July 18, 2022 | Eul Basa

Courtroom Nightmares


Maybe they just watch a little too many courtroom dramas on their spare time, maybe they're just plain idiots, or maybe another legal plot twist came and smacked them in the face. But either way, these clients and lawyers just couldn't catch a break and found themselves right in the middle of some legal jaw-droppers.


1. The Hand That Guided Her

A lawyer friend of mine was defending a guy in court. The main witness for the prosecution was on the stand and was asked if she could identify the defendant. The witness was scanning the courtroom and seemed confused. My friend was already silently celebrating because if she couldn't identify her client, he would probably get all the charges dropped.

As he was mentally adding this case to the “win” file, he happened to glance over at his client. What he saw made him facepalm immediately. The guy had just helpfully raised his hand to make it easier for her to identify him. Even the judge laughed at that one.

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

2. A Footlong Full Of Trouble

I once worked as a prosecutor on the misdemeanor docket, and I heard some really amazing defenses that, if the defendant had an attorney, they would definitely not have made. My favorite was this guy charged with speeding who gave what I now call “the five-dollar foot-long defense.” He pled guilty, but he wanted to provide an explanation to the judge. It became legendary.

He said that he had just eaten a five-dollar roast beef foot-long from Subway and was speeding to get home before he fell asleep because roast beef is a sedative. The judge chuckled and asked if he meant to say turkey, a lunchmeat that might cause some form of mild sedation. The man realized his mistake and said that the five-dollar foot-long contained both.

At this point, I am trying not to burst out laughing. Honestly, he used the word “five-dollar foot-long” about a half dozen times by this point, like he was actively advertising for Subway. The judge said he didn't think there was such a five-dollar foot-long available at Subway. At this point, the entire courtroom was laughing.

The judge told him to choose his food more carefully and slow down, along with giving him the maximum fine.

Lawyers ridiculous casesFlickr

3. Door Jam

My father was a lawyer. When he was a federal prosecutor, they had a case where the defendants were holding up a bank. They successfully held it up and were headed on their way out. Then it all went wrong for one simple reason. The door would not open. They repeatedly tried pushing the door and slamming into it but eventually gave up.

In their panic, they thought they had been locked inside the bank by the manager. The authorities showed up, calmly entered the bank, and took the puzzled bank thieves into custody. The door was a pull door.

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

4. "Come Here, Horrible Witch Who I Will Never Forgive"

My uncle represented this guy getting a divorce from his wife of 15 years. Super toxic breakup and they split everything 50/50, even the land that the house they lived in sat upon. Well, she decides to build a house right behind the other house, mind you this was a lot of land, probably 200 yards separating both home sites, so that the back of the houses faced each other.

The house gets built and my uncle gets a call from his client asking about the legality of a situation he had gotten himself into. Apparently, his ex-wife would spend a lot of time in her backyard, so he saw her all the time. What he did was buy a female dog and name it the same name as his ex-wife.

Ancestry TestsShutterstock

5. Your Loss—Literally

I’m a lawyer. A lady didn’t pay her general contractor upwards of $20k after the job was finished because of a dozen or so minor complaints—things like he was too slow, nothing major. I told her she should pay him, and after that, we could help her with her complaints. I warned her that otherwise, he will probably be successful in getting a lien on her home.

She didn’t pay. He got a lien on her home. Heck, we then even offered to help her stash the funds in escrow pending their dispute, as this would prevent a lien in the meantime. Nope. My best guess is that she didn’t have the money and was attempting a tantrum to get out of the whole thing. It ended in a total disaster. Yes, she ended up losing her home. But that wasn’t all.

Later that fall, she showed up at my school and was demanding my information from the front office, who handled it well and I never saw her. Apparently, she blames me for what went down. I told you to pay or you’d lose your home. You didn’t pay and lost your home. This was my first internship, by the way—she was literally the first person to ever approach me in a law capacity.

Legal Numbskulls factsShutterstock

6. I Don’t Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

This was unbelievable. My co-worker’s girlfriend filed for divorce a few weeks ago. That's right, girlfriend. They aren't married, and common-law doesn't apply in my state. They lived together for five years. She has a job. She isn't on the mortgage. And she left him a few months ago. There are no kids involved. They were never engaged.

In the "divorce," she wants him to leave his house and she wants to be the one to move back in. She also wants him to pay her $2,800 a month for some reason. I referred him to my divorce attorney, and now that attorney is probably going to represent him. The chick is nuts. She has already tried to get a restraining order against him that was dismissed.

Lawyers ridiculous casesPexels

7. Bottoms Up Old Biddie

I was hit by a 65-year-old lady who was under the influence. The authorities knew her husband— who was a firefighter—so they didn’t administer a breathalyzer, do any tests, or charge her. The EMTs had said, "That lady is so sloshed, she’s going to buy you a ticket to Disneyworld", which was how I knew that she was plastered at the time of the accident.

However, I had no proof to bring to the table in the lawsuit because if the authorities didn’t charge her or make notes at the time, then you couldn’t add it later. So, when we got to MY deposition, she showed up. She argued with me the entire time over my points and her lawyer kept having to tell her that she needed to be quiet.

I was becoming less than patient with her calling me a liar when she got off scot-free. That's when she ruined everything for herself. She exclaimed to my attorney that the report was wrong. When my lawyer asked what she meant by that, she replied that the report had her coming from the wrong place. So my attorney asked, "Where were you coming from"?

She replied, "My friend's bar"! So, my lawyer continued the questioning and said, "Really, did you have any drinks at this bar"? To which she replied, "Well yeah". When asked how many, she said,  "I don't know. They don’t charge me. They just keep refilling my glass”.  It was all caught on tape, and her lawyers were beside themselves at her stupidity.

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

8. A Signature Defense

A friend of mine who is a lawyer was in the middle of a case where a guy was accused of graffiti vandalism, among a bunch of other things. He rolls up to the court to plead “not guilty”, and the conversation with the judge went like this: Judge: "Sir, did you make this graffiti"? Defendant: "No, I did not”. Judge: "But it has your signature at the end, isn’t it”?

Defendant: "Yes, an artist has to sign his work”! Case closed, thanks to that man’s brilliant legal mind.

Instantly Ended a Case factsShutterstock

9. Who Is This Woman?

We had a client who claimed to be the daughter of a man, but his other daughter claimed that wasn’t true. The man’s estate went to probate court, and they both had rival petitions going to the administrator. In the state of California, you get money to be an administrator, along with your share of the estate. She was a nut.

My boss regretted taking her on. As it went on, she got crazier and crazier. She tried to exhume the body. She broke into the man’s house to “gather evidence” and sent us on a wild goose chase to family members in Arkansas who would vouch for her. A month later, we got a call from our client. Law enforcement was outside her house. She was barricaded in and was holding a gun to her husband.

She wouldn’t come out and kept calling our office to talk to her attorney, who wasn’t in on that day. I was talking to her and watching law enforcement on the news at the same time. She ended up firing on her husband, not taking his life but leaving him in a vegetable state, before going behind bars. Never found out if she was the real daughter or not.

 

Lawyers' Shocking Cases factsShutterstock

10. I Swear The Water’s Safe

A couple of years back, there was a case where a well-known manufacturer of latex paints was found to be destroying a local wetland with runoff. The state authority in charge of wetlands preservation took them to court. In a grandstanding effort to demonstrate to the judge that the chemical being discharged near the water could not possibly be toxic to the wildlife, a representative for the company brought a powdered form of the chemical into court.

They mixed it with a glass of water there and then, intending to drink it dramatically in front of the court. It backfired so, so badly. The glass, which was plastic, melted right there on the table. The case was settled out of court the same day.

Lawyers Accidentally Proved factsShutterstock

11. Joy Ride Gone Wrong

So I dropped my Subaru WRX off to be serviced at a third-party service center. They called me to tell me my car was ready for pick up. When I arrived today, I waited around two hours while they were getting my car ready for pickup…to finally be told that they accidentally gave it to another customer. They offered a rental car for the meantime until they can get it back, which they said would hopefully be in the next few days. But that’s not what happened at all.

