Devious Lawyers' Most Satisfying Wins

August 25, 2021 | Carl Wyndham

Devious Lawyers' Most Satisfying Wins

Being a lawyer isn't always easy, but sometimes, you get wins so incredible, they're straight out of a courtroom drama. From brilliant loopholes to jaw-dropping “I rest my case!” moments, these huge legal wins are incredibly satisfying.

1. Done And Busted

I had a client who was accused of taking a young woman's car and then crashing it and fleeing the scene. The girl testified at trial that she had given him the keys that night because she had been drinking and she "would never, ever drink and drive." I just sat back and let her speak, because she didn’t know that I’d already won.

Apparently, she was not aware that I had requested and obtained a copy of her driving record, which showed she received a charge for exactly that—drinking and then driving—after the incident in question. I still remember the look on her face when I handed her the driving record and said, "Except for that one time you got caught a month later, right?"

The look on the judge's face was equally memorable.

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2. A Bump In The Road

I was working as a paralegal. We were defending a claim that had run into tens of thousands of pounds against our client. It was a trailer park where a woman had tripped over a speed bump while walking back to her caravan, and damaged her knee. The fall was genuine. The question was whose fault this was. She claimed it was the trailer park’s fault because she hadn't seen the speed bump due to low lighting, poor marking etc.

Going through the various questions to her, our barrister asked how she knew the speed bump was poorly marked, or something similar. Her response was, "Well, I remember thinking how it wasn't well marked when I was walking up to it." Needless to say, it was a short day in court after that point. I mean, if she saw it in the first place…

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3. Me, Myself, And I

During a deposition. It was a case where two former employees decided to start their own company in a VERY niche market, but decided to make their plans on company laptops they unsuccessfully tried to brick. Now, there isn’t anything specifically wrong about wanting to leave one company and start your own. The problem was how they did it.

They were trying to poach existing clients while still employed, which breached their fiduciary duty, particularly of loyalty. I believe we also went after them for intentional interference with contract, as they weren’t trying to solicit new clients for their business, but rather trying to get existing ones to break their contracts with our client.

Using the company laptop to try to do it just made it way easier to catch them…when the company IT guy found all the emails. Yep. These were not the smartest bulbs in the drawer—but at the deposition, they really let it all hang out. One of the defendants was the one being deposed. She said she “answered to a higher power than the company.”

When pressed on what that meant, she said “herself.” That got reused prominently at trial.

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4. Caught Red-Handed

I was reviewing the transcript of an interview with a child. The child made incriminating statements against my client. At one point, when discussing the allegations, the child used an odd word, but I didn't think much of it. A few days later, I was watching a video of the child interacting with their grandmother, who hates my client, from about a week before that interview. That’s when it all became so clear.

The grandmother used the exact same odd word in the exact context the child later used it. At that moment, it became clear that the child had been coached. It was the first real "ah ha!" moment of my career.

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5. Paper Trail

I worked on a case involving defective processors. In discovery, we got emails from the defendant’s engineers who had worked on the processors. They were in an Asian country, but the emails were in English because they were going to US executives. As we read them over, one email’s contents absolutely sealed our victory.

One of the more senior engineers basically laid out the exact defect we were suing over, explaining what the problem was and why it was their fault, and finishing with: “This is a big problem, we ship JUNK to the customer!” Needless to say, we hit them over the head with that in mediation, and they settled shortly after.

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6. Nickel And Dime

I represented myself in small claims court. My lease had an exit clause that said if I fronted two months’ rent, they would work to lease my place and return any money that was unused. I checked with the office ahead of time, and they ensured me there was a waiting list for the units, so I gave them the two months and moved. This turned out to be a huge mistake.

They never returned a dime. I talked to the new tenant and confirmed they moved in a week later. In court, the judge was commenting on how he didn’t see anything explicitly saying they would return any unused rent, even though that intent was stated to me a few times. Dumbo from the leasing office piped in with “Your honor, in almost every case we can return some money, but in this case we didn’t have a tenant in the two months after he left.”

So she gave the case back to me and I presented the affidavit from the new tenant confirming the move-in date. Judge awarded me double what they owed. Turns out leasing office dumbos 1 and 2 thought they could lie to me and “return” my excess rent money to themselves. Protect yourself, people! Landlords are jerks.

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7. On The Record

It was my third month of practice, and I was in family law at the time. I was representing a mom in a petition for a restraining order against the boyfriend/dad. At issue in the broader case was child visitation, custody, support, etc., but today's hearing was just on the restraining order. We had pretty good facts but it was mostly based on the testimony of the parties.

My client was way more reputable as a witness, so I was feeling confident. 10 minutes before the hearing, my client shows up. I give her a last-minute prep on what to expect and then she says "I'm glad I'm going through with this. I can't deal with it anymore and he's just getting worse. To top it off, he left me a ranting voicemail on Saturday."

"You have your phone with you?" "Yes." We play the voicemail, and the recording shocked even me. It's a full two minutes of ex-boyfriend screaming stuff like, "I should have killed you when we were together," and, "You were always such a witch. I hope you burn in a fire." I didn't have time to ask her why the heck she hadn't said anything to me about the voicemail before the bailiff called our case.

We sit, and the judge asks if either side has additional evidence, and I ask for permission to play the voicemail. Ex-boyfriend, who didn't have an attorney, didn't object, so I played the whole nasty two-minute rant in open court. Judge goes, "We're going to take a brief recess before I issue my ruling. If the parties want to meet and confer in the hall, they are welcome to."

Boyfriend knew he was screwed. We settled the whole darn case then and there. My client got her wish list in terms of custody, supervised visitation, child support, plus the restraining order, to boot.

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8. Money Back Guaranteed

Years ago, I had to do something at an outlet mall in a bad part of town. It took me about 20 minutes and then I found that my car had been towed. Ubered to the tow yard, and the giant sign says “cash only.” Had to call another Uber, drive to the ATM and back, and pay them $300-some bucks. Got a horrible hand-written receipt that, believe it or not, was itemized.

I went home, Googled, found that they violated the law in three separate ways: They towed illegally, illegally refused to accept credit cards, and had multiple charges that the law called “unreasonable.” So I got my revenge.  I took them to small claims court. The judge began by asking the tow yard owner about his relationship with the property owner and how the decision was made to tow my car.

"Oh," the slimy tow truck dude answered, "My cousin works there, if he says tow, I tow. It's a hundred percent fine!” The judge's eyebrows begin to rise. "But," the dude continued, "BUT what I detest the most, your honor, is this JERK claiming I don't take credit cards. I'm a businessman! I take credit cards all the time! He's a low life who does not have any credit cards, that's why he wanted to pay cash!"

I was having a "HOLD IT" overload, and the judge saw me smiling and hopping in my seat and patting my manila folder of receipts. "Do you actually not have any credit or debit cards?" the judge asked me. I pulled out my wallet and showed him, and then I pulled out the clincher. It was a time-stamped photo of the "CASH ONLY" sign I took the day of, and another one I took the morning of the hearing.

The guy mumbled something like, "Okay, you got me there" and then had nothing but, "Huh, I didn't know that" when the judge asked him about the legality of each unreasonable itemized charge. Anyway, each violation pays double the total tow charge, and since there were three, that's how I made $1,800 on a $300 investment.

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9. Lies Don’t Pay

A friend of mine was an attorney in New York for a while. He was defending a guy who was asleep in the backseat of his car while intoxicated and a NYS Trooper detained him. On the stand, the Trooper testified that he visually saw "the key in the ignition." My friend gave him like three chances to walk it back. "Are you sure, Trooper, that you actually saw the key IN the ignition?" The guy wouldn’t back down.

"Yes, counselor..." And then my buddy dropped the hammer. "You are aware that my client drives a Toyota Prius?" BAM. My buddy moved for immediate dismissal, and the DA didn't argue. Case dismissed. Nothing happened to the Trooper. As to WHY the Trooper did this? Promotions & Overtime. Imagine you're running the entire New York State of officers. You have about 5,000 Troopers—what metric do you use to gauge how effectively they're performing their tasks?

For the most part, Troopers ride alone. So Trooper #1 drives around all day on his shift and issues zero tickets. Trooper #2 manages to issue, say, five tickets a day and makes an arrest four times a month? You're going to assume that Trooper #2 is "doing his job." An "aggressive" officer is one who has a lot of tickets and so forth.

Also, court appearances are almost always on overtime. Officers’ unions are very specific about overtime pay rates and when they apply. If you're an "effective" Trooper and you write lots of tickets, you're going to be in court a LOT at 1.5 your hourly rate, sometimes 2.0 your hourly rate, depending. So it pays them to be like this.

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10. Semantics in the Court

I am not a lawyer, but I witnessed a pathologist win a case in court by destroying the defense's credibility. The question was over whether or not carbon monoxide could have caused certain signs of death in an individual, but the defense didn't study their chemistry very well and kept asking the pathologist whether "carbon dioxide" could have caused these signs.

After thoroughly frustrating the defense by answering his questions "incorrectly," the pathologist said very loudly, "OH I'm sorry, did you mean carbon monoxide? Because that's a completely different thing." Completely destroyed the defense's credibility in front of the jury. They were done after that. So, I guess the opposing counsel screwed himself by not picking up a book.

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11. The Foster Sister

My family did foster care for a few years, and we fell in love with the last girl we took in—now my younger sister. She was required to keep in regular touch with her emotionally and physically abusive birth mom, the intention being for them to eventually reunite. This woman was a nightmare come to life. Every single time they interacted, she'd spend the duration painstakingly shredding my sister's self-confidence.

My parents worked hard to establish a strong rapport and a supportive environment, and she blossomed under their care. She's one of the most resilient people I know. When the state tried to return her to her mom, she didn't want to go, so my parents sued (I think? Don't really know all the legal details) for guardianship.

This seemed like it would be an uphill battle; here we were, a family of random people trying to "steal" a kid from her rightful mom. We were really afraid that she would have to go back, and that her terrible family would systematically undo all the hard work she'd done rebuilding her self-esteem. Fortunately, her dumb mom decided to represent herself at the guardianship hearing.

I wasn't in the room, but I heard the audio recording later on, and it's incredible how thoroughly this woman shot herself in the foot. Some highlights: She kept trying to testify while cross-examining people, e.g., "Would it surprise you to learn that blah blah blah?" The judge called her out for this like six separate times and she just kept doing it. She would admit to various incidents of emotional torment, but then try to argue that it was all justified because her daughter was being difficult. She'd ask witnesses, for example, "And wouldn't you be angry if your daughter did XYZ? Yes or no?"

My personal favorite and the best example of her proving our case: "It is absolutely not true that I hit my daughter with a wooden spoon! I only tried and missed. I'll prove it, I can show you the mark it left in the doorframe." Needless to say, we won guardianship. My sister never has to see that awful woman again unless she darn well pleases.

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12. Me And My Big Mouth

We had no evidence that the woman who slammed into my stopped car going 85mph wasn’t sober…until she indignantly admitted it on tape in her deposition. She busted into my deposition and demanded she go first because I was a “lying witch.” She then excitedly told my lawyer that the report was wrong because it said she was coming from the movie theater when she was actually coming from her friend’s bar.

“Did you have anything to drink at your friend's bar?” “Of course.” “How many drinks” “I dunno, they just keep my glass full.” “Did you take any medicine that day?” “Methadone and low blood pressure medicine.” “I see.” The officers had refused to breathalyzer her at the scene because her husband was a fire-fighter who they knew personally.

They told her to go home, sober up, and go to the hospital later. I heard the whole thing but had no proof until she handed it to me. They settled same day.

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13. But Why Sue The Dentists?

I was doing some research for a case when I was a law student and found something wild. What happened was this: A man sued the College of Dental Surgeons (among others) for “persecuting him” and interfering in his ability to live as a “genetic Martian.” The plaintiff claimed that he had been cloned from space debris NASA found in the 1960s.

He claimed he had a genetic test to prove this, but it had been doctored by the CIA as part of the conspiracy against him. Well, naturally, this claim raises the concern that the plaintiff was bonkers, but there was no evidence (aside from his bizarre claims). In court, the case was handled in two ways. First, they decided that the case was patently frivolous and vexatious because it was absurd. But the second part was so crazy, my jaw dropped.

