DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS?
A Kingwood dentist's wife and all of her six employees sued a small two man pest control business in the late 1990s. The plaintiffs alleged that the technician had sprayed Dursban into the air vents and exposed all of them to the chemical. They all had fantastic, unbelievable stories about how he climbed up on their desks while they were still seated at them and sprayed Dursban while they passively inhaled and ingested it as it wafted onto their papers, their desks and their belongings.
The most incredible story, though was the ringleader, the Dentist's wife. She showed up at her deposition wearing dark sunglasses and thereafter, every time she went out in public, she always wore the dark sunglasses even indoors.
At her deposition, I offered to turn off the overhead lights, pull the blinds and burn some candles, but she just sat there behind those dark, dark sunglasses weaving her unbelievable story.
At mediation, my client and their insurance carrier refused to pay any of them a dime. The mediator asked which defendant wanted to go first. The Dow attorney hesitated so I stepped in and told each of the plaintiffs that they were liars and that when we went to trial I would prove they were liars. The manufacturer of Dursban, Dow Elanco, paid them collectively something around $50,000. All but the Dentist's wife dropped their claims so the case went to trial with Ms. Sunglasses.
At trial, she told a sad painful story about how she had not been the same since the Dursban exposure and how she just wanted to be normal and not have to wear her sunglasses indoors anymore.
On cross-examination, I knew something that her attorneys had apparently never discovered. I asked her to read the label for Dursban which stated that exposure to the chemical could cause a condition known as Miosis. I then gave her a medical dictionary and asked her to read the definition of Miosis. This is what she read:
Miosis: Constriction of the pupil of the eye.
I then had her read what constriction meant and she told the jury it meant the pupils would get smaller.
She gave the book back to me and I went and sat down at the table next to my client and said to her, "You know what that means?"
She stared through her sunglasses and eventually, sheepishly, said "I don't know."
I said, "It means you can take off your sunglasses."
The jury took thirty minutes and returned a verdict in favor of my client.