Welcome to Jersey Justice, a
civil law podcast that shares
practical tips and stories about
personal and workplace injuries.
Join two of the brightest New Jersey
injury attorneys, Gerald Clark and Mark
Morris of Clark Law Firm, as they take
you behind the scenes of justice and civil
law, but first, a quick disclaimer, the
information shared on this podcast is
for general information purposes only.
Nothing on this site should be
taken as legal advice for any
individual case or situation.
This information is not intended
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an attorney client relationship.
All right, everyone, welcome back to
another episode of Jersey Justice.
And today we have a special treat for you.
We're going to be talking about
some funny moments inside and
outside of the courtroom and what
it's really like to practice law
in New Jersey behind the scenes.
And I'm here with Mark and Jerry, and they
both got some stories, although they're
probably We'll be funny in different ways.
And maybe they both have a different sense
of humor, but we'll let you guys decide.
So who wants to start this off?
As far as funny stories.
So what we do when we do personal injury
and we, you know, represent people,
we're dealing with life scenarios
and all facets of life, interpersonal
relationships, sporting events, family
gatherings, going to concerts, everything.
So we deal with all life
events, people at work.
When someone comes to us, I can't think
of any case where what happened is funny.
And when we go to trial and we're in
front of a jury and we're presenting a
case, there's like nothing funny about it.
What, what happens, there's a lot
of different tactics that defense
attorneys who are hired by the
insurance companies and are in court.
being paid by the insurance
company to defend the case.
There's a lot of different tactics
that they'll use to try to win.
One of the tactics is they'll try
to make it like it's a big joke.
They'll, they'll try to laugh with you.
They'll try to like joke about things
in court and they will especially
try to do it in front of the jury.
And a young lawyer.
Or an inexperienced trial lawyer
may fall into that trap and act
like, Hey, I'm a nice guy and
we're laughing and this is all fun.
And super big mistake.
If you're a plaintiff's lawyer,
never take the bait when the defense
lawyer tries to get you to laugh or
joke or make it light or act like
this is all a big joke, because.
As I said, we've never had a case where
this was ever a joke or it was ever
funny to the person it happened to.
We handle serious injury cases.
We get many, many inquiries about
people that want us to represent them,
but we only take a select few cases.
And trust me, they're never
funny what happens to people.
You know, so the other thing, and you
know, the opposite of funny, the other
tactic a defense lawyer will often use at
trial, is to turn it into a spite match.
So if the jury thinks this is just a
spite match between two lawyers, pretty
much the plaintiff will lose the case.
So that's the other thing is while
we're not going to be funny and we're
not going to be joking or laughing with
the defense lawyer, especially not in
front of a jury, because there's really
nothing funny about it when someone's
life has been turned upside down.
And the other hand, though, we're not
going to turn it into a spite match.
We're going to stay professional,
because if, again, if the jury thinks
it's just a spite match between two
lawyers, the plaintiff's going to lose.
The jury's just going to throw
their hands up and be done
with it and leave it as it is.
So defense lawyers will often try
to bait the lawyer into a spite
match, to make it like a big
fight, which turns everyone off.
So all that being said, there are
absolutely many, many funny moments in
this business and representing people.
And the funniest things I can think
of is, so what happens is, we, we
take cases and, so if you're a defense
lawyer and the insurance company says,
here's a case, or the boss puts a case
on your, here's a new case, defend it.
They have to do whatever they
have to do to defend the case.
No matter how wrong the defense is, No
matter how bad it was, what happened,
no matter how badly injured the
person was, they have to defend it.
So in defending cases, the defense
lawyers will often come up with
the most ridiculous scenarios.
Like they talk about frivolous
litigation, ah, frivolous plaintiff suits.
I've pretty much never seen a
frivolous plaintiff's case, but I have
seen frivolous defenses in the vast
majority of the cases that we have.
The defenses are frivolous.
They get so frivolous, they get
to the point of being funny.
And I remember Mark and I tried a case.
Some time ago, and there was just so many
funny moments in it, like just ridiculous
things that happen, and it's hard to
pinpoint, but I remember the one defense
lawyer would he, we still joke about it.
Like, I just tried a case.
I was in Jersey City for three weeks
trying a case, and I don't think the
defense lawyer thought it was going to go
forward because it was Labor Day weekend.
It was the Tuesday after Labor Day
weekend, and the county that we were in
is backlogged, and they don't have enough
judges, so I think the defense probably
didn't think it was actually going to go,
but I had a strong feeling that it was
actually going to go, so we prepared all
Labor Day weekend and before Labor Day,
and we were there, we were ready, and
very serious case, very sad what happened
to our client, but it seemed like the
defense was always three days behind us.
Like, they were always
like, they never caught up.
Like, we were so prepared, we were
moving, we had our witnesses on
and off before they could even
know, like, who's on or to prepare.
They were always behind.
And that was kind of funny
how they were always behind.
And so you get these
situations in these cases.
I remember Mark and I tried this
case and the defense lawyer would
always be like, So we'd be super
prepared, we would present stuff.
