The Deposition Experience

>> Friday, October 23, 2009

I have been going to the same barber for the past 8 years. I followed him from one store to another store and now he owns his very own beauty salon. I call him my barber because I already feel embarrassed enough that I go to a beauty salon to get my haircut without calling him my hair stylist or hair dresser. Butch men like me just need a barber. *~*

Well, over the years, we had grown to be friends. I tip well and we got to know each other, I give him extra cash when he get married and when he got kids. He asks for my help whenever there's some wordy letters in English that got sent to him and I've been to his place helping him with his computer and all. So last time when I got my haircut he asked if I was available yesterday early morning. Apparently someone fell in the pavement of his storefront two years ago and is now suing him for money. He needs someone to help translate. It's not like I have anything better to do and I like to help a friend so despite my not doing morning habit, I said yes. Besides, who wants to piss off their own barber, right?

The barber works 7 days a week, 10 hours a day, a hard worker which he needs to be, his third kid will be born in about a week. (He had only been married for 4 years, can you believe it?) The man has not take a single day of vacation since his own store opened 3 years ago, until the recent frequent trips to Brooklyn where his wife is staying with her own family so someone can keep an eye on the other kids. You've got to admire the tenacity, and I do.

So that's what I did, waking up at the god awful hour of 7:30 "AM" to get ready for a 9:00 meeting in my best slacks and shirt, wearing uncomfortable black leather shoes. Kevin didn't give me specific information on the lawsuit. I was more than curious and protective, no one mess with my barber! Since he himself told me that he never saw anyone fell down in front of his storefront, I believe him. It sounded like a trivial lawsuit to begin with, who falls down on the street and sues the store owner. I was brought up in a country where you blame yourself for your own clumsiness and I think most people in Chinatown or even beyond would feel the same way.

But when his lawyer showed me the photos of the pavement circa 2007, it was a little bad. It was obvious more than just uneven, there's a distinctive crack and a lowered portion. Though, obvious enough that anyone who's paying attention when they are walking by could have stepped over it. Plus it was right next to a bicycle rack and regular pedestrians will really have to walk to or from the bike rack to reach that spot. Since my barber had taken out a million dollar insurance, the lawyer and any claims would be paid for so it wasn't the point. With another kid coming and his business, he just doesn't want to take any more time off. Though he has his doubts...

On the day of the supposedly incident, he hasn't seen anything out of the ordinary. No one screamed or yelled. No ambulance, no cops, no nothing. From the pictures, the supposedly victim, a lady in her late 40s was in clutches with a cast on one of her feet. I don't know about you but when I fall, I'm more likely to get my arm fracture from trying to break my fall. How do you exactly break your foot when you fall? And then a guy supposedly the lady's husband or boyfriend took some several pictures by the crack on the pavement. In all these pictures, they both look quite happy. I'm not too sure they are happy because they are conditioned to act that way while getting their own pictures taken or maybe they found a crack that's convincing. Since the victim weren't in any of the pictures by the crack, for all I know that guy could be just some guy making a living by taking pictures next to malformed pavements on the street and resell those pictures.

The deposition took place a few floors below his lawyer's office. There was a court appointed translator present, so my help wasn't exactly needed but my barber feels better with my presence so I stayed. The court appointed translator is a grease ball kinda Asian man in his mid 50s. He was quite a trip; he was chatting up the victim talking about how the younger generation doesn't have much appreciation for the elderly and then trying to tell lame jokes to my barber and all. It was strange and I couldn't stand him much. At the same time, he speaks English with a heavy accent and he couldn't exactly translate correctly. I was really cringing but I couldn't speak in the setting. I wonder how many of these deposition was screwed up because of a bad translator and I'm wondering maybe it's a cause that I should take up. Since my barber has insurance and the lawyer thought it would be quite straight forward there's nothing I needed to say. I can tell that she doesn't care for this case by her uninvolved attitude. Though I still let her know that these kinds of cases happens too frequently in Chinatown in which she says she knows. I guess she rather pay the victim than go through the trouble. There's insurance so no one could blame her. The economy is bad, people have to find creative ways to get paid.

The pavement had since been fixed to perfection, so these things hopefully won't happen again.

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