The judge held that only a “person” could commence an action in Ontario. The Rules of Civil Procedure define a “person” to be either a human being or a corporation. The plaintiff’s whole case was based on him being a Martian. If he was not a Martian, his case had no merit. If he was a Martian, he lacked standing to commence a lawsuit in Ontario!

In short, we now have precedent that Martians cannot sue in Ontario.

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14. Buckle ‘Em If You’ve Got ‘Em

I had a case here in Hawaii that got thrown out. My client got pulled over because the officer saw that she had way too many passengers in the car. Then they noticed that she was inebriated. Open and shut case. Well, in Hawaii, there's no law defining the maximum number of passengers you can have in a private vehicle.

So, the issue then became that all the extra passengers weren't wearing seatbelts. This failed also, because the law only says that every available seatbelt needs to be in use. If you have six passengers and only five seatbelts, there's nothing at all wrong about the sixth being unrestrained. There was nothing the judge could do about the extra passengers.

Since there was no probable cause to pull her over in the first place, even though she was indefensibly intoxicated, the whole thing got thrown out. Hawaii has some very counterintuitive laws. If your truck has seats installed in the bed, your passengers must be buckled up. If not, they can just party back there. People regularly ride down the freeway in truck beds while sitting in lawn chairs.

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15. Always Do Your Research

A client had been drinking and decided to ride his horse through town. This was a small town in North Carolina. He would stop at each intersection and fire his pistol in the air like some Wild West cowboy. Anyway, the guy was charged with disorderly driving and discharging a firearm within city limits. Which could end up being a serious charge.

But as I soon found out, it is mandatory that you must fire your firearm into the air at an intersection when coming through town on your horse. An old blue law that never got erased. He still got the disorderly driving charge and his horse got impounded but the dumbfounded judge dropped the other charges.

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16. The Burden Of Proof Is Heavy

Had a client who was a truck driver. He got various penal infractions for issues with his truck. Several thousand dollars in fines basically. Anyway, the evidence is pretty damning. Lots of pictures showing defects, a detailed description by the traffic control officer, and so on. However, to find him guilty the prosecutor has to prove that the vehicle he was driving a heavy vehicle.

The law says that a “heavy vehicle” has a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,500 kg or more. The traffic control officer had not listed the weight of the vehicle in his report. There were pictures of it (it was clearly an 18-wheel truck) in the report, but no weight was written anywhere. The prosecution hadn't proven the weight of the vehicle per the definition of "heavy vehicle."

The pictures don't prove the numerical weight, just the shape of the vehicle. It could have been a very small 18-wheeler. The judge had no choice but to acquit him because all of the infractions he had received were for a "heavy vehicle" operator, so he can't be guilty if they can't prove he was operating a heavy vehicle.

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17. The View

I worked as an intern for a lawyer. Construction laws in France are quite strict in regard to the neighboring of historical monuments. The city was denying a permit for heavy modification of the house of our clients. They were arguing that because you could see the house from the church's bell tower, modifications were impossible.

As support, they "kindly" linked us to a 360° picture from said bell tower. We, also kindly, pointed out that our clients' house was, indeed, not visible from the top of the church. Building permit was greenlit the following day.

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18. The Roofer

Not a lawyer but I am a former Insurance Investigator. We were at a hearing before the WCB. I had something like 18 hours of video spread over a two-week period of a claimant doing roofing work. The problem, for me, was that the video didn't get a clear face shot. Normally what we liked to do was get in close, show the face for a positive identification, and then zoom out.

Bonus if the claimant was wearing distinctive clothing that could easily be tied to him. Because of where this guy lived, all I could do was show someone who matched his description getting out of a truck registered to him every morning. He wore a hat, he had a beard, and he had neither at the hearing.

So, the company lawyer is prepping me and basically letting me know to be on point because the claimant's attorney is almost certainly going to challenge the fact that it is his client in the video. If the video got tossed, the case was lost. About two minutes into the hearing, the claimant's attorney agrees to stipulate to the fact that it is his client in all of the video. All of it. Our attorney was shocked. That was pretty much the only leg he had to stand on.

The claimant attorney was incredibly smug right after this like it was no big deal. Evidently, his strategy was to show that his client wasn't really a professional roofer since he was doing the roof the wrong way. He tried to get me to answer questions about roofing, I refused as it was beyond the scope of my work. And he just wouldn't let it go.

After about an hour of back and forth over this the judge finally said, "Counselor, it doesn't matter if your client is doing the work well. What matters is that he has stated, numerous times and under oath, that he cannot work. Whether he's doing it for free, for cash, or for fun has no bearing on the fact that he's doing roofing work while collecting compensation benefits which he was awarded because he couldn't do roofing work."

The guy lost and had to repay a bunch of benefits. After a few of those hearings I began formulating a list of lawyers I would never hire and ones I would absolutely want on my side.

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19. Rebutting In

I had a client who, despite being a large man, had been domestically mistreated by his much smaller wife throughout their marriage. After the divorce, she turned her anger on their son. He ran away one day to live with his dad, and we filed to restrict his ex's parenting time and ask for a permanent modification to the custody agreement.

At the permanent hearing, she denied hurting the child or my client in front of the child, said she never threatened anyone ever, and that she never made disparaging remarks about my client in front of their son, either. But there was one big thing she didn’t know and couldn’t tell her attorney. My client had recorded multiple instances of her doing all of these things.

So I called my client back up for rebuttal right after her testimony and played an audio recording of her screaming at my client, threatening to break his face in, and calling him a loser, all while the child could be heard in the background begging her to stop. I looked over at the other attorney and she had her face in her hands. We won.

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20. A Cherished Heirloom

I once had a client who woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of someone in his home. He retrieved a Colt 1911 from a bedside drawer, walked into his living room and confronted a figure in the dark. The person didn’t identify himself but moved towards my client who fired a single shot that went through the person’s shoulder.

Turned out that it was my client’s stepson who had snuck out, was drinking underage, and then stumbled home. The biggest problem with the situation was that my client was a convicted felon. Several times over. That meant that while the shooting itself was technically self-defense, his possession of the Colt was not allowed.

We looked into the history of the Colt itself as our client had indicated it had belonged to his grandfather who had served in the US Army in the early 20th century. Ultimately, we were able to bring multiple experts in and establish that the Colt had been among the very first batch of items distributed from Colt to the US Army at the Augusta Armory.

In Florida, felons are not allowed to possess such things—except if the Colt in question was an antique (meaning it was manufactured prior to 1918). Since we had established the history of the Colt and it had been manufactured before 1918, our client couldn’t be prosecuted for the offense and got out from underneath a potential mandatory prison sentence.

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21. Sometimes, Urine Need Of A Lawyer

I once won a case about the possession and transport of human urine in order to fool a urine screen. I had a client who was caught with a little container of alleged urine that he may or may not have been about to use to mess up a drug screen. Since he hadn't messed with a drug screen or actually tried to mess with one yet, he couldn't be charged with that.

So instead, he was charged with trying to transport human urine with the intent to fool a urine screening test. This led to the most bizarre moment of my entire career. I got to argue that 1) the prosecution hadn't proven it was human urine (they hadn't tested it) and 2) they deprived us of the opportunity to test it because the officer poured it out before giving the container back to the client.

My client could literally testify it wasn't human urine and his testimony was the closest anyone had to the truth. Since it wasn’t proven to be human urine, and he wasn’t actually caught doing anything with it, they had to let him go. This trial was a golden moment in my career.

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22. Like Daughter, Like Mother

I had a client with a serious medical problem that cost her her job, and she was preparing to file bankruptcy on the medical bills and credit card debts. Thing was, she had like $15,000 socked away and didn’t tell me. It was all that was left of her life savings. Before we filed her case, she gave it to her mom for safekeeping.

What she didn’t know is that she could have kept the money through the bankruptcy…but giving it away beforehand is a no-no. I had to tell the court when I found out, and when this happens the court gets the right to sue the mom for the $15,000. The thing is, the mom’s debt to her daughter’s bankruptcy court was also dischargeable in bankruptcy.

So, after the mom was sued, she filed bankruptcy too, and they got to keep the money after all.

23. The Surprise Admission

I am a lawyer who defends a state from injury claims. There was a claim where there was a dispute as to the value of a state employee's injury. We went to trial to argue the extent of the injury. When the employee takes the stand and is under direct examination by her attorney, she is unable to answer basic questions about her name and address.

Everyone just thought it was nerves, but eventually, the dark truth came out. The employee confesses that she is a convicted felon and she took her sister's identity to obtain the state job. Judge's jaw hits the floor and the employee's attorney just keeps going through his examination like nothing happened. The judge stopped him and had the court reporter read back the testimony.

The employee's attorney was still oblivious to what happened. The judge recommended the employee drop her case and quit her job immediately. The employee's attorney wanted to keep going, the judge then told him that his client will drop her case and quit. Case was dropped and she quit that afternoon.

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24. The Circumstantial Evidence Case

I had a misdemeanor possession case I was defending. Client was driving his mom's car. He gets pulled over for playing the stereo too loud. There are pills in the center console. In a prescription pill bottle. The bottle has his mom’s name on it. Client gets busted and charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

Case is obviously rubbish but the dumbest DA I've ever met in my life won't dismiss it. We go to trial. During closing arguments, the DA says, "This case is a circumstantial evidence case." During my closing, I slap the jury instruction on the projector that says if a case is based on circumstantial evidence and there is one factual scenario that points to guilt and one that points to innocence the jury must find in favor of the defendant and acquit.

My client was acquitted.

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25. An Underdog Victory

I work as an insurance lawyer. One of my firm's partners, as happens sometimes, handed me a small case for our client, and told me to resolve it. Our insured, a man of around 75, was driving his car in the left lane of a four-lane road. The defendant, a lady who had been involved in a grisly murder as an accomplice about 15 years ago, was in the right lane.

The lady side-swiped our insured's vehicle, causing like $4,000 in damages. At the scene, our client said that he was just driving, and then he was side-swiped. The defendant said, "I don't know what happened, officer." The lawsuit was about six or seven months old when I got it, and the partner who was initially handling the case had spoken with the old man on two occasions and sent him a letter.

When I received the file, trial was a few weeks away, so I printed out the pictures of the vehicle, sent a subpoena to the officer, and tried to call the insured. I got a busy signal, so I put the file away. A few days later, I got a call from the officer who filed the report. Her words started a chain reaction of disaster. She said, "I'm not going to make it to court because I'm off on the court date."

"Alright, well, when are you available?" I asked. She paused, then said, “The report is hearsay. You don't need me anyway." "Ma'am, what I need you for is not hearsay. I'll reset this for a date that you are available for." That wasn't helpful. I called the defense attorney, and we pushed the trial out about a month and half.

I issued a new subpoena on the officer. I tried to call our insured again. I got a busy signal. Out of options and ideas, I pulled up our data software and looked up our client...that’s when I made a disturbing discovery. He’d passed the previous month. I'd never had this happen before, so I called the insurance adjuster handling this claim and told them, "Hey, I hate to tell you this, but our client is no longer alive.”

I then talked to the partner who had handed me the case. Instead of dropping the whole thing, he came up with a diabolical plan. He suggested that we fake it. I'd go to court, call the defendant as my witness, call the officer to discuss the scene, then get pictures of the vehicle into evidence using the insurance adjuster, who could also testify to damages.

The insurance adjuster is willing to try, but about a week later, I get a call from the officer, bailing on being a witness again. I really wanted to call her sergeant and complain, but it wasn't worth the trouble. So, now at trial, it's going to be the insurance adjuster and I. We'll probably lose since I have practically zero evidence against the defendant now.

Suddenly, I get a phone call that changes everything. It’s from the defense attorney. On the spot, they  suddenly agree to pay the claim in full. I never told that attorney that my client wasn’t even alive anymore, but some day I kind of want to tell him he paid out a ton of money to a ghost.

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26. Friends In High Places

I'm a family lawyer, and I was in court representing the mother of two young kids. The dad was representing himself, as was Grandma, with whom the kids were staying for several months while my client finished a college program. Dad took issue with this arrangement, despite being unable to take care of the kids himself because of a disability.

At our first appearance, the judge suggested something that everyone actually agreed to. I was the only lawyer there, so I was tasked with drafting the order. I sent copies to Dad and Grandma, asking them to let me know if they remembered the agreement differently, or if they are okay with my wording. The wheels started to come off immediately.