I called the authorities and the employees got mad and stressed out immediately. Turns out one of the managers took it for a joyride and wrecked it, which they admitted to. I still have not seen it but I was told the damage was extensive and that I would be held liable for payment to fix part of it. At this point, I’m going to get a lawyer involved.

I shouldn't have to pay for anything they have messed up on. Even if they offer to cover fixing it, I’m a little uneasy about that. Now that it has been in a collision it has much less value and could be prone to future problems. They said if I didn't get lawyers involved they would cut me a deal, but I’m really not having that. Not to mention, they have been lying to me for hours.

At this point, I am pressing charges against them for theft, and I have filed official complaints with the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board and the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Section, and I will be suing for an undisclosed but reasonably high amount.

Legal Drama FactsPexels

12. Thinking Outside The Box

I worked in family law in California for like two years before deciding I would be much, much happier if I changed career paths. In California, the obligation to pay spousal support (alimony) ends when the recipient begins cohabitation with a new romantic partner. This one guy came into our offices one day. To be fair, he was positively getting screwed by sending half his monthly payments in as alimony.

He told us he was aware of the rule about cohabitation and wanted me to argue his “point” in court. What was his point? You see, his ex was a narcissist. She was in love with, and had begun cohabitation, with herself. Her presence in her apartment should count the same as if there were a romantic partner there. He was bordering on begging me to take his money. I refused.

Lawyers Face-Palm factsShutterstock

13. The Proof Is In The Pudding

A woman wanted me to sue her previous lawyer for charging her a lot of money but producing almost no work to justify his fees. She gave me what she told me was the lawyer's total work product. When I read it, I almost burst out laughing. It was just a page printed off the internet for where she said she was charged thousands of dollars for advice.

She had already brought a claim via my jurisdiction's disciplinary body for lawyers—she had lost and wanted to bring an appeal. The judgment kept referring to documents that I hadn't seen. I pushed her to give me everything and she then came in with multiple files full of immaculate work that totally justified the fees she was fighting. We told her to get lost but she spent a lot of my time before we realized she was full of hot air.

Legal Numbskulls factsPexels

14. Facts Of The Case

I worked on a termination of parental rights case. The main arguments were that the parent was stable, working lawfully, had a proper apartment, didn't need psychotropic medication anymore, and was basically ready to be a parent again. After a couple of months of negotiating with all parties, we had a pre-trial to convince the guardians.

I met with my client before the hearing to see if anything changed. "Nope, all good, let's get my kids". Great, that's not happening today, but let's try. We got to court. My client, who’s super-hot headed and quick to anger, got riled up and went off on the guardians by screaming in open court. And unfortunately, it didn’t end there.

My client then decided to reveal that she’s no longer working, no longer in an apartment, didn't want to have a relationship with the guardians (even though her kids loved them), planned on moving out of state, and thought the family could live off state aide when she got them back. The last and most shocking part? She was four months pregnant!

The court learned all of this in the matter of 15 seconds. I was too shocked to even react. Speechless. She was not the image of stability and parental fitness that I had been trying to paint for months.

Instantly Ended a Case factsShutterstock

15. That’s A New One

When I was a judicial intern, I saw an arraignment where the defendant claimed the court had no power over her. Her genius reasoning? Apparently, she couldn’t be touched because she was a “sovereign citizen” who did not recognize the federal or state governments. Somehow, to her, this made it all okay. Later learned that her sole source of income was Social Security.

Lawyers Screwed factsShutterstock

16. Out For Blood

I was in a car accident when I was 16. It was totally my fault. It was summer and it had rained for the first time in a while, so the streets were really slippery. I was going around a practically 90-degree curve and slid slightly over the center line because I hit my brakes too hard. I was going somewhere between 15-20 mph at the time of the accident.

I hit the front/side of the oncoming car with the front/side of my car. There was very little damage done to either vehicle and the officers who came to the scene did not ticket me. But that was just the start of my nightmare. This absolute witch sued. First, she tried to sue my parents since my insurance was on their policy, but that got thrown out.

Then she sued me. My insurance company provided me with my lawyer, who was a very detailed, thorough guy as far as I could tell. They tried several times to settle with her, but she refused. By the time this went to court, I had just turned 18. I literally had to sit at the defendant’s table all day. I kid you not, the woman I hit claimed she was injured in the accident and could no longer feel her pinky toe.

Her lawyer showed up late, looking like Chris Farley when he slept in a van down by the river. His suit jacket looked like it had been wadded up somewhere. This woman went to all the doctors she could, and each and every doctor’s note presented by her said “she claims she can’t feel her pinky toe, but testing shows no issues”. Then she ramped it up.

She claimed emotional duress because she could only wear sneakers because of her injury. She limped around in the courthouse, but I happened to see her out the window during the lunch break and she literally sprinted to her car. While I sat at the defendant’s table on trial all day, I saw several jurors sleeping and the foreman using a rolled-up piece of paper like a telescope to look around the courtroom while someone was testifying.

The judge instructed the jury to not take insurance into account, which is to say they were not allowed to know if I had insurance and were not allowed to assume that I did. They just looked at me, a scared 18-year-old, and made a stunning decision. They decided that this woman’s pinky-toe claim was worth $250,000. Even her own lawyer was shocked.

That was the day I completely lost faith in our justice system. She actually wasn’t even asking for that much money; I was reminded by my grandma that she actually sued for $100,000 and the jury awarded her $250,000. This lawsuit was solely for “pain and suffering” as my insurance had already paid out for her medical bills and to repair the scratch on her car.

Her only complaint was that she could no longer feel her right pinky toe due to the accident—nothing else. She said not feeling her right pinky toe prevented her from walking normally and wearing high heels. Her lawyer brought all of her doctor notes into evidence and they literally all ended with “we could find nothing wrong with her”. Then there was another beautiful detail.

The case went to court the summer after I graduated high school. The county courthouse was in the town adjacent to mine, and both towns were small, though they were the biggest ones in the county. The trial began with jury selection, and I had to sit there while they asked anyone who knew me in any way to dismiss themselves. I was a cheerleader, and it was a small town, so at least half the people left because they had seen me around or just knew who I was.

This was in the late 90s, so my home phone then was blown up by people I knew calling to ask why their mom/dad/sister/uncle/cousin saw me on trial that day. The answering machine was completely full by the time I got home after court. There were even a few who thought it was a murder case (no idea who I supposedly did in). So that was fun. Thanks, lady.

Legal Numbskulls factsShutterstock

17. He Took It To Eleven

I was on the prosecutor's side when a defendant failed to appear in court. His attorney couldn’t reach him, and nobody knew where he was. So, we all sat there for about half an hour until the judge got sick of it and moved on with the docket. We found out later that day that the defendant decided to stick up a 7-Eleven the night before and was sitting in the pokey two counties over when he should have been in court.

Lawyers' dumbest clientsPexels

18. How Not To Save A Life

This wasn’t my own client, but my dad—and the hospital he worked at as a surgeon—was sued by a gentleman after he saved his wife's life. Details: So this patient is pregnant with something like her eighth child and miscarries. The fetus is removed, but then it all goes horrifically wrong. The patient starts bleeding uncontrollably, and the doctors are frantic around her.

At a certain point, they realize that the only option available is a hysterectomy. It was either that, or she perishes right there on the table on the table in front of them. My Dad gets called in to do the surgery, performs it successfully, hooray, at least one life was saved that day. Well, nope. Not hooray. Turns out, the patient's husband is quite devout and beyond angry that his wife can't have any more kids.

So he sued the hospital. No firm would represent him, and he ended up bringing proceedings himself. It went all the way to trial and he lost, hard.

Criminals Screwed factsShutterstock

19. Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge

My favorite legal misconception some people have is “If you ask an undercover officer if he is an officer, he can’t legally lie to you”. The truth is completely the opposite. Yes. Yes, he can. But that’s not all. I once had an undercover officer in on a deposition, and he had been wearing a wire for part of the investigation. He was asked if he was undercover by a co-defendant.

His response was “Yeah, obviously, I’m here buying stuff from you guys 'cause I’m an undercover officer. I have a wire hidden under my beard and everything you complete moron”. He said it with such immense sarcasm they didn’t think twice about it and sold him a huge amount.

