Last week, I introduced you to Don W, and attorney for a client of the accounting firm I worked for. Actually, Don W was one of two people I was working with at the time with the same name. At PriceWaterHouseCoopers, Don W. was affectionately known as DW2.
As I mentioned last week, I was inspecting, evaluating and researching a program that was running on a Data General Nova Eclipse minicomputer. I was also evaluating the computer itself. The computer had been modified and the plaintiff alleged that the modifications had led to data being changed. Those changes allegedly resulted in material losses of over $750,000.
My research, which included extensive testing, interviews with electrical engineers and with technicians at Data General had convinced me that no errors had been introduced into the system. I should point out that the company our client owned was located in Florida. The plaintiff was located and had filed a lawsuit in Kentucky. The deposition was to be in Orlando, but the trial was to be in Kentucky.
According to the Engagement Letter I was working under, my job was to educate one of the Partners in our Systems Development Practice (DSP), of my findings and prepare him to provide expert testimony. Since we know from last week’s episode that I was the one being deposed, let’s look at how that came to be the case.
Two weeks before my deposition, the Partner from our New York office arrived in Hartford for a series of meetings where I would be “bringing him up to speed.” DW2 got wind of our plans and asked for a conference call with everyone. The call took place in the office of the Partner-in-Charge (PIC) of the Hartford office. To make life easier, I’m going to use tags for this dialog:
DW2 – “Gentlemen. The reason I’ve asked for this call is so you can explain why Dan Antion is not going to be testifying in this case and will not be at the deposition I’ve scheduled.”
PIC – “That’s easy Don. Dan is not allowed to testify.”
DW2 – “I don’t understand. He’s done all the investigation.”
SDP – “Yes, and he is bringing me up to speed on those findings. I will be testifying. If you read the Engagement Letter, you will see that that was made clear in our Proposal.”
DW2 – “I still don’t understand.”
PIC – “Associates, even managers like Dan, can’t testify. We checked with our General Counsel, the testimony in this case is considered an opinion of the firm. Only a Partner can provide an opinion.”
DW2 – “This trial is going to be in Kentucky. The jury is sure to have more than one farmer on it. I can tell you with absolute certainty that they are not going to be impressed by some New York partner in an expensive suite who had one of his lackeys do the actual work. The plaintiff’s attorney will ask some question about how the work was done and your guy won’t be able to answer. I need Dan Antion on the stand.”
PIC – “That’s not going to happen.”
SDP – “I assure you; I am quite familiar with the situation. I will be able to answer any and all questions. This is how this has to be.”
DW2’s response to this last statement is my one-multi-liner for today.
“You know, you guys up there in the northeast amaze me. You got your General Counsel, your New York partner in his fancy suit and your firm’s rules and regulations. I got none of that. I’m just a lawyer in a small time Kentucky law firm. But you know what…? Down here in Kentucky, we have something called a subpoena. Ya’ll have those up there in Connecticut? The way a subpoena works, at least here in Kentucky, is I write one up, I file it with the court, I give it to you, and you put Dan Antion on a plane. You might want to check with your General Counsel to see if he’s ever heard of subpoenas.”Don W
The two partners looked at each other. My boss and I were both trying not to laugh out loud.
DW2 – “Ya’ll have a nice day. Dan, I’ll see you in Florida.”
This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you would like to join in on the fun, you can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants.