“That’s Wider, W-I-D-E-R. Got it, f**k face? You’re welcome.”
We thought that this deposition was one of the more colorful ones out there. But it pales in comparison to the deposition described by Shannon Duffy in today’s Legal Intelligencer:
A federal judge has levied sanctions of more than $29,000 on a lawyer and his client after finding that a deposition was a “spectacular failure” because of the client’s constant use of vulgar language and insults and dodging or refusing to answer questions, and his lawyer’s failure to rein him in.
In his 44-page opinion in GMAC Bank v. HTFC Corp. (PDF), U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno found that Aaron Wider, the CEO of HTFC, engaged in “hostile, uncivil, and vulgar conduct, which persisted throughout the nearly 12 hours of deposition testimony.”
Robreno noted that Wider used the “F word” or variations of it 73 times during the deposition and that the video shows that his lawyer, Joseph R. Ziccardi of Chicago, at one point “snickered” at his client’s conduct. Ziccardi was also to blame, Robreno found, because he failed to stop his client’s tirades and persuade him to answer questions.
The F-word does indeed have many variants. See Sterling Johnson, English as a Second F*cking Language; Jesse Sheidlower, The F Word: Second Edition.
Read more about the deposition’s dirty details, after the jump.
Writers are constantly told: “Show, don’t tell.” So let’s look at the record evidence:
In one passage, GMAC’s lawyer, Robert B. Bodzin of Kleinbard Bell & Brecker in Philadelphia, asked Wider to open a file so that Bodzin could ask questions about certain documents.
According to the transcript, as quoted in Robreno’s opinion, Wider erupted, saying: “‘I’m taking a break. F**k him. You open up the document. You want me to look at something, you get the document out. Earn your f**king money, a**hole. Isn’t the law wonderful?’”
Especially when you have such charming clients!
In another passage, Bodzin said: “We’re going to adjourn this deposition if this happens again because you are offending every single person.”
According to Robreno’s opinion, Wider responded: “‘Don’t speak for anybody in here except yourself f**k face.’”
When Bodzin said he was speaking for himself and the court reporter, Wider said: “‘If she had a problem with me she would say something. She knows it’s [not] directed toward her. It’s directed to you because you’re a piece of s**t and a piece of garbage and I’m the only person in your life that is f**king up your world and I enjoy it.’”
These are just excerpts. Read the whole piece, which details additional rude and abusive comments, over here. Or check out Judge Robreno’s opinion by clicking here (PDF).
Lawyer and Client Sanctioned Over Client’s Conduct, Use of ‘F Word’ During Deposition [Legal Intelligencer]
GMAC Bank v. HTFC Corp. (PDF)
Joseph R. Ziccardi bio [Ziccardi Law Offices]
How to Handle a Tough Deposition Question [YouTube]