By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
HARDIN (Utterly exasperated): She is claiming in this case that this has affected her faith in God?
McKAMIE (As if thinking, "Hey, good idea"): It is, yes.
HARDIN (Wondering, "I went to law school for this?"): And that is a cause of action, and that is something she's decided to be compensated for?
McKAMIE (Feeling, "Oh yeah, I've got him backed into a corner now"): That's part of her damages.
As events would show, things didn't improve from the time of that deposition.
Commandment the Second:
Thou Shalt Not Call a Mega-Church "a Cult" in Front of a Houston Jury
Sharon Brown took the witness stand as part of McKamie's making her case.
That was pretty much inevitable, one supposes, but it did have the unfortunate effect of opening her up to cross-examination by Hardin.
A cross-examination that revealed to the jury that during her earlier deposition, Brown had referred to Lakewood Church as "a cult" and Joel Osteen as "the devil."
She somehow didn't manage to add "And the rest of you Jesus-lovers? You're fools!! Do you hear me? Superstitious, gullible, idiotic FOOLS!!! Now please decide in my favor in this case."
Osteen's massive money-printing, theology-lite operation has come in for criticism (often from us), but calling it a cult? And him the devil? That's not exactly what you learn in "Connecting With Juries 101."
Brown tried to backtrack from her comments, saying that during her deposition she had been tired, on sinus medication and the anti-depressant Lexapro and the sleeping pill Ambien (See Lawyering for Dummies, page 159: "How Not to Prepare Your Client for a Deposition").
McKamie, wily court dog that he is, of course knew that the "cult-devil" comments would come up in trial and possibly bite him in the ass. So he had a strategy to deal with the issue.
We assume he did, at any rate. Whatever it was, he chose to keep it a secret.
Commandment the Third:
Thou Shalt Not Mention Hemorrhoids
You're suing for a ton of money in a highly publicized case. You want the jury, and the public, to take you seriously.
You probably shouldn't try to claim that part of why you're suing is that Victoria Osteen gave you hemorrhoids.
"My ass, your honor!! It burns!!" is really not quite up there with the "Who are these men?" soliloquy from Verdict or "You can't handle the truth!" from A Few Good Men, when you come to think of it.
And nothing against Sharon Brown, but we don't want to come to think of her hemorrhoids. (We're just thankful she didn't actually say the "My ass, your honor!!" line or that McKamie eschewed a demonstration of the trauma of applying Preparation H.)
Brown, or McKamie, must have sensed that the hemorrhoid line of attack was backfiring because she tried to take it back. She said that in her (fateful, apparently drug-addled) deposition, she had merely said she had experienced stress, and stress can lead to hemorrhoids.
Which wasn't the best thing to say, since Hardin pointed out that in the deposition she actually had simply said she developed hemorrhoids as an effect of the incident. (Maybe it was the Lexapro. Or the Ambien. Or the sinus medication. Or the tiredness.)
There was much chuckling over the hemorrhoid stuff — except, maybe, from people who suffer from them. And it turns out it was all for naught — after the trial, the jury foreman told curious reporters that the word "hemorrhoid" was never uttered during deliberations.
Then again, the jury dismissed the case so quickly they didn't really have time to address every ridiculous angle to it.
Commandment the Fourth:
Thou Shalt Not Discuss What Joel Osteen Was Really Thinking During All of This (The only commandment that wasn't broken)
During the trial, testimony showed that Joel Osteen mostly kept to himself during the alleged argument, until at one point he offered to clean the mess up himself. Victoria, naturally, told him not to bother.
So we are supposed to believe...what? That Joel never heard the two arguing? That he thought it wasn't a big deal? That this kind of thing happens so often it was just another day in first class with Victoria?
We're inclined to think the last option is the most likely.
Here's how we envision Joel's interior monologue as he settles in for the jaunt to the slopes of Colorado:
Dearest God, thank you for being the kind of Savior who understands that a hardworking preacher needs to get away from his Houston mansion and rejuvenate among the quality people at a — what the hell?
Ah, geez...It's just a little water, Victoria. It's not going to kill you. Oh, great, just great — make a scene. This is what I need to start off a vacation: you squabbling because someone spilled something. This is surely not worth getting all worked up about and — FOR THE LOVE OF GOD will you sit down!!
Deep breaths. Take some deep breaths, Joel, ol' buddy. Oh Lord of All Things, I don't ask for much beyond the occasional best-seller, the audiobooks, the DVDs and the Vail vacations. But if you could puh-leeze get my wife to just sit down, I will do anything you want. Within reason. I'm sure we could work something out.