When he gets the order, Dad calls me right away. He says that he takes issue with my lack of professionalism (no explanation of what he means by that, but okay) and he doesn't consent to the wording of the order. He doesn't suggest alternate wording, though. And then he took it up a notch. He says that my draft has violated his human rights (again, no idea what he's talking about) and he will be forwarding this to the Human Rights Commission, who will be his lawyers from here on out (uh, they won't).

I decide not to point out that that's not how this works, and just go with a, "Thanks for letting me know." I point out that the Family Court Rules require me to file the order within a certain amount of time, which is rapidly running out. I ask him when I can expect the HRC to contact me (obviously they won't). Dad tells me that they usually take 3-6 months to deal with things.

I tell him "Okay, well I'm just going to write the court a letter explaining this, so the judge is in the loop." I write the letter, explaining briefly what has happened. I say that I'm unfamiliar with the HRC getting involved in Family Court cases (they don't), and particularly in the drafting of orders (ditto). But this was all an ingenious plan.

I point out that I'm hesitant to file the order since Dad has said he was going to consult counsel, so "I await direction from the Court.” This is actually code for: You see the crazy I’m dealing with? Can you help me out here, Your Honor? The Court office calls me the next day and asks me to send them the draft order, so the judge can look at it.

The day after that, I'm in front of that judge on an unrelated case, and she says, "Oh, and I signed that order from the other case. If he doesn't like it, he can appeal." Mic dropped.

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27. The Crooked Lawyer

I am not an attorney, but my boyfriend is, and this tale took place a few years ago in NYC...thus, here is The Tale of (throws dust in campfire) of "The Crooked Lawyer." While looking up this guy's information, it became clear that he was a real jerk. A local paper described him as “a con artist,” and he preyed on unsuspecting victims, took out loans in their name, and falsified information.

Then he’d take off with most of his victim's money. Somehow, he’d avoided justice up until this point...until my boyfriend came along! My boyfriend moved to NYC from a state in the South. Freshly out of law school and riddled with student debt, he found a low-paying personal injury firm and settled in. Since money was tight, he found a roommate on Craigslist named Julie.

Julie is a feisty Latina, and my boyfriend is pretty much Wonder Bread, but they hit it off very well. My boyfriend would go to Julie's job after work (she was a bartender) and they developed a very strong friendship.

During this time, Julie meets a server, named Luis. They hit it off and begin dating. My boyfriend clicks with Luis, and they become a trio. Late nights, nodding off on the subway platform, my boyfriend being taken to Latin clubs...they become the best of friends. Something that will play a role in this tale is that both Julie and Luis (and their families) are in the USA undocumented.

So, Julie and Luis are getting serious, but they don't have a lot of money, so they move in with Luis' elderly parents. My boyfriend finds another place to live and they all still keep in touch. During all of this, Luis' dad had suffered an injury at work. He lost part of his finger and had hired a personal injury attorney—AKA the “Crooked Lawyer” of this story.

Apparently, Luis' dad was supposed to receive a $100k settlement, but some time had passed and still no update. Since Luis and his family didn’t speak English, Julie called Luis' father's insurance and asked about the status of the settlement. Their answer chilled her to the bone. The insurance said, "Oh, the settlement's already been paid out....?"

That's when Julie called my boyfriend and freaked out. Apparently this "personal injury" attorney had a history of being an ambulance chaser, and sought out undocumented clients. He held that over them and took their settlement money for himself, knowing that no one would pursue him and risk deportation. While there had been reports of this scumbag, the guy had been getting away with this kind of thing for years.

So, my boyfriend tells Julie to tell the lawyer that she knows what's up. Apparently this guy thought his clients were too stupid to seek retribution. The crooked lawyer then told Julie that he would return the money if she dropped her complaint against him. Still, my boyfriend was livid at this guy taking advantage of people—so he decided to get payback.

He told Julie to record all of her conversations with the lawyer and keep records of any type of contact. During their meetings, the jerk tried to bribe Julie into keeping quiet about his scam. She plays along, meets up with him a few times, always recording interactions and "getting money from him." With evidence in place, my boyfriend took everything he had to the NYS Supreme Court.

He told them that he was representing Luis's dad. While on trial, my boyfriend learned that people had filed reports against the other lawyer for years but nobody ever gave a darn until he became involved. It turned out that the guy had taken over $400,000 from clients over the years. It was a long trial, with my boyfriend representing Luis' dad and him having to testify, even though he was terrified that he'd get kicked out of the country.

The crooked lawyer knew my boyfriend had reported him, and he would glare at him from the stand. Long story short, the jerk pleaded guilty to charges of identity theft, among other things. He was also stripped of his ability to practice law and was sentenced to seven years behind bars. And this story has an even better happy ending.

My boyfriend is now the Godfather to Julie and Luis' son. Luis' dad moved back to his native country and bought a beautiful house. All of crooked lawyer’s victims got their money back through the Lawyer's Fund for Client Protection.

Lawyers of redditPexels

28. Darlings And All

I'm a partner in a small New England area firm. I had court this morning with one of my clients who is a very sweet older lady, around 70 years old. We were helping her with an old judgment from her divorce. Long story short, her ex-husband failed to pay something, and we were helping her collect. But the star of the show is something else entirely.

The old lady has a habit of calling everyone “Darling.” E.g. "Do you need my bank statements, darling?" when calling the office. I don't really care what she calls me, she pays and is mega sweet, so we brush it off. But she is also a bit hard of hearing, which is how our interesting. We had the final hearing today, and the judge was keeping things pretty casual and conversational.

He was asking the parties different questions to clarify things before closing the hearing. He asked my client something about her finances, and she didn't hear him. Her words made my face turn red instantly. "I'm sorry, Darling, what was the question?" Oh my God. Help me. There was a moment's pause, and the judge burst out laughing.

"I'm sorry, did you call me...Darling?" He leaned back in his chair, beet red, grinning. She also turned a shade of scarlet. "I...I did, Your Honor." He laughed again, shook his head, and the rest of the hearing proceeded. Upon closing the record, he mentioned that it was the first time he had ever been called “Darling” by anyone. I think we did well, though. Darlings and all.

Deathbed Confessions factsPexels

29. The Queen Of Karens

It was a dispute in which I helped a low-income man seek full custody of his children. His ex was representing herself, and refused to communicate with me in any way. Apparently, she thought she knew the law, and said she didn't have to talk to me without a lawyer. No amount of explaining that I was a lawyer, not an officer, got me anywhere.

Come hearing day, she hadn't submitted anything to the court, and decided that she should get whatever she wanted simply by telling the judge to do it. She was, after all, the "mother" and more entitled to the child, benefits, and child support that went along with the child. Despite what she was saying, she spoke sweetly and was very petite so I knew people would automatically want to side with her.

The judge explained that she hadn't submitted any pleadings, and that she wouldn't prevail unless she asked for a continuance, submitted pleadings, and tried her case. That’s when she transformed into a monster. I must have romanticized the memory, because I swear she was flailing her arms around so fast that I couldn't keep track.

Her entire body was twitching, arms flailing, hands flopping, and head back screaming. She demanded to speak to the judge's boss immediately. She repeatedly made offensive comments about the judge. A non-stop river of psychotic-entitled garbage spewed from her mouth. She wasn't doing the insanely high-pitched-unintelligible scream, either.

She was doing a full-on drill sergeant bellow. The yell was loud, clear, forceful, and disconcertingly deep.

I’ve seen some stuff, but this left me opened-mouthed and staring. My client, however, was familiar with this brand of crazy. He stood up to loudly and politely ask the judge if he could say something. I felt like a jerk at this moment for not staying on point, but I was completely caught by surprise. In an instant, my client took the case from ridiculous to absurd.

The judge allowed my client to speak, and my client used both arms to gesture to crazy and yelled, "This is the stuff I'm talkin 'bout right here. You see this crazy. Nah. Just nah." For the second time that hearing, I didn't remain professional and couldn't contain my laughter. I think laughter, or any sound of happiness, must have been a trigger for her, because Crazy then started trying to physically attack my client.

My client ran to the witness box and ducked down inside in an attempt to shield himself from the attack. There should be officers in each domestic courtroom during hearings, but we all know it'll never happen. Crazy was detained, and screamed the entire time she was dragged away that she was going to talk to the judge's boss about her being disrespected.

My client was awarded full custody, and the mother wasn't awarded any parenting time.

Lawyers of redditPexels

30. Doggone It

So this couple has two dogs. My client tells me that she wants both dogs, and she won't have it any other way. She explains to me that the dogs love each other and NEED to be with one another. She is sobbing uncontrollably in my office, which is something I can normally deal with, but not in this case. She was beyond out of her mind crying.

I often use the Socratic method to explain things to people. First, I told her I love dogs (I do) and I totally understood her situation. I told her that it would really suck to break up my two dogs, so I understood her. Then I said, "But I have to ask you something. If you were a judge, and there were two dogs and two people, how would you divide them up?"

She realized what I was saying and she almost screamed, "Nooooo! You don't understand! They love each other and they can't be broken up!" I said, "I totally understand. I'm just asking you what you think YOU would do, if you were the judge...and there were TWO people and TWO dogs. How could the judge easily settle this matter?"

I was just trying to get her down to reality, so I could maybe figure out if she preferred one dog or if there was another way to settle this. Then she says: "Okay, I get it. Dogs are property. Even though they are my children, the law says they are property." That's right. At this point, I thought she had seen the proverbial light. I soon discovered how wrong I was.

"Okay, so then how about this: I will sell the dogs and that way, the court can't order me to give up the dogs. The dogs will be gone." Ugh. I said, "Ma'am, it sounds like you are saying that you are going to try to pull the wool over the judge’s eyes." I then continued, "I can't even entertain that notion. You think the judge hasn't seen this kind of stuff before? You think you're the only couple who has two dogs? Do you think this is an original idea? I'm not telling a judge that you sold the dogs."

I got her spouse served with the petition. Then she got her revenge: She fired me right before the trial and went in without an attorney. But she was in for a rude awakening. When she told the judge she sold the dogs, she actually thought he would just say, "Okay, well that's that." Instead, the judge said: "Who did you sell them to?"

Excuse me? "WHO DID YOU SELL THEM TO? I want a name and a telephone number. We can make the call right here, from the courtroom. I'm going to verify your story. I know you love these dogs very much, so I know you didn't give them to a stranger. Tell me who you sold the dogs to NOW." Oh gee whiz. She wasn't expecting that. I guess this judge has been a judge before!

Rather than have the judge call her accomplice, who was hiding the dogs and NOT expecting a judge to call, my ex-client admitted that it was a con. She crumbled under the judge's cross exam. The judge gave BOTH dogs to the respondent in the case. Full justice achieved, plus happy ending: Dogs get to stay together, and they surely would have been broken apart otherwise.

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31. Ineffective Counsel

When I first started, my firm had me on a case where the client claimed he lost due to ineffective assistance of counsel. Basically, he was saying that the old lawyer didn't do his job. So, we prepare an argument based on not asking the right questions, not communicating, etc. We think it's going to be a tough case, but not unwinnable.

Then we get the response to our complaint where the old lawyer argues that he was only ineffective because he didn't have time to prepare for the case and only reviewed it the morning of the original trial. He had known about the case for months, by the way. The judge saw this and during the trial we had essentially asked, "Isn't this the definition of ineffective counsel? Not giving enough time to your client?" The silence from his side of the court was amazing.

Needless to say, the trial didn't last much longer than that. Thanks, opposing counsel!

Lawyers Accidentally Proved factsShutterstock

32. The Boat Ticket

I’m not a lawyer, but the opposing party made it easy for us. We were tubing down a small river in rural Ohio. We had only been in the river for a quarter-mile when we get stopped by rangers doing checks on who knows what, probably for people drinking. They stop us, and after 30 minutes, tell us that we have to leave the river, and give us a ticket.

When my dad asks why, they say it is because the "boat" that my four-year-old brother is using is not licensed by the state, and that it does not have the mandatory safety equipment on board; being life jackets, med kit, and fire extinguisher. I'm on mobile so I can't post a link, but the "boat" is something you get from a Toys R Us for your pool.