Nightmare Neighbors FactsShutterstock

20. No, You Are NOT The Father!

I work at a legal clinic. One day, we had a guy who was representing himself pro se against a client of our clinic. This client had a semi-public job doing promotion for a local pro sports team. Some dude did a brief fan interview with her at a game, and that lone interaction sparked a five-year stalking saga, during which she got married and had kids with someone else.

It culminated in the stalker making the following claim: He wanted a paternity test for her children because he was convinced she had paid someone to follow him, find out when he was pleasuring himself, break into his home, take his spunk, and deliver it back to her. Apparently, she had then impregnated herself with his Kleenex, and BOTH her two small children were actually his.

I’ve never seen a judge look as shocked, or as tired, as I did on the day that particular motion for paternity was denied.

Legal Numbskulls factsShutterstock

21. The One That Got Away

This one lady was sacked by a large company, and for no ordinary reason, either. They had caught her embezzling money to fund a gambling habit. They had clear evidence the embezzling had occurred, and she did not deny it. Here’s the kicker: She sued the company for $300,000 for unfair dismissal. My sister's firm represented the company against this woman.

The case was so easy that the firm gave it to my sister as her first-ever solo attempt. My sister screwed it up in the worst way possible. Not only did she lose, but the court also awarded the woman $500,000 instead of the $300,000 she asked for.  In the end, it was a good career move. The partners all knew her name and dropped in to her office, one by one, to offer their sympathy.

Legal Numbskulls factsPexels

22. The Good Old Days

My favorite defense I heard from a ridiculous defendant from my entire career as a lawyer: "The judge cannot determine this matter because he is a member of the freemasons, and the freemasons do not believe in the concept of private property". This case ended with the non-lawyer defendant accusing everyone—not just the judge—of being a freemason.

The same non-lawyer defendant also ran an appeal in that case based on the fact that the judge was not a real judge, because the judge had not taken his oath of office. The non-lawyer had dug up a transcript of the judge's swearing-in ceremony which read “Judge Smith takes the oath of office when the judge took his oath, instead of the actual words of the oath.

Yep, really. Oh, and the non-lawyer defendant referred to outdated and repealed laws from 1730, which said all oaths had to be transcribed word for word, as a basis for the fact that the judge was not a “real” judge. If his interpretation was correct, I think no current judge in Australia is a “real judge”. I’ll say one thing, though: That guy knew how to research.

Legal Numbskulls factsPexels

23. I’m Here To Stay

This just happened this week. I've had some pretty rough ones, but this lady...So, I represent a landlord who is trying to evict a tenant for multiple lease violations. In the midst of these disputes, the tenant sends my clients a cease-and-desist letter for harassment. Her reasons are outrageous. She apparently didn't like that they told her she had to keep the house clean.

Another “claim” was that she refused to permit them entry to the premises for repair work, because that's harassment. She's told them on several occasions that they "have to fix" this or that, and it has to be fixed yesterday, but then has every excuse in the book why they can't do it with reasonable notice that the landlord is coming (24 hours or more).

She even went so far as to call the authorities on my client when he comes out at the prescribed period of time. Anyway, my client gets tired of the crabby lady and sends me in to read the lease to figure out how to get rid of her once and for all. Well, she's a nuisance to the neighborhood, she has officers come to the house weekly, she has a dirty house, she hasn't paid her utilities in months (the lease says it's her responsibility), etc.

I count eight violations in total, and some have multiple occasions. No problem, I tell him, I can do this. So I send her the notice that her lease is terminated and she needs to vacate by a certain date. She went down swinging. She ignores the termination letter and informs me that utilities are being cut off and I need to grant her permission to get an extension to pay the city utility bills.

I ask her when the cut-off is, because if it's past the date we told her to leave, it won't matter. The tenant proceeds to tell me she's sure that I'm “aware of the law” and statutes in my state, with my license to practice, and that she's done with my nonsense. Her water was cut off that very day. My clients, concerned that children, including a diabetic, are without water, call city to have it reconnected and put it in their name.

I inform the tenant that she will have water that night, but that this does not mean the lease is still active. I reiterate that we have terminated the lease, and she must move out. She proceeds to tell me that I'm harassing her, that I could lose my license, and that I need to stop harassing her immediately. She also insinuates that I don't understand English, or the law.

She may not be a lawyer, but she knows her rights, and I'm violating her rights, which is discrimination. I've learned only two things from this: The tenant does not, in fact, know her rights, and the tenant does not, in fact, understand my state's laws, or the English language. I filed the eviction proceedings a handful of days ago, and we're just waiting for our summons to get her to court, so we can get her out at long last.

I can’t understand why this lady thinks she’s so smart.

Legal Numbskulls factsPexels

24. A Little Reverse Psychology

Someone once threatened to sue me personally and the store I worked at because I thought her daughter and her friend took something from the store. Like, I heard a boy yell “Oh shoot! THEY HAVE A CAMERA”! I then came from the back to see them all booking it out the door. So yeah, I imagine that you’d probably be a little suspicious of the situation. too.

Anyone, this mother claimed that I traumatized and harassed her daughter when all I did was have mall security stop them while I asked if they took something. Apparently, this Karen had consulted some random person and they said she had a “dangerously good case”. But karma came for her in the best way. She called the authorities on me, only to have the officers end up escorting her out, all the while she threatened to sue their department too.

Legal Numbskulls factsShutterstock

25. The Ride Of Chucky

Chuck, an idiot friend of mine, came home from college for the weekend and was at a party at my house. He was accused of punching a girl in the stomach. The girl and her friend went to the authorities to file a report the next day. I got called in to write a statement, even though I didn't see it happen. Chuck and I had a mutual friend whose father was a lawyer.

The lawyer said not to go in. Chuck returned back to college the following day and nothing came of it. Three years later, disaster struck. Chuck was back home from college and the authorities randomly ran his tag one night when he was headed home from my place. Four officers headed to his house the next day to serve him with a warrant and take him in on these old assault charges.

Chuck was too busy listening to Tool and playing video games to even hear the officers firing at the next-door neighbor’s pit bull that got out of the yard. He found out what happened and got in touch with the lawyer.  They began the process of turning Chuck in so the court case could start. At that time, I was dating the "victim's" friend. That's when the whole truth came out.

She confessed to the lawyer that the girl was full of it. So Chuck and his lawyer headed to court. The judge agreed that there was no evidence to support that he had harmed the girl out of anger or malicious intent. The case was closed...until the girl’s dad got Chuck riled up outside of the courthouse. Chuck proceeded to body-check the prosecutor as he tried to get in between the father and Chuck.

Unfortunately for him, there were a number of cameras outside the courthouse, so Chuck was cuffed and charged with aggression towards an officer of the court.

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

26. An Iron-Clad Contract

Mexican lawyer here. I once had an argument with my dad about the ownership of an apartment that my mom kept after the divorce. "But I paid for it" he said. "That may be so, but you put it in my mom's name and legally agreed to let her keep it during the divorce proceedings. You even signed a judicial agreement that says so". "Yeah, but I paid for it".

"I understand, but that's not how property works. If you put it in her name and didn't contest it in the divorce, it's hers". "... I don't understand. If I paid for it, it's mine, that's how property works. I could have it back if I wanted". Spoilers: He could not.

Legal Numbskulls factsShutterstock

27. Her Defense Was A Bust

My husband and I worked at a restaurant. There was another girl who worked there who was an overall terrible person, and she was also terrible at her job. She told all of us that she was going to a store on her break to get some drinks. So, she went to the store, fell, and broke her ankle. I wish that was the end of it. This was only the beginning.

She then proceeded to drive back to work, lie on the ground outside the door, and yell for help. She then tried to sue our employer. However, we were all called to testify that she had already left for the store when the accident happened. Then, they proceeded to pull out the surveillance tape from in front of the store where she really fell.

Ok, so she's already screwed. But when we saw the footage, our jaws dropped. It turned out that she couldn't wait for a drink and right before falling, she took one. Then, for the nail in the coffin, they showed footage from the back door of the restaurant where she hobbled up and layed on the ground. She then got charged with fraud. Gotta love karma.