And we would have a proper objection,
we would have a proper exhibit,
properly moving forward and
entering our things and doing stuff.
And that defense lawyer was also
kind of behind the eight ball.
And he would often just go like, Judge!
Like every time, every time we would
present something, or have a proper
objection, or cross examine their
witness with a hot document, like
we'd hit, like in that case that Mark
and I tried together, we literally
went through, Tens of thousands of
pages of documents and and pull that.
So we were pulling and we got all the
good documents and the defense lawyer
didn't even know we had these documents.
They provided them to us, but
they just dumped him on us and
didn't think we'd actually go
through and pull out the good ones.
So we would market exhibit like their
their witness would say something.
We would then pull out an exhibit and
cross examine, which would directly
contradict what would happen, directly
contradict their testimony, and the
defense lawyer would be like, Judge!
You can't let this happen!
And to this day, Mark
and I laugh about that.
And he would almost always lose
when he would be like, Judge!
Don't let this happen!
Like, I'm caught off guard here!
Yeah, you're caught off guard because
you Dumped thousands of pages on us.
Didn't think we'd put the work
in to actually review them and
pull out the ones that mattered.
And by the way, you're about
two days behind us in this case.
So that's kind of funny.
And there's a lot of funny
things that come up primarily
dealing with that sort of thing.
So that's the best I can do
for you on like a funny story.
Well, that was funny because I did
want to stories that had to do with the
judge and that, that kind of, you know.
Checkbox, but it is funny that that
person that lawyer sounds like he's
like a little kid or something.
He's like, oh my god I'm gonna run to
the teacher and complain, you know Oh in
this case, I just tried the lawyer it was
the same thing like he would run to the
judge like and I remember he called me
like to try to settle the Case and I'm
like, I told him he has to apologize.
He has to send a letter for two of
apology because I asked him when he was
cross examining our witness, I said, in
court, in front of the jury, I'm like,
can you please step away from our client?
Stop pounding over him.
Like, he was over the witness,
like, doing this, and like,
all, and you didn't need to be.
And I said, Judge, could you
please have the lawyer step in?
And he wouldn't do it,
and he kept walking by.
So then he called me that weekend,
trying, like, talking settlement,
which was just a big distraction.
And I said, We will not, you can, I will
not discuss settlement with you until
you send a letter to me apologizing
for not stepping away from my client
and, and he's like flipping out and he
would always run to the judge and, and
the conversation got a little heated.
I'm like, yeah.
Go run to the judge like you're like,
go cry to the judge again, like a
baby and try, but, but, but like I
said, how's that been working for you?
Because it wasn't working too well.
But yeah, there's like a lot of
funny, funny situations and stuff.
Reminds me of someone I know.
And I used to say something about
this person behind their back.
And I was like, you know,
this person sounds like.
A toddler with a diaper on and it's
like reminds me of that same scenario
of the behavior the mannerisms of that
not having that emotional intelligence
to really react the right way, but
just kind of like, oh, I'm going
to go cry to the teacher, but now
I'm going to go credit the judge.
I'm going to go cry to my mom.
I'm going to cry to everyone to
get attention and it backfired.
So I think that's a great story.
The whole time you started talking
about it before you got to like the
punchline, I just, in my head had
judge, because that, that was it.
He'd be like, judge, we've
never seen this document before.
And it's like, it's got your
bait stamp on the bottom.
You produced it.
It was, I think, but that back to like
the beginning, what Jerry was talking
about though, he's absolutely right.
Like it's really serious stuff, what
we do, but sometimes it's like, it's
not like the person just got hurt.
And then, you know, they were just
in the hospital and they just got
this surgery and like, you know, a
couple days later we're at trial and
they're still all like somber about it.
Like, this stuff plays out over years.
Like, I, Jerry, I think even the
case you were talking about that
you were just on trial for it, like.
I think it happened back in 2017,
especially now with like COVID these
things take like a long, long time.
And like, I, I settled a case this
morning where I was in court with
my client and the thing happenedback in like:
in there and the defense attorneys
on the other side of the courtroom
were there for like a couple hours.
Cause we're going back
and forth with the judge.
And my client's like, Oh,
he's like, you know, do you
ever end up going on vacation?
This spot, he's like, check this.
And he's like showing me pictures
on his phone of places he's been.
And he's like being all like night,
like jovial about he's all excited and
the defense is in there and I, I turned
away like that after a while and I like
pulled him outside when the defense left.
I was like, look, I was like, don't
be like happy, like joking around.
It's the same thing.
Like the extent Jerry's talking
about, like a defense tries to
like beat you into, you know,
to make it all seem like a joke.
Nobody doubts how injured your client
is like, well, that's not true.
Everybody doubts how injured your client
is, but like the reality is the guy
I'm sitting next to got really hurt.
He went through a ton
of medical treatment.
This has been like a.
Catastrophic process for him, but like
he's a human being if he lived every
minute of his life like reflecting on
that He'd just be a miserable miserable
person but so i'm like But just don't
project out there that this is all like,
oh like whatever like hey, look at these
photos It's like this is so serious
Whether you like realize it or not,
everything you're doing in this courtroom
is like getting analyzed by them.
