Lawyers Share The Most Movie-Like Twist They've Ever Encountered In A Case

Throughout my years studying everything from criminological theory, to political systems, and law there have been many interesting conversations in the classroom. In a criminal law class the instructor—we'll call him Dr. X— prided himself on his employment of the Socratic method in his classrooms. Much like a fair portion of education in this field.

For those that don't know —this method follows three steps, getting the student to give their initial thought, then raising a question to challenge this, which lastly forces the student to think outside the box and delve deep into their reasoning.

Socrates was known as a "gadfly" because he kept biting at the argument until they were spurred to action. This means a fair amount of baiting, pushback, and boarderline bullying. Things like Dr. X's on the spot—relentless and shock-filled—discussions of law forced us to have a broader world view and not skip a beat when someone argued against us.

While the experiences below are shocking to most, this is why most lawyers and CJ professionals don't get surprised easily. We spent years paying thousands to be bullied into memorizing law and reacting to ridiculous hypotheticals. Still one of my favorite Professors.

One Redditor known as ZzzSleep decided to see what were the craziest cases lawyers have encountered. They asked:

"Lawyers of Reddit, what was the most movie-like twist you've encountered in a case?"

The prosecution rests.

Dog bite case. The defendant's dog was running loose on a trail and attacked a jogger. The defendant was representing himself and was trying to show that he had no idea that the dog was dangerous.”

“He took the stand and immediately opened with ‘he had only ever bitten my son, but I didn't think he'd bite people.’” DioHecho

“...was now a grandfather and a father to the half-siblings..."

david rose what GIF by Schitt's CreekGiphy

“True story from a lawyer. Mom comes to me explaining that her biological daughter was in guardianship due to mom's then alcoholism but had been sober for years. She met the father at AA (we call that the thirteenth step).”

“For years, mom had to have supervisory time for a few hours every two weeks with the cheater's wife who had stayed and supervised. Mom wanted more time with her daughter and had earned it.”

“Dad says no. His wife says no.”

“The kicker, mom had married the cheater's son who she also met in AA. They didn't realize the connection at first. They married and had a child.”

“His parents cut off ties with their son and new now grandson. Mom won custody back after the case was over. Start thinking about the family tree.”

“Father of the child from cheating was now a grandfather and a father to the half-siblings. The list goes on. PS Forgot one.”

“Client's husband is both a father (step to the oldest) to the two kids but the oldest child is his half-sister. Feel free to add any twisted family tree limbs you see.” Tollhousearebest

Frisky Business

“Have worked in the courthouse/legal system since I finished high school. Best moment was when I was observing court for Domestic Violence Injunctions (Florida doesn't have generic ‘restraining orders’). An attorney, who also happened to be my best friends dad, was poking holes in the lady's allegations against her lover.”

“He ended his time with something along the lines of ‘you claim that my client violated the temporary injunction by by doing xyz, yet you invited him over to the house and you slept with him in the shower, in the bed, on the counter, and on the hood of the car didn't you? DIDN'T YOU!’”

“Then the judge looked over at her and said, ‘well, did you?’” nernoxx

Results of greed within a for profit healthcare system...*sips tea*

Once a client decided to confess during deposition that the doctor had encouraged her to hit the brakes and cause a car accident because of all the insurance money the doctor would get and she could get free chiropractic work on her back.”

“Also, doctors being busted for telling patients they had cancer and they didn't. A lot of people at the hospital were in on it for the insurance money.”

It, shockingly, can get worse folks...

“Lastly, a blood clotting medicine that caused spontaneous anal hemorrhaging which killed a LOT of people.” the_happy_athiest

TWO sets of twins!?

Had a paternity case few years ago. Guy wanted testing for his 2 sets of twins. When I asked him why he wanted a test he responded 'my dad died last year.'"

“His answer made no sense so I asked again why he wanted a test; he gave me the same reply. So then I ask 'what does your father dying have to do with your request for testing?' He begins to tell me that after his father's passing, he was cleaning out his father's house when he came across his dad's cell phone."

