I used to be a remodeling contractor. Back in the early ?80?s I was hired to work on a house owned by an attorney. As the work progressed, it was decided that an addition to the house, built by the previous owner, an architect, needed to be rebuilt because it had an improper foundation.
The joists of the addition were lying directly on the ground. It was a fairly large addition, about 400 sq. ft. At this point I don?t remember what else was wrong.
That?s not the point to what I?m writing.
The homeowner hired another attorney to handle the case. They talked with me a little bit about what to do as a witness. I remember them telling me to only answer the questions asked, without elaborating.
Now that is hard for me. I am a shades of gray person. I don?t see much in black and white. When I hear or read about things I want to have the meaning clear. It?s too easy for me to see more than one meaning when someone says something.
That?s part of what happened when I became a witness. I felt that I had to be too brief without explaining my answers.
Well the attorney ripped me up one side and down the other and the homeowner?s attorney didn?t try to do anything about it.
Prior to going into the courtroom as a witness, I was waiting outside on a bench. With me I had an exhibit to present. It was part of one of the floor joists and it had a circular saw blade nailed to it to reinforce a crack in the joist. The judge caught a peek of that and ordered that the jurors not see it.
What I learned from this is that the homeowner?s attorney did a really poor job of making sure I understood what was going to take place. I don?t know what the attorney?s plan was with the joist/saw blade combination. He probably forgot to have it entered as an exhibit. It sure didn?t work.
Make sure that you are ready before getting on the stand in a courtroom. Telling the truth is important too. I have another story on that I?ll tell another time.
Oh, by the way, Evin Dugas was not involved in this case.