Like they could seem like the
nicest person, but you're always
kind of under the microscope.
And I don't know if I've told this
story already, but I remember I had
a federal case, which what we do is
like, seriously, I follow the rules.
But when you go to federal
court, it's like ratcheted up
to, you know, the nth degree.
I had a.
A federal case and it was, it just
happened to be like my client got
thrown out of a bar and he broke his
wrist and he moved to Pennsylvania.
So for whatever reason, the defendants
removed the case to federal court, like
we filed in New Jersey and then they
removed it to New Jersey federal court.
And so we conference the case
with the magistrate to try and
get the, get the thing settled.
And beforehand I talked to
my client, I was like, look.
Whatever happens like i'm gonna come
whatever number I tell you like don't
react to it And all that and it wasn't
like a horrible injury or anything I
think the offer was like forty thousand
dollars and like I wanted to get like
60 or 70 And I came out and I was like,
all right, I told him, I was like, poker
face, no reaction, just poker face.
I came out and I was like, all right,
so their initial offer is 40, 000.
He goes, Oh my God, 40, 000.
I had no idea my case was worth that much.
I thought I'd get like five grand.
He's like in this federal courthouse.
Like, and I'd prepped him on
it, but the guy was so pumped.
Thankfully the defense attorney
like wasn't around, but like.
People are always coming in and out.
So if they see him like, Oh my gosh,
40, 000, like you better believe they're
never going to offer like a penny more
than that, but then he's like, I gotta
go call my wife, this is unbelievable.
And you know, we, we throw around,
it's a kind of wild business.
Like we throw around these numbers, like
40, 000 is a significant amount of money.
But you know, when we deal in a
world where we're dealing with cases,
they're like hundreds of thousands
of dollars, like millions of dollars.
Do you lose sight of that?
But that's like, that's
a someone's salary.
So it's a big deal.
But his reaction just
absolutely like cracked me up.
And I wasn't even thinking of going for
funny stories, but yeah, that was funny.
That one is definitely funny.
I want to know if either of you
have ever been yelled at by a judge.
Jerry never, Jerry has never
been yelled at by a judge.
Are you kidding?
Are you serious?
Well, let's, let's, let's
do that one another day.
Yell being yelled at by the judge.
Well, you have one story,
Mark, about the pen.
Tell us that one.
Then we'll wrap it up.
It's the same thing as Jerry.
Like look, judges are people too.
Like the one I did this morning, we're
cutting into the judge's lunch break.
He had like his jacket on, was
like half out the door ready to go.
He went like above and beyond
taking the time to do it.
But like judges are people too.
And I had this case years ago down,
it was like the oldest operating
courthouse in the United States and
like very rural part of the state.
And this judge was on recall.
I'm not even sure if
he's still like with us.
He was old and he had like a sinus
infection or something going on.
So I'm trying this case and the
whole time he's like, Sorry,
proceed, proceed, proceed.
And when the jury would leave, I
remember I was working on, on something.
The jury wasn't around and
I had a pen behind my ear.
And he's like, Mr.
Morris, get that pen out
from behind your ear.
I don't know where you think you are.
And I was like, I apologize, judge.
I'm used to walking around the office, but
then he's like, you're not in your office.
You're in my, you're in my courtroom.
And it was like all day he was like that.
It was, it was really distracting.
It was really funny.
But like, by the end I did like
my closing and he's like, Mr.
Morris, because in New Jersey,
you can't say a number.
Like I can't say like, ladies and
gentlemen, my clients really hurt.
Give her 5 million.
I can't tell them a number, but we can
do this like time unit analysis thing,
where it's, you basically give like
a formula to come up with a number.
And I did that in my closing.
And this judge who had been like,
kind of riding me the whole time.
He's like, Mr.
Morris, like approach
the bench, like go off.
He's like, that was the finest
presentation of the time unit analysis
I've ever heard in my time on this bench.
And they probably
sneezed or like whatever.
And I was like, I was a
young lawyer at the time.
I was like, all right,
like all pumped about it.
It's so serious.
But it's like such high stakes
stuff, but like there's always
always moments like that.
I think usually you're just too focused
on like Well, you have to do like,
I had a judge one time we were doing
like a, a debate and they were playing
the video of like the doctor, the
things pre recorded and the judge is
like, doctor, doctor, can you hear me?
Can you, all right.
And like, it's a prerecorded thing,
but the jury doesn't know that.
And they're like, they're
like trying to figure it out.
But so judges are people to like.
Yeah, it's these organic moments
that just, you know, it happens
organically when it's funny.
It's not like cases
themselves are not funny.
It's a serious thing, of
course, but it just organically
things happen in the courtroom.
Things happen with the defense attorneys
that just, it ends up being funny.
So thank you for sharing that.
We're going to wrap this one up.
We'll see you guys next time.
And there you have it, folks.
Another episode of Jersey Justice Podcast.
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