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

28. You Don’t Own Me

This was a case I heard about during my time around courtrooms. A girl who was 21 was coming home to visit friends. Her mom wanted her to do errands for her mom’s friends, but the girl already had plans and said she couldn’t. The mom was not having it and actually tried to sue her for stealing a family car. At the court case, the mom was about to win…until one pivotal moment.

The girl said: I am an adult, I can choose what I do with my car. Judge: Wait, the defendant is over 18? Girl: Yes, your honor. Judge: Ok then, all charges dropped. Mom: You don’t understand, she is my daughter! Judge: I know. Mom: She has to do what I say! Judge: No, she doesn’t, she is not a minor. Mom: No, she always has to do what I say!

Judge: Where did you go to law school? Mom: I didn’t, but I know about this stuff! Judge: All charges dropped, case closed.

Lawyers wish could forgetShutterstock

29. Never Forgive, Never Forget

When I was a baby lawyer doing insurance defense, a woman was late on her premium payment and left a check with her broker right at close on a Friday. The broker just put it in a drawer because she wanted to go home. This had disastrous consequences. The woman who was supposed to be insured got into an accident the very next day.

When the complainant called the company, they told him the policy had been canceled for non-payment. That man went bonkers and tracked down the insured and busted up her car windows and harassed her before being detained. The policy information was updated Monday morning when the broker got back to the office. But by this time, the insured was so upset that she sued the company for a million dollars.

Every week that we didn’t pay, she filed an amended complaint adding a million dollars to the claim and adding whichever lawyer was unlucky enough to cross her as a defendant. By the time the case was over, I’d had to appear in court over a dozen times, the woman was asking for a literal billion dollars, and the judge said she’d rule by mail so no one had to face the insured again.

Lawyers' defenseShutterstock

30. Your Secret Is Safe With Me

This is a funny one from my personal life. I'm a lawyer, and my brother was selling a script to a network and hired an entertainment lawyer to go through the process. I was talking about it with my brother and asked a few questions, mostly just out of curiosity. He said, "I can't tell you, it's privileged". I had to explain to him that he can tell me, his lawyer can't.

Arguments FactsShutterstock

31. Double The Trouble

I was a jailer and used to pull double duty as a bailiff. One time, a guy swiped a pickup truck and was later captured passed out behind the wheel and parked on a sidewalk surrounded by a ludicrous amount of illicit substances and guns. His defense was jaw-dropping. First off, he elected to represent himself because he wasn't done being stupid. Then he outdid himself.

"Double Jeopardy, You can't charge me for theft, possession, or anything because I've already been convicted on all of those charges before". In short, during his jury trial he admitted to doing it but explained with a smug grin that since he had already done time for the same charges from another case before that, he could not be prosecuted for them ever again.

This is not how double jeopardy works, folks. He's been behind bars for 20 years now. If he'd taken any counsel he could've easily cut a deal for five.

Lawyers' Shocking Cases factsShutterstock

32. A Little Misunderstanding

I’m a paralegal. I had a client get a judgment for embezzling from a former employer to the tune of $142k. Essentially, she was promoted to office manager, given the responsibility of making the deposits daily, and started pocketing the cash. She then cooked the books at the office to show the clients’ accounts as paid. Prior to the hearing for judgment, she began to see the writing on the wall.

As she did, she said, "It shouldn't be this big of deal, it's only blown up because my former employer's husband is friends with the DA”. Yes...that's why.

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33. Show Me The Lie, Though

The best "excuse" I heard from a client was in relation to a charge he had after drinking too much and then driving his car. The alleged reading he got was 0.258. For those who don’t know, this means the guy was absolutely plastered, 100% for sure. His instructions were to contest the charge on the sole basis that he couldn't remember what happened.

Legal Numbskulls factsShutterstock

34. What A Steal!

I had an idiot ex-friend who took a wallet from a gym locker room and headed straight to Walmart. She was hoping to get there and go on a shopping spree before the victim finished working out and reported the cards missing. Of course, she didn’t know if she was too late already, so she used the card first to buy a pack of gum and was successful.

So, then she went back and loaded up her cart with the most expensive stuff she could find and tried to check out again. But she didn't realize her huge mistake. Turns out, buying a stick of gum and then buying almost $5,000 in electronics from the same store a second later is a red flag for credit card companies. So, the card came up as possibly lifted.

The clerk told her that, so she tried another one of the pilfered credit cards. They were also flagged since they were part of the same account. As a result, she was starting to draw some real attention from the staff at Walmart, and she panicked. She decided to use her own credit card to purchase the electronics, with the intent of returning them later since her scheme didn't work.

It was all the authorities needed to get her name and address and ultimately find her.

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

35. Courtroom Betrayal

I had a client who won just shy of a seven-figure settlement in a personal injury case. She then dropped into my office to ask me to file a fee dispute against the attorney who represented her in the personal injury action. That attorney took a little over $260,000 on this case. If you're doing the math at home, this guy took a 27% fee on the type of case where 40% fees are common.

He also did a fantastic job because the woman got nearly a million dollars. Then she turned around and tried to sue him to recover any of his fees. I rejected the case out of hand and then got an ethics complaint for discriminating against her.

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36. A Morning Drink Got Her In The Clink

I had a client who was an old lady in her 70s that had a serious drinking problem. Due to the senility of her husband, combined with her drinking, some mutual domestic incidents took place. She was under court orders not to have contact with him for a while. She was also ordered to stay off the hooch as part of her probation.

Well, she would continually get sloshed, call up her husband, and harass him, regardless of this no-contact order. After about seven or eight separate breach of probation charges later, she was facing some time in the pokey. No one wanted to send an old lady to the slammer, so up to that point, she kept getting probation instead of prison.

I got a no-prison deal with the prosecutor that was heavily based on reports that she had been successfully attending counseling for her drinking. So my old-lady client was set to show up to court and plead this one out. She indeed showed up to court—by crashing her car right in front of the courthouse steps, because she had booze for breakfast that morning.

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37. Gone, Gone Forever

This one father was in his 60s. He hadn’t been paying child support for decades and he owed more than $60k for two kids who were adults now. He was basically living at a farm in the middle of nowhere so no one could find him. He worked for cash so the money could not be garnished from anywhere. Just so careful on the time. Until the day he slipped up.

He then came into an inheritance, which was deposited in his bank account and promptly confiscated by Family Maintenance. He came to us because he wanted it back.

Legal Numbskulls factsShutterstock

38. He Couldn’t Stay Out Of The Picture

I was doing a traffic hearing for another lawyer’s client at my firm. When we got there, the officer didn’t show up. The client was charged with careless driving—they had rear-ended another car—and was adamant that he didn't do it. It was a three-car accident, and he claimed that the car that hit him pushed him into the car in front of him.

I thought it would be an easy win. I looked at the client and said, "You don't say anything, got it"? He agreed. So we did the hearing and the witnesses testified. But because there was no officer, no one could put my client at the scene or behind the wheel. So the judge said, "Well, in light of all the evidence, I'm going to have to find Mr…", and then my client interrupted.

He said, "Your Honor, I have some pictures I took at the scene". I just stared at him. The judge said, "Sir, do you pay your attorney for a reason"? He said, "Yes". The judge continued, "Did your attorney tell you to talk"?  He replied, “No”. Then, the judge told him, “Well, until you opened your mouth, nobody could put you at the scene, and I was going to dismiss the ticket, but now you did that yourself".

The dude literally talked himself into a ticket.

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39. Repeat After Me

I was in court for a ticket. The officer had lost the ticket book, so there was no "official" evidence. The judge said the next 15 people on the docket—which included me—just needed to say “not guilty”, since there was no evidence. One moron got up there and started to argue that he was only going five mph over the limit, not 10.

The judge looked at him and said, "Son, just say not guilty". The guy again said, “But I wasn't going that fast”. The judge laughed and repeated again, “Son, just say two words for me, not and guilty”. The guy, confused, mumbled “not guilty” in the form of a question, and the judge said, “Dismissed”. Everyone in the courtroom laughed and clapped for him.

