Lawyers see people at their absolute worst—and occasionally, at their most ridiculous. From angry clients to scandalous mid-trial confessions, every day is a roller coaster. These lawyers came together to share their stories of courtroom mayhem, so buckle up, because they’re truly mind-blowing.
1. An Underdog Victory
I work as an insurance lawyer. One of my firm’s partners, as happens sometimes, handed me a small case for our client, and told me to resolve it. Our insured, a man of around 75, was driving his car in the left lane of a four-lane road. The defendant, a lady who had been involved in a grisly murder as an accomplice about 15 years ago, was in the right lane.
The lady side-swiped our insured’s vehicle, causing like $4,000 in damages. At the scene, our client said that he was just driving, and then he was side-swiped. The defendant said, “I don’t know what happened, officer”. The lawsuit was about six or seven months old when I got it, and the partner who was initially handling the case had spoken with the old man on two occasions and sent him a letter.
When I received the file, trial was a few weeks away, so I printed out the pictures of the vehicle, sent a subpoena to the officer, and tried to call the insured. I got a busy signal, so I put the file away. A few days later, I got a call from the officer who filed the report. Her words started a chain reaction of disaster. She said, “I’m not going to make it to court because I’m off on the court date”.
“Alright, well, when are you available”? I asked. She paused, then said, “The report is hearsay. You don’t need me anyway”. “Ma’am, what I need you for is not hearsay. I’ll reset this for a date that you are available for”. That wasn’t helpful. I called the defense attorney, and we pushed the trial out about a month and half.
I issued a new subpoena on the officer. I tried to call our insured again. I got a busy signal. Out of options and ideas, I pulled up our data software and looked up our client…that’s when I made a disturbing discovery. He’d passed the previous month. I’d never had this happen before, so I called the insurance adjuster handling this claim and told them, “Hey, I hate to tell you this, but our client is no longer alive”.
I then talked to the partner who had handed me the case. Instead of dropping the whole thing, he came up with a diabolical plan. He suggested that we fake it. I’d go to court, call the defendant as my witness, call the officer to discuss the scene, then get pictures of the vehicle into evidence using the insurance adjuster, who could also testify to damages.
The insurance adjuster is willing to try, but about a week later, I get a call from the officer, bailing on being a witness again. I really wanted to call her sergeant and complain, but it wasn’t worth the trouble. So, now at trial, it’s going to be the insurance adjuster and I. We’ll probably lose since I have practically zero evidence against the defendant now.
Suddenly, I get a phone call that changes everything. It’s from the defense attorney. On the spot, they suddenly agree to pay the claim in full. I never told that attorney that my client wasn’t even alive anymore, but some day I kind of want to tell him he paid out a ton of money to a ghost.