“Wanting to read the last conversation with his father, he opened the text messages his father kept. He found messages between the mother of his children and his dad that were sexual in nature and he assumed that maybe his father was the father of the 2 sets of twins."

“I was so shocked that I didn't even finishing cross examining him. I immediately turned to the woman and said 'is this true?' She looked at me, looked at him shrugged and said 'could be.'"

“Testing was granted. As he was leaving the courtroom, I heard the kids ask him 'did you win, daddy?' One of the worst cases I ever had. And he was not the father...his dad was. And she still wanted child support from this guy." Utopiatozion

Some swift karma.

Season 7 Karma GIF by RuPaul's Drag RaceGiphy

Have a friend who works with child protection services. Had a guy in for the routine ‘are you the father’ thing, he was denying it and didn't want to pay. Takes the test and is not worried in the least. The result came back positive...”

“The twist was why he wasn't worried - he figured he was the father, so he had a friend go in and take the test for him - Similar enough looking to pass a quick driver license / ID check. Turns out the friend was boinking his girlfriend on the sly. The guy ended up on the hook for child support payments and it really wasn't his kid.”

“He couldn't come forward without admitting he lied to the court and sent someone else in for the test. It came out later - but he still had a legal mess - once you're legally determined as the father, getting rid of support requirements is darn near impossible." FatherOfGreyhounds

Shocking to say the least.

A couple of years back I was assisting a client in a matter relating to his refugee visa. He had fled almost two decades before, following an unlawful, ethnically motivated imprisonment of himself and other family members, which resulted in the death of his father.”

“By the time the client and I met, he had sustained a brain injury amongst other things, and so was difficult to talk to. Said refugee client turned out to be the godson of the former president of the country that he fled from. Said president was directly responsible for a genocide.”

“During initial consultations, he did mention his family members - including his godfather - by name but just failed to point out that he was, in fact, the president. As I continued researching the other family names he'd given me, one after another turned out to be a high-level instigator of that genocide.”

“Some were convicted, some still have outstanding warrants for arrests by an international criminal court tribunal. It was shocking, to say the least. In the end, I just did my job the best I could and left it up to the court.” nttdnbs

Exactly as Vegas would have it.

Not a court case, but as a very new lawyer in Las Vegas I was helping my boss with a wealthy client who was very old and incapacitated. We were meeting with his wife (a former showgirl) and his son (not the child of the wife) about how the estate was set up and what would happen when the man died.”

“The son was doing his best to show that he was serious and responsible, and that he was prepared to take care of his stepmother. The moment the man died, the son skipped town with all the money and a stripper. Exactly the way Hollywood would have scripted it.” solarhawks

Our lawyers weren't being generous: they wanted their massive cut...”

“Was working as a paralegal during college. Three years into a huge insurance lawsuit, we went to a final arbitration before a judge. Basically both sides present all their evidence and the judge helps them agree on the likely result if they went to trial, which saves the massive cost of actually going to trial.”

“The arbitration was a couple weeks before the scheduled trial, which had been delayed many times. The insurance lawyers kept pushing it out hoping our client would run out of money for living expenses and medical bills, and be forced to get a job in spite of agonizing permanent injuries. This would have let them argue that he wasn't all that disabled, and reduced their liability.”

“But our firm was covering his medical and living expenses, so it wasn't working. Our lawyers weren't being generous: they wanted their massive cut of the eventual judgement (I hated working with trial lawyers). And the judge was fed up with the stalling, and had just declared that the trial would not be delayed again for any reason (this is important).”

“The afternoon before the 8am arbitration, I noticed an incorrectly filed form. It was 4pm, and thus way too late to talk to my lawyer, he was already utterly drunk on primo scotch at the bar of the five star hotel we had suites at (all on the case expense account, of course). So I didn't get to bring it up until later.”

“Both sides laid out their evidence, and the judge agreed that the injured guy would probably get a couple million at trial. What this meant was that the lawyer would get 40% of a couple million, and the injured guy would owe everything else to the firm to partially cover ‘costs’ (like the lawyers nightly binges), plus repayment of the money the firm has advanced him.”

