Confessions of a Litigation Godpart #7 of Legal Affairs Series by Sawyer Bennett / Romance & Love
“Objection, Your Honor. Mr. Connover is badgering the witness!”
I lean back a little further in my chair and look casually over my shoulder at my opposing counsel. Simon P. Leftwich, Esquire is a douche. He’s been practicing law for about ten years, about the same amount of time that I have, but he thinks by wearing a bow tie with his cheap suit and black, tortoiseshell glasses that he looks more sophisticated and experienced.
I’ve wiped the floor with him on three prior occasions and yet, he still wants to tangle with me.
His face is mottled red as he looks to Judge Farber for a ruling, but I just don’t get what the problem is. All I did was question the bias of his expert medical witness.
It went a little something like this.
“So, Dr. Drumley, your opinion in this matter is that the defendant, Dr. Carrolton, did not commit malpractice in this case?”
Dr. Drumley sat up straight in the witness chair, puffing his chest out a little. His snowy-white hair sparkled under the harsh, fluorescent lights of the courtroom and his wire-frame glasses reflected a glare from said lights, making it hard for me to see his eyes.
No matter. I knew they’d reflect a false sense of security at this point.
“That is my absolute opinion,” he said confidently.
“That she operated within the standard of care?”
“That’s right,” he said, lifting his chin up in defiance.
I leaned back in my chair, casually propping one leg over the other. Drumming my pen on the table, I asked, “Even though our experts—that would be Dr. Franklin from Duke University, Dr. Parikh from Johns Hopkins, and Dr. Jacobs from Cedars Sinai—all disagree with you?”
His chin sagged a little, his voice not so self-assured. “Yes. I disagree with them. I’ve read the medical records—”
“Yes… so have they, Dr. Drumley. But more importantly, have you read the deposition of Dr. Carrolton?”
“Did you read the medical journals that Dr. Parikh testified about that support our case?”
The bottom of his chin hit his chest. “No, but—”
“Did you even bother to talk to these doctors… consider their opinions?”
“No,” he admitted, his voice strained. “But that’s not—”
“Dr. Drumley,” I talked right over him. “You operate a private practice in Syracuse, correct?”
“And at one time, Dr. Carrolton actually practiced medicine with you?”
“You were business partners?”
“Still friends to this day?”
“Yes,” he said in a whisper.
“And Dr. Carrolton is actually paying you for your testimony here today?”
Dr. Drumley’s face went a lovely shade of fire-engine red. I think my ex-wife had a nail polish that same color. I hated it on her, but I liked the color on him. “Yes, but as an expert witness, I’m allowed to get paid for my time,” he said testily.
I shuffled some papers around, acting a bit disorganized, but I knew exactly what I was doing. I grabbed a paper and perused it. It was not what I was looking for, and I think it was actually a document from another case I read during a break, but it made a good prop.
I held the document up and waved it around in the air, the jurors’ eyes all pinned to me. “In fact, she’s paid you five thousand dollars so far for your ‘opinion’ in this case?” And yes, I made little air quotes when I said the word “opinion” and laced my voice with the appropriate amount of subtle sarcasm.
Dr. Drumley nodded his head, his lips in a flat line.
“I’m sorry, Doctor… you need to give a verbal answer for the court reporter. ”
“Yes,” he said, so very quietly. While I knew the jury heard him, I wanted them to hear him again.
“Five thousand dollars?”
“Yes,” he growled, getting extremely pissed off at me.
Which was f**king perfect!
I whistled through my teeth and shook my head in bemusement. “That’s a lot of cashola. ”
“Not really,” he said arrogantly, trying to pick himself up with some false confidence.
I grabbed another document from the table. “May I approach the witness, Your Honor?”
I didn’t wait for the Judge to say ‘yes’, because I knew he would, so I got up and stalked confidently up to Dr. Drumley, handing him the document.
“I’m handing you what’s been marked as Plaintiff’s Exhibit 32, Dr. Drumley. Can you identify that for me?”
I looked over at the jury and every one of them was leaning forward in their chairs. But I knew they’d be doing that. This was too juicy not to.
“That’s a copy of my tax returns from last year. ”
“And how much cashola did you make last year?” I asked with a smirk.
Dr. Drumley glared at me briefly before looking down at the document. He took a moment to search for the correct field and said hesitantly, “$620,313. ”
“Wow,” I said as I leaned my elbow up against the witness box, looking down at the tax return he held. I noted his hands were slightly shaking. “And of that $620,313, how much of that did you earn by testifying on behalf of other doctors like your good friend Dr. Carrolton?”
He swallowed hard, his eyes roving over the return. The number wasn’t there, and he probably knew it wasn’t there either, but I had him so flustered he was searching vainly for it. I knew he was starting to hit overload with me, so I decided to help him along.
“Actually,” I said, turning from him and walking back to the counsel table. I picked up another document and spun back on him. “This is Plaintiff’s Exhibit 33. What is this?”
He took the paper from my hand and peered at it, his face now a lovely green tinge. “It’s my profit and loss statement from last year. ”
“And that document has all of your income broken down into tidy little categories, doesn’t it?”