Long story short, my dad fights the ticket, and, per their request, brings the "boat" to the courtroom. He said he walked in with the "boat" folded and tucked up under his arm. The judge asked, "Is this the boat in question?" My dad said, "Yes, your honor. If you give me five minutes, I could blow it up for you." He also went on to say that if the safety equipment was in the "boat," that it would sink.

He won right then. The court costs were as much as just paying the ticket, but it's the little things.

Lawyers Accidentally Proved factsFlickr, Joe Shlabotnik

33. An Expensive View

Early in my career, I had a case in which my client's neighbor cut down a bunch of shrubs and small trees bordering their properties because they blocked his view. This irritated my client as he wanted his privacy. Now, the monetary damages were actually not that much and this was looking like a case that really couldn't be litigated for what the client could afford.

However, in researching the issue I found a rather obscure law that provides for attorneys' fees to a winning Plaintiff when a Defendant has willfully damaged the "border" foliage of a "ranch" or "farm." I realized that my client's property qualified for the statute, as he used his land for growing a variety of produce. The other side quickly caved and wrote a big check to cover the damages.

Strange lawPexels

34. The Virtue of Honesty

I was involved in a pretty messy custody case. The other party was a mess and had kept the child from my client for weeks. He was playing lots of stupid games and kept requesting continuances. I requested a drug test, which the judge ordered. However, guy showed up, stood in front of the toilet for literally 2 hours, and claimed he couldn’t pee.

I was representing the plaintiff, so the burden was on me. I called multiple witnesses who testified to the defendant’s substance use. So, opposing counsel decides to call their client for direct examination and asks, “You don’t use crack or coke right?” That's a very stupid question for many reasons. Especially considering what his client did during his test.

However, I fully expected the defendant to just lie and say he was clean. After the question, there was a really long pause and then the guy said, “Yes, I do both of those.” My head almost exploded. I didn’t ask any questions on cross-examination because I didn’t want to muddy the waters. I won, and the child is doing great.

Lawyers Screwed factsShutterstock

35. The Wrong Place, The Right Time

I was prosecuting a convenience store owner for luring a young girl, who regularly came into the store, back to a part of the store to grope, fondle, and kiss her. However, it was the only section of the store without surveillance camera coverage. They were in the backroom for about two minutes and 17 seconds, per the time stamp on the videos.

Of the many arguments the defense put on, one was that there was no way there was enough time for anything to happen. I knew just how to shut this down. In my rebuttal on closing, I asked the jury to imagine what could happen in the room in that amount of time, and I asked them to all close their eyes while I timed out 2 minutes and 17 seconds on my watch, in silence.

After about 60 seconds, two of the jurors started crying. Knew it was going to be guilty right then.

Lawyers knew they knowPexels

36. The Expert

I was an attorney for the estate of a husband defending against claims for money by the separate estate of a wife, over proceeds from the sale of a business back in 1996. Both husband and wife passed in 2010, and the suit was filed early 2011, then went to trial in 2014. The wife got around 10% of the business in 1996, and the husband got the rest (he had built and operated it for 35 years prior to marriage and sold it seven years into the marriage).

The whole case hinged on whether the valuation of the business in 1996 was reasonable or not. We say, "You can't value a business 15 years later with all the documents gone and all the main people in the business dead or missing." They say they have enough info to show the 1996 valuation should have been higher.

Opposing counsel gets a big-time expert to testify that the business sold for $45M based on a valuation, but should have sold for $70M and the husband hid $25M in real estate in the transaction. We get that testimony and then realize the 1996 valuation of the business was done by the same expert. This is the absolutely most perfect Catch-22 I have ever seen!

So now we ask, "Okay, so was your valuation wrong in 1996 or is it wrong now?" Expert says his 1996 valuation was right based on the information he had in 1996, but his valuation now is more correct. Which then bears the question "What information do you have now that you didn't have in 1996?" Answer: "I don't know, I don't have my file from 1996. Nobody keeps documents that long." And despite this lack of records, his valuation is somehow more correct now...

Judge basically said the expert was talking out of both sides of his butt and we won.

Lawyers Accidentally Proved factsShutterstock

37. The Law of the Streets

When I first started practicing, I handled a custody case where my client (mom) had a problem with dad smoking around the kids. I asked him if he regularly smoked around the kids, to which he replied he only smoked pot in the house. Obviously, this raised eyebrows as it is against the law in my state. He then went into a long diatribe about how he only follows the "law of the streets" (he actually said this) and doesn't recognize the authority of the court he was currently in front of.

Needless to say, Mom got full custody—especially after dad was busted for going to the court services officer's house late at night and trying to kick her door in.

Lawyers Accidentally Proved factsShutterstock

38. Phony Prescriptions

My public defender wife was trying a case where the defendant was accused of filing false prescriptions. Now keep in mind, PDs deal with a lot of shady characters who maintain their innocence with increasingly implausible stories as the evidence gets worse; so, you can get a bit jaded after a while, but you don't have to believe your client's story to represent them vigorously.

So, the prosecution has grainy surveillance video of someone who looks like the defendant getting the prescription filled and the ID used to fill it, which belongs to the defendant. Defendant maintains that someone took his ID and is using it because they look similar, but never reported the ID as stolen. My wife is skeptical that the jury will go for that, but she's always willing to go to trial if that's what the client wants, so preps that defense and heads into trial.

Prosecutor brings in the pharmacist who reported the prescription issue, goes through the usual routine of establishing who she is, where she works, was this the ID used that day, etc. Finally, the prosecutor asks the pharmacist if the person who attempted to fill the prescription that day is in the courtroom...


Lawyers Accidentally Proved factsShutterstock

39. Complaining Counsel

My opposing counsel made some off the cuff remarks about how their client had to go to another remote office to get all the records they wanted to use against my client. That let me know the witness they were trying to use to introduce the records as evidence wasn't actually familiar with the records or the records keeping process.

In the jurisdiction we were in, records were an exception to the hearsay rule, but you needed someone familiar with the creation and maintenance of the records to get them admitted. I attacked the witness' qualifications to get the records admitted and ended up getting the records excluded. I then made a motion for a directed verdict on the grounds they couldn't prove the case without the records and won.

All because the opposing counsel complained that their witnesses had to go way out of their way to get records for the court.

Lawyers Screwed factsShutterstock

40. A Friend In Need

My client was riding his motorcycle on a relatively calm street when this guy exited his garage, without looking, and ran over him. In the deposition, the guy brought a witness who was with him at the time in the passenger seat. The whole time, the witness maintained that my client was driving too fast and that there was no time to brake the car.

I asked him the same question a few times in different ways, making him tell the story again. In the fourth telling, he was already a bit frustrated and let it slip: “—Look, I’ve already told you. We were exiting the garage and, as soon as I sat up from getting my cell phone from the car’s carpet—” “—Wait. So you didn’t even see the crash?”

There was no coming back from that.

Lawyers knew they wonPexels

41. A Dog Eat Dog World

I filed the lawsuit in January. We exchanged "discovery" over the next few months, and I filed a motion for summary judgment, meaning I'm asking the court to let me win the case without a jury because the case is so obvious. Right before I file this motion, I figure, let's review the discovery materials and see if there's anything I missed.

And what do you know, the other side made a massive mistake on literally just the fourth out of 100+ questions that I asked. It's a dog bite case, and every single time I asked about the bite, the response says something along the lines of, "We admit to this and that, but we deny that our dog was involved in any dog attack." Just one moment won me the whole case.

Question 4 asks whether they admit that their dog was not leashed on the day it bit my client, and they simply answer, "Admit." Meaning, they admit their dog was not leashed, AND they admit that their dog was the one that bit my client. That was the ONE thing that was genuinely in dispute. They tried to argue at the hearing that it was a mistake and they only meant to admit to the lack of a leash.

Nonetheless, the judge held them to their word, most likely because the other evidence made it clear it could only have been their dog, anyway.

Lawyers knew they wonShutterstock

42. The Proud Prisoner

Not my case, but I was in the courtroom watching a trial. It was a pro se defendant who was accused of flashing a guard and pleasuring himself in front of her. As a pro se defendant, he defended himself at trial without an attorney. Prosecutor was doing well proving the case. When the female deputy was on the stand, the defendant asked her one question, "If you saw me do what you claim I did, then how big is my dong?"

The deputy responded by raising her hands and estimated about 15 inches. The guy grinned, turned to the jury, nodded, and said "Yeah, that's right," and sat down. Obviously, he was convicted. He was doing a 10-year prison sentence so this conviction wasn't of much consequence, but I'll never forget it.

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43. Always Read the Fine Print

I had a hearing where the opposing party offered an "updated" contract that my client supposedly signed. Except it was a horrible copy and barely readable. Then he assured the judge that the new contract was exactly the same as the old contract, except for the party name at the top (the original contract was in his mom's name, the new one in his name) and the date of the contract itself. He made that assurance multiple times.

After he exhausted himself saying how everything was the same, I then pointed out to the judge that half the provisions were different and that my client had never signed that form. The judge asked if we were really accusing him of forging my client's signature, since that's a serious accusation. I held up the guy's prior conviction and said, "I absolutely am, your honor."

We won. Hands down. No further argument needed.

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44. Check the Footage

My dad is a lawyer. It's happened several times that the defendant submits or provides video evidence of assault or unlawful detainment, but assumes it will go unnoticed in 50+ hours of footage. My dad watches everything. He got a multimillion-dollar settlement from a major casino after pointing out a moment that proved to be video doctoring.

There was a car one too...He had a bunch of recordings and found a spot in the recording, submitted by the other side, where they are discussing what they need to show and how they will prove it. He played the recording in court as a surprise. They had nothing to say and he won after like four days of back and forth. I believe you have to get to a point where that evidence would come up, that's why he couldn't start there.

My dad is awesome.

Lawyers Accidentally Proved factsShutterstock

45. Tree Confusion

Ooh, I've got one. I was about five years old when this happened, but my parents explained it years later. There were a series of trees on the sidewalk in front of each house on the street. Although the one in front of my parent’s house was not part of our yard, the tree was owned by my parents and they were responsible for it. Some guy "tripped" over a branch and was "seriously injured". He came after my parents for all of the money.

The dude showed up with a mountain of evidence. Hospital bills, psychologist testimonials, a photo montage of his slow and painful recovery, etc. Apparently, his lawyer brandished this stuff like a bat before court. My parents' lawyer thought he had a good case. Until the first day of court, when the opposing counsel walked over with a picture and asked, "Is this your tree?"

My parents looked at the photo in disbelief. "No...That's actually not our tree." The opposing counsel repeated the question. It went back and forth a few times until my parents' lawyer incredulously produced a picture of their tree, which was, even to the untrained eye, a completely different tree. At that point, the opposing counsel whirled around and started screaming at his client, "YOU SAID THAT WAS THEIR TREE!" Case summarily dismissed. My parents walked out in shock, came home, and bought me ice cream. All's well that ends well.

Lawyers Accidentally Proved factsShutterstock

46. On the Chopping Block

Plaintiff was claiming insurance money because he accidentally chopped off his fingers while cutting bamboo with a machete, and the insurance company (our client) refused to pay the insured amount. During the hearing, the plaintiff’s attorney began to demonstrate with a rolled-up sheet of paper how his client was cutting the bamboo when the accident happened.

No matter how he tried, he could not reproduce the position of the fingers with the alleged cut of the machete. The only possible match would be if the plaintiff had deliberately extended his fingers over a plain surface and hacked his own fingers. Based on this disastrous performance, the judge determined an expert opinion and later dismissed the case due to deliberate self-mutilation.

Lawyers Accidentally Proved factsShutterstock

47. Lovely Landlord

My parents were being sued by their landlord, and parents had a countersuit against him. Parents were moving across country and found this house to rent. They did a walkthrough, looks great. Landlord wants first, last, security, and $1,500 because they had a dog and two cats. Fine. It was somewhere in the $8,000-9,000 range, no big deal for them.

They are set to move in on a Monday, so my mom flies in on Saturday, to do one final look over, sign the contract, and get the key. Perfect, they are now the tenants. Monday, they arrive and the house is freaking trashed. Like seriously, I can barely explain how horrible it was. The landlord has moved a bunch of his stuff into the garage, shed, and one of the bedrooms.

