Friday, October 28, 2011

Client's attempt to be a smartass during deposition results in judgment against him

The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld a casino’s summary judgment for $2 million against Joe Francis, creator of the soft porn “Girls Gone Wild” franchise for what District Judge Michelle Leavitt called “the most ridiculous exercise of the Fifth Amendment I think I’ve ever seen” during a deposition.  Go here for the details.

This is not the first time Francis acted like this during a deposition.  Here is an excerpt of one of them:
Q. Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
A. I don’t understand what that means.

Q. You don’t understand what being a convicted felon is?
A. No. Can you explain it to me?
Q. Did you serve any time in jail?
A. What do you mean “serve”?

Q. Do you know what a prisoner is?
A. No.
Q. Do you know what a cellmate is in jail?
A. No.
Q. Do you know what a jail is?
A. Sort of

These deposition antics nearly caused a default judgment against him.

In the most recent case, after the deposition the casino/plaintiff filed a motion for a summary judgment to which Francis replied that he wanted to withdraw his Fifth Amendment answers and continue the deposition. However, the judge refused to reopen discovery and granted summary judgment in favor of the casino. Francis appealed but the Nevada Supreme Court agreed with the District Court’s decision, noting that although answering some of questions at his deposition could have been incriminating, "his refusal to answer nearly every question was unjustifiable.” Francis now has to comply with the judgment which ordered to pay $2 million.  With interest and court costs, could reach $3 million.

Thanks to the Legal Ethics Forum for the link.

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