He swallowed hard again. “Yes. ”
“And isn’t there a category on there you have labeled ‘Expert Witness Fees’?” And yes, I used air quotes again around the words “Expert Witness Fees”.
“Yes,” he muttered.
“So, let me ask again… how much of your total income from last year did you earn by testifying on behalf of other doctors?”
His eyes scanned the page. He knew where the number was, but he didn’t answer right away. I could see the wheels spinning in his head while he frantically tried to come up with a way to spin this in his favor.
But there was no way, so he said quietly, “$73,422. ”
I was quiet for a moment, gently taking the documents back from Dr. Drumley. I let that number sink in… let the jury calculate it in their head.
I turned away and walked back to my table thoughtfully, considering his answer. “A little over $73,000 for testifying?”
“Those are legitimate expert witness fees,” Dr. Drumley threw out at me.
“Legitimate?” I asked with a slight sneer to my voice, but I sat back down at my table casually. “Tell me, Doctor… out of all of those ‘legitimate fees’, how many of those times did you ever testify for the person who was injured or killed due to a doctor’s negligence?”
He didn’t answer me because he knew the answer was damning. I decided to help him out again… out of the goodness of my heart, of course.
“How about zero, Dr. Drumley? Zero times you testified for the plaintiff. ”
He nodded his embarrassed assent and I merely pointed to the court reporter, who was taking down the testimony word for word and couldn’t memorialize non-verbal answers. He flushed hot and whispered, “That’s correct. ”
“Wow,” I said in surprised disbelief but, in truth, I had practiced that bewildered look on my face in the mirror this morning as I shaved and mentally went through my cross-examination. “Just wow. ”
Dr. Drumley’s eyes narrowed at me, because yeah… I was sarcastically making fun of his bias.
“Some would say, Dr. Drumley, you’re kind of like a jukebox doctor. ”
“Excuse me?” he asked, confused and potentially offended, but he didn’t really understand what I was saying.
“Yeah… a jukebox doctor. Put a quarter in you… or rather, $5,000, and you’ll play whatever song the defendant chooses. ”
I waited for it… only took a second, and Simon P. Leftwich, Esquire was exploding out of his chair. “Objection!”
I heard a few snickers from the jury and responded with a satisfied smirk pointed at the doctor. He looked like he wanted to murder me.
“I’m going to sustain that objection,” Judge Farber says, his voice only slightly chastising to me. He’s seen me do this type of thing to a witness plenty of times, and he knows I’ll keep doing it. “I’m going to instruct the jury to disregard that last comment by Mr. Connover. ”
I shrug my shoulders, as if I don’t care. And I don’t. No way is the jury going to disregard that, no matter what the judge tells them. I guarantee you they’ll be laughing over the term ‘jukebox doctor’ during deliberations.
I am riding on a super f**king high right now. After the good Dr. Drumley got off the witness stand, the judge gave us a fifteen-minute recess. I wasn’t surprised when at the ten-minute mark, Leftwich approached me with a settlement offer. I knew it was coming… after I shredded their main expert witness.
But, the offer was missing a zero on the end, so I politely declined and told the judge at the fifteen-minute mark we were ready to resume the case. Leftwich then asked the judge for an extended recess so he could talk further with his insurance carrier to determine further settlement possibilities.
The rest of the afternoon turned into a major negotiation, with the judge only all too happy to let the jury sit in seclusion while this went on. If we settled the case, Judge Farber could schedule a tee time for the following morning so he wanted us talking numbers.
It eventually settled… with the appropriate amount of zeroes, at 4:15 PM.
I was back at the office by five PM, accepting high fives from various colleagues.
Back to my apartment by 5:30 PM where I showered, but didn’t bother to shave my late-afternoon stubble. I’ve had more than one woman tell me she liked the way it felt between her legs.
As I stare in the mirror, rubbing my fingers over the scruff on my face, I try to see myself for who I really am. The Matthew Connover staring back at me, with his dark hair and whiskey-colored eyes, was a f**king litigation god today in the courtroom. I get off on that stuff so much, I’m surprised I didn’t bust a load in my pants by the time I finished with Dr. Drumley.
But the man staring back at me right now is also a f**king god in the bedroom, and that’s not ego talking. That’s just plain truth—derived from the last few years of constantly f**king a wide variety of women and hearing their repetitive and satisfied cries of pleasure when I get them off.
I run my fingers through my hair, give myself a wink in the mirror, and by seven PM, I’m meeting Number 366, my One Night Only “date” for the evening. I’m ready to f**k my brains out to complete what had turned out to be a really, really fantastic day.
God, I love the One Night Only service. It’s a secret and exclusive club that provides guilt-free sex with certifiably clean and sexy partners, no strings attached and best of all. . . it’s “one-night only”, because one night is the max amount of time I want to be in a relationship. You can only get in with a personal referral from an existing member, an exhaustive interview process, and a comprehensive health screening you have to keep up to date on a monthly basis, which is done by ONO’s own medical staff.