There's poop in the toilet, pee on the floor, garbage laying everywhere, and used condoms. I can't really do this justice, but my mom took pictures and videos, throughout the entire house. She calls the landlord and tells him that they are not moving in with the house in this condition. He tells her to clean the house, and he'll buy the first tank of oil for the house (it was empty). He tells her to do it, or he's keeping all the money for breach of contract. A lot of back and forth happens, and tons of harassing texts and phone calls from him.

Court day comes, and everyone's ready to submit their evidence in front of the judge. Parents have photos, texts, the contract, videos. Landlord only has the contract. But his contract is different than my parents. He's included a section that states they permit him access to the house for his storage needs, and that tenant is responsible for all on-site clean-up and maintenance after accepting the key.

The best part was that the date of the signatures on his contract was the date they moved in, not the date my mom flew in and signed. Judge tells the landlord he's a special level of stupid, and then their final remarks were about how disrespectful the landlord was to show up in shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, and flip flops in his courtroom.

He never paid a dime, then claimed bankruptcy, and started a business under a different name. Two years later, I went to his house, let out all but 19psi from all his tires, and superglued the caps on the valve stems.

Lawyers Accidentally Proved factsShutterstock

48. Cuts Like A Knife

I knew that officers had beat up my client and framed him. They described a knife in his possession that “caused them to fear for their safety.” Oddly, they never seized it. We won the court case and then filed a civil rights case. While deposing an officer, he described the knife in detail. No more than three minutes later, he slipped up and claimed his partner told him my guy had a knife, but he never saw it himself.

I told him, “That’s not what you just said,” and saw him panic. His lawyer panicked too and asked to see me outside. When we got in the hallway, I withdrew my settlement demand, and the case settled for a substantially larger amount within 45 minutes.

Lawyers knew they knowUnsplash

49. The Pro Se Problem

I do only civil litigation. You would think it would generally be a battle against equals; professionals versus professionals. It's not. I face a fair amount of parties representing themselves pro se, often otherwise smart people who wouldn't think to do their own plumbing, or operate on their own appendix, but have no qualms about appearing in court on their own behalf. Surprisingly, they don't know what they're doing...

One of my favorites, from a deposition: "We didn't pay [company x's invoices] because we heard they were going through bankruptcy." (a) they weren't, and (b) it wouldn't be a valid defense to nonpayment if they had been.

Rest My Case factsShutterstock

50. Nice Going, Brian

Having an opponent win your case happens more often than you would think. One attorney that people continue to hire, let’s call him "Brian," is sort of a legend. As opposing counsel four times in six years he has lost cases against my firm where he could have won. This is civil litigation but the guy has a knack for spoiling his momentum.

There are so many stories—but this is the best one. The evidence showed our client was at fault and we were asked to settle. Brian introduced a witness and voicemail to the record. We had no knowledge of these and asked to review them. Upon review, we were confused as the voicemail had nothing to do with proving their case and made the plaintiff look like a lunatic (it was full of incoherent rambling and swearing). We allowed the exhibits to be entered and they went over as we expected. We won the counterclaim.

Lawyers Accidentally Proved factsShutterstock

51. Pet Chickens

Not an attorney, but I did an internship at the city's attorney's office one summer (which lead to not wanting to be an attorney). A man was suing the city for evicting him from a public housing development. Claims he doesn't speak English and forced the city to hire an interpreter for the hearing. City says he was evicted because he was raising chickens in the apartment.

His attorney insists that's absurd; no one would do that. Pushes for proof the chickens were his client's. Judge wasn't convinced about the proof. Everything looks like it is going well for the guy until it comes up that the chickens were given to a farm for slaughter. Guy jumps up and starts yelling, "Give me my chickens back!" in English. Judge starts laughing. Attorneys start laughing. Case is dismissed.

Instantly Ended a Case factsPixabay

52. Know Thyself

This was a custody case I was prosecuting. The dad went on about how he has changed his life around and worked through the AA program. I asked him what step he was on, and he proudly proclaimed, “Three.” I then asked him what step three is, and he had no idea. I then asked him what step two was. Again, no idea. Parental rights terminated.

Lawyers knew they wonUnsplash

53. What Lies Beneath

At a restraining order trial, it was essentially my client's word versus his, regarding an assault. He did a good job dressing up and acting very appropriate during most of his testimony. But in an instant, his perfect façade fell apart and revealed evil. He was asked a series of open-ended questions, and you could see him getting tenser.

He then said something to the effect of, "That freaking witch coming up on me. What was I supposed to do?” As soon as he said, it a look came over his face and the judge's face, and everyone knew the ruse of the respectable young gentleman had failed. I won.

Lawyers knew they wonUnsplash

54. Nothing But Net Profits

We were in a five-week jury trial on a civil case. Big business dispute. About 15 witnesses later, the plaintiffs call their last witness, their damages expert. The guy talks about his damage analysis, which was about the lost profits my clients allegedly caused this company. The whole time, the guy has a PowerPoint slide up, which shows his damages figures.

But as lawyers know, it’s just an aid for the jury and not actual evidence. The examination comes and goes, and the plaintiff passes the witness to us. I look at my boss. He looks at me. We know something he doesn’t know. The witness literally never read his damages number into the record. There was no admissible evidence, because even though he showed the number on the screen, he never said the number, nor admitted it into evidence.

We didn’t ask the damage expert a single question. Plaintiff rests. We move for a directed verdict, asking the court to rule as a matter of law when there is no evidence, that they had submitted no evidence of any monetary damages. We won. It was more than $10 million. Simply because he didn’t read the number. That was it.

Lawyer knew they wonPexels

55. The Letter Of The Law

I was the client in this case. In my divorce trial, my ex-wife has spent about two hours explaining to the court what a jerk I was and all the horrible things I had done to her and my children, claiming that I was unfit to be a parent. Two solid hours...Lie upon lie. Just six months earlier? My wife had snuck into my house—she's the one who moved out—and went on my computer to type me a love letter.

"Oh, you're so wonderful! You're such an amazing father, a great provider, and a great husband! You've done so much for the community. Please don't leave me!!! " That's the gist of it. Well, she didn't print it or sign, it was just a file on my computer left on the screen for me to find. So our challenge, after all her testimony to the contrary, was to get her to admit she wrote this letter. I told my attorney—ask her! She won't be able to lie if she's sworn in.

Plus, I thought she was going to feel incredibly guilty about all these lies. So...he handed her a printout. He had one too. He started reading it, then he asked her to continue the reading. She started to cry. He asked her, “Do you remember writing this letter?” Her face was shriveling. She looked at her attorney and said, "I'm sorry Sandy.” This is what actually did her in.

Then she looked at the courtroom and said "Yes, I wrote this." There was silence for a few moments. Then the judge said, "Attorneys—in my chambers! Now!" My attorney told me later: "The judge understood that when your wife said, 'I'm sorry Sandy,' that meant that her attorney was aware this letter MIGHT be brought up and that she had instructed her client to lie."

The judge was F U R I O U S. Back in the courtroom, my attorney went down the list lie by lie. Did he really do this? Did he really do that? When you say he was doing this, wasn't it really that? Etc. Then he had her read the entire letter again. After that, my divorce went from me being 1/2 inch away from losing all custody to getting full custody. Made for TV or what?

Lawyers knew they wonShutterstock

56. A Very Normal Thought Process

Not a lawyer, but was taken to court once. A guy had taken my family to court, basically because he had been dating my mother, and things ended. So, he then takes us to small claims court with an itemized list of everything he'd ever bought the entire family. Every cheeseburger, every Kit Kat. He even billed for things he did, like house repairs. Some of the repairs were terrible, and he ruined other things. He tried to unclog the sink and ended up destroying the main drain pipe for the house.

Now, he had bought some more expensive things as well. No one asked him to, but he was one of the types that loved to show how much money he had and would always talk about his "connections" and would name drop someone any time we went anywhere. When he takes us to court with his full itemized list, the judge asks him to go first and present his testimony.

He basically says "While I was with them, I bought all this stuff. I took them to dinner all the time and all this, but it was under the idea that it would be paid back by them." Judge: "You bought a child a birthday cake with the idea it would be paid back? Did you ever say that these things were loans and not gifts?"

Him: "Well no, but I shouldn't need to, that's the normal way people think." Judge: "Well, that's not the way I'd think, case dismissed."

Crazy Wills FactsShutterstock

57. The Pillars of Hercules

Not opposing counsel, but the plaintiff himself. I was trying a case in DeKalb County, Georgia, against a guy who claimed he had slipped and fallen in a Kroger store, late at night while they were waxing the floors. He claimed the only signage anywhere near where he fell was a single yellow caution sign more than 85 feet away.

We had a surveillance video and it indeed showed him passing by the sign as he entered the aisle. However, arguably, the sign didn't really indicate what was going on, since it wasn't apparent the aisle was being waxed and it was quite a distance from where he fell. On the stand, at the end of the first day of trial, I was cross-examining him about the signage and he made a comment in which he referred to passing the "signs" (plural).

It is very unusual to learn a new fact at trial after typically two years or so of depositions and discovery. I stopped where I had been going with my questions and asked him about the "signs" and he admitted he had taken pictures of them and had them at his house. Well, this is a clear discovery violation since he's required to turn over all pictures, not just some, and we had clearly asked for them. However, when I went after the guy for concealing evidence the judge chewed my rear end for getting into a discovery dispute in front of the jury (I still think she was wrong), and I got him to agree that he would produce the images the next day. We adjourned day one of trial.

The next morning, he showed up with the pictures and it turned out he had walked directly between two caution signs, set up on either side of the aisle like the pillars of Hercules. There was no ambiguity whatsoever about his notice after that and the jury gave him zero dollars.

Lawyers Accidentally Proved factsShutterstock

58. A Wasted Effort

Not a lawyer, but I went to court. There was a traffic light out, and officers EVERYWHERE handing out tickets. I get one for "rolling through a red light," though I had stopped. I stated it was possible the officer just didn't SEE me stop and asked if any other officers were witnesses. Officer replied, "Every cop in our department was there handing out tickets."

The judge said, "None of you thought to direct traffic? Seems like you handed out enough tickets that you recognized the downed light was a problem...dismissed." The judge dismissed every one of the tickets that were contested in the room from that day. One cop wasted half the force’s night, I hope he never lives it down.

Said To Police factsShutterstock

59. Time Confusion

Not a lawyer, but I represented myself against an employer who terminated me. I spent hours upon hours, day after day, preparing for this case. I printed out e-mails, recorded telephone calls, mountains of evidence. I wore my best suit and, nervous as all heck, showed up ready to plead my case. When I get there, my former employer opens with, "We terminated (my name) for truancy. He was supposed to report to work after his doctor's appointment, but did not show up until 3 PM."

There's an awkward silence. The judge says, "But in your written statement, you claim he didn't report to work until 12PM. In the timecard you presented to me, it shows that he reported to work at 10:30 AM." More silence. I won.

Rest My Case factsShutterstock

60. A Brazilian Confession

I was suing the state for damages in an operation by the state authorities (here in Brazil called Polícia Militar), but there was hardly any proof. All the witnesses were too intimidated by the Polícia Militar to talk, and there were no images or audio. I advised the guy that his chances were slim to none, but, since I was working with the public defender's office, I couldn't deny the case just because there was little proof. So, I did the complaint anyway (here in Brazil called an action, or Ação) and we went on.

In the Brazilian justice system, the writing part is way more important than the hearings and the talking part, so, when you defend yourself from a suit, you make a piece in writing, called contestation (contestação), and there you must present all your defensive arguments. You cannot present new ones later unless you can prove that it couldn't be obtained or be known earlier.

So, when the state presented its contestation, it didn't have anything but a single paragraph saying that the cop was not under orders (despite being in uniform and in a state vehicle) when he committed the illicit behavior. Basically, they confessed to the brutality, and gave us the case.

Lawyers Accidentally Proved factsShutterstock

61. A Total Trainwreck

I was sued for a car crash. While the plaintiff was on the stand, she began recounting the event, and everyone realized the stomach-dropping truth. It was a completely different crash. Different cars involved, different time of day, everything. Upon cross-examination, she revealed that she had FOUR lawsuits running concurrently and couldn’t keep them all straight.

The jury foreman looked at me and rolled his eyes! Her eventual payout from my insurance was a pittance, less than the initial settlement offer before the whole thing went to trial. Her lawyer was shaking with anger when court adjourned. He was one of those “we don’t get paid unless we get money for you” guys, so he lost a lot of money on that one.

