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Act 64: The Deposition

On the morning of February 7, 2002, I meet my attorney, Paul Levy, at his hotel (The Magnolia) at 7:30. Luckily, I had enough AAdvantage miles so that I was able to fly Paul from Washington to Dallas for free yesterday. (Buying airline tickets at the last minute can be unbelievably expensive.) It's sunny and warm, not a cloud in the sky. Good day for a deposition.

We have a delightful breakfast next door at the Adolphus Hotel. (The Magnolia serves what must be the world's worst coffee, after a few cups of it I wouldn't have been able to think clearly, much less face hours of hostile questions.) Then we wander down the street to offices of Joseph R. Reznicek in The Katy Building on Commerce Street, a building that I believe used to house the Dallas headquarters of the "Katy" (Missouri-Kansas-Texas, or "KT") railroad. The only reason I know anything about the Katy, by the way, is because the R&B tune "She Caught the Katy" (by Taj Mahal & Yank Rachel) was featured in the original "Blues Brothers" movie. But even though I'm a big R&B fan, I'd still have to say that being deposed in the Katy Building in a dubious honor.

We get to the Katy Building, meet Mr. Reznicek (who will be "observing" the deposition for Taubman), and get set up in a conference room with a speaker phone. (Julie Greenberg, Taubman's attorney, is going to depose me from her office in the Detroit suburbs.) Then we all wait for half an hour while Mr. Levy and Ms. Greenberg engage in a failed attempt to hammer out a last-minute agreement (and I'm afraid that that's all I'm allowed to say about that). I chat for a while with Kellie Rowbotham, the court reporter who's recording the deposition; she tells me about her job and about the sophisticated PC-based system she uses to record depositions. Then it's time to begin.

One thing that quickly becomes obvious is how poorly Ms. Greenberg is prepared for the deposition. She asks questions like "When did the mall open?" – and since I don't know that information off the top of my head, we all spend a few minutes trying to remember the date. Why doesn't she have this kind of basic information in front of her? It's her client's mall, you think she'd have taken the time to collect some basic facts instead of wasting all of our time with questions to which she should know the answer.

Although I'm surprised by her lack of preparation, I'm not at all surprised by her limited understanding of computers and the Internet – in fact, after months of reading her letters and motions, I've grown all too accustomed to it. But it's especially annoying at the deposition, as I find that I have to explain basic concepts to her just so I can be certain that I'm answering the questions that she means to ask. I understand that I'm under no obligation to conduct this free, one-on-one computer class for Ms. Greenberg – but since she can keep me here for up to seven hours (and then she can ask the judge for an extension if she thinks I'm not cooperating), I figure that I should be as helpful as I can in the interest of getting out of here as quickly as possible.

Of course, there's always the chance that she's trying to draw me out by playing dumb – in which case I'd have to say that she's doing a spectacularly good job.

The transcript of the deposition that I'm reproducing here is based on the transcript created by Ms. Rowbotham; I've changed the format, but not the contents. Because it's quite lengthy (reflecting several hours of conversation), I'm not including it on this page; instead, I'm displaying it in separate windows that you can access by selecting these links.

Part 1 (9:30 AM - 10:09 AM) Part 6 (12:23 PM - 12:26 PM)
Part 2 (10:11 AM - 10:48 AM)   Part 7 (12:28 PM - 12:30 PM)
Part 3 (10:48 AM - 11:11 AM)   Part 8 (12:32 PM - 12:44 PM)
Part 4 (11:12 AM - 11:24 AM)   Part 9 (12:44 PM - 12:58 PM)
Part 5 (11:28 AM - 12:17 PM)   Part 10 (1:04 PM - 1:26 PM)

Next: We Move to Supplement the Record

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