The spinning instructor
Trials don't have to be boring. The best witness is someone who can show as well as tell. In this excerpt from my trial diary, you can see why.
Which brings us to witnesses #28 and 29.
The first owns ProRobics, a health club on Queen Anne that has been around for over three decades. She is extremely svelte and immaculately groomed. She’s been in the industry for 35 years. Mimy (our associate) talks to her about the makeup of the club (40s-60s primarily). The boomers started the health club industry and are expected to continue into their 70s. I like this as our youngest juror is 37. She confirms that plaintiff was a spin instructor for a decade before the crash, and that he could have taught for a lot longer. She sets the stage for our last witness.
Clarissa (pron. Clareeessa) bounds into the room. She’s a small round dynamo with a mound of electric curls flowing from a ponytail on top of her head. She has a big smiling exuberant voice. We are instantly enchanted. Her mission: to demonstrate spinning. We brought a motion earlier to allow this, so the bike is in place. She leaves the witness stand with a crackling brown bag. She opens it and shows the jury her shoes. She’s talking and explaining as she puts them on. She shows them the bike and how to adjust it. She gets on it. She begins to show how it is ridden while seated. She is talking (and frankly a little breathless). She pedals standing up. She shows how to adjust tension. She is seated again and in the cool down faze. She dismounts, places her leg on the handle bar and then stretches all the way on top of it (she is a yoga teacher too). The whole thing lasts just under 5 minutes and we’ve been through an entire work out. The room has converted from courtroom to celebration-of-life room because of her presence. As she starts walking back up to the witness tand, the jury bursts into a spontaneous round of applause. I kid you not. I ask her if the benefits of spinning are physical only. She says, absolutely not. That was one of the things she liked about going to the plaintiff’s class. She loved going because he was so fun and energetic. And we’re all thinking – how could anyone be any more joyful than Clarissa. Plaintiff must have been remarkable indeed.
Jeff (the defense lawyer) does not want to try any cross. So off Clarissa goes. As she bounces out the door, so do our bubbles of lighthearted happiness. The remaining 30 minutes are spent with the defense CPA Partin’s video. Mimy and I agree Partin kind of looks like Bill Clinton minus any of the charisma.