Some civil lawsuits take on an overblown professional wrestling feel. The gloves are off, big splashes come fast and furious following barrages of cactus clotheslines. Sometimes particular lawyers lend themselves to forensic farces. Sometimes, on the other hand, it is the litigants themselves that spice up civil litigation, which, more often than not, is as boring as watching paint dry.
Most often when there are over-the-top histrionic cases, it is a combination of “colorful” lawyers and “nutty” clients. (“Rich nutty clients” might be the most important players in the ensemble.) It is an improvised chemical reaction gone awry. Of course, the best fiascoes will always draw the judge into the fray as well.
See how Sr. U.S. District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle, Sr. responds to the latest skirmish in the Ventura v. Kyle case (covered previously here). The newest twist is a deposition in which, Ventura’s counsel suggests, Chris Kyle’s widow and Executrix Taya Kyle was permitted in her deposition to testify as to spousal communications that benefited her case but instructed not to answer questions where the answers might be unfavorable. Ventura counsel asked for a continuance on a hearing on a motion to transfer the case. Judge Kyle declined the invitation to join the kerfuffle, wasting little time (or judicial resources) in responding (no).
Civil procedure geeks might want to think about what law would apply to the “marital privilege,” asserted in a deposition in Texas, regarding a marriage presumably in Texas, for a case pending in federal court in Minnesota. (Maybe the relevant privilege law is the same in both states?)
Civil procedure wonks might also want to ponder how it is that Ventura’s counsel seriously thought they could/should delay the hearing on Taya Kyle’s motion to transfer the case to Texas, now scheduled for 9/24, pending receipt of the transcript of her deposition to expose her and her lawyers’ supposed wrong-doing. This is the legal equivalent of an impermissible Bite of the Dragon. (How long does it take, by the way, to get a rush transcript down there in Texas?)