“He would have ended up owing the firm, and been forced to go back to work in constant severe pain. But the lawyer was happy enough, he'd get enough. I butted in, and pulled up the year old form for the judge.“

​“$2 million becomes $24 million.”

You see, lawyers are accepted to the bar in each state individually, since each state's laws are different. If you've not been accepted to that state's bar, you're not a lawyer as far as it's concerned, and you're not allowed to do lawyer things. 'The unlicensed practice of law' is a crime."

“Now, qualified lawyers practice across state lines all the time, by filing a form which, if accepted, grants them lawyer privileges in the state. But these guys hadn't successfully done that. When the case started, they filed the form, but for the wrong state. So of course our state rejected it. And they never resubmitted it: I'd been up half the night checking."

“So virtually their entire case, years of legal depositions, was totally inadmissible. As far as our state was concerned, they weren't lawyers when they did it. If there had been time, they could have filed the form and rebuilt their case, but there wasn't, and the judge had been absolute about no more delays."

“So we'd have been able to present our entire case to a jury, and they wouldn't be able to counter or refute any of it. And the injuries were lasting and horrific, the kind of things that occasionally make juries award high eight figures in damages."

"They literally turned pale."

"The arbitration judge just looks at them and says, you'd better go drastically revise your settlement offer. They do. $2 million becomes $24 million. Of which our lawyers take 40%, plus millions more for expenses. That left the client about ten million."

"Since he was in his thirties, uninsurable, unable to work, in constant mid grade pain, and likely to have medical bills of 40-80k per month for the rest of his life, that was barely going to be enough to support a modest lifestyle. But it was way, way better than nothing."

"My lawyers were giddy. I got a thousand dollars as a bonus and, as per the firm's policy, they gave one third of their loot to a certain political party, to help make sure that real tort reform will never, ever, be a thing."

"So doctors have to overcharge patients to pay huge liability premiums, so that insurance companies can afford huge payouts, so that trial lawyers can afford huge addictions, political donations, and lots of ads. Sometimes there's even some left over for the client. At least there was for that guy. Did I mention I hated that industry?" Obsidian-Thain

People Break Down The Best Loophole They've Ever Exploited

Ruined credibility...

Government-provided defense called a weapons expert to try to rebuke one of the elements of the felon in possession of a firearm/ammo charge. Essentially the govt had to prove that the ammo had crossed state lines as a means of establishing a jurisdictional nexus to interstate commerce.”

The defense case was thin altogether, as they tried to state that the felon didn't know he had shotgun shells and also that he didn't have a firearm, just a flare gun specifically modified to fire shotgun shells (the guy had felon gun charges so he obvi knew what shells were).”

Anyways, defense expert is on stand trying to testify that these Winchester shells could very likely be flare gun shells and one can't tell the difference between the two easily. On cross-examination the prosecution placed a shotgun shell and a flare gun shell on the table in front of him (shotgun shells weigh way for because of pellets or slug inside) and asked to differentiate between the two.”

The "weapons expert" of 35 years said "I can't. It's impossible" His credibility was instantly ruined and this "pay to win" expert has never been called into a court room since. Not sure if this will make sense to non-lawyers on procedure, but as a law intern of the prosecutor it was hard not to laugh at how much of an idiot the guy was.“ LawTrash101

“...asks her about the time(s) she pulled a gun on him."

“I was representing a girlfriend in a protective order (aka restraining order) trial and she had been doing a good job of explaining her ex's erratic behavior (breaking down doors, threats, grappling type physical altercations) and it felt like a solid win. Her ex (I forget now if he had a lawyer or not) gets up after I'm done and asks her about the time(s) she pulled a gun on him.”

“Which of course she didn't tell me about. Which she also had no good reason for, like self defense. JFC I saw my case die before my eyes. Ultimately the PO was granted, but the judge said he would have made it mutual if the boyfriend had filed the paperwork to ask.” YeetOrBeYeetenEsq

Was certainly skullduggery...