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40. The Outcome Was Indeed Positive

I did personal injury law on the plaintiff's side. My best story involved someone else's client who I was deposing. In that case, I was deposing this guy who caused a car crash. The guy worked for a car dealership and was driving a company car. He swerved over two lanes of traffic on a highway, into another car in an intersection, and sent that car flying into my client's vehicle that was stopped at a red light.

My client was trapped in his car until the jaws of life pulled him out. I was quizzing this guy and asked him if he had taken any illicit substances that day. He said no. I said, "How about the day before"? Again, he said no. Then I asked, "How about in the last week?" He said, “Nope, no way”. But I knew something crucial, and I was about to reveal it.

I then slid over to him a copy of the substance test his employer had him take. It showed him testing positive for several substances. I asked him why he tested positive for those things if he had never taken them. His eyes got really wide and he said, "Well, I never would have taken the test if I had known I was going to test positive"!

The case was settled pretty quickly after that.

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41. Not The Sharpest Tool In The Shed

My brother's a lawyer. His client took a backhoe and dug up a standalone ATM. He then scooped it onto a flatbed truck. Then, and only then, he noticed a security camera nearby filming everything. So what did he do? He got some black spray paint out of his truck, went up two inches away (really nice view of his face), and sprayed the camera lens.

He insisted on pleading not guilty.

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42. Good Intentions Sometimes Have Bad Outcomes

I was a law student assisting lawyers with cases. One day, we got involved in a caretaking debate for an old woman. Her daughter and an attorney were declared the legitimate guardians for her due to her dementia and advanced age. Her niece got us involved, questioning the motives of the daughter as the assigned official guardian.

The daughter’s motives were definitely questionable. She had taken tens of thousands of dollars and even her mom's vacuum cleaner and silver cutlery, which resulted in the poor woman eating with her fingers. The case seemed to be a piece of cake for us. Then, the niece—our client—took the old lady away to a senior citizen home to guarantee that she would be well taken care of.

However, she hadn’t consulted us. Although her intentions were good, the daughter and her attorney were still the woman’s authorized guardians. They were the ones who had the right to determine the woman’s place of residence. It ended in the worst possible way. Eventually, our client was charged with kidnapping, and we lost the case.

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43. His Own Worst Enemy

We once had a client skip bail and run. I looked him up on Facebook and he had posted a photo of the bond paperwork and a bunch of 20-dollar bills. The post read something like " Man, screw the law AND my bondsman!! Nobody can tell me what to do”! What he didn't realize was that the only reason we bonded him in the first place was that we were going to represent him.

We withdrew on the bond and the case. In the Motion to Withdraw we quoted his Facebook post and attached a copy of it as Exhibit "A" when we filed it.

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44. Called Out

I was a defense attorney in New York City. All inmate phone calls at the city prison were recorded. I reminded my clients on a regular basis that somebody was listening to all of their calls and that they should never discuss the case or call anyone related to the case from inside. I had a client who was charged with stalking and harassing an ex-girlfriend.

This case was the first and last time I had seen a legitimate case of double jeopardy. The defendant had already pleaded guilty and done a small amount of time for the same incidents. So I walked into court on our first appearance supremely confident that my client would be walking out of court a free man. I was in for a very nasty surprise.

Once I got in, I was informed there was a second indictment charging my client with new offenses. That's because my genius client had called his ex-girlfriend while inside, and the DA had recordings of him threatening to beat her if she came to court to testify against him. We took a plea right there and he served three years for witness tampering and contempt.

If my client had only listened to my advice and let me do my job, he would have gone home three years earlier than he did.

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

45. Don’t Like The Cut Of Their Jib

I represent condo and homeowners’ associations. One of my condo association clients wanted to evict some tenants. When I asked why, his answer stunned me. He wanted to do it because they were fat. I am not even joking. Now, the law does, in some cases, allow the association to evict non-owner tenants. This is very fact-specific, however, and hard to do.

I spent a long time trying to elicit from my client exactly what these tenants were doing that warranted eviction. Client: "Well, they're just disgusting people! They are fat”! Me: (exasperated) "You can't evict someone because they're fat”! We did not end up filing suit.

Legal Numbskulls factsPexels

46. The Truth Was In The Whine

I used to spend a lot of time in courtrooms. Once, I was watching a proceeding for a guy who was taken in for driving under the influence. When he was giving his testimony to the court, he spontaneously said that he brought a bottle of vino to visit a friend in the hospital. He said that the friend couldn't drink it, so he consumed the bottle himself.

At that point, his lawyer started trying to interrupt him in order to get him to shut up. The guy just yelled, "DON'T INTERRUPT ME". To his own lawyer. The judge said, "You should probably listen to your lawyer. I'll give you a moment".  It only got way worse. The guy then went on to interrupt the judge and said, "I'll finish my story and then I'm DONE here"!

Usually, if you interrupt a judge or take a bad attitude toward him, the judge will shut you down. However, in this case, the judge kind of smiled, sat back, and said, "OK then, go right ahead". At that instant, everyone in the courtroom knew the guy was toast.

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47. Don’t Mess With Taxes

I represented clients before the IRS. I had a couple who owed around $250,000 in back taxes. We had no defense, so the only thing to do was to have the clients meet with the IRS and plead for leniency. Well, the wife got arrogant with the IRS agent, and at one point, stood up and screamed at them, "You'll take away my Mercedes over my dead body"!

Then, she stormed out of the conference room. Needless to say, she lost the Mercedes.

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

48. Baby Mama Blowout

I was arguing for my client to be released on his own recognizance. The judge asked my client where he is going to live, to which he said, "With my fiancée". He spun a lovely tale about how wonderful and how supportive his fiancée was, that they were having a baby, and he wanted to get out and take care of his soon-to-be wife and kid to support them properly.

The judge then asked the courtroom, "Could the defendant's fiancé please approach the bench"? I still cannot believe what happened next. From opposite sides of the room, two women stood up and started walking to the front. One was about four months pregnant and the other was nearly nine. They were looking at each other with identical expressions of "who on earth are you"?

You could see the exact moment when each of them realized what was going on. The fight started before they even got to the counsel's table. Pregnancy or not, those chicks were seriously going at one another. The bailiffs had to stop laughing long enough to break up the skirmish. My client said, "Gee, Your Honor, I didn't think they'd both come".

The judge said he was denying bail for my client's own protection.

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49. Stopped In Their Tracks

While in court, two brothers who were waiting to be arraigned took off out the front door of the courthouse. They boogied down the street handcuffed together. And then it all went wrong. When they got to a stop sign, one went left, the other went right, with the cuffs in the middle. They slapped together on the other side of the pole and fell to the ground in a heap.

The officer chasing them had to stop running because he was laughing so hard.

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50. Own Worst Enemy

One of the guys in the lawyer department at work used to do personal injury stuff. He once told me about a time that he represented a guy who was suing a big chain DIY store claiming he slipped on some spilled liquid in one of the aisles and wrenched his back. Subsequently, he had trouble walking, trouble sleeping, and trouble getting it up.

I believe he was suing for mid-six figures. There were no CCTV cameras on that particular aisle, so the store had no way of disputing his claim. The guy swore blind to him that all his injuries and symptoms were genuine. And then the other shoe dropped...The store's solicitors turned up a bunch of photos from the guy's wife's Facebook page of the two of them on a skiing holiday about a month after the fall supposedly happened.

I believe the other side's solicitors said something along the lines of, "So do you want to get your guy to drop his case now, or shall we wait until it gets to court and we countersue for all our fees and your client making a false claim?" My buddy emailed his client with a link to the photos saying essentially, "You need to give me an explanation for these, and for your sake it had better be a really good one..".

But, the guy never responded. The case got tossed out before it ever got close to a courtroom.

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51. Everyone But Me

I was defending a fraternity president that got some kid seriously injured during a hazing incident, at one of their parties. During the opening statements, he jumped up on the table and blamed everyone in the courtroom for what happened. Everyone except himself. “If any of you were cool enough to be invited to our parties...then you could have stopped us! This is on you. And you. And you. Aaaand you, your honor!”

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52. Are We There Yet?

