The Rules of Cross and Argument

The penalty for violating the rules of cross-examination and closing:  reversal.

Here is how the Court described the violation: "the cross-examination of [defense expert] Dr. Ramirez went beyond permissible grounds on the issue of bias and amounted to a prohibited attack on Dr. Ramirez’s character when plaintiff’s counsel repeatedly argued that Dr. Ramirez had intentionally destroyed documents that had never been created and of which he was under no duty to compile or produce. … Plaintiff’s counsel’s arguments to the jury that defense counsel was “pulling a fast one,” “hiding something,” and “trying to pull something,” was tantamount to calling defense counsel liars and accusing them of perpetrating a fraud upon the court and jury."

Learn the rules.  And follow them.    Indeed, work hard to follow them in the heat of the moment and  when your opponent is violating them. There is no reason to believe or even suspect that Plaintiff’s counsel here intentionally violated the rules of trial, but the fact remains that his client lost a verdict in her favor.   And that does neither client nor lawyer any good.

The decision is  Sanchez v. Nerys, No. 3D05-2434 (FL. COA 3rd Dis. 2/14/07).  Read it here.

Thanks to Matt at Abstract Appeal for informing me about this opinion.