Someone posted to YouTube a short video of a particularly horrific deposition excerpt, captioned “Joe Jamail and takes a deposition defended by Edward Carstarphen. Hilarity ensues.” Well, not exactly.
Joe Jamail is a famous Texas lawyer, who has won some big cases and collected some giant fees. Most notably, Jamail represented Pennzoil against Texaco and won a jury verdict for $10.53 billion, then the largest jury verdict ever. Texaco later settled for $3 billion, and Jamail pocketed a third of that.
I suppose it is possible that Mr. Jamail had been smarting from the loss of his title as world’s rudest lawyer. As reported in the National Law Journal in April, 2000,
Until recently, the classic example of incivility in litigation was famed Texas lawyer Joe Jamail’s defense of a deposition witness in the 1993 Paramount-QVC Network-Viacom takeover battle. According to the excerpts of the deposition transcript included in an addendum to an opinion by the Delaware Supreme Court, Jamail told the examining lawyer that he could ‘gag a maggot off a meat wagon’ and made other vituperative remarks that the Delaware court labeled ‘extraordinarily rude, uncivil and vulgar.’ . … Mr. Jamail’s ‘maggot’ rhetoric has now been displaced by a new classic in incivility: a pre-suit letter sent by a New York litigator that threatened the prospective defendant with the ‘legal equivalent of a proctology exam’ if the plaintiff’s claim weren’t satisfied without litigation.
Maybe he wanted his title back.