Michael Kuzak: [choosing stakes for a bet] You can pick anything you want.
Victor Sifuentes: Ok... your leather chair.
Michael Kuzak: Except that.
Erica Tuckman: Erica Tuckman for the plaintiff. Ready, Your Honor.
Victor Sifuentes: Uh, Victor Sifuentes for the defendant. Your Honor, the defense will be requesting a continuance at this time due to the unavailability of defendant's counsel Michael Kuzak. Uh, Mr. Kuzak is in trial in the Superior Court, and I will therefore be seeking a stay of this action until the conclusion of that proceeding.
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: Both Counselors step forward.
[Victor Sifuentes and Erica Tuckman approached the sidebar is the Honorable Judge Douglas M. McGrath]
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: I'm chagrined. Now, you have stalled, dragged, and burden this matter with every dilatory measure known to mankind, and I don't like lawyers who clog the system just to put off paying a judgment.
Victor Sifuentes: Your Honor, I appreciate your senses of...
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: Don't yank me. This case was marked, uh, no further continuances, and the honorable Mr. Kuzak knew it. And if he thinks this stunt of sending in an unprepared attorney is gonna buy him another minute, he's very wrong.
Victor Sifuentes: Well, what can I do, Judge? I don't know the case.
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: Then learn it, because we're going to trial right now.
Victor Sifuentes: With all due respect, Your Honor, that would be a travesty of justice. You'd be forcing the defendant to proceed...
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: You have two answers, counselor. Default judgment for plaintiff or ready for trial.
Victor Sifuentes: [sigh] Ready for trial.
Erica Tuckman: And calling your attention to the morning of June 6, 1985, did you then have occasion to see the animal?
Upton Weeks: Yes, I did. I was manicuring my shrubs, one of which was turning yellow, 'cause it whittled on it.
Victor Sifuentes: Objection to the term "it".
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: Overruled.
Victor Sifuentes: Cockapoo.
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: I beg your pardon?
Victor Sifuentes: It is a full-bred cockapoo.
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: Continue.
Erica Tuckman: Could you tell us then, Mr. Weeks, what happened next? Victor Sifuentes: Yes, sir.
Upton Weeks: Well, I said to him, "See what you did?" These plants are my passions, my family really. "See what you did?," I said. Then the little mutt mauled me.
Victor Sifuentes: Objection to the term "mutt."
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: Counselor!
Victor Sifuentes: It is not an it or a mutt. He's a pet, and just because you hate animals doesn't...
Upton Weeks: I didn't say I hated...
Victor Sifuentes: Tell the jury what you do to cats.
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: Mr. Sifuentes.
Victor Sifuentes: I'm sorry, Judge, but I have no tolerance for animal abuse.
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: Mr. Sifuentes!
Erica Tuckman: Hey!
Victor Sifuentes: Maybe you can sit by and watch vindictive eccentrics. beat up on helpless little puppies...
Erica Tuckman: Oh, for God's sake!
Victor Sifuentes: Your Honor, please...
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: Get up here now!
[Mr.Sifuentes approach the bench and he's being clever with Judge McGrath]
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: I know your game, cowboy. You want a mistrial so you can buy more time. Well, you're not gonna get it. What you will get is sanctions. What you will get is contempt. What you will get is a directed verdict for the plaintiff. Now you step back and act like a lawyer, big shot, or you're gonna lose this case right now.
Victor Sifuentes: Yes, sir.
Erica Tuckman: Now then, Mr. Weeks, getting back to the day the dog bit you.
Victor Sifuentes: Objection to the term "bit." I'm sorry, Your Honor, but the medical records indicate a nip.
Upton Weeks: A nip? A was a vicious bite.
Victor Sifuentes: You're a liar!
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: I'm warning you!
Erica Tuckman: Objection!
Victor Sifuentes: A dog beater and a liar, too.
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: In my chambers, now! Jury is excused till 1 P.M. Move it!
[Mrs. Tuckman and Mr. Sifuentes heads to the chambers of Judge McGrath and jury takes a break until 1 P.M. They'll settle with Upton Weeks later]
Victor Sifuentes: You left me no choice.
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: Do you think I won't order a verdict for the plaintiff? You think I won't?
Victor Sifuentes: With all due respect, if you direct a verdict before I even present my case after already forcing an unprepared attorney to go forward, I'm gonna have automatic grounds for an appeal and you know it.
Judge Douglas M. McGrath: You want it? Just ask for it.
Victor Sifuentes: Go ahead, take it. I love it. Face it, the only way your guy can be a real winner is to win this trial on the merits right here. On the other hand, if you think I've got you, take the directed verdict. You'll lose money but at least to save face.
[What did Mrs. Tuckman say]
Erica Tuckman: No DV. No mistrial, Your Honor.
Erica Tuckman: Let's go back in there.
[Good idea. Mr. Sifuentes will like the sound of that]