Lawyers knew they wonUnsplash

62. A Crack In The Defense

I won a case in NYC where my client tried to exploit a really stupid law, which I was able to use to win the case. This was a slip and fall case where my client had tripped on a piece of broken sidewalk outside of the Natural History Museum and shattered her arm and wrist. The law is that a property owner is responsible for the sidewalk directly outside of their property.

Even if they can't fix it, they have a duty to warn people about hazards and mark the area off. The museum was owned by the city. There's another concept called sovereign immunity, which is that governments can't be sued without their consent. It seems that the city has won, but unfortunately, they had also passed a very stupid law.

The law stated that the city would be exempt from sovereign immunity if it can be proven that the city was aware of the hazard that caused the accident. Meaning, you would have to show that you informed the Secretary of State/Governor/Mayor etc. of the exact specific crack in the sidewalk before the injury occurs, and you had to do so in writing with ample time for the city to remedy it (180 days in advance IIRC).

Under normal circumstances, this is impossible because no one anticipates tripping on the sidewalk 180 days in advance. And they almost never have the foresight to write a letter to the mayor about that specific crack. Luckily, someone came up with an ingenious plan. There was a non-profit which would go around the city and record with insane specificity each and every crack, pothole, protrusion, and other hazard.

They then publish these maps while serving copies to the government, with the express purpose of combatting sovereign immunity defenses in slip and fall cases against the government. I got a hold of one of these maps and visited the site. I was able to take pictures of the section of the sidewalk where my client fell.

You could see newly placed concrete over the area in the exact position indicated on the map, showing that the sidewalk had been repaired after my client slipped. Unaware of my research, the government's attorney brought up the sovereign immunity defense and outlined all of the stupid steps I would have needed to go through to overcome their motion to dismiss.

My response was, "Oh you mean this?" and gave them the map. Immediate settlement.

Strange lawPexels

63. Lady Luck Failed to Testify That Day

A woman backed out her car directly into a truck in a casino parking lot but luckily it was just a little fender bender damage. My client, the truck driver, said she parked and went inside the casino for a few hours. At her deposition, she testified that she was so hurt that she went right home and to a hospital. I asked if she was a frequent visitor of casino, and if she had a rewards card. She was happy to tell me that not only did she have a rewards card, she had gold status.

I subpoenaed her rewards cards records. She played slots for hours after the accident.

Vegas factsPixabay

64. Ensured to be Screwed Over

My client's house burned down from an explosion in the fuel oil tank. It was clearly the oil maintenance company's fault, but his homeowner’s insurance still refused to pay out, citing a ridiculous technicality. Essentially, the policy covered damage caused by the oil heater, but they claimed that because the storage tank exploded, they didn't need to pay.

During a deposition with the claims adjuster, I asked how she came to the conclusion that the storage tank was not a part, or at least connected to, the heater. She states that she relied on her "expert witness" who was an engineer. Little did she know, I checked this person's background. He had zero engineering experience.

As you might know, you don't get attorney's fees in most cases. However, you do when an insurance company denies your claim in "bad faith.” Her little admission cost the company about 500k in fees, on top of the original claim for 1.2 million. Kaboom, lady.

Rest My Case factsShutterstock

65. It Never Hurts To Ask

My brother is a lawyer. He got a charge dropped for a client. Guy gets pulled over and the cop asks him to step out to perform the sobriety test after he admits to having consumed some number of beverages. He complies but after stepping out of his car asks the officer if it's ok for him to reposition his vehicle to move it further away from the road.

He claimed it was because he felt uncomfortable with it being that close to the road. The cop obliges. Apparently, the charge got dropped because the officer willingly let an intoxicated individual operate a motor vehicle.

Strange lawShutterstock

66. Words Matter

I had a case where a guy was charged for running a red light. The thing is, he had been sitting at the light for over 5 minutes and it hadn’t changed. The wording of the specific section under which he was charged with running the red related to stop signs and traffic lights and referred to them as “traffic regulation devices.”

I successfully argued that as the traffic light wasn’t changing, it wasn’t regulating traffic but completely stopping it. The judge actually dismissed the ticket. I couldn’t believe it when the judge ruled in my favor, neither could the prosecutor!

Strange lawPexels

67. Justice Is Served

I once had an illegal immigrant client in for not paying his child support, and he was beyond difficult to work with in any capacity. I'm talking, whomever he spoke to from my office, he would demand their phone number, current address, and social security number because he thought he was entitled to it since we're government employees.

He also was just not a fun guy to talk to and was just straight up rude to everyone. So these types of things rarely go to trial and usually, people don't even serve any time as long as they work with us, but not this guy. He was uncooperative the whole pre-trial process and refused to show up to anything unless there was a threat of warrant.

It gets to the day of the trial and he starts giving the judge heck over every little thing, demanding her SIN, address, and phone number, and claiming some weird straw man argument. He cited unrelated contract and business laws (again this is child support), but what finally did it was he called the judge a "stick up the butt witch."

He was promptly found guilty and sentenced to the max time. I literally did nothing but read his payment history, cited how much he was behind, and sat back to watch this guy argue himself into serving six months. It was pretty satisfying seeing him escorted out of the courtroom in handcuffs. Not exactly a strict win for me, but…still a win, to be honest.

Lawyers knew they wonUnsplash

68. V For Vendetta

I’m not a lawyer, but I am a very observant girlfriend. My boyfriend’s car was involved in an accident. He was parked in an area where, during certain hours, you were not permitted to park as it would block semis from being able to maneuver to deliver goods to a steel plant. A girl backed her vehicle into the driver’s side door of his Ford Fusion.

The authorities were called for insurance purposes, and my boyfriend states that it appeared the officer and the girl knew each other, as they were on a first-name basis. He received a parking ticket. It took forever for the insurance companies to sort it out because she didn’t think she was at fault because he was parked illegally.

However, that doesn’t matter to the case. If you hit someone’s car, you’re not going to get off scot-free, so she ended up having to pay for his deductible. And this is where the nightmare began. The local PD, who obviously did know the girl, started straight-up harassing us. My boyfriend received a piece of mail from our magistrate stating he failed to pay a parking ticket.

He was just going to pay it. I looked over the paperwork, though, and found that the vehicle they identified was traded in before the ticket was issued. The ticket indicated a white Toyota Tundra, but the license plate block was not filed out. It was signed, but you could not make out the badge number. We had traded his Toyota Tundra in for a Ford Fusion in December.

The ticket was written in February of the following year. I was furious. So I gather all the evidence for him, and he went before the magistrate. The officer testified that he saw a white Toyota Tundra illegally parked at a certain location that had a parking time restriction and that it was owned by my boyfriend when he ran the tags.

I should note that my boyfriend had had several parking tickets while he owned the Toyota Tundra. That’s our guess on how he got just enough info to write the ticket. My boyfriend presented his evidence and the judge dismissed the case. The judge was heard saying to the officer that he would like to speak to him afterward, and he chastised him for wasting the court’s time. The officer later told my boyfriend that if he had contacted him, they could have “taken care of it” outside of getting the magistrate involved.

Needless to say, we haven’t had an issue since.

Lawyers knew they wonShutterstock

69. Playing House

I tried to sell my home myself, and the buyers wanted a term period for the land contract before getting their own mortgage. I agreed to one year, had a simple contract drawn up and after we both signed it everything seemed fine. I didn’t know how wrong I was. Within 30 days, they present me with their own land contract that was pages long to "protect their investment."

At about page three, it very clearly stated that, "If for any reason the home burns down, purchaser will receive all insurance proceeds." First, I still had a mortgage, and the proceeds would go to pay that off. Second, that's a pretty targeted thing to say. Not lawyers’ terms of the house being destroyed, and it's surrounded by woods and waterways, just "if it burnt down." But it got worse.

Page four stated that this would remain a land contract until my mortgage was paid in full, so they'd never buy outright. I returned it to them with a letter stating those two things were never happening and I wasn't signing. They stopped paying, so I began eviction. Six months later, the lawyer I hired was an idiot, so I'm sitting down with their lawyer myself.

He brings out the contract they'd tried giving me and began talking about their iron-clad case due to the agreement. I asked him one simple question to absolutely ruin him. I asked him to show me my signature. The look on his face when he realized it wasn't there, oh man. After we talked, it turned out he knew them and wrote the contract—without the burn-the-house down stipulation; It seems they added it.

Not only did I "win," I'm pretty sure they lost a lawyer friend.

Lawyers knew they wonPexels

70. Done Dirty

I was a volunteer family advocate. I worked with families who were falsely accused of child mistreatment. Part of that job was going to court with them. One day, I was contacted by a family whose children were in foster care because of parental substance use. Except the family claimed that they didn't use, but that no one would believe them.

They had a court-appointed attorney who did nothing but tell them to stop using. I honestly didn't believe them, since I was pretty jaded at the time. Still, I told them to request their case file so that I could review it myself. I was surprised when they called me back and had the case file. I met with them and went through everything.

I noticed the claims of substance use, and court findings of substance use, but there was one huge thing missing. There were no test results in their paperwork at all. I told them to ask for the results. Long story short, the caseworker wouldn't give them the actual results, and the lab wouldn't either. Well, that’s alarming.

So, I tested them myself at a different lab. They tested clean. Color me shocked. There were four months to go until the next court date. Every time the court-tested them, they went right after to the other lab and did a second test. All clean. I told them to tell the lawyer beforehand that if the courts claimed any dirty tests, to ask in court for the test results.

Their lawyer didn't want to. I was starting to get mad. So, on the day of court, I had a stack of clean test results in my bag. The lawyer wouldn't even look at them, and he was openly hostile to my presence and involvement. Court starts. For what it’s worth, I had been in this judge's courtroom before with other families. It wasn’t my first rodeo.

The child protection services supervisor stands up and says that the parents have had 12 dirty screens in the past six months. At this point, the lawyer actually did ask her for the results. Her answer made my blood boil. She said she didn't have them with her. Like, really? Well, obviously at this point I knew exactly what to do.

I got my own results out of my bag and handed them to the mom, who was next to the lawyer. She tried to get him to take them, but he ignored her. I got so agitated that the judge said, "Mrs. Baez looks like she's about to have a stroke. What's going on?" I stood up and explained that we had clean tests taken immediately after the mandated ones that Child Services claimed were dirty.

I briefly explained that the parents had tried getting copies of their results and had been refused, and refused continually. I said that the parents had consistently denied ever using substances and had clean tests to prove it. The judge ordered Child Services to provide copies of all the test results at a hearing in a week. When it finally happened, I was so vindicated.

At that hearing, the case was closed and the children were released from foster care. The family never got an apology from anyone, but they were too traumatized to pursue it. They packed up and moved away within a month.

Lawyers knew they wonShutterstock

71. A Slippery Slope

The plaintiff was being deposed in the lawsuit she filed alleging gender discrimination and harassment. She was claiming her boss had made some inappropriate innuendos and overtures. The defense attorney asked her if when the alleged statements or events took place, was she shocked? “No.” Was she offended? “No.” Was she damaged in any way? “No.”

“So why exactly are we here?” “Well, honestly, I’d rather not be.” Meanwhile, her attorney stared straight down, scribbling notes and doodling. We ended the deposition there and asked her attorney if this was going away now. We got a call later offering to settle for $1,000 and a letter of apology. My best guess is that she was pressured by a friend or family to talk to an attorney, and the lawyers ran with it without really talking to their client.

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72. All You Have To Do Is Ask

A statute disallowed people from building structures in the park (ie. homeless tents). My guy gets picked up as he had been living in the park. I didn’t have much time to prepare as it was considered a quick and easy case. I looked quickly at the statute, and saw that there was an exception if whoever erected the structure had permission.

They can get permission from governors, mayors, or the parks dept permission. I asked why the ticket didn't say they checked for permission before it was issued. The court wasn't able to prove whether or not permission was granted. So, it was dismissed for lack of probable cause.

Strange lawShutterstock

73. What’s Yours Is Mine

Where I live, gifts given in contemplation of marriage are conditional on the marriage taking place. If I were to give you an engagement ring and you break off the wedding, you have to return the ring. You might get to keep it only if I'm the one to break it off. This is one of those things they teach in law school as a silly law that will never actually come up in real life.