I sent numerous detailed letters explaining that this is not an overnight deal and that litigation takes time. I first provided a detailed estimate of how long this would take based on my lengthy experience. When the court set a formal schedule, I sent another letter saying, in very professional and diplomatic terms, “See? My estimate of how long this will take was spot on. Here’s an order from the judge setting the same schedule I predicted.”

Regardless, I kept getting phone calls all the time asking, “Is it settled yet? Is it settled YET?!” and offering suggestions that, well, these suggestions were so ridiculous that if they had come from a young associate attorney, I’d have to wonder if I could continue to employ that attorney. The last straw was in yet another of those calls.

“Is it settled yet? Why isn’t it settled yet? Let me give you some suggestions about how to settle this,” calls when I got a, “You do know what you’re doing, right? This isn’t your first case is it?!” I prepared a sternly worded, but quite diplomatic and professional, letter saying, “You either need to shut up and listen to me or you need to leave me alone and find someone else.”

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53. Need A Ride?

There was a guy who held up a bank and fled the scene. His "clever" getaway plan was so stupid. He decided to jump into the nearest taxi. He got in and yelled at the driver, "I just held up that bank, now drive"! But he had made an enormous mistake. The driver of the car turned around—it was a law enforcement officer.

In his haste, the guy mistook the cruiser for a taxicab. Since both vehicles were white, it would be a feasible mistake, but an incredibly dumb one at that.

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54. Never Make A Threat You Can’t Carry Out

My dad was suing a customer for non-payment. The judge ruled in my dad’s favor for the whole $15K. Then it went from happy to scary in an instant. The guy he was suing got up to leave, walked over to my dad, and said, "If you think you are going to see a dime of that money, you are a moron. I will get 'rid' of you first".

He then walked away. For a second, my dad was worried the guy would get away with the threat. However, he didn’t worry for long because the guy had said it loud enough for the bailiff and judge to hear. The guy didn’t make it out of the courtroom.

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55. Here’s What Happened

I generally only handle serious injury and wrongful passing cases. I have told dozens of clients to pack their bags once I determine they lied to me about what happened. Most of these liars admitted it to me in a way that indicated they thought the entire process was a game of be-the-best-liar, "They're going to lie, so I'm going to lie".

You never, ever—no matter the weather—want a serious injury client with a credibility problem. We regularly put six figures in expenses and time into these cases and I'm not about to do that if we have a liar for a client. Keep in mind, I am talking about lying about important facts, and not, "This is what I remember". Also not talking about when it turns out inconsistent with the physical evidence.

I'm not talking about, "I didn't mention this yesterday because I was embarrassed". I'm not even talking about, "I didn't tell you I have been double filling my oxygen script that was a decade ago, and I can't do that anymore, because I knew it was wrong". I’m talking just about lies about what happened.

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55. Facebook Fool

One of my father's clients was suing because they "hurt their leg very badly" when they tripped at a restaurant. It was a nonsense case, but my father managed to do a pretty good job and was going to get this girl a decent sum of money. Until she made a Facebook post that revealed the truth. She decided to upload a large number of pictures on Facebook of her dancing in a bar just a few weeks after the accident had happened.

The whole case got thrown out.

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56. He Couldn’t Bail Himself Out Of That One

There was an accused bank burglar at a bail hearing who was told by the judge his bond was set at $100,000. The judge explained to him that meant he could post $10,000 in cash to be released pending trial. He then asked the accused if he had $10,000 for bail to be able to go home. His answer did him in with one simple sentence.

The accused replied, "Judge, if I had $10,000, I wouldn't have been holding up the bank". The US Attorney asked for a copy of the transcript—it was the easiest conviction ever.

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57. One Distinctive Feature

I worked for the Public Defender's office and met a client in lockup for a line-up that he had adamantly demanded regarding a misdemeanor with multiple witnesses. I met the client for the first time in a separate room to let him know how it would go down and what to expect. This is the kind of line-up you traditionally see on television.

You know, where there are a number of similar-looking people standing shoulder to shoulder in front of mirrored glass. They pull the people for the line-up from the locked-up population and, despite their best efforts, this is not a huge population. I walk in to meet the client and he has a stye on his left lower eyelid the size of a golf ball.

It was the most identifiable mark on a human's face I have ever seen. He still demanded the line-up and was identified instantly by every single witness without a shred of doubt in their mind. He still demanded a trial and the stye was gone by the time the trial commenced.

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58. Probably For The Best

My dad was a patent and trademark attorney about 10 years ago and worked for a pharmaceutical company. Hilariously enough, the owner of the company adopted the slogan “Just Do It”, somehow not knowing that the trademark belonged to Nike. When the owner found out that the trademark belonged to one of the biggest companies in the world, rather than change the slogan and avoid a lawsuit, he CALLS UP NIKE and expresses how funny he thinks it is that they have the same slogan.

My dad got them to settle the case and the catchphrase was later changed.

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59. Never Contact Us Again

I had a client come to me to do his will. He insisted it would be simple because he never married or had kids. I met with him as usual and went through everything he needed in his will, and I explained my hourly rate and how long a will usually took to draft and sign. He came back in a few weeks, signed his will, happily paid his bill, and left. And that's when the nightmare truly began.

First, this guy was very rich and, second, he could not name a single friend who he trusted to be a backup executor. As soon as he got home, he immediately wrote a long ranting email to my boss. He claimed he had been massively overcharged for his will. He said he had only spent half an hour in my office, so he should only have to pay for half an hour and that there was no reason he should be paying for my time.

He claimed he would go to the law society and all those kinds of threats. My boss called him and told him to bring in all of his will and power of attorney documents and he would issue him a refund. The conversation went like this...My boss said, “I don't have time to deal with petty garbage like this. This is a document stating that you are willingly destroying your will and POAs. Sign it, and I'll give you this check for all your fees back.”

The client said, “This isn't a petty issue to me.” My boss countered, “This is a petty issue to everybody.” The client said, “I'll tell all my friends and family never to work with you.” My boss said, “Good. I don't want to work with your friends, I don't want to work with your family, I don't want to work with anyone who cares what you think of me. Luckily, I don't think that will be a problem. Go find another lawyer.”

So the guy signed the document and my boss dragged the shredder out into the middle of the lobby and shredded all of his documents in front of him and then went back to his office. The guy slunk out and never contacted us again.

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60. Bedazzled Bonehead

An individual was told by her attorney to come to trial "in her Sunday best". When she walked in the room, the courtroom gasped. See instead, she showed up in a matching sweatsuit with the word "sexy" bedazzled on the back and the behind. People filed in for jury selection, and she asked how long this trial was going to take because she left her baby in the truck out front with the flashers on.

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61. On The Hook

I work for an insurance company and written in our policies is a clause that says you’re required to cooperate with us so we can provide you with an adequate defense, and, if you refuse to do so, we can pull coverage. I had one client who absolutely refused to cooperate. He ignored every voicemail and email I sent him.

We started sending letters via registered mail to his address and would get nothing back. Eventually, we had to hire a private eye to track him down and explain the situation to him. The PI did make contact with the client, not even once. Then the idiot starts dodging him too. So, having exhausted our options, we refused coverage for him and he was personally on the hook for everything.

And the worst part of all? If he'd cooperated, we probably would have won the case. All because he was too dumb to bother spending 20 minutes answering his lawyer’s questions.

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62. Not A New Man

A client wanted to have his name put on his son's birth certificate and have custody. The problem is the son is 20 years old and doesn't want the guy in his life. The lawyer asks why he wants this even though the son is an adult. The client talks of being a new man, but it comes out his own parents disowned him and all his inheritance is going to his son.

He thought he could go back to their good graces if he became a father.

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63. Never Getting That Time Left

When I was taking defense cases while training to be a lawyer, I had a gentleman come in and ask me to help him lie his way out of a driving while intoxicated charge. He had this brilliant plan where all his friends were willing to lie along with him and claim he was out of state at the time so it couldn't have been him who was pulled over, field sobriety tested, breath tested, and thrown behind bars.

This was despite the fact that it was clearly him, with, I assume, his wallet and ID, in his car...and he told me straight away that it was him. His belief was that, since it would be "just the officer’s word" versus him and his friends’ word, there was no way they could convict him. He seemed flabbergasted when I told him that no attorney was likely to assist him in perjuring himself and I certainly wouldn't.

