ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

To Deponents: More Contract Talk, Less Profanity

A federal judge has sanctioned a lawyer and his client for the client's stubborn and sustained use of profanity during his deposition in a contract dispute.  The story, from the WSJ Law Blog:

First thing we did this morning, after reading that a federal judge fined a lawyer and his client $29,000 for using a certain swear word (or variations thereof) 73 times during a deposition, was reach for our calculator.

That’s $367 per F-bomb!

In a 44-page opinion in GMAC Bank v. HTFC, a case concerning a contract dispute, Judge Eduardo Robreno found that Aaron Wider, the CEO of HTFC, a mortgage investor, engaged in “hostile, uncivil, and vulgar conduct, which persisted throughout the nearly 12 hours of deposition testimony.” According to Robreno, Wider’s lawyer, Joseph Ziccardi, “snickered” at his client’s conduct and failed to stop his client’s tirades and was therefore culpable as well. (Click here for the Legal Intelligencer story.)

As a matter of sheer empirics, the "f-word" was used in the deposition 73 times; the word "contract" was only used 14 times.  Lesson to deponents in contract disputes: more contract talk, less profanity.

[Meredith R. Miller]

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