to offer any water to any of the jurors or even the judge.
Big mistake.
If instead he said simply "Your Honor, I have some extra bottles of water, can I distribute them to the jury?" He would've gained lots of respect and trust from these jurors.

Instead, what he gained was envy.

The jurors recognized that he was selfish.
Big time.
The sad thing was the defense attorney had no clue what he had just done.

To learn even more, I invite you to watch the quick video below...

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer