Will you laugh? Yes. Will you cry? Yes. Will you, after watching the above video, wish you could sit in on a deposition whenever you wanted to be entertained?
If they were all like this one — absolutely.
This video, produced for the New York Times, recreates an actual word-for-word conversation between a lawyer and a man being deposed for a court case involving the Cuyahoga County Recorder’s Office in Ohio.
The lawyer's initial question involved photocopiers. Does the Cuyahoga County Recorder’s Office have any? A seemingly simple inquiry that took a turn for the surreal after the witness, an IT expert, asked the lawyer to define what he meant by photocopier.
Their exchange is maddening, a mixture of Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First" and the absurdity of "Catch-22." And it's all verbatim. Somewhere, several years ago, people actually had this conversation as a stenographer took notes and, presumably, did his or her best not to jump out a window.
The actual case that inspired the deposition isn't exactly Grisham-esque. The recorder's office had altered its policy about copying records, according to the New York Times. Digital versions would no longer be offered, so anybody who wanted a copy of a document would have to pay $2 per page.
Data Trace Information Services, a company that requested many documents from the recorder's office and would, as a result, see a steep rise in its expenses, sued.
And it's a good thing it did. Without the litigation, we never would have been able to enjoy this absurd and accurate recreation. As for the case, it never even went to trial; the county went back to offering digital versions of documents.
Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (@mikekrumboltz).