Trial By Character Assassination

As a trial attorney, I often encounter clients who want me to do anything I can to embarrass their opponent whether relevant to the case or not.  They seem to believe that embarrassing the other side is the key to winning. In this case, the Fifth District Court of Appeal admonishes defense counsel for cross-examining on embarrassing but irrelevant matters.  The Fifth DCA reluctantly affirms the jury’s verdict because counsel for the plaintiff failed to make timely objections to the “unprofessional” conduct of defense counsel.  The Fifth DCA wrote the opinion soley for the purpose of admonishing defense counsel for his conduct and to put other lawyers on notice.

The moral of this story is that there are limits on what your lawyer can do to embarrass the opposition.  If your lawyer brings up matters that are too prejudicial, a favorable verdict may be reversed so be careful what you ask for.  If your lawyer refuses to bring up matters solely to prejudice and embarrass the opposing party, she might just know what she is doing.


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