“Lawyers lie for a living,” he said, and, “Besides, officers lie all the time, why couldn't he?” It was 30 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

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64. Their Worlds Were Turned Inside Out

A lawyer friend of mine had a client who went on a double date with his friend. He and his friend decided it would be a good idea to get busy with their respective dates in his van. That's when they did the stupidest thing ever. See, the problem was that they had only one rubber...and to "fix" this issue, they decided to share it.

After one finished, the other proceeded to invert the dirty prophylactic and have relations with his girl. Here's where it got REALLY weird. The girl got pregnant from the friend's junk that was on the outside of the protection that her guy was wearing. The result was a very messy paternity suit, as I'm sure you can imagine.

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65. Who Did They Hire?

A council had seized an animal they suspected to be of a "dangerous breed" and were going to terminate it. Naturally, the owner objected and said that it was neither a dangerous breed nor inherently violent, so of course the matter ended up in the tribunal. The councils' representatives enlisted a very well-renowned veterinarian as their "expert witness" to prove their case, and that the animal should be put down.

The way this is proven is through a check of facial and certain muscular dimensions, as well as a specialized consensus that the dog does resemble a dangerous breed. On the other hand, the owner had managed to get a very niche and rather eccentric "animal psychologist" as their expert witness, despite the fact that they could not contest the measurements. Now, here's where things get interesting.

The council's representatives were headed by a particular solicitor notorious for being a total piece of work. He'd waltz in a minute before the proceedings begin, yell, and indirectly threaten the defendants and talk over them during their submissions. Even the judges thought this guy was a tool. The first day goes horribly for the defendant.

His wife had gone into labor that morning and he was five minutes late. To make things worse, the smartass solicitor set out to devote the entire first day to attacking and undermining both the owner and the animal psychologist’s credentials and behavior. "If you can't leave your wife's bedside to defend your dog, then you mustn't care about it at all," and "I'm amazed you got a job with such a pointless degree".

After a very intense first day of proceedings, the second day opened with the applicant's expert witness. The veterinarian just finished giving evidence that the animal does in fact match the anatomical measurements and the rude solicitor starts laughing OUT LOUD, announcing "We've already won this, I don't think you need to say anymore".

The veterinarian jumps up at this remark yelling at the solicitor and causing nonsense to break loose until the judge finally calls an adjournment in the matter, and most people leave the room except for the veterinarian and the defendant. Fast forward a fortnight and the matter is reheard, only this time, the veterinarian is now part of the defendant's expert witness lineup and the applicants have a graduate zoologist as theirs.

It turns out that since the rude solicitor didn't get a chance to tender the veterinarian’s report and statement as evidence, as well as the veterinarian not confirming that it facially resembles a dangerous breed, that the applicant's entire case was shut down. The veterinarian defended the dog physically, saying that although the measurements matched up, the dog was very muscular but did not resemble a dangerous breed.

Then, in comes the eccentric animal psychologist lady who presents some incredibly long report along with pages and pages of research study into dog behavioral patterns. The dog is found to be neither a physically or psychologically dangerous breed. Case is adjourned within a day, the defendant gets their dog back, and the rude solicitor gets chewed out by his colleagues.

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66. Talk About A Messy Divorce

My dad's divorce with his first wife was a mess and a half. After the divorce was finalized, she and her boyfriend accused my dad of breaking and entering and assaulting them. The boyfriend was adamant that my dad ran up to him, punched him, and ran off several blocks to his car. Their lawyer looked like he was ready to run away, pride be gone.

Because my dad broke his right leg and had to have surgery, he was wheelchair-bound for at least six months. It was clear they made the entire thing up.

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67. You’re On Your Own!

Many years ago, I was representing a tenant in an eviction case. The landlord wanted to demolish the home due to substantial and irreparable foundation cracking. The tenants claimed it was a rent-to-own agreement, that they were not in arrears, and presented a signed agreement of purchase and sale and a receipt for the deposit signed by the realtor.

They further had an engineer's report on the foundation issues, an invoice marked paid for their repair, and a second engineer's report claiming all deficiencies repaired. Finally, they gave me a copy of a $200,000 Superior Court claim which they had brought against the landlord that had all of these documents attached as exhibits.

My first order of business on arriving in court that morning was to make a motion to either stay or dismiss the landlord's application for eviction on the grounds of jurisdiction and open questions as to the ownership of the property. It was at that point, I presented the above-named documents to the court. This is where it all started going wrong.

First, the judge pointed out this was the third time the matter had been called. I was told it was the first time. The judge also said that the jurisdiction questions had been answered twice prior. I asked the judge for clarification and she provided me with a known copy of the landlord's signature. At that point, I realized everything in my hand was a blatant forgery.

Not even good ones. They were clearly made without the benefit of an actual reference signature. It was at that point I informed the court that "a situation has arisen which would prohibit me from continuing to act for this client" Read also, "Client, you are on your own," and was excused by the court. I walked straight out.

HOA NightmaresShutterstock

68. It Was All Just A Little Too Much

I was a law student working at a volunteer desk that helped people complete their forms for court. The awful part was that, since I was not a lawyer, I couldn’t give any official advice, which meant I couldn’t tell these people when they didn’t have a case. However, the stories were great. There was one instance I truly will never forget.

There was one lady who was suing her former employer for giving her too much money on her last paycheck. She told me they did it because they liked her and wanted her to come back. There was maybe $60 extra on the check, yet she was suing them for $10,000.

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

69. The Injustice Of It All

I watched a case play out in traffic court where the guy who went up before me did something stupid that should have been a small fine. But, he completely lost it and started hollering about the injustice of it all, and was carrying on about how America was going down the drain and was being taken over by communists, when finally, the judge lost it right back at him.

It went something like this...The judge said, "Be quiet! Not one more word! I've heard enough, NO MORE...Silence!" The client, "But Your honor!"...Followed by a long silence and the judge looks down at the guy..".But...your honor..". "Not one more word". "But.". "I see this is difficult for you to understand. Let me say this exactly one more time, a last chance so to speak, NOT ONE MORE WORD".

"Your..". "BALLIF!" So after watching the idiot getting hauled out of the courtroom, the judge bangs his gavel and it's my turn. I walk up to the judge's desk and say, "Well I had this well thought out defense as to why I was driving without a license and expired tabs, but I'm just going to go with the fact that I was an idiot for forgetting both of them".

"Oh well, it happens to the best of us, show me your license and papers are current and we'll forget about it". After I showed him, I asked him, "So what's going to happen to that guy who went before me?" "Probably going to sentence him to picking up trash on the side of the highway for a few weeks". I thought that was pretty darn funny considering this is Alabama in the middle of the summer.

Nightmare clientsPexels

70. Not This Guy

My family had a long-running feud with my neighbors over boundaries. They were completely rude about it and we knew they didn't have a case. The court time happens and apparently, they have continued being rude to their own lawyer. Usually, if a lawyer doesn't want to represent a client, he'll say something ambiguous like, "I will no longer be representing these clients".

But, not this guy. He was as tired as we were of putting up with them after only a few months. He makes a 30-minute statement to the court detailing all the ways his clients have been rude. He complained about things like not paying his fees, repeatedly not showing up for meetings, oh and also shouting at his receptionist.

Instead of withdrawing with modesty, our neighbor decided to represent himself. What followed I'm told was about an hour of courtroom beatdown. Our lawyer and the judge pick apart everything they say, expose their continuous lies, and show them up for the horrible people they are.

Nightmare clientsShutterstock

71. Gotcha There

I once handled a case where the client who was defending themselves made the argument that the District Court's ruling held no weight because the DC judge was a woman and "only men can be judges”. Biggest. Eyeroll. Ever.

Lawyers' Shocking Cases factsShutterstock

72. A Photo Finish

My dad is a lawyer. One time, he had a client who was on trial for being a felon in possession of weapons, possession of stolen property, burglary, and distribution of narcotics. Really just a whole shebang of issues. This guy also had multiple pictures of himself on Facebook holding guns, cash, and had videos of himself breaking into someone's house.

