The incident – involving a lawsuit and big-city lawyers - happened back home over a year ago and it just came up on the docket this past week. It was a vehicle accident involving our town’s Second Selectman, Henry Pinkham, and a well-to-do tourist from Massachusetts. We didn’t know anything about him and I can’t even recall his name at this point.
Anyway, this tourist came flying through town in his fancy, foreign car and managed to slam into Harry’s pickup, knocking it clear off the road and into the puckerbrush. When the trooper arrived on the scene the tourist said he hadn’t even seen the “slow down ahead” sign just outside town and had no idea he was going 70 in a 30 mph zone. To no one’s surprise, there was a lawsuit filed on behalf of Second Selectman Pinkham.
Now, I’ve always heard that the wheels of justice tend to move slowly here in Maine but this case set a new record for slow. Moving at snail-speed, people figured all the wheels had fallen off. But the case finally did arrive at the halls of justice before Judge Elmer Wyman. The well-to-do tourist, acting like he owned the place, strutted into the courtroom with several high-powered lawyers in tow.
They had rented the whole second floor of the Chickadee Motel in town, so they’d have a nice place to relax while the trial was going on. Of course, there’s only three rooms on the hotel’s second floor but folks in town were impressed all-the-same that this rich tourist from Massachusetts was able to rent all three of them.
Well, when Judge Wyman finally called the court to order and asked the lead attorney to proceed, he boomed out, “I would like to call Harry Pinkham to the stand.”
Harry walked to the front of the court, was sworn in and took his seat. At that point the lawyer started grilling Harry up one side, down the other and back again twice.
At one point he said: Just after the accident you told the trooper at the scene that you were ‘all right” – and I quote those words from the official accident report. Now, almost 18 months later you’re claiming in your lawsuit that you were injured? Is that so?
The lawyer continued: I’d like to know and I’m sure the judge would like to know and the jury, too – we’d all like to know when it was you went from being “all right” to being injured?
At that point Harry came to life and said: When your client came flying through town he slammed into my pickup and knocked it clear off the road, down over the embankment and almost clear into the river. I had a cow in the back of that truck – best cow I ever owned - and she went sailing into the puckerbrush.
A trooper arrives on the scene, hears my cow in the bushes, moaning and groaning and says: That cow is in misery. He then pulls out his service revolver and shoots the cow dead.
Then, with my ears ringing from the shot and his gun still smoking he leans over to me and says: “Now, are you all right?"