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Wes Skiles' Widow Looking For 25 Million from Lamartek

Discussion in 'Scuba Related Court Cases' started by tekkydiver, May 9, 2016.

  1. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
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    I had a very interesting experience with two expert witnesses. They were called by the defense in a trial for which I was on the jury. The defense attorney led them through their testimony by asking very, very specific questions requiring very specific answers. Whenever they tried to elaborate, he would cut them off, reminding them that they could only answer his questions. It was obvious that they really, really wanted to say more, and (as we learned in our later discussions) it was obvious to the jury what they wanted to say. They wanted to say that what they had just explained (which was, of course, favorable to the defense) was possible but highly unlikely. I think the only person in the courtroom who could not see that was the prosecuting attorney, who did not follow up on that when she cross examined them, despite their eager hints in their replies to the silly questions she did ask.

    So, apparently the "lying" does not necessarily come from the experts themselves but from the way their testimony was manipulated by the attorneys. Given the chance to speak freely, they might say something very different.
     
    Pixelator and mdb like this.
  2. Rhone Man

    Rhone Man Divemaster

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    Location: British Virgin Islands
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    Interesting.

    In the British courts it is a serious no-no for lawyers to cut off witnesses (expert or otherwise) from expressing their testimony in whatever manner they think is helpful. But then again, we don't really have many jury trials.
     
  3. Wookie

    Wookie ScubaBoard Business Sponsor Staff Member ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Since they are experts giving testimony, I wonder if opposing counsel could call them back to rebut themselves?
     
  4. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
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    It could have been done easily under cross examination. When we got in the jury room, we all agreed we wanted to scream at the prosecutor to ask the right questions.
     
    Wookie and mdb like this.
  5. abnfrog

    abnfrog Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: great white north
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    the key to an expert witness ....is if they don't support your case you have hired them so the other side cant .....and if they really are an expert (here you have to go threw a lengthy process to be declared , but it is for life after you gain that tittle ) you will know how to proceed and what your position should be
     
  6. hilljo88

    hilljo88 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: nyc
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    Sad situation all around.
     
  7. mainedvr

    mainedvr Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southern CA
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    Wow, as a new dive instructor it really makes me think about what is at risk even if a student had a condition they did not disclose and a tragedy occurred, I or any other instructor could be looking at ruination just to get to the truth. To me this is like reviewing accidents and incidents, learn from it and one thing I have learned and was in my nature anyhow but this whole post has made it sink in more is no short cuts, be vigilant in my paper work and my teaching practices, and never let anyone (dive shop, agency, or student) dictate to me something that does not seem safe or correct. Sorry for both sides of this whole ordeal have watched several NG shows with Mr. Skiles and his work was amazing, and am a patron of DGE and others and glad their workers and company are still around.
     
  8. mainedvr

    mainedvr Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southern CA
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    I had a slip and fall at my apartment building about 15 years ago, a small retaining wall collapsed while I stood just above it with my dog doing his business after work. I woke up in the hospital having been knock unconscious. Had some physical issues and could not work as much as I needed to pay my bills, so my landlord evicted us. Well I got a lawyer and just wanted to stay and have my medical and other related expenses covered but at the order of my landlords insurance company he did nothing. My lawyer took the case and after nearly two years the Judge threw the case out because I was not able to testify as to what happened as I did not remember anything except for taking my dog out for a walk and waking up in the hospital. No testimony no case, I suppose the collapsed wall and my body on the ground was not enough evidence as well as the neglect of the property. So my lawyer never got paid and I had mucho medical bills to pay off.

    Anyhow, I see your point and its a shame our legal system is where its at, I believe the sue happy (not saying this is the case in the WS case) folks have made it tough for those that just want what is legit not to become millionaires off of a slip and fall.
     
    Nick Steele likes this.

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