It came up. Someone was charged with robbing his ex-fiancée because he demanded the return of a ring at knife-point. Well, thievery requires at least an attempt at theft, and it turns out it was his ring so he couldn’t be charged. He didn’t get off completely though as he had still been brandishing a knife.

Strange lawUnsplash

74. Not As Cruel Intentions

My father was hired by a guy who had intentionally run over a possum mom and about 8 babies that had been eating his crops. He was charged with nine counts of animal cruelty. Each charge had something like a minimum of a year behind bars and a significant fine. My dad filed a motion to completely dismiss the charges.

Per state law at the time, possums are not technically animals, but vermin. The State's organization responsible for vermin (I think Natural Resources) produces pamphlets on how to kill possums by drowning. He argues that the client in fact did less harm to the possums than the state itself directs people to do. The case was dismissed.

Strange lawUnsplash

75. Six Of One And Half A Dozen Of Another

We once won a case, but it didn't quite go as planned. I had a client a while ago who was incarcerated at a state prison farm. Inmates had to spend 40-60 hours a week preparing slop for the hogs from expired restaurant food and cleaning the hog barns. He reeked every time I met with him, even after showering—he said it was miserable, and I believed him.

Well, he found out that some Muslim inmates, who couldn't work with pigs, were offered to be able to work a horse stable instead, five minutes down the road. He wanted to sue, saying that stable work is MUCH less revolting than hog work, and that this amounted to unequal punishment on the basis of religion.

I thought he had a point. Well, the case didn't get thrown out and actually got some traction, but then the prison changed their policies in response. Inmates who couldn't work around pigs, or didn't want to, would instead be transported to a factory chicken barn the next county over for work each day.

Strange lawUnsplash

76. Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

I won a case when I was pretty new. The facts were that the client had allegedly shoved a BB gun down his sock and was messing around at a local fast-food restaurant. They found the item on his person when they restrained him and charged him with carrying a concealed weapon. Notably, it was the kind of thing that used a CO2 cartridge.

Anybody who knows anything about BBs knows that you can do some proper damage with them, so it kind of makes sense that you shouldn’t really be allowed to shove whatever you want down your sock and act the fool in a crowded public setting. The problem was the law about this sort of thing was pretty specific.

Under the law, a concealed weapon has to be, amongst other things, a firearm or similar weapon that issues a projectile by means of the explosion of a combustible substance. I read that, and couldn't help but start grinning. I won the case because a CO2 cartridge is definitionally neither combustible nor does it explode. While the BB gun was a weapon that was concealed, it wasn’t technically a concealed weapon.

Strange lawSHutterstock

77. Ex Rated

Not a lawyer, but my ex-wife was a psycho and we ended up in court. I was divorcing her for stealing money from me. My case was solid and it was going result in a quick annulment, which can be rare. I told her everything and put all my cards on the table—there was going to be no spousal support, nothing. Well, she did the smart thing and got a lawyer for herself.

Apparently, she told her lawyer I was filing on my own, without a lawyer. That gave her lawyer the impression I was misusing the divorce opportunity and had no case. She also completely lied about the circumstances in our marriage that were leading me to file in the first place, and that—without spilling the details—it was super documented and substantial.

Well, the summons was served, and when her lawyer found out about all my ex's lies, she dropped her in a heart beat. The trial was quick, I won my case, and she got nothing. DO NOT LIE TO YOUR LAWYER.

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78. The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth

I’m a trial lawyer, so I have a ton of these. My favorite was probably a drink and drive case where the officer was in a Buffalo Wild Wing with my client watching a fight on TV. Like, the officer was standing at the bar in full uniform, then when my client walked by him to leave, followed him out. My client was only actually going to his car to grab his phone charger because he was going home with the bartender.

Like, he hadn’t even closed his tab yet. The officer detained him and charged him for opening his car door, then fabricated this story for his report about how the client got in the car, turned it on, and began to pull out of the space to leave the parking lot. He also denied being inside the restaurant—this was all on the stand, under oath, to my face. Well, he had a surprise in store.

I talked to the bartender and got the security tape. It very clearly—like surprisingly good quality—showed the officer standing at the bar, watching my client walk out the front door, then follow him 30 seconds later. The parking lot camera also showed my client barely touched the door handle before the officer stopped him. But the story doesn’t end there.

Eventually, the officer underwent an “internal review” where the board determined he hadn’t done anything wrong. A few months ago, he shot an unarmed man while on patrol. He also trains new officers now and tells young college girls he pulls over to call him “Tommy.” For what it’s worth, bad officers lie under oath ALL THE TIME.

This story is just fun because I got to prove him wrong and save my client from a conviction.

Lawyers knew they wonShutterstock

79. Do You Even Lift, Bro?

This was a good one. The plaintiff was saying he couldn’t work and had back injuries after a minor car accident. I found a video on Facebook of the plaintiff squatting 300 pounds the month before his deposition. So, I sent the video to his attorney after the deposition, and the case immediately went away. He also adamantly denied being able to work out or doing any lifting during his deposition. It was all a big lie.

Lawyers knew they knowPexels

80. Photo Finish

I took my old landlord to court when I was in college. She had taken my security deposit over false allegations: They claimed I "trashed" the place, not knowing that I took pictures and video when I moved in and out. Their "evidence" was a VHS quality recording of going through a perfectly clean apartment in better condition than it was when I moved in. Oh, but it got better.

They opened up the top of the stove and found a single piece of elbow macaroni under it, holding it up triumphantly. That was the crux of their "defense." The judge was not amused, and I got all my money back plus my lawyer fees and the filing fee. She then fought against her own lawyer to avoid paying him like she should have.

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81. Child’s Play

My husband was in the middle of a paternity case once defending himself. His ex was trying to take basically full custody of their son and only give him visitation two days a month. Her reasoning was that he wasn’t involved, didn’t go to doctor appointments, didn’t take the kid to school, etc. My husband asked her, “When was the last time you told me about his doctor appointment?”

She thought for a second and said, “Never.” He asked, “Would you have let me take him to school if I had asked?” Again she thought for a second and said, “No.” Needless to say, they got 50/50 time-sharing with joint custody. They were not married when the kid was born, and where we live that means the dad has zero rights.

His ex didn’t want him to be involved because she hates him, so he was forced to take her to court just to be able to take his son to the doctor and to school. If he had simply done those things in the past she would not have let him, and he had no rights. He once kept his son past what she told him he could, and she threatened to call the authorities and report him for kidnapping.

Lawyers knew they wonPexels

82. Oops, My Bad

My girlfriend had a very minor nose-to-tail and a rookie officer who happened to drive by booked her on some massive charges and fines. She went to trial, and her lawyer tore apart the officer. In the report he filed, the officer ticked her ethnicity as African—she's white and European. He also put the wrong date, the wrong street name, and didn't get the other witness details.

The prosecution and officer argued that she had signed the witness statement, so while a few things were accidentally filled out wrong, it reflected what happened. Her lawyer asked the officer to show the court her signature on the statement.  He looked at it and went white as a sheet. He looked back up and said, “Oh, I must have forgot it.”

The prosecutor and a few officers who went to the trial for some reason all let out audible groans. The judge adjourned for 10 minutes, and the officers still wanted to press on, but the judge threw it out immediately after recess. He also gave the prosecutor an earful for taking such a ridiculous case to trial and acting like it had any chance at all.

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83. Owning Up

We had some huge issues with a landlord—trying to enter without letting us know beforehand, not answering to fix issues, very aggressive when talking with us—when he decided to sell the place. He didn't check with us about the visits and just showed up randomly with potential buyers. We told him to get lost, and he eventually left but called us the same evening to threaten us.

We sent emails to remind him of our rights as tenants and he answered by threatening us some more, IN AN EMAIL. We eventually end up in small claims court, and he fabricates a story about how we are terrible tenants and we try to discourage buyers. We just showed the judge the emails as well as the open complaint to the authorities we filled a few days earlier.

The judge couldn't believe it and gave the landlord a formal warning, plus gave us three free months of rent. In the end, the guy just used a real estate company to sell the place. All went smoothly and we still live there with lovely landlords that aren't completely bonkers.

Lawyers knew they wonUnsplash

84. The Over-Qualified Witness

My father is a physician and occasionally serves as an expert witness in some cases involving insurance payouts for car wrecks. He had just spent some time explaining all of the different forces involved in the accident and how that could translate to years of back problems (his specialty). He was quite technical in his explanation and the opposing attorney thought that my dad was overreaching his expertise and was talking more as an engineer rather than a doctor.

So, he asked him if he was an engineer. My dad responded that yes, he was in fact an engineer, as he had a bachelor's in engineering from before he went to med school. It apparently didn't completely resolve the case, but the attorney did have to backtrack quite a bit and it really strengthened the patient's case that the insurance company should continue paying for treatment

Lawyers Screwed factsShutterstock

85. Think Before You Speak

I watched my lawyer have this moment last time we were in court. My ex mistreated my kid, so I withheld visitation and hired a lawyer. I offered supervised visitation with a plan to integrate regular visitation once he completed anger management and parenting classes as well as had six months clean of all substances. I thought this was reasonable.

When he was on the stand, he mentioned that he had been taking prescription medications for 10 years. This was supposed to illustrate that he’s been on meds for a decade and never had a problem being a “good” dad. My lawyer asked what medications, and he listed off a bunch: medications like methadone, Klonopin, Vicodin, OxyContin etc.

She asked why he began taking those particular medications. His reply dug his grave. He said, “Well, I messed up my back last year riding my quad.” She asked him to repeat himself. He said it again. The look on her face was amazing. She said, “So, you’ve been taking large amounts of medications for 10 years?” He said yes. She said, “10 years of major medications due to an injury that happened two years ago?” Done.

Lawyers knew they wonUnsplash

86. Not Very Sportsmanlike

When I practiced insurance defense, I was handed a file to take over of a slip and fall. The guy tripped on a hose and tore his ACL. My partner had taken the guy’s deposition already, so I read the transcript. It took me only a few lines in to know we’d won. I'm a Michigan football fan, and I’ve watched every game for 20 years.

This guy testified that he was the starting safety for a certain rival for certain years. Also that he graduated with a double major that doesn't exist at that school. I immediately knew this was false. My partner didn't understand. I dug deeper, and found out he lied about so much stuff unrelated to the fall for no reason.

Eventually, I found high school records from football injuries of head trauma, knee injuries, oh and a slip and fall injury a few months after ours. He also testified he rehabbed an ACL surgery after one month. We immediately settled.

Lawyers knew they wonUnsplash

87. The Proof Is In The Payment

I represented an elderly Indian couple who didn't speak English very well and owned a rental property. They had a tenant at the time who had not paid rent in over six months. They had tried to evict her on their own, but when they got to court, the tenant produced some hand-written notes that they had given her the year prior thanking her for payment.

Sadly, they had failed to date the notes. So of course, the tenant added recent dates herself. The tenant also produced a partial certified check receipt, but most of it was illegible. Anyway, because of their poor English, they had difficulty understanding the questions and giving intelligent answers, so they lost the initial case.

They hired me to help address all of the various lies that the tenant was putting forth. Anyway, we re-filed. I had my clients pull the banking records, so we could show the date that the certified check was actually deposited into their account. The plan was simple: Let the tenant make the same arguments and then present the banking statements showing the deposit date. My clients also found a photocopy of one of their notes that was undated, unlike the copy the tenant presented the last time.

Well, when the judge finally understood that the things the tenant had presented occurred the year before, his cheeks turned bright red and he asked the tenant, "What year did you make this payment?" The tenant started saying something like she couldn't be exactly sure when...and the judge cut her off again in a very loud voice and said, "What year?!"

Needless to say, the clients got their eviction granted. But here’s the best part. When the tenant arrived at court, I watched as she got out of her car, walked to the back, and pulled out a wheelchair. She then proceeded to stay in that wheelchair until the case was over. Once the judge left the courtroom, she folded-up the wheelchair and carried it to her car, mumbling that she "hates lawyers."

That was a very satisfying day.

Lawyers knew they wonUnsplash

88. Walk A Mile In His Shoes

I got robbed in my home. Long story short, he would have gone behind bars anyway, but the kicker is that the shoes he wore to court were the same shoes he took from my house. The judge asked if I wanted them back. I said yes. The judge made him take them off in court and walk back in socks. Donated the shoes, it was more about the principle.

Lawyers knew they wonUnsplash

89. Bare With Me

I had a ton of these when I used to do Family Law. Once, my client's husband was alleging that she had been high and in her birthday suit in public. As I'm crossing him, I get him to admit that she was in fact changing out of her bathing suit at the beach and covered by a towel at all times. But it was his exact words that were so unforgettable.

He says: "Well, she was naked...under the towel." I come back with: "Just like you're naked under your clothes right now?" Even the judge chuckled.

Lawyers knew they wonPexels

90. The Invisible Man

I had a client charged with battery. The alleged victim didn’t really support the prosecution’s case, and in any event, was reluctant to testify. They still had another witness though, and she said that my client was hitting the alleged victim, so it wasn’t looking great for me, to be perfectly honest with you. But then it all changed in an instant.

The prosecutor and I were talking before court started, hanging out by the courtroom doors, when the witness walked in. She looked right at my client, who was sitting not five feet from me, then scanned the room and said, “Where is [client name]?” The prosecutor and I looked at each other for a minute, and then he said he needed to check on something.

When I saw him a few minutes later, he told me he was dismissing the case.

Lawyers knew they wonPexels

91. Mistaken Identity

When the petitioner’s attorney called me my brother’s name when I was on the stand. My brother is a jerk and I don’t associate with him anymore. However, he has a lengthy, sordid history and it pops up on traffic stops occasionally. So I was in court over custody of my oldest child, and her mom’s attorney was trying to paint me as a hypocrite for being an addict.

I (truthfully) denied it all on the stand, when the lawyer said, "Now James, I must remind you that you are under oath, and by denying this, you are committing perjury." I stared him in the face and said, "My name is Bill, James is my brother." Even the judge laughed at him, and the only reason we didn't bring it up sooner—we knew he submitted it as evidence but had no idea why—was because I really wanted to know what he was up to with it all.

Lawyers knew they wonPexels

92. Don’t Stop Believing

My dad is out of state on business driving through some no-name town when he goes through an intersection. Suddenly, a cop pulls him over and tickets him—stating that he ran a stop sign. My dad insisted that there was not any stop sign, but the cop did not listen. Furious, he went back to the intersection and saw that there was indeed a stop sign hidden behind a tree and twisted in the wrong direction!

Even angrier, he went into a convenience store and bought a disposable camera. The clerk laughed because he saw what happened and knew what was up. Luckily, my dad had to be back there in a few weeks for work. The cop assumed that someone with out of state plates would just pay the ticket, and was shocked when my dad turned up in court, calmly presented his evidence to the judge, and strolled out in five minutes scot-free.

Lawyers Share “I Rest My Case” FactsWikimedia Commons

93. The Wedding Photographer

I represented the husband in a divorce. On the day of the trial, opposing counsel presented shocking evidence. The wife’s attorneys produced photographs that they claimed proved adultery. The photos were of my client, the husband, wearing lingerie and a long brown wig, engaging in act of intimacy with another man. I was able to successfully exclude this from evidence...because the wife was the photographer.

Lawyers divorce casePexels

94. A Good Foundation

So, I do a lot of insurance work, and I try cases of all kinds, large and small. I had a small case, over about $2,600, from where a contractor drove into a retaining wall at this lady's house and damaged it. He wouldn't fix it, and, after like eight months, the homeowner allowed her insurance company—my client—to have it fixed and then sent the bill to the contractor.

Surprise surprise, the contractor wouldn't pay. There was lots of squabbling between my client and the contractor's insurance company, who offered less than $500 on a $2,600 bill. We had a trial to settle it. I brought our claims adjuster and the homeowner. The defense attorney brought the contractor and an adjuster from the contractor's insurance company.

Everything goes fine with questioning the homeowner, who was a sweet, middle-aged woman. She, like most people, knows nothing about the finer points of masonry. Then, we get to my claims adjuster. He says, "Well, we paid $2,600 to have this fixed, but I'm not an expert on masonry." However, he also discussed how estimates on masonry were made.

I close my proof. Next, the contractor gets up on the stand. They go over what exactly happened with the retaining wall. Then, he testifies that he "knows for a fact" that the $2,600 invoice includes overhead and profit and accuses my client of "running a scam." The judge strikes the answer. I look down at the estimate for repair and grin from ear to ear.

It says, in bold print, "This amount does not include overhead or profit." I look at the invoice. It's the same amount as the estimate. This guy is lying through his teeth—and I’m going to catch him.  On cross examination, I show the contractor the invoice. "Sir, this is a $2,600 invoice for repair, correct." "Yes." Then I show him the estimate.

"Sir, this is a $2,600 estimate for the same repairs, correct?" "Yes." "They're the same amount, correct?" "Yes." "Does the estimate say it does not include profit or overhead?" "Uh..." "Does it?" "Yes." "Didn't you just testify that you knew for a fact that the estimate included overhead?" "I don't know." "What don't you know?"

At this point, the contractor is furious and beats his hand on the stand. "It doesn't include overhead and profit, does it?" "I guess not." "But you said it did, right?" I pass the witness. But I wasn’t done yet. Next, the defense attorney calls the contractor's insurance company's adjuster. He testifies about how much he thought it should cost, like $500.00.

I cross-examine him. "How did you make this estimate?" "I put the numbers into a computer program." "How do you know what numbers to put in?" "Uh..." "Are you a contractor?" "No." "Are you an expert in masonry?" "No." "Have you ever worked in construction?" "No." "And the computer programs spits out what you put in?" "Yes."

"And you can just put in whatever numbers you want?" "Yes." "And it makes an estimate based on the numbers you pick?" "Yes." "But you don't know anything about masonry?" "No." The adjuster just testified that he made up the estimate. Defense closes proof. And the judge takes the matter under advisement. So let’s recap all this glory.

The contractor lied and was discredited, and the adjuster for the contractor admitted he just made everything up. We got $1,000 out of the trial. Less than half of what we sought but double what the defendant argued it should be. It was a win in my book.

Lawyers of redditUnsplash

95. An Iron Clad Defense

I was an Assistant DA in a college town in Texas. A fellow prosecutor (in plain clothes) overheard this exchange between a defendant and his attorney in the courthouse hallway. "Why don't they dismiss this case? The paper says 'State of Texas v. ______,' but I didn't punch the state of Texas. I punched my wife." Oh, buddy…

Lawyers of redditPexels

96. The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth

I’m a trial lawyer, so I have a ton of these. My favorite was probably a drink and drive case where the officer was in a Buffalo Wild Wing with my client watching a fight on TV. Like, the officer was standing at the bar in full uniform, then when my client walked by him to leave, followed him out. My client was only actually going to his car to grab his phone charger because he was going home with the bartender.

Like, he hadn’t even closed his tab yet. The officer detained him and charged him for opening his car door, then fabricated this story for his report about how the client got in the car, turned it on, and began to pull out of the space to leave the parking lot. He also denied being inside the restaurant—this was all on the stand, under oath, to my face. Well, he had a surprise in store.

I talked to the bartender and got the security tape. It very clearly—like surprisingly good quality—showed the officer standing at the bar, watching my client walk out the front door, then follow him 30 seconds later. The parking lot camera also showed my client barely touched the door handle before the officer stopped him. But the story doesn’t end there.

Eventually, the officer underwent an “internal review” where the board determined he hadn’t done anything wrong. A few months ago, he shot an unarmed man while on patrol. He also trains new officers now and tells young college girls he pulls over to call him “Tommy.” For what it’s worth, bad officers lie under oath ALL THE TIME.

This story is just fun because I got to prove him wrong and save my client from a conviction.

Lawyers knew they wonShutterstock

97. A Fatal Mistake

I once had a client who was a nurse that had administered a fatal injection and ended the life of a baby. It was a long story, but I got her off any charges of negligence despite being very disturbed by what had happened. It happened many years ago, but this case will stay with me forever. Here is the full story, for all of you who might be interested.

It was after hours in a small rural hospital. They were understaffed and under-equipped. In the pediatric ward, a baby was very ill with gastroenteritis and hadn't responded to weeks of treatment. The baby was losing weight despite everything. There was no doctor on the pediatric ward that night, or, in fact, in the entire hospital.

When the lab phoned the baby's blood work results in to the nurse on duty, she said that the baby was going to pass soon if he didn't receive urgent treatment. The nurse phoned the doctor on the telephone. He wasn't supposed to go in that day, having already worked long hours that day. He was just supposed to be available for phone calls.

The doc gave instructions for a sister to give the baby an ampoule of potassium chloride. She wrote down the instructions. But the doctor made a fatal mistake. They didn't specify that it should be given orally, which was what was meant. But because the doc specified that a sister must give it, the nurse assumed that it should be an injection, as she herself wasn't qualified to give injections but a nursing sister would have been.

The nurse called the sister from the maternity ward and asked her to come by and carry out the instruction. She explained the urgency. The sister was very busy in the maternity ward, but came to the pediatric ward and gave the injection. The baby passed from immediate cardiac arrest. The partners in my firm didn't want to touch the case, as they thought it was impossible to win.

But in our law, negligence has a specific definition. I won the case for the nursing sister by arguing that my client was trying her best, with only the instructions and resources at hand, under circumstances where she had been told the patient would pass very soon if the treatment wasn't given. She was an amazingly dedicated person and what happened had completely devastated her.

It was to the point where she wanted to quit nursing. I hope she changed her mind after that. There is one other point, though. The one good thing that came out of this tragic event was that I mentioned to a local Rotary Club member that the hospital in question desperately needed some telemedicine equipment, knowing that the club had such a project.

Shortly after that, they were able to make a donation of equipment to the hospital. I even coincidentally saw that doctor in passing years afterward and the doctor was so grateful for that equipment. It definitely changed the situation and made it far less likely that a tragedy like this one would ever again be repeated at that hospital.

Lawyers wish could forgerPexels

98. A Little Dusty

I had a woman with an expensive fur coat who claimed that the laundromat ruined it. It was a bit ruined, but the laundromat said that the stains were already there. The judge ordered an expert opinion—and it revealed so much more than we bargained for. The coat had traces of drugs all over it. They raided her place where they found her husband’s big stash of drugs. She should have just taken the stains.

Lawyer ridiculous casesPxfuel

99. Invasion of Privacy

Not a lawyer, but I took my brother-in-law's landlord to small claims court (He's on SSI and I'm his conservator). We sued her for over $4,000 after she just decided she didn't like him and changed the locks on his apartment door. She also stuffed all of his belongings into trash bags and dragged them out to the curb. This was all done the day after she cashed his rent check.

It all started because she was letting herself into his apartment with no notice and was going through his stuff while he was gone. When I found out about this, I told him to let her know that was NOT okay. He did, and that's why she kicked him out. I'm very organized, and presented the judge with a folder containing photos, receipts, short videos on DVD and the sheriff call logs, as well as a concise timeline of events.

The landlord showed up with her son and countersued for the exact same amount we were suing them for. Claiming that the apartment was trashed, there were holes in the walls and they would have to repair everything before being able to rent again. During the hearing, the judge asked for evidence of the damage to the room.

The son whipped out his cell phone and showed a video panning and walking around the room. The video showed my BIL's apartment obviously still being lived in (his stuff was all still there) and no visible damage, but there were a lot of posters and things hung on the walls. When the judge looked at the video he asked, "Where is the damage?" The son replied, "You can't see it. It's behind all of the posters."

The judge frowned and looked at the video again, and then said, "Did you take this video when he was still living there at this time?" The son replied, "Yes." This was the clincher, the judge then asked, "Did you ask his permission to enter the apartment to take this video?" Silence. We were awarded the full amount.

Criminals Screwed factsShutterstock

100. It’s Easier To Ask For Forgiveness, Rather Than Permission

I was mediating a divorce in Virginia that got a little ugly and complicated. The female spouse was cheating on her well-off male spouse. The man found out and started the divorce proceedings. Because the woman had been caught cheating, she would get no spousal support. She did however find out about her own little loophole.

There’s a concept called condonation, which means if you sleep with someone after knowing they committed adultery, you have forgiven them and can get spousal support. Well, one night of text messages and a few photos later, forgiveness was achieved. The wife received a lucrative spousal settlement based on the new information.

Ended Relationship factsShutterstock

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

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