Plaintiffs’ personal injury attorney and SynerG member Vincent a/k/a “Vinnie” Lauria shared this “SynerG War Story” about what he learned about sometimes just letting witnesses be themselves and giving them plenty of rope to hang themselves:
About 15 years ago, Bob, an old high school friend, called me about a criminal matter.
It seems that his son Tony, and a fellow fraternity brother (hereinafter “Bro”) volunteered to serve as designated “sober-ees” for an on-campus fraternity party at Georgia Tech. Their job was to make sure nothing crazy happened and prevent anyone not on the guest list from entering the party. Everything was fine until about 11:00 pm when a couple of obviously drunk guys approached, wanting to join the party. They were not on the guest list and were asked to leave. Words were exchanged which led to a confrontation and then fisticuffs. Tony quickly dispatched the first inebriant, scoring nicely with a series of hook/uppercut combos, while Bro made short work of the other one with some “Kung Fu” maneuver. The police were summoned and, fortunately, arrived none too soon as a drunk fraternity member had come charging out of the house with a baseball bat looking to get in on the action. The police calmed things down and after a lot of yapping, everyone went home.
Tony and Bro’s heroics did not go unrewarded, as a few days later the “beat-ees” filed assault charges against Tony, Bro and the fraternity.
At Bob’s request I went down for the preliminary hearing which quickly (and appropriately) took on a “My Cousin Vinny” atmosphere. We called about 4 or 5 witnesses, including Tony and Bro, who waived the Fifth, and also provided the court with the guest list. Opposing counsel got quite animated in his argument, but could not get over the hurdle of his clients being both wasted and belligerent. After about an hour, the court realized that convictions were not likely and dismissed the case. Bob and his wife, Irene, seated a few rows back, let out an audible “whoop” after the court’s ruling. Tony was a senior getting ready to enter the real world and learn how to punch a time-clock. Obviously, a criminal record would require some “splaining” to a prospective employer. (In case you are wondering, no, I did not show up in a burnt orange tuxedo with a ruffled shirt, nor did I refer to Tony and Bro as the “two yutes,” although it did cross my mind. To my dismay, the judge did not ask me where I went to law school.)
Bob and I talk every so often and this case always comes up in the conversation. Tony is now married, gainfully employed and has a couple of kids. Bro is apparently in the wind – his whereabouts are unknown.
By the way, did I mention that Bob is a dentist and I have not had to pay for a teeth cleaning since?
Vinnie Lauria has a general plaintiffs’ personal injury practice. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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