Our Witnesses

AuthorLeonard H. Bucklin
4. Our Witnesses
§4.1 Witnesses: Ours, Theirs, and Third Party
Three tabs are devoted to what the witnesses will say. The witness tab sections are
divided into Ours, Theirs, and Third Party. In each of these sections you will place a
one-page witness summary form plus the materials regarding each person in that sec-
tion. We will discuss that witness summary form later. First let us turn our attention to
the reason we divide the witnesses into those three groups. You may never have made
that division of witnesses before, so you need to understand the theory and use of that
tab division.
§4.2 Why We Divide the Witnesses This Way
Our tabs are deliberately not labeled “Plaintiff” and “Defendant” for two reasons.
First, the designations of the parties in various states and in various types of proceed-
ings may vary from “intervener” to “counter defendant” to “non-party complainant.”
Second, our allocation forces you to think about the effect of adverse witnesses upon
your case.
You and the appeals court judges think in terms of parties, and what each can show
versus your case. The jurors think in terms of what a witness has said that impacts your
case, irrespective of who called that witness. The jurors do not discuss, “Ajax
Corporation testified that the shipping receipt was lost.” They remember, “Johnson tes-
tified that the shipping receipt was lost.”
In most cases with multiple defendants, one defendant is the lead or main adversary
that the plaintiff must defeat to win his case, and vice-versa. That lead party’s witnesses,
covered in the “Their Witnesses” section, are the ones on which you will need to expend
the most thought while preparing for depositions and cross-examinations.
There are only two reasons for you to depart from this division of witnesses by segre-
gating that one party’s witnesses out of the Their Witnesses section, and giving that one
party’s witnesses a separate tab divider division.
#1. It is a case with 30 or more witnesses, or it is a case with multiple parties
directly adverse to you, only one of which poses a danger to you; or
#2. You have always had a system of segregating witnesses by each party they
will testify for, and you cannot change your mindset to dealing with adverse
witnesses as a total group.

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