Ride the Ducks Trial Day 13: A beloved mother
Thursday October 18, 2018
Today’s uber driver is from Romania where everyone crushes grapes in vats at their homes. Some is saved as grape juice for the kids. The rest is put in a bottle. In 6 months there is good wine. Better than you can get at Safeway. He would like me to use uberXL versus uberX. The numerous reasons range from the safer more superior status of his SUV to what difference does a few more bucks make if we are all going to die anyway. Drops me off.
Get through security without beeping. Climb 9 flights. Enter on the dot at 8:30 as ordered by the court so we can address pretrial matters. 8:45 Mr. Ulmer announced her honor will be arriving in 7 minutes. Her bus has been delayed again. She arrives. Tells us not to worry but another juror is complaining that his employer won’t pay him for the duration of the trial. Since he never raised it before she won’t let him off. Three minutes of pretrial wrangling ensue. Ride the Ducks Seattle says: we anticipate plaintiff will elicit testimony that our employees didn’t go to the scene. We anticipate plaintiff will say our employees refused to be interviewed by the police. We anticipate XYZ and want it all excluded. Wonder if they have teams of people who are focus grouping my brain. Good luck with that. Jury enters.
Seargent Norton then lead detective in charge of the investigation takes the stand. Pull up the white board and write out the list of every person in the department who worked on the investigation plus their role. The white board is filled.
Jack Snyder (Ride the Duck International) asks the court if we can move back the whiteboard as it is blocking his view. I say: no not done with it. He doesn’t hear me and starts moving it out of the way. I stop him and say: am not done. He says: oh I thought. Judge S says: she is not done put it back. He says: We can’t see. Judge S says: you can move.
The board is in a perfect position. Blocks that entire side of defense lawyers from view.
Judge has previously alerted us to an earthquake drill. 10:15 alarm goes off. Duck cover and stay down. Am under desk look around and the courtroom looks empty. Reach arm up and pull laptop down so can keep working. Alarm sounds. We all get back up.
We are ready for the Derschmidts – the father (ex spouse of) and two sons of Claudia who was killed in the crash. Co-counsel Tim Loranger has been one of the leaders in our plaintiff case particularly the first year when we had to navigate all things technical including the NTSB. He has prepared them perfectly for this day. Our group has decided that I should do all plaintiffs direct for consistency purposes. And because of my bonding with the jury early on during voir dire.
Two German speaking translators have flown in from California. They sit in the box adjacent to their witness. Not only do they translate perfectly but they are a calming warm presence. The testimony is heart breaking. The eldest son becomes unable to continue. We take an early recess. I walk behind the tv. Grab a tissue. Allow tears to fall. Wipe up. Return.
It is about 3:30 and am about done. Glad wore slacks and ballerina flats today because according to apple watch have been standing the entire time. The defense is not asking any questions on cross. It is all plaintiff case. Then Tad Seder (City) pops up. He has questions for the youngest son. His tactic is to try to lighten the mood. Asks if the teen has gone to Golden Gardens where the last photo of his mom was taken (which is still being projected). When F says yes, Tad says – did you skateboad down that street.
Am thinking – this is a highway death case and you want to know if he skateboarded down a notorious road. Am also thinking – you don’t have the right to try to act nice and try to minimize this moment. You are no friend of his. But when Judge S asks if have any more questions, I let it go.