Ooh, I've got one. I was handling a case years ago involving a challenge to a deceased's will. My client was one of the two adult daughters of the deceased old lady. The will made shortly before death, when the deceased was known to my client to be very frail and confused, left 2/3s or 3/4s of the estate to the other daughter, who had become closer to the deceased and taken over much of her care.”

“A previous will divided the estate equally. There was no reason why my client would have been treated any differently if there wasn't skullduggery afoot. We challenged the current will on the basis, among other things, of lack of capacity on the deceased's part to make a valid will. If we won the older will would have been granted probate.”

The other side defended it naturally. We carried the burden of proving lack of capacity, which is always difficult in those cases. We obtained discovery of the deceased's medical records from the state hospital.”

“It turned out that the deceased was so severely demented by the time she made the current will that she was recorded as having answered the door to a care worker stark naked (among other more damning clinical assessments). The case settled on the basis of what we were claiming fairly quickly after that.” Hotmilf201

"The magistrate doesn't even start the conference...”

“We were going to a settlement conference with the plaintiff and a federal magistrate. I walked in with my client, the defendant, and we were sitting at a conference table, the magistrate and a court reporter came in, then the plaintiff who was alleging permanent disability due to damage to both knees. He had been deposed and swore he could only walk with crutches.”

“The magistrate doesn't even start the conference, he wants to see both counsels in his office. I'm thinking what the hell is this about. Magistrate informed us the on the way to his office he was crossing the street. A young man he identified as the plaintiff walked briskly past him carrying his crutches. The reserve on the case was $300k, saved a bunch that day.“ Imnotmyself125

Couldnt hide the guilt...

A pro-se Plaintiff, whistleblower suit in the Dept. of Labor, during the first telephone conference call the Defendant's in-house counsel didn't know they were in Federal Court, ‘we thought this was going to be in a conference room with a moderator‘. They then exhibited guilty behavior in front of the Judge by panicking and asking to move the matter to a settlement Judge.psuedocoder1

“My mother was a witness in a lawsuit one of her friends did to his own son. The lawsuit: he gave his house as a present to his son so that he doesn't have to pay tax for it (as in my mum's friend). Since it was now the son's house he wanted to sell it to get an apartment for his family and an apartment for his dad as the house was old and falling apart."

“My mum's friend didn't like that idea so decided to sue his son to 'get back his house'. Keep in mind that he legally gave his son ownership of the property and thinks now he can do 'tacke-backsies' because he changed his mind." YoungDiscord

“I pulled the trigger.”

Shocked Oh My God GIFGiphy

Representing woman charged with assault by pointing a gun, he had cheated and was abusive. He was taunting and threatening her, she went and got gun out and pointed it to get him to leave. During questioning, we got to were she pointed gun, I asked 'what did you do next' expecting her to say 'told him to leave.' Instead she decided to share 'I pulled the trigger.' Jaws across the courtroom hit the floor, judge sat up, DA's head jerked around. Gun jammed, not guilty due to self defense." fartonabagel

​DUI case...

​“IANAL. But I do always try to full fill my civic duty and have been a juror happily when picked. My first case was probably the most TV moment like. Dui case the defense had the former head of the forensics department as a witness who pointed out some errors in protocols and presented some flaws in overall testing procedures. Prosecution had the current head of the forensics department to try and dispute some of the evidence presented by the former.”

“During cross examination the defense lawyer asked about training materials and the production witness had to admit the other guy his former boss literally wrote all the books they train with, and his testing enhancements were ones he supported and was still trying to get implemented as standard operating procedures in the department.” tdasnowman

That will be an awkward conversation later...

We had one client who swore - he swore he wasn't that baby's daddy. Said he didn't even sleep with this lady. DNA comes back and I have to call him.”

"’So I got the results back. Is there something you want to tell me?’”

"’Is it positive?’"

"’Yes, you're the father.’”

"’Well, I guess I better tell my wife.’"

“Yah. Ya should.“ Maxwyfe

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