Some of the other footage was even worse, but suffice it to say: Dude was screwed. His reaction was deranged. Despite my dad basically telling the genius he was going to go behind bars either way, and to plead out for a reduced sentence, the dude still pleaded not guilty. We still occasionally joke that the guy clearly wasn't competent to stand trial by virtue of being so dumb.

Lawyers Accidentally Proved factsShutterstock

73. He Was Bawling After That

During a divorce, the ex-husband claimed that he didn't make much or any money and thus wasn't able to pay the child support we were asking him to pay. A few hours after receiving this information, he posted a picture on his public Facebook page of a wad of cash talking about how “Ballin” he was. Needless to say, his claim didn't hold up after that.

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

74. Seeking Free Revenge

I was asked to collect child support arrears, pro bono, for a secretary at our firm. The child was already 18. The dad was in arrears but legitimately disputed about half the amount, as a lot of it was for expenses that were questionable. Also, the AGs had not kept tabs on anything. The guy was unemployed and this was during the Great Recession.

Finally, he agreed to the full amount but asked to pay over five years if, after the principal was paid off, we waived the interest. He even agreed that if he was even one payment late, we could demand the full amount with interest. The client refused. So I asked her what her goal was in this whole thing. Her response made my blood boil. She said, “I want to prove to the world what a lousy father and a bum he is.”

Fortunately, this was before I had filed anything or made any type of appearance in a court. So, I told her that if she wanted to do that, she could hire and pay for an attorney, but it wasn’t going to be this attorney.

Nightmare clientsPexels

75. How The Mighty Fall

This happened many years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. This jerk of a former judge owned a company that owed my employer (I was controller) a bunch of money. He signed a "security agreement" for their receivables, meaning we could collect the company's receivables to recover our debt. The only problem was that one of his employees was a friend of my boss.

This guy brought in a copy of exactly the same agreement, but with ANOTHER company, dated a month before. Now, being a CPA candidate, I was studying business law, and I also didn’t let details like that escape my notice. I said, “Well, this looks like fraud, and we can sue him for the entire company”. My boss calls our attorney (who hated this judge with a passion) and related the situation.

Yep, they are goners. We went to court, got summary judgment (the judge just laughed at the crooked judge) and we owned the company. It was fun.

Legal Numbskulls factsPexels

76. Where There’s A Will

A friend of mine is an estate attorney and apparently, some woman kept wanting to will things away that weren't hers. He told her that he could not take her on as a client after 10 minutes and didn't charge her for his time, because she kept trying to will things like her still-living husband's car to one of her grandkids. But that wasn't all.

She also demanded a plaque be placed in her honor at a local park. While the park did have a "donate a brick" campaign, that was a decade ago and you cannot compel the city to do that. She wanted to donate her boat, which she owned jointly with her husband, to a charity that disbanded years ago. Finally, she wanted to deed her house to the aforementioned charity on the chance that she outlives her husband.

Again, that charity disbanded. He said she seemed a little off.

Nightmare clientsShutterstock

77. You Get What You Pay For

This guy was a super smart engineer, but he fell for a woman who was just white trash. He married her, and at the time of the divorce, they had two kids aged six and four. One day, she told him she wanted a divorce and wanted him to move out. It was a huge house in a gated community, so I advised him to just move to another part of the house so he could be near his kids. But I knew something he didn’t know.

See, the reason she wanted him out of the house was so that she could have the man she was cheating on him with move in. I’d seen it before, and I was pretty sure it was the case here. He didn’t believe she was cheating, though, so I told him to go to the gate and check the logs. Sure enough, my client left every morning at 6:30 am for work.

Then around 7:30 am, three to five times a week, another man would check in at the gate and say he was headed to my client's house. I dug into the name, and it was my client's wife's ex-boyfriend, who was fresh off an eight-year stint behind bars. My client confronted his wife and recorded it. Her response was bone-chilling.

She basically admitted to cheating, then told my client she wanted to move her lover in, and if my client did not move out, she would make their children's lives miserable and make sure they know it was because daddy is being selfish. She lawyered up after that, and we played the tape for her attorney in the first conference.

He made some noise about consent and it not sounding like her, but he knew he was done for. In the end, my guy got the house, full custody, and the bank accounts. She got one car, her clothes, and jewelry (which were very valuable), some of the household items, and $25,000 cash. She literally moved from a palatial home in a gated neighborhood in the nicest part of town into a trailer in an unincorporated part of the county. Don't marry trash.

Lawyers ridiculous casesUnsplash

78. 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.

Angriest ever factsShutterstock

79. 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 co-worker". Oh, buddy…

Lawyers of redditPexels

80. It Was High Time

I was a new mediator presiding over a small claims landlord/tenant issue in a courthouse hallway. Limited civil jurisdiction mediations usually received their own room, but it was common for minor claims to be done anywhere you could grab space outside the courtroom. The two individuals, in this case, were about 20 feet apart.

Both sides were really upset. I was doing a lot of going back and forth, listening, and trying to drill down to common interests and what they could live with as a settlement. Eventually, the tenant started getting more friendly and said he might be willing to compromise, which was really surprising to me after some of the things he had said.

I chalked it up to my excellent mediation skills and went to speak to the landlord. The landlord appreciated the tenant's gesture and said she would think through some of the options we had discussed. I returned to the tenant. They said something I found very weird. By this point, they were all, "Man, you know what, it's no big deal. Let's just do what she wants, it's fine".

Still, after a few more minutes of my making sure it was what he really wanted, we had a mediation agreement signed, lining up pretty much with what the landlord wanted. As I was saying goodbye to the tenant, I looked down and saw him holding a joint by his side. He had managed to stand pretty close to a vent, plus I thought I had only been smelling weird BO.

Upon quickly looking around, it was clear the hallway was relatively crowded, with streams of attorneys, clients, and bailiffs going by. We were about 10 feet from a courtroom door. It wasn't until after he walked away that I realized he might not have had the capacity to sign the agreement. I also think he probably regretted the deal in the morning.

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

81. X-Ray Vision

There was a case where a client had radiation burns from an X-ray machine. In the avalanche of documents received from the defendant during discovery, there was an internal memo. This one piece of paper cracked the whole case. The memo described a serious problem with the machines and continued, "This is an issue we can't ignore. Unfortunately, it's not in the budget.”

When the case went to trial, we told the jury, "Show them they need to put this in the budget next time". The jury complied, handing down one of the largest verdicts California had ever seen.

Not summposed to seePexels

82. Miracle Babies

My ex-wife is suing me for child support…but I don't even have the “equipment.” I lost it when I was 14 due to a major health problem. I married a woman who at the time claimed to be asexual, however eventually she told me that she was pregnant with twins with a man she was sleeping with. We divorced before the children were born. This is now four years later.

So I received a letter in the mail that said I'm being sued for child support. The children are definitely not mine and we divorced before they were even born. I'm in a horrible situation, my health is very poor and my finances are very, very limited. I'm barely affording to survive here.

Fdcairp

Frivolous Lawsuits FactsShutterstock

83. Lording It Over

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.

Lawyer knew they wonShutterstock

84. A Mother’s Love

Not mine, but my mom’s story. She was fighting for custody on behalf of the father, trying to prove that the kids were living in subpar conditions with their addict mother in spite of the ample child support he had provided. It was a tough case because courts are so hesitant to pull kids away from their moms, and they have the upper hand.

Then the mom burst out that she had been feeding the kids cat food as proof that she wouldn’t let them starve. Needless to say, the judge didn’t take that as a good reason for the kids to stay with their mom.

Lawyers knew they wonPexels

85. 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.

Terrible Drivers Get Instant KarmaShutterstock

86. 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

87. Not A Lucky Divorce

This woman won $1.3million in a lottery pool and filed for divorce 11 days later. She never mentioned her lottery winnings to her husband. She also did not disclose the proceeds during the divorce. She would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for a letter that arrived at their former marital residence over two years after the divorce…

The letter was an offer to buy out her lottery annuity with a lump sum payment. The husband promptly lawyered up and the family court awarded 100% of the prize proceeds to him.

Lawyers divorce caseUnsplash

88. 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.

Lawyers one detailPexels

